by David Wuensch.

Want to increase your sales in 2020?  Do you have a targeted list to pursue this year?

  • If not, here is some guidance on building one.
  • If so, here is some advice you can use to check your list.

There are four rules to follow in building and executing a targeted list to pursue:

  1. Know your Ideal Client Profile(s).
  2. Publish your targeted list.
  3. Make it workable.
  4. Make prospecting your number two priority.

Know your Ideal Client Profile(s)

Most everyone agrees that it helps to fish where the fish are, right?  So, let’s go fishing for prospects that look, smell and feel like our best customers.  Define the demographics and psychographics that look most like your best customers and avoid those that look like your worst customers.  As you are defining your ideal client profiles, remember it is usually more effective to start higher and work down versus the other way around.  For additional details on building Ideal Customer Profiles, check out Chapter 14 and 15 of “The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World’s Best Companies.”  The book is over 30 years old, but Miller and Heiman will still point you in the right direction.

Publish Your Targeted List

This is your opportunity to be strategic.  Taking time to build your targeted list(s) will help you better manage your most precious resource: time.

Identify the resources that work best for you to build these lists.  Since my business relies on introductions and referrals to grow my business, I start with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. That tool has the filters to match my Ideal Client Profile along with the ability to filter on 2nd Connections. This means that I share at least one connection with each of my prospects.

I also recommend that you find a tool to help you easily import your prospects and selected connections into your CRM to manage your process.  In my personal opinion, the best tool on the market to build lists with leading CRM’s is ZoomInfo (now merged with DiscoverOrg).  If ZoomInfo does not fit your budget, you might check out Rocket Reach or do your own search for similar tools. Zapier can help you integrate tools like Rocket Reach so that you can easily import your prospects and selected connections to your CRM.  These tools have working integrations with LinkedIn.

As you build your targeted lists, I recommend that you prioritize them as A, B, C and D accounts.  Define your prospecting processes to put most of your emphasis on your A accounts.  Next, look for which B Accounts you want to make A accounts and treat them like A accounts while you attempt to make them A accounts. Delete your D accounts; don’t waste your time.  Consider which prospects/customers are the largest, most growable, and most at-risk as you prioritize your list.

For additional information on building targeted lists, check out Chapter Five in Mike Weinberg’s book, “New Sales Simplified.” It is the best book that I have ever read on New Business Development.  I recommend the Audible version so that you can hear Mike’s emotion.

Make it Workable

Focus, Focus, Focus!!!  Less is more!!!

As Mike Weinberg says in his book, write (or type) your list on a single page or board so that it is visible to you at all times.  If your list is too long, you won’t be able to focus.

What is workable?  For some companies I work with, their target list is ten to twenty companies. For others, each salesperson may have 200 accounts at any one time.  You will have to work this out yourself.  Just make it workable.

Make Prospecting Your Number Two Priority

Are you asking, “Why not number one?”  Don’t you want to get paid sooner than later?

Your first priority is to close what you can this week or this month. That is your top priority.  Then your next priority is put something new into the funnel.  The Sales Cycle is the sales cycle.  Your prospects have a buying process that has as much to do with your sales cycle as you do, maybe more.  To avoid the “Sales Roller Coaster,” check out Chapter 16 on “How to work your sales funnel” in “The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World’s Best Companies” for more details. I simply recommend that you prioritize your sales work like this:

  • Close what you can this week/this month
  • Prospect, fill the top of the funnel
  • Work the rest of the funnel – Qualify, Present/Demo, Propose

Summary

As you build (or review) your targeted list, check out these five questions that Mike Weinberg asks at the end of Chapter Five in his book:

  • How closely does the profile of your “best accounts” align with the profile of the target accounts on your prospect list?
  • What must be done to ensure your target list is finite, focused, written and workable?
  • If managing an existing book of business or territory, how can you better segment the accounts to ensure a focus on customers who can most greatly impact results?
  • Which resources can you more effectively utilize to identify strategic target accounts?
  • What would it take for you to get excited about targeting contacts higher up in your accounts?