Josh Gordon did a really nice job writing a white paper (registration required) on the results of a survey done by The Customer Collective. Josh interviewed Jill Konrath, Denis Pombriant, David Bonnette and me. Our observations and recommendations were incorporated into the piece.
It became clear with the first of the findings that many sales leaders are headed in the wrong direction. Thirty-eight percent of sales organizations are being directed to go after new categories of customers, with only 33% being directed to spend more time with core customers. My comments on that statistic.
"First, during a recession many clients will ask, 'Is the economic situation hitting our suppliers as badly as it's hitting us?' They are looking at risk right now, and are very concerned about doing business with suppliers who may not be viable; this is especially true of smaller suppliers. So, clients will tend to do business with companies that they have done business with before, where they feel a degree of security.
"Security issues aside, there is the practical matter of an organization's 'cost of sales.' The calculations for bringing aboard a new customer versus selling to an existing one have been around for ages. It simply costs much less to sell to an existing customer. These basics do not disappear in a recession. Why pick an uphill battle at a time when sales are challenging and clients are pulling back? Why not use these same forces to your advantage? The key is having more products to sell to your existing client base. Besides developing new products, you can reconfigure others and pull back older ones that still have useful life in them."
I recommend that you read about this and the other five findings in the white paper, look at the statistics, consider the opinions of the experts, then come up with a strategy for your team.
Photo credit: © Karen Struthers - Fotolia.com
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