Major Accounts vs. Sales Prospecting: Where to Spend Your Time?

This argument has been going on for years.

Salespeople tend to believe they need to spend more time with major accounts, while Marketing will always argue more time should be spent prospecting.

Challenge is, “Why does each side believe what they do?”

Salespeople love to spend time with major accounts, because I believe they would rather do that with their time instead of sales prospecting.   Salespeople tend to also be afraid of being the person who loses a major account, and thus they do all they can to make sure it doesn’t happen on their watch.

Marketing, on the other hand, tends to be compensated more for business growth, and their belief tends to be that growth is more likely to come from new customers than from existing customers.

Who is right?  Both!

How’s that for a political answer?

The problem is that “who is right” isn’t the right question.

The right question we need to ask ourselves is what is the right amount of time we need to spend on major accounts vs. prospecting for new business?

Best way I’ve found to determine how much time to spend on major accounts vs. new accounts is by following one of the ways I’ve listed here.

If you have a mix of major accounts and other accounts including the objective of getting new business you should follow this rule:

Add up the % of business your major accounts contribute to your total and then allocate ½ of that percentage of time to your major accounts. The rest of your time should go to the other accounts and new accounts.

Example:  Total business from your major accounts last year was 70% of your total.  This year you should allocate 35% of your time to these major accounts.   I call this the “Half Rule of Major Accounts.”

If, on the other hand, your business consists of accounts which are new to you and your company, then you should alter the % to 75%.

Example:  Your large new accounts are expected to bring in about 80% of your total business this year. The time you allocate to them should be 75% of the 80% — or 60% of your total time.

Over the years, I’ve found these two guidelines to be quite accurate and people have told me they have been able to achieve far greater results than they expected by following them.

Sales managers reading this — try it!  Salespeople reading this — try it!

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

 

 

 

 

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