Target Your Dream Clients. There Isn’t Time for Less.

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
November 11, 2010

You received your quota for next year. It’s big, but it is achievable. Now you have to write and work your plan to reach—and exceed—your quota. Doing so means that you first have to address the constraints.

The Biggest Constraint In Reaching Your Quota

You may want to believe that the economy is still too soft, that the competition is bigger and tougher than ever, that you are being commoditized, or that your competitor has a hot new service that is going to shake things up. Maybe it’s one of dozens of other rationalizations that you believe prevents you from making your goals.

The truth is that none of these has as great or as powerful impact as a single constraint that challenges all salespeople everywhere and wins far more than it loses.  It is one the great equalizer, and those salespeople (and sales managers) who learn to deal with this constraint perform better than all others.

That constraint is time.

Time is something that, once spent, cannot be recovered. You have to spend it wisely, and this means targeting your dream clients.

Obstacles To Reaching Quota

To make quota, you must dedicate your time to the dream clients for whom you can make a meaningful difference and who, when obtained, will allow you to meet your quota.

Calling on lesser prospects, the too small, transactional prospects who are receptive but who don’t spend money on your product or service are obstacles to your reaching quota.  The reason?

Smaller, transactional clients steal your time while making you feel productive. And time is the one thing you can’t get back.

Let’s take a look at a $2,000,000 quota.

There are lots of ways to make a $2,000,000 quota. You might get there with a single deal. You can win two deals each quarter for $250,000 in new revenue each; that’s eight deals. Or you can win fourteen deals for $150,000 each.

And it is possible that you can make quota with two hundred deals worth $10,000 each, but for most business-to-business salespeople, it isn’t likely. In fact, it’s probably close to impossible. (If you are sales manager with $10,000,000 worth of quota to reach, I’ll let you do the very simple and very tragic math on how many deals your team would need to win at $10,000).

Stealing Time

But the problem for most salespeople isn’t that they pursue the strategy of winning enough too small, transactional clients to reach quota. It’s that they spend too much time working on clients that, even if won, don’t do enough to help them reach their quota. They dabble, and they waste time doing so.

This is time that, since it can only be spent once, cannot be spent pursuing more meaningful clients who help bridge more of the great distance between zero and your quota.

The too small, transactional clients may not take as long to win as a major client, but they do steal your time.

They steal time from your prospecting efforts, the most critical activity to obtaining enough opportunities to actually make your quota. The too small, transactional clients steal time away from your nurturing efforts, which is often the critical activity to generating the relationships that not only provide you with the opportunities that you need to make quota, but also provide you with the critical internal support you need to win the opportunity. And sometimes they take more time after the sale than they did during the entire sales process with questions and service issues.

The too small, transactional clients also make you feel productive. You are, after all, making sales calls, aren’t you?

Making quota means making sure that you pursue the opportunities that individually and collectively make a meaningful contribution to your quota. Steal your time back to dedicate to them. There isn’t time for doing anything less.


    1. I don’t know your quota or your math, but you do. What is your average deal size now? How many deals will you have to win in order to make quota? How many opportunities will you need to pursue to win the number of deals you need to make quota?

    1. Be honest. It feels good to win, doesn’t it? Even when you win a small opportunity, it still feels good doesn’t it? Now do the math on that too small win. How much time did it take you to win that opportunity?

    1. Look back over your last month or two. How much time did you spend with too small, transactional clients? How much of a contribution do they make towards your quota? Was pursuing these prospects the very best use of your time, or did they just give you cover and ensure you met your activity quota?

  1. What are the right size dream client opportunities you need to pursue? From where will you steal the time to effectively pursue these dream clients? Where will you steal the time to prospect and nurture these dream clients?

For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4729.

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Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 11, 2010
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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