Many sellers struggle to develop new customers. Often this has less to do with the seller’s ability to sell, and more to do with the seller’s ability to select quality prospects.
Some prospects are better than others, and qualifying them will help determine which of the prospects should be pursued and which prospects should not.
As you search for ideal prospects (future key accounts), use the following criteria to determine which current clients have the greatest potential for growth and deserve the most time and attention.
3 Criteria to Determine Prospect Potential
1. Dollar Potential
- Could this client eventually spend at our Key Account level if motivated?
- Are there signs that this is a high-margin or high-volume product or service?
- Can this prospect afford to invest in our solution at a level to be successful?
- Could this account become one of the largest accounts our company works with?
- Do I know the decision-making process at this company?
- Have I identified the decision-maker and key decision-influencers?
- What will I need to do to gain access to the decision-maker? How committed am I to doing that?
- Will I be able to move beyond the media buyer and get an appointment with someone who can direct long-term spending beyond agency avails?
- What are the the fit factors that will have the most influence on the situation?
- Can they benefit from the solutions we offer?
- Do they have a strong focus on the areas our solutions reach?
- Is there change in their situation that may create an opportunity for me to help?
- Do I see evidence that they will be open to developing a solution together?
- Are there signs the business is growing or in trouble?
- Are they in too much trouble to be able to help?
- Seasonality—which time of year would they benefit most from our solutions?
- Are there factors unique to our solutions that could benefit this prospect?
Are You Too Busy?
Taking time to evaluate and qualify prospects will save time down the road. Here are some dead-ends that sellers discover because of selecting lousy prospects. These dead-ends lead to little or no dollars:
- Difficulty setting an appointment with the decision maker.
- Little or no money to spend on a solution.
- A long sales cycle that includes a prolonged decision-making process.
- Proposals that never close.
- Proposals that close for low dollar amount—these proposals rarely deliver results and usually end up as a one-time sale.
- A big waste of time!
When you are sales prospecting, it's important that you qualify your prospects based on these criteria and determine if it's worth pursuing. Don't waste your time on prospects with no potential for growth. Considering these things will not only help you with a current prospect, but also in the future.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in 2018 and has since been updated.