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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Why Avoiding Disruption is Stalling Your Sales Career

building your account list Salespeople work hard to build an account list. Most clients on your list have been researched, painstakingly approached, and developed over time. Maybe a few just fell into your lap. But you value them all. Sure, some may be easier to work with than others, but you have no reason to change anything. Why would you?

Because the path that leads to a larger account list is not just more clients, but better clients.

I want to share some interesting lessons I heard at the recent INBOUND18 Conference. It was one of the last sessions on the last day. The one you debate about attending, because out the window the shuttle buses are already filling up with attendees leaving for the airport. I’m glad I stayed, and want to share some of what I heard in relation to building your account list.

“What 2-3 things define success for you? Are you ready to redefine success?

What does success in sales mean to you? Are you happy with your current definition? What if you stretched your definition of success? Where would it take you? What would your list of clients look like? Dr. Shirley Davis was not talking about sales, she was sharing life lessons on the importance of being willing to disrupt yourself. Many of them ended up as one-liners in my notebook. 

“We die at age 30, we just don’t get buried until about 85.” 

The message was that at some point, we just settle and keep going through the motions. Are you calling on the same people, the same industries, the same-sized accounts? Have you settled into a comfort zone with your account list? 

“Many of us are afraid of our unknown heavens, because we’re comfortable in our known hells.”

Most salespeople who have built up a list are more focused on service and retention than new business development. It’s important to serve your clients well, but if you want to grow your account list, focus your time and attention on your key accounts, and your non-key accounts that have the greatest potential for growth. What are the “known hells” on your account list? Are they the high-maintenance, small accounts with little or no growth potential?

“Many products, relationships, and (clients) should have an expiration date.”

Yes, you need to let go. You only have so much time in the day. To grow your account list, your time needs to be spent growing your accounts to a key account spending level. You know that your small accounts often take as much (or more) time than the big accounts. Don’t waste your time on the wrong accounts, even if they are already on your list. 

Focus on being open to changing your view of success and being willing to disrupt your account list strategy. Of course, you can’t just start firing your secondary accounts  not yet. But you do need to change the way you spend your time, and focus on finding and developing more key account level clients. Because when you’re working on bringing in bigger clients, the little ones will fall off in importance. 


Are you ready to disrupt your approach to sales?

Grow Your Revenue with Account List Analytics

Topics: account list management key account growth sales performance sales process sales pipeline