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Sales Consulting and Training:

Staying on Top of Business

Keeping Track of Your Accounts

Regardless of whether a sales rep is a Key Account Manager focused on servicing just one or a handful of clients or an Inside Sales Rep who must manage a territory of hundreds of possible accounts, having an organizational system in place is important to success. Selling into an account or a territory without a sales structure is downright hazardous. There are those who don’t have the key organizational skills to keep track of what opportunities they are pursuing, who their key contacts are, what has been proposed and the details of each opportunity. This is a recipe for disaster. 

In order to forecast correctly and to understand the nature of one’s pipeline, it is important to follow some key guidelines for opportunity management.  Listed below are some ideas that will enable you to take control of the opportunities you must manage as a sales professional.

  • Know the When and How Much – Imagine having two-hundred open opportunities, each one with a different possible transaction size and stage. In order to be able to manage such a large number of opportunities, it is imperative that each opportunity include two key pieces of information. First, you need to know the amount of the opportunity. Are you pursuing a $1,000.00 sale or a $100,000.00 sale? Second, in what stage is this opportunity? Is it in the prospecting stage, has a proposal been sent or is it in final contract review? By applying this type of data to your opportunities and keeping it updated, you will be able to know a) where to spend your time and b) which accounts need to be moved from one opportunity stage to the next.  Come up with your own stages – ones that fit your business model. Doing so will allow you to run reports or maintain spreadsheets based on where an opportunity stands and the possible size of the sale. 
  • Keep Great Notes – Whenever you have a conversation with an account, be sure to keep notes. Regardless of whether you are meeting face-to-face or over the phone, keep a running log of what is discussed so that you can refer to your information later.  Memories fade… notes don’t. Try to store them electronically so as to keep as many notes as possible in one place. If you handwrite your notes during a meeting, transfer them to an electronic document. This process will actually help you expand on your original notes as the act will jog your memory and allow you to record other information.
  • Keep an Archive of Documents – We recommend you do this electronically so as to make your life easier. Some sales professionals build folders on their computer for each customer account. Anytime they build a proposal, take notes on a call, prepare a contract or create a document related to that client, they store it in those folders. This is a great way to have relevant data available at your fingertips. Some prefer to do the same via hanging file folders. Do whatever works most effectively for you, just so long as you do it.
  • Build an Archive of Signed Contracts – I’ve found it is helpful to create a separate binder or repository for contracts. Since some client folders can get bogged down with other documents, it is helpful to have contracts within easy reach. The size of your contracts (1 page? 100 pages?) will help dictate the medium you use to track them.

Strong organizational skills will go a long way in helping you manage your accounts and your contacts.  By having a system in place, you won’t get caught off-guard scrambling to find the information you need.

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