This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
Some prospects are just too small. They’re too small for you to create any real value, so you can’t make an enormous difference in their results. Since you can’t really create a lot of value for them, there isn’t a lot of value available for you to capture much. Even rolling up a bunch of these small prospects won’t allow you to reach your goals; you can’t make your number.
When a prospect is too small for you to create any value, capture any value, and help you reach your sales goals, you have to throw them back.
It’s nice that they spend in your category. It’s nice that they’re receptive.
But it takes time to work a too-small prospect through their buying cycle and your sales process. Sometimes it takes even longer than it does to win a larger prospect. The time you spend working with too-small prospects is time you could spend with larger prospects. Time is the one commodity that, once spent, can’t be recovered.
It can also take just as much effort to take care of a too-small client after you win their business. Just like any other client, they have questions, concerns, service issues, and new needs. Your effort is better spent on larger prospects where you can create greater value, where you can make a difference.
There are two reasons you are working on these small clients. First, they’re often more receptive than larger prospects, so they’re easier to get in front of. Second, your pipeline isn’t full of real opportunities, and these too-small prospects demonstrate that you have activity. But they aren’t going to be enough.
Go and look at the top 20% of producers on your sales leader board. Is their client portfolio made up of dozens and dozens of too-small clients? Or do the top 20% have the top 20% of your company’s client portfolio?
It’s too small. Throw it back.
What is your company’s sweet spot? For what size clients can you create the most value?
What size client is too small? Why can’t you create any real value for them?
Does it take too long to win small clients? Or can you help them without spending any real time or effort?
What would your results look like if you moved your average deal size up by 25%?