7 years ago
February 21, 2017

How Top Salespeople Prioritize Their Clients and Prospects

Following are three reliable ways that top salespeople prioritize their clients and prospects.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

Prioritizing clients and prospects is key to generating reliable sales numbers. It may seem as though top salespeople can prioritize automatically but a great deal of thought usually goes into assigning priorities to sales prospects and clients – even if those thoughts are occurring simultaneously with other tasks. Following are three reliable ways that top salespeople prioritize their clients and prospects.

Prioritizing Prospects by Qualification

Although top salespeople qualify all prospects before dedicating the time to calling and following up, some prospects may be more qualified than others. By spending time pre-qualifying outbound leads, top salespeople save time and are able to determine which prospects should be called first by how well qualified they are to buy. Top salespeople will look at the following parameters to prioritize prospects by qualification:

  • The position in the organization that a prospect holds. A senior manager or vice president is well-qualified to make a buying decision and begin a meaningful sales conversation.
  • The industry that the prospect is in. Part of qualification is basing future activity on past sales. An industry segment that is a reliable sales source is usually more promising than industry segments that have not been as likely to buy in the past.
  • The likely need. Top salespeople are masters of pre-qualifying based on an organization’s likely needs, and can call prepared with questions and sales approaches that can be further tailored to the individual prospect as the sales dialogue unfolds.

However, if a sales person who has a well-managed schedule finds time during the week to call the less qualified sales prospects, you can be sure to find him or her doing so in order to not lose any prospective sale.

Prioritizing Prospects by Potential Business

The potential business is another important factor in prioritizing sales prospects for top salespeople. It can be tempting to make the “easy” calls first – those calls where the sales person is reasonably certain of a warm reception and a nominal sale, but this can actually harm sales numbers by detracting time from the groundbreaking deals that really contribute to a sales person’s quarter. Top salespeople will almost always call the prospects representing the largest share of business first after determining how those prospects rank by potential business.

Prioritizing Customers by Issue

Although in many cases the majority of a top salesperson’s sales are coming from new business, current clients still need assistance and still represent potential future business. So how are current clients prioritized amidst new business potential? Many top salespeople begin prioritizing current clients by the issue the customer needs addressed. For example:

  • A new client who has been using an offering for three weeks has a critical support ticket and left a voicemail for the sales person as the primary contact.
  • A long term repeat client who has regularly been a top customer for a sales person has a question about potential add-ons for an offering that is being phased out by the sales person’s organization.
  • A recent client is calling to touch base and ask about the marketing materials for a new offering that the sales person sent by e-mail earlier in the week.

Top salespeople know that the new client with a critical issue should be assisted first. However, which client should be next on the priority list: The client who is asking about offerings that are still available but may not be in the near future, or the client who is asking about a new offering in a conversation that the sales person initiated? Most top salespeople would prioritize the recent client calling about the new offering, because that individual is a hot lead. The long term repeat client may not be able to purchase what he or she is asking about, and seems to be calling for informational purposes – meaning the interest level is also colder than that of the more recent client, and not as great a priority.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.