How to energize your revenues with a targeted account selling strategy

Even if you are not familiar with Pareto’s Law, if you analyze your sales you’ll probably come to the same conclusion as the 20th century Italian economist: 80% of your positive results come from 20% of your sales efforts.

As the owner of a business in which you do most of the sales, your effort-to-sales ratio puts you in quandary. You can’t give up the 20%. But you need to make better use of your time. The answer is to employ target account selling and hire a sales assistant.

If you do these two things, you’ll find your sales could rocket. Let me explain.

What is target account selling?

If you’ve read my article discussing the steps to identify your target market, you should understand your best accounts like the back of your hand. You know who your ideal customer is.

Instead of using a scattergun approach to marketing – targeting just about everyone on the planet – and wasting a bucketful of time, energy, and money on doing so, wouldn’t it be better to target only those who fit your ideal customer profile? The ones who take 20% effort and provide 80% returns? This is target account selling.

There’s a catch – TAS takes more work!

Targeting your best potential accounts takes work. It’s not enough to sit back and wait for them to come to you.

You must love them, even before they become customers. You must keep yourself in the front of their thoughts. You must provide meaningful contact, send thoughtful insights, and keep them abreast of the benefits of your products and services.

Step #1: Identify your total potential market

Before you can target your sales, you should consider what your total potential market is. This is usually more difficult than you might think.

For B2C businesses, the answer is relatively straightforward. For example, if you sell fishing rods, your total potential market is all those people who are interested in fishing and who have the money to buy the rods that you sell.

For B2B businesses, it’s a little more complicated. If, for example, you sell stationary, then your potential market might be all businesses. Except some businesses will be paperless. Others may have specific stationary needs.

Despite the complexity of this first step, it’s a crucial one to take. Unless you identify your potential market, you’ll find it hard to identify your ideal customer profile. This will be a subset of your total potential market – and there could be thousands of businesses in it.

Marketing to them all could take a huge amount of resource, with no guarantee that you’ll sell successfully. You might onboard new customers and discover that they only add to the 80% effort pile.

Step #2: Identify your ideal customer profile (ICP)

After completing step #1, you may find that you’ve developed your potential market into sectors you hadn’t before considered. The trick now is to identify your ICP – the customers who are most likely to buy from you and buy big. The customers who could fall straight into your 20% effort:80% return bucket.

There are many factors that you could use to define your ICP. For example, you might drill down as follows:

  • Location

  • Industry

  • Sector

  • Size (revenues/income)

  • Type of business (e.g. public or private, mature or startup)

You will also want to conduct an in-depth examination of your current top-performing customers, and compare to the factors that you are measuring.

Step #3: Personalize your marketing

Now that you have identified your ICP, you can market to them. For example, you can be much more focused on the content you create for inbound marketing. How does this work? Let’s skip back to our fishing rod example.

Let’s say you’ve identified that your freshwater rods outsell all other rods by four to one. Instead of writing a blog titled ‘Best fishing rods’, you’ll write a blog titled ‘Best freshwater fishing rods’. You’ll have the time and budget to drill deeper and write a more informed article because you are targeting.

Now, let’s take this one step further, and consider that of all your freshwater rod sales, most are sold in Europe. You might now write an article titled ‘Best freshwater fishing rods for Europe’s lakes’.

A word of warning here – this approach is likely to produce fewer website hits. But those who visit your website will be more likely to buy, because you have targeted them more effectively and produced better-quality content that helps them make their buying decision.

Fewer website visitors but a higher conversion rate, which should help to improve your ROI.

The work eventually pays off – in a big way

Because they fit your ideal customer profile (and so the chances of selling are far higher), when you do start selling to more highly targeted customers, they should drop into the 80/20 box.

To reduce your workload, you can automate repetitive tasks to offer a better and more consistent service. You’ll generate more sales with less effort.

To reduce your workload, hire a sales assistant

When you’re in selling mode – and this applies to your salespeople, too – you spend very little time on selling. That is, talking to customers and leads and influencing their buying decisions.

In fact, an article published by HubSpot, titled ‘75 Key sales statistics that’ll help you sell smarter’, highlights just how little time you and your salespeople actually spend selling:

  • 21% of time is spent writing emails

  • 17% of time is spent entering data

  • 17% of time is spent prospecting and researching

  • 13% of time is spent in internal meetings

  • 12% of time is spent scheduling calls

When I mentor business owners, they tell me they only spend about 50% of their time actually selling. The rest is spent on admin work. For many in sales, it’s even worse. Research published by Forbes shows that almost two-thirds of salespeople spend only 35.2% of their time selling.

You can’t double your sales when you spend half your time in admin

There’s a raft of tasks that you must do that cannot be automated. Your selling potential relies on these being done, but there is too little time to do them. From generating leads to publishing articles on your website, all these tasks take time away from pitching and closing deals.

You know how to get shot of most (if not all) of that admin work and use your time to be more effective in sales? Of course, as I’ve already said, automate as much as you can. But that’s not going to solve all your time management issues. What you really need is a sales assistant.

A sales assistant automates all the tasks that can’t be automated

Many of your admin tasks can’t be automated because they don’t conform to templates, or they need a personal human touch, or they need the human intuition that machines cannot (yet) deliver. I talk about some of these tasks in my podcast ‘Doubling sales effort by using a sales assistant’.

If you take the time to sit down and think about what you do to help convert leads into customers and then generate more sales, you’ll probably surprise yourself with how much admin work you do. The first time I went through this exercise, I was shocked.

As a business owner, you’ll do most of all the peripheral work around sales yourself. And you can’t ramp up your sales effort if you’re spending so much time wrapped up in sales admin. Here’s a few of the tasks that my sales assistant does for me:

  • Weeding out spammers on my LinkedIn account

  • Sending messages to people who like a post on my social media or website

  • Screening incoming messages

  • Connecting with people who view my LinkedIn profile

  • Replying to comments on my social media and website

  • Running outbound marketing campaigns

  • Researching and qualifying leads

  • Keeping my CRM updated

  • Sending birthday messages and Christmas wishes

  • Updating my tasks list

Invest your time to train a sales assistant to free your time

Ok, so you understand the need to hire a sales assistant. What’s stopping you?

The most common reason I hear for not hiring a sales assistant is the time it will take to train them. It’s easier to do it yourself. You’ll get the job done faster by doing it yourself.

Here’s the rub. If you don’t take the time to train a sales assistant, you’ll spend more time doing the tasks they could be doing.

Let’s say it takes you five minutes to purge a social media account of spam contacts. And let’s say you do this for three accounts every week. That’s 15 minutes of work.

Now. Let’s say that it takes you an hour to go through the process with a new sales assistant. Your time to train is repaid after just four weeks. After a year, you have won back 12 hours of productive time. Every subsequent year, it’s 13 hours.

Get smart about training your assistant

Training is never straightforward. For example, you know a sales assistant will ask you to repeat training (or parts of it) or for clarification of your instructions, or what they should do. They don’t want to get it wrong, and you’ve told them, “If in doubt, shout!”

The solution to this time-consuming and frustrating merry-go-round of instruction is to train smarter. There are two great ways to do this:

  • Provide written instructions

  • Video yourself doing the task you expect your sales assistant to do

The best way is by video. As you perform the task, treat it as if you are training someone. Talk through each step as you go, and explain why you are doing what you are doing. (Not convinced? How-to videos are among the most popular of all videos on YouTube, second only to product reviews.)

Time to find a sales assistant

All that is left for you to do is to find a sales assistant. Here’s a few tips to help you do this:

  • Look within your team. Is there a person who could do the job, or incorporate it to their existing role?

  • Ask your contacts among your trusted network. You’ll be surprised how many use virtual assistants (and after reading this article, you may also be surprised how many don’t).

  • Use a freelancing platform like Upwork or FreeUp.

Finally, contact me. I’ll put you in touch with one of our trusted partners.

In summary

We’ve covered a lot in this article. From understanding the power of target account selling to understanding your need for a sales assistant, and a couple of techniques to help you train your people smarter.

But I only have a limited amount of ‘space on a page’. I’m sure you have questions you’d like to ask, or specific challenges you’d like to discuss. Feel free to contact me today for the help you need.

Publish Date: 11/27/2020 12:00:00 AM
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How to energize your revenues with a targeted account selling strategy
Even if you are not familiar with Pareto’s Law, if you analyze your sales you’ll probably come to the same conclusion as the 20th century Italian economist: 80% of your positive results come from 20% of your sales efforts.
As the owner of a business in which you do most of the sales, your effort-to-sales ratio puts you in quandary. You can’t give up the 20%. But you need to make better use of your time. Th…

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