10 Factors for Success When Building Your Strategic Sales Hit-List

Many of our clients have a hit- list, or wish list of companies they’d particularly like to win business from.

They’re often astonished that we can help them to create a relationship with the buyers within these companies, having previously tried to engage them and found them to be impenetrable or unreceptive.

A lot of sales time is dedicated to the pursuit of these hit-list organisations , so it’s important that setting your sights here is well thought-through.

This blog article is written for those of you who’d benefit from some insight into how to go about the task.

As usual, part of the answer to getting the right outcome lies in asking yourself why your given candidate is special, and not being satisfied until you have an answer which makes sense in the context of your strategic goals.

When we first discuss a client’s reasons for targeting specific organisations, they sometimes have trouble articulating their rationale.

“The board wants to see big game”; “I’ve been trying to get into them for years”; “They used to be a customer”; are common comments.

Asking them why draws out a more logical rationale, such as “we’re working with two of their major competitors and doing a great job”.

So what sort of organisations should make it onto your hit-list?

There are many valid reasons for wanting to win a particular account. It can be that the kudos from a major big brand win will encourage funding from the City which will enable you to roll out your bigger strategy.

You may have decided that winning a government department’s business will be great for morale.

Your reasons are your own; the main thing is to keep them in mind. And then consider each target segment (or even each target organisation) in the light of the factors which will influence your win-rate.

Whatever your rationale for selection, you’ll want to remember that it’s not all about YOU. It’s about what works for them.

To sanity check your own hit-list, you may like to consider these 10 factors for success:

  1. Your rationale: Does this target deserve priority treatment? Is there a strategic rationale behind its inclusion, or is it random?
  2. Your track record: Does this organisation sit in the same market as one or more of your current customers?
  3. Your credentials: Do you have the credentials to convince them that you can help?
  4. Their stature: Size-wise, are they big enough to be attractive to you without being so big that you’d struggle to handle them?
  5. Their situation: What’s the history of this target’s experience of services like yours?
  6. Your competitive position: How are you likely to stack up when they compare you with your rivals? Will they think they’d be safer with you, or with someone else?
  7. Your value proposition: Is there something they need which you can provide in a way which is different enough from others in your market?
  8. Your history together: Will past relationships with your organisation (or indeed with others) help or hinder your success?
  9. Your overall conversion prospects: Do the answers to the above suggest you have a good chance of a sales win from this candidate? And if so…
  10. Hooks: What can you offer them to hook them into engaging with you? Besides the benefits you can give, how can you make your difference come to life and at the same time reduce any risks they may associate with exploring what you can offer?

Once you’re sure that the contenders are worthy of being accorded priority sales attention, the same rules apply as they do elsewhere in your sales strategy.

You’ll need to ensure you reach the right people at the right time and with the right message.

Your sales dreams become reality when you do what it takes. And that includes preparation.

Our programmes have helped many to secure orders from their hit-lists, both from existing and new markets.

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