By Sue Hornblow, Key Performance Group
I recall landing what seemed to be the ideal sales opportunity… a client who I had successfully done business with who now wanted me to roll out a significant project. It represented a sizable chunk of my budget and even better would continue for several years. Deliverables were agreed, time frames set. This of course took a huge amount of my time, but the rewards were going to be significant, so focusing on this opportunity made sense to me. Then came the dreaded phone call. Someone up the chain had pulled the plug. It was not going to happen. I spent a day or so upset at the lost opportunity, I picked myself up to get back focusing on my other clients. Sadly I discovered that while I had been busy on this one big opportunity, I had neglected other business and had to start rebuilding my pipeline. I learnt a very valuable lesson about the need for a balanced portfolio.
After 25 years in sales and training sales people my 3 fundamentals for planning a sales portfolio are based on the mantra “Spread the opportunity, the risk and your time. Easy to say harder to do. So what might an ideal sales portfolio look like?
- The platinum account: Have no more than 30% of your business from any one large account. Such platinum accounts take a lot of time to land and hopefully provide rewards for a long time after. You may like to be working on one or two platinum opportunities.
- Gold accounts: a sustainable portfolio includes 50 to 60% of revenue from accounts that are quicker to land, and are consistently are billing. They really are gold with a good return for your time investment. Focus most of your time on these opportunities.
- The distracters: minimise these. They are the rats and mice accounts that have small current and future potential. You can waste a lot of time with these customers, and often if you are honest, they cost more to service than you will ever gain. Consider inventive, low time ways of interacting.
The hard part is starting from scratch. My next blog will include some tips on building a new portfolio and balancing short term sales while growing a sustainable sales portfolio.