6 Reasons Why, In Sales Management, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

You are up against a formidable goal and not hitting your sales quota.  As you do the math, you conclude that it is not worth trying to land smaller sales; they simply will not move the needle enough to insure you beat your quota.  So you lock your sites on large accounts.

I have seen lists of prospects that look more like a who’s who of high profile businesses than a sales pipeline.  Sales managers often sail right past the pipeline review, as they take a cursory look and decide that the sales pipeline is brimming with “A” list talent.  The result is often a heap of unrealized revenue and a dejected sales force with empty pockets.  Yes, sales people are getting appointments and making proposals, but they haven’t closed anything substantial in a long time, right?

So what should we do about it?

First of all, to exceed your sales goals, stop hunting just for the big game.  Strive instead to have a healthy mix of prospects with different potential revenue opportunities.  Sure, the smaller accounts will not move the needle overnight, but there are many reasons why they can be a better play for the sales force.   Here are a few of those reasons:

  1. Smaller accounts will teach you how to perfect the way you execute the sales process and, more importantly, understand your prospect’s buying cycle.
  2. Smaller accounts may have a shorter buying cycle due to the fact that there may be less layers of management.
  3. Sell enough  smaller accounts and it will serve as an insulator against some of the peaks and valleys that are common in sales.
  4. Smaller accounts build confidence, momentum and draw a blueprint for targeting other accounts in that vertical marketplace.
  5. Consistently closing any type of account will provide you with job security; sales people converting new business do not get fired, period.
  6. Small accounts can become large accounts.   

Now about big game.  I certainly recommend keeping some large accounts in your sights.  These accounts must be pursued using a skilled methodology.  There are indeed advanced sales techniques for unlocking closed doors, but these skills are honed through amassing sales victories.  Sales victories are a key to getting that “been there before” confidence that will guide your steps through the complex sale.

Questions for you: 

  • What is the ratio of large accounts to smaller accounts in your pipeline?
  • Are you pursuing both with similar vigor?
  • Can you share a story about lessons learned from closing smaller accounts?

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