I was reminded recently of the time way back I helped assess the breakdown of a long-standing, pavement pounding salesperson’s results.
They kept a tight clasp on a particular town in their patch.
Had done so for over a decade.
Using data analysis newly available, it turned out profits from said area were less than two grand. Across the entire year.
I was not in the consequent meeting. But I heard it was explosive.
There is a concept of territory segmentation analysis.
I’ve touched on this before. It matches relationship closeness with spend potential to identify “highest business potential scores”.
Generate a classic 2×2. Relationship goes up the ‘y’. Potential across the ‘x’. Plot accounts on their High or Low mark for each.
The idea being you migrate minds away from the comfort zone deemed ‘relationship selling’.
Where they may romanticise the familiar and easy contact.
Which is sadly all too common. As one training vendor surmises;
“sellers tend to over-invest in accounts with whom they have comfortable relationships, to the detriment of pursuing business in new accounts, or in new departments or business units in existing accounts, which are less familiar”.
“you should spend more than half of your time in targeted business development activities”
The four cells of the matrix are a bit of a distraction really.
As they recommend that to determine where effort goes, you pretty much ignore relationship strength.
Only focus on accounts with high potential. Regardless of rapport.
The main thrust being that skills needed won’t be too different whether you are tight or not.
Which tends to elevate any exercise seeking to put a rough figure on ‘potential’.
Potential may not equate to growth. As continuous supply may be high and worthy of close attention to maintain. You wouldn’t want to jeopardise such business. Yet the principle remains that attention should go where new business potential is highest.
Any attempt to calculate where time ought be spent, at the expense of perhaps romanticised resource thrown needlessly elsewhere, is a good one. After all, where are the high relationship, top profit accounts of tomorrow going to come from when inevitable attrition hits? At the very least, you develop a hierarchy and action plans for the different bandings.