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Territory/Account Management

I would like to pick you brain for a minute. I rent and sell equipment, calling on construction jobsites, industrial/manufacturing plants, and contractors offices. I have been in the field now for just over 2 years and have been consistently in the top 10 out of 47 reps, as for revenue producer. I cover seven counties and I have a lot of windshield time in some of the areas. I literally have over 300 offices and jobsites that I could call on, but I can not seem to fit it in my schedule. I have divided up my territory into 4 zones (Zone1:Mondays--Zone4:Thursdays) with a floating day. I find it hard to prioritize, because I don't like to miss any deals. It seems as though I have become a "star" rep; here, there, everywhere. I know the 80/20 rule, but should I just go through my account base and just pick out the top 30 or so accounts/jobsites in each territory, that I know that is going to bring me the money. Just wanted to get your thoughts on how you would recommend handling this situation. :cu
Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.thmbp2;
- by equipmentman
The most important thing to look at is what is most important to you. Time or mney?

You did not say how much of your time was devoted to paperwork and if so, do you do this or does someone else?

Also, what financial results are you looking for in 2008 and divided by 12 , wha is your monthly optimum number?
Also, do you have time off/to yourself/your family that makes your life more balanced..especially from loads of driving?

Bottom line, service is the key and it may not be practical to provide the best service possible to over 300 stops.

Can you sub-contract some of these clients out to someone you train, part-time, so you do not lose the possibility of more revenue, or after you consider what is most important in your life, you may decide to keep the ones most profitable, as stated in your email messge, and provide over the top service, then get more referrals, then still consider a sub-contractor, in order to see your revenues increase on a consistent basis over the next five years.

Just some thoughts. - by Joanne Victoria
I would definitely run the numbers to see if you really do have an 80:20 going on. In some industries it applies - in others it doesn't and sales are more even between accounts.

For prioritisation, I usually look at two angles:
  • Your current sales to the account (or "share of wallet" percentage if you have it to compare vs your competitors)
  • The "potential" of the account - how big it could grow to.
The potential can be worked out in a variety of ways - for example how much do they currently spend in total on your type of products. Or what's their total revenue as a business, or whatever - some form of reasonable proxy.

Then I usually like to look at the results as a graph or matrix - using the current sales on one axis with the potential on the other.

That gives a neat classification to help you prioritise:
  • High Current Sales, High Potential - your current top accounts that provide both high sales today and have high potential for growth - put a lot of time here
  • Low Current Sales, High Potential - potential growth accounts deserving of investment
  • High Current Sales, Low Potential - accounts that have "maxed out" - good current sales but no potential for growth - may be best to invest enough time to keep them happy, but no more
  • Low Current Sales, Low Potential - "Dogs" - minimise time here - just enought to keep track in case anything changes.
I find doing the model graphically helps me.

Obviously it's an oversimplification and just provides a starting point for further thought. But it's a nice, easy place to start. From the simple basline youcan develop more complex, tailored strategies for the top accounts.

Be wary though - things do change over time. Todays "dog" might undergo a merger on get new management and suddenly become a hot prospect. It's also in the nature of some businesses that your sales are cyclical within accounts. Consulting is a good example - clients hire you when they are going through a lot of business change - but eventually they need to stabilise and just run their business so they buy less consulting. If you only concentrate on todays top accounts in a cyclical account industry you can end up in big trouble when your current top accounts go int natural decline and you've under-invested in growing new accounts.

Also think further than just your time. How can you serve the top accounts even better? What extra services can you provide. Can you team up with sellers of complementary products to ensure you have eyes & ears on the ground all the time?

Conversely for the stable/dog accounts - can you still service them in a way that doesn't involve so much time? Can you use the telephone or email more?


Ian - by ianbrodie
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