A deep understanding of your customer's ability to spend and over what period is a quick growth lever to pull. Especially when making allocation decisions against your current market opportunities. But how do you identify which accounts will yield the best opportunities in the short term? Do you have the right account teams assigned to high-potential accounts to maximize value?
To avoid another down quarter, below are three actions to prioritize the highest potential accounts you can take now.
1. Acquire and develop accounts that match your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
For most organizations, there's a "sweet spot" in the account base – clients with a relatively low customer acquisition cost (CAC) and high spending potential. These clients gain the most value from your offerings and, in turn, generate the most value for your business – your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). While you, as a commercial leader, clearly understand your ICP, do your sellers?
Sellers must have exceptional knowledge of your company's current ICP to understand where to focus their time. Driving activity towards ICP accounts is most likely to yield near-term returns, positioning your team for greater success in subsequent quarters. Otherwise, sellers run the risk of wasting valuable time.
If you do not have a clearly defined ICP, or your ICP could use a refresh, consider the following:
- When you profile your most valuable existing clients, what are the firmographic similarities, such as geography, annual revenue, or industry?
- Identify the most pronounced factors and develop targeted lists. The commercial team can use these lists for prospecting and existing account development.
- Consistently ensure your entire revenue team understands your ICP and allocates time and resources to those accounts first.
Illustrative factors in an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) used for account scoring and prioritized account development.
2. Understand Propensity-to-Buy (PtB) to identify accounts that can buy now.
Many sales professionals are content to target any organization in a territory with an appetite for their offerings. It's that hunger that got them to where they are. However, accounts that match your ICP will likely yield a faster and more lucrative return on your sellers' time. But ICP alone is not enough to identify a list of targeted accounts. You must understand each account's propensity-to-buy.
Propensity-to-Buy (PtB) – also known as Account Scoring - blends quantitative analysis of firmographic data (and historical spend for previous or existing clients) with qualitative data from the sales team. This combination creates a robust algorithm that will weigh the potential to purchase, or "whitespace," in an account. Leveraging the sales team's institutional knowledge helps weed out accounts that may appear to match the ICP but are unlikely to buy.
To determine PtB for your account set:
- Analyze sales performance to get a sense of the account factors that are statistically relevant for your business.
- Ask an expert panel of sales leaders to rank the relative importance of each factor and assign weights to score accounts.
- Pressure-test your assumptions with a sample account list for sellers to review for feedback.
3. Prioritize accounts and optimize seller coverage.
Are your highest potential accounts in the hands of your top performers?
SBI often sees a problem where current account coverage needs to be optimized. Commercial teams have not outlined clear roles and responsibilities, dragging down productivity. Leadership often finds they are dealing with day-to-day account management vs. proactive identification of new opportunities.
Near-term growth depends upon the prioritization of accounts and the alignment of resources to the right accounts. These resources include sellers and the entire account team. Commercial leaders must proactively identify vulnerable or high-potential accounts and align their best team to deliver the most value.
Areas to consider:
- Accounts with potential churn
- Open territories
- High-potential accounts requiring careful pursuit
Don't waste additional time on non-ICP accounts that will not buy from you anytime soon. Instead, steer your growth journey upwards by being immediately prescriptive with your highest potential accounts. Revisit your accounts and ensure your account list represents the current ICP. Be diligent in driving the commercial teams' focus toward those ICP accounts with a high PtB. Make the necessary shifts in matching the right resources to the right accounts. While changes may seem difficult initially, getting into a rhythm will allow you to maximize account potential for this quarter and beyond.