How to Maximize Account Penetration and Jump-Start Sales

Maximizing account penetration is one of the most critical functions in sales. Why? The depth of account penetration has an enormous impact on revenues and profitability.

Think about it ? if every one of your company's salespeople sold every product and service in their portfolio to every business unit, department, and division of every account, what kind of number would they produce? Something huge, right?

From a sales management perspective, few things are more frustrating than having a bunch of "one trick ponies" on a sales team. These are salespeople that have developed a comfort level with one product or service, and that product or service makes up 80% to 100% of their sales.

I used to work for a computer distributor that had numerous salespeople that fit this mold. They would congratulate themselves for selling servers to an account, completely oblivious to the fact that the very same account was also buying storage, networking equipment, software, and professional services. The distributor's salespeople only scratched the surface of the total available opportunity in most accounts.

Here is a second huge frustration for sales managers and executives -- salespeople that don't produce "traction" with new products and services.

When your company introduces a new product or service, you make a pretty sizeable investment to train your salespeople to sell the new product or service, right? Doesn't it drive you crazy when only a fraction of your salespeople actually sell the new product or service? The return on your sales training investment stinks, and your company never sees the revenue boost it expected to receive from the new product or service.

Why do I bring up lack of account penetration and lack of sales traction for new products and services in the same article? Because the same problem is often at the root of both issues! That problem is an excessive focus on technical details.

Many managers and salespeople believe that salespeople need to become experts in order to sell a product or service effectively. To develop this understanding, companies invest enormous amounts of time and money in exhaustive training to educate salespeople on product features and benefits, performance characteristics, industry information, pricing guidelines, promotional activities, available collateral material, etc.

Unfortunately, when salespeople leave these training sessions, they often have no idea how to find or qualify opportunities for the product or service they were just "trained" to sell! This leaves the salespeople frustrated, as they feel the time spent in training was wasted. Management is equally frustrated with their sales team's inability to gain traction with new products and services, and their inability to learn to sell their company's entire portfolio of products and services.

This mutual frustration results from a lack of recognition of one very important fact:

When a salesperson identifies a qualified opportunity, there is usually no shortage of knowledgeable resources that can assist the salesperson with converting the opportunity into a sale.

These resources may include technical or other specialists from the salesperson's own company, or similar resources that are employed by suppliers or channel partners.

If salespeople have access to product/service experts, why should they spend time learning technical details? Instead, why don't they laser-focus their learning on how to find and qualify opportunities?

Your company can facilitate this kind of focused learning by redesigning product and service training curriculums to address the following topics:

  • Product/Solution/Service Overview: What does the product or service do (in plain English)?

  • Differentiation: What are a few key differences between this product or service and competitive products or services?

  • Business Problems: What business problems does the product or service solve?

  • Qualifying Questions: What questions should salespeople ask to determine whether a prospect or customer has the business problems that the product or service can solve, and to quantify the impact of these business problems?

  • Expert Resources: What expert resources are available to help salespeople manage technical details?
If your salespeople have access to product/service experts, you can turn them into prospecting and qualifying machines by focusing your company's product/service training curriculums on how to find and qualify opportunities. This strategy will help your organization maximize account penetration and jump-start sales for new products and services.

Copyright 2005 -- Alan Rigg

Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. To learn more about his book and sign up for more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit http://www.8020performance.com.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Facility Executive Magazine

WeSuite 5.0 Sales Management Software
Facility Executive Magazine
WeSuite, a sales management software solution, is purpose built for technology product and service providers. Designed for sales teams of two to two thousand, it streamlines workflow; simplifies the creation of estimates, proposals, and contracts ...


Advertising Specialty Institute

IMAGEN Brands Hires Liza Sachs to Sales Management Team
Advertising Specialty Institute
“We are delighted to welcome Liza to the IMAGEN Brands sales management team,” said Lisa LeMond, vice president of sales at IMAGEN Brands. “Her previous experience on both the supplier and distributor side provides a powerful perspective that will ...


The Hindu BusinessLine

TAPMI plans Marketing & Sales Management course
The Hindu BusinessLine
The Manipal-based TA Pai Institute of Management (TAPMI) has proposed to launch a two-year full-time post-graduate diploma in management programme in 'Marketing and Sales Management'. The announcement was made during the inauguration of the ...


Saint Rose launches concentration in sales management
Hudson Valley 360
ALBANY – Recognizing the need for highly trained sales managers and sales representatives in the business world, The College of Saint Rose has become the only college or university in New York state to offer a program in sales. Beginning in January ...


Ancillary Insurance Carrier Renaissance Expands Sales Management Team
PRNewswire (press release)
15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ancillary insurance carrier Renaissance Life & Health Insurance Company of America is expanding its sales management team with the addition of group insurance industry veteran John Feeney. With more than 30 years of sales ...

and more »

AM

Mercedes-Benz Vans wins award for attracting fresh talent to the industry
AM
Mercedes-Benz Vans and learning and development agency RTS Group has been recognised by the British Excellence in Sales Management Awards (BESMA). The companies won the Sales Development Programme of the Year Award at the Institute of ...


Reuters

Exclusive: HNA in talks with bad debt firm Cinda as it extends $43 billion asset sales - sources
Reuters
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has turned to state-owned China Cinda Asset Management Co (1359.HK), among the country's largest bad debt managers, for advice on asset disposals, people with knowledge of the matter told ...

and more »

Forbes

Digital Crystal Ball Gives Auto Dealers A View To Future Sales
Forbes
“It's going to get to the point where I can really help my new and used car managers in terms of saying hey, this is inventory that consumers are engaging with the most.” PureCars's Sam Mylrea says digital attribution's ability to generate accurate ...


Supply Chain Management Review

Economists Paint Rosy Picture for Retail Supply Chain Sectors
Supply Chain Management Review
As noted in our staff report, retail supply chain managers are bracing for a heightened frenzy of seasonal shopping this weekend. According to IHS Markit Associate Director James Bohnaker's updated Holiday Sales Outlook, “a roaring job market is the ...


Motley Fool

Target Talks Rising Traffic and Falling Profit Margins
Motley Fool
At this point in 2017, Target (NYSE:TGT) was entering a difficult holiday season period that management predicted would result in flat sales growth. But this time around, the retailer has demonstrated healthy momentum heading into the industry's ...

and more »
Google News

Commodity Sales Prospecting - How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

I have received a number of requests for advice from... Read More

Keeping Your Sales Team Motivated

Sales managers frequently approach me for advice on how to... Read More

How to Increase The Sales Of Promotional Products

I have searched for a new way to increase the... Read More

Sales Plan? Whats a Sales Plan?

In the past, if you said the word "plan" to... Read More

Do You Really Want Local County Contracts?

If you really want to secure government contacts at the... Read More

What Is A Proposal? And Why Do You Need One?

Do you know anyone who regularly wins bids? Or can... Read More

Moving a Business Relationship from Free to Fee: Turning Strangers to Friends with Power of Freebies

In the last issue I shared with you a technique... Read More

How To Build A Worldwide Distributor Network

When your product is market ready and has a good... Read More

The Surest Way to Boost Sales

If you have a small business and you are looking... Read More

Never Trust a Silent Customer

Imagine you run a pizza parlour. You have all these... Read More

Set Yourself up for Trade Show Success

Of the many mistakes small business owners make, a big... Read More

How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Sales Performance -- Part 2

Another key reason why companies suffer from 80/20 performance is... Read More

The Nine Warning Signs that You Need a Sales Video

Corporate videos are an important sales tool that can often... Read More

Transforming Your Sales Force by Creating Specific Expectations

I just finished a phone call with a potential client... Read More

Your Extended Shadow And Successful Sales Management

In a small midwestern town, the local high school of... Read More

The Achilles Heel of Management Coaching

While heading home at day's end, you begin reflecting on... Read More

A Real CRM Strategy or Just Tracking Customers?

Exactly what is CRMThe idea itself is nothing new; its... Read More

How to Win Over the Man in the Chair Salesmanship, Repetition, and Direct Mail

In a classic business-to-business print ad from the late 50's... Read More

Sales Pipeline Forecasting Is There A Better Way?

To put it mildly most companies sales forecasting just isn't... Read More

How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Sales Performance -- Part 1

Business executives and sales managers frequently bemoan "80/20" performance on... Read More

Increasing Sales by Using Coupons - Will it Help Your Business?

Increasing Sales by using Coupons. Will it help your business?... Read More

The Spirit Of Change

A Highly Conscious Approach To Business Management. For more on... Read More

100% Commission Equals Zero Percent Control

The temptation to use straight (100%) commission plans never goes... Read More

How Exhibitors Can Move More Attendees Closer to Buying

Q. What's the single, biggest change exhibitors can make to... Read More

The ACCOUNTABILITY Challenge for Today?s Business Management

In today's 24/7 driven business word, accountability is becoming a... Read More