I’ll thank Steve Lahr, a Director of Sales in St. Cloud, Minnesota for this analogy to new business development. Steve is relatively new to The Center for Sales Strategy family of clients; Townsquare Media only recently joined our ranks.
Upon hearing of our approach to target account development—and how we distinguish legitimate target accounts from those we think of as simply, “extras”—Steve colorfully equated the process to a game of pool.
"You have slop, and you have no slop.” He elaborated by reviewing the two general types of billiards. “In a sloppy game, you just whack the cue ball hard as you can and you get credit for anything that falls into a pocket. When you’re playing “no slop,” you have to be much more methodical, and call your shots ahead of time.” I enjoyed the analogy.
So what kind of new business are you looking for? Slop (where you just smile and dial, run and gun, and hope something falls into your pocket)? By the way… it’s fine to do this from time to time: We refer to these as “extra” accounts, and everyone should have some of those in their sales funnel!
But make sure you’re also spending plenty of time playing “No Slop.” That is the more sophisticated version of new business activity we think of as target account development.
Be more methodical about the targets you choose, and the manner you approach them. You’ll be playing at a higher level, for bigger and more renewable dollars.
By the way, don’t take this analogy too literally. Even when you’re prospecting for extras, be professional (never literally be sloppy); you never know which of those might eventually qualify to become a bona fide target account, or at least the source of a referral!
Looking for an effective way to track and develop your top target accounts? Download our Target Account Progress Tracker today.
Mike Anderson is VP of Consumer Insights and Communication at The Center for Sales Strategy.