Want More Rain, Look at Your Client Base – 3FORWARD

A friend of mine, who also happens to be the CFO of a mid-size technology company, asked me if I would mind reviewing their 2013 sales compensation plan and having a chat with his sales leader on sales trends and best practices. When we met, we discussed the current plan and the possible changes to the 2013 plan.

As we discussed the plan it became very clear that the new sales compensation program was heavily focused on new logo sales wins. This firm was hungry for double-digit revenue growth and saw new logo wins as the fastest way to achieve that revenue goal. The conversation naturally morphed into a dialog around their current sales team and client base, and did they have the right skills and resources assigned to the tasks.

What became evident as the meeting progressed was that they did not have a good grasp of the level of effort needed to support the existing account base and more importantly, which customer accounts in the base had strong growth potential.  We agreed that an installed base segmentation review was needed as quickly as possible and that some portion of next year’s growth quota should come from these accounts.

Assessing your installed account base does not have to be a major science project.  Here are some suggestions to help you through the process.

  • Start by getting a report from your CRM or finance team that includes current account revenue, revenue trending, gross margin, and A/R DSO.
  • Do an initial pass through this list to identify companies that seem to have very low spend in comparison to accounts similar in size and markets.
  • On further investigation you will likely find that many of these accounts have significant growth potential and should be treated almost like a new logo prospect.  (These accounts will require some investment in account planning to understand their full potential, and if you have solid relationships you will hopefully have a good internal coach to help you.)
  • This process will also help identify accounts that are not growing but are considered “high maintenance” from an account management perspective. These high maintenance accounts may be wasting valuable sales resources, make sure you have the right match between sales skills and client needs.

Generating new logo wins is critical for growth but so is growing your existing client base, invest wisely and 2013 could be a very promising year!  Care to have a conversation on innovative ways to connect sales compensation to your sales growth strategies?  Schedule a Sales Ready Review and we'll be glad to talk with you about it.

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