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The default setting for growth in most ambitious companies is trying to get new logos. Find new customers, sign new contracts, and build the company based on this steady stream of new business.
On the one hand, this makes sense. New customers obviously mean new revenue, and leads are easy for managers to quantify. It is therefore logical for sales teams to start there and see new business as their primary goal.
But this model is turned upside down in a moment as we are now experiencing when sellers cannot make personal sales visits, meet new prospects at industry conferences or other events, and have no access to all natural, established ways to expand their pipelines .
Sales in the period from Covid-19
The pandemic has dramatically changed the way sales teams work and think about their work. While there is hope of a return to normal in the next few quarters, it is increasingly looking as if we will not soon be working as usual again.
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At the moment, maximizing sales is more important than ever. There are many plans to help sales teams cope with a recession, and the advice offered is usually solid. However, preparing for a predictable economic downturn is one thing, dealing with an extremely difficult to predict global pandemic while you are in the midst of the crisis.
Think beyond the account
We are in unknown waters, but we know where the solution lies: our existing customers.
Even before the pandemic, according to Gartner, more than 72% of sales managers said they didn't believe they could get everything they could from existing accounts. This is despite the fact that, according to Bain & Co., the business acquired from existing customers is six times more profitable than that from tracking new customers, and that sellers win business from an existing customer seven times more often than actually capture a new logo.
This new reality strengthens the value of the customers you already have, but it also requires a new approach to selling to them that goes beyond what most sellers did.
Because selling to a new customer is incredibly resource intensive, most companies still have a campaign strategy that includes an ideal customer profile, a buyer journey, lead generation strategies, and more. If you don't always have a match between marketing and sales and customer success, the investment required to get just the first foot in the door is wasted. There are reasons why two thirds of the first sales calls fail to make a second call. Most of them do not know enough about the potential customer and the problems they are trying to solve.
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Selling to existing customers solves this problem if you have aligned your entire sales team with one account plan.
To sell to current customers, you need to gain a deeper understanding of their needs and then use them to increase engagement with them over time. You don't have to spend time and resources on research and discovery. You know or should know how your organization works, where your products are most needed and who you need to contact to complete the sale.
It's about having an overall view and understanding of the customer's business at the account level so you can have the right conversations and build the right relationships. The insights and connections you build over time may not be relevant at this time. However, if you keep coming back to your monthly account planning sessions, those relationships become an ongoing, living, and breathing thing that continues to fill your pipeline.
Turn the sales script over
It is now a matter of course for companies to rethink their strategies for sales processing and pipeline development. But this moment is actually perfectly designed to focus on personal connections and to ensure that your existing customers are not only satisfied, but also get the maximum benefit from it. Focusing on your existing customers and developing plans for major customers and territories is the fastest way to generate pipelines and improve relationships that pay off in the long run.
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Given the pandemic and the associated business uncertainty, leaders need to focus their teams on what they can control. It starts with existing accounts and a more intensive discussion with those who already rely on you. Do more for today's customers to help you win tomorrow's customers whenever they could come tomorrow.