Salespeople often are not clear about how to identify the prospects most likely to have a genuine need for their product or service. Without an objective way to prioritise which prospects to contact first and/or an efficient strategy for contacting them, salespeople are doomed to waste a large percentage of their time. Another huge dilemma for many salespeople is how to divide their time between servicing existing clients and generating new business from new prospects.
Existing clients frequently make requests for service that could be dealt with by support staff. But salespeople who lack a disciplined, future-orientated plan for generating new contacts and sales often find themselves spending more time attending to "urgent" tasks for existing accounts instead. A common approach among salespeople can be summarised in the saying "If you throw enough mud against the wall, some of it is bound to stick". This approach is exhausting, demoralising, extremely unproductive, and very expensive in the long term.
Far too frequently, competent salespeople are expected to channel their own activities into the areas that will produce the quickest wins. Unfortunately, left to their own devices, they don't develop and pursue a formal strategy for moving a sale tangibly forward during each prospect interaction, neither do they have a clearly defined set of goals against which to measure the progress they are making Typically, their judgment is based on gut reaction and is purely subjective i.e., "Oh yes, I'll get that order, he likes me," because salespeople have to be optimistic by nature. They end up "dancing around" with prospects, in the hope that eventually they will get to their chosen point on the dance-floor i.e. -the sale. In this scenario, the customer has complete control.
Finally, Let Us Not Forget Good Old Villfredo Pareto And His 80/20 Rule:
The sales that a salesperson completes today were made possible only by activities performed in the past. Equally, it's what they do today that will create their future sales results. Because there is a time delay between activities and results, salespeople have an opportunity to improve their sales results by undertaking sales productivity planning and implementing an effective prospecting system. Generally, since 80% of sales are generated from 20% of customers, 80% of salespeople's time should be focused on 20% of their most important customers/prospects.