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"Beating Quota"

Recently, a client of ours in the telecommunications industry asked us to help set up a customized training program to help sales representatives increase sales depth within its base of existing customers. This client had numerous Fortune 100 customers... but had not developed a systemized way of identifying new areas for growth within each of these major accounts. 

We asked participants to bring information on their top five accounts to our training session. At the program, we asked them to answer the following questions about each account: 

* How can I work with this company's sales department to win new customers - and increase profitability? Follow-up: What new people within the organization would I talk to about that? 

* How can I help the target company's sales, customer service, shipping and transportation departments to maintain its base of existing accounts more effectively? Follow-up: What new people within the organization would I talk to about that?

* How can I work with the target company's shipping, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and manufacturing departments to improve communication with major suppliers? Follow-up: What new people within the organization would I talk to about that?

* What programs can I put together with this company's marketing and sales departments to help the organization gain a competitive edge in the marketplace? Follow-up: What new people within the organization would I talk to about that?

* How can I help this company's department heads and human resources people retain and recruit high-quality employees? Follow-up: What new people within the organization would I talk to about that?

* What can I propose to this company's shipping, receiving, dispatching, sales, and customer service people to help streamline transportation? Follow-up: What new people within the organization would I talk to about that? 

In answering these questions, trainees were asked to identify contacts in at least five different areas within each company. They wrote down the size of each account, the possible product application by division/department, and information in each relevant area gleaned from sources like the World Wide Web or the company's annual report. 

At the end of this process, all the participants had a huge number of new prospects! Their new calling list was prioritized according to three criteria: territory management considerations (i.e., which contacts to meet with in the same building on a given day), the potential account size, and the likely time cycle. 

We then showed these reps how to build their calls around the groups and people these reps had helped in the past, thus dramatically increasing their likelihood of scheduling a meeting with the new person. 

The bottom line: By using these strategies, our client was able to target and win new business within their major accounts - and beat quota. 


Erin Flynn...a freelance writer
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