Riley is a sales rep with Titan Technologies, a hypothetical company. She sells a complex $500,000 solution that streamlines manufacturing processes and wants to be careful about allocating sales time to the right potential clients.

Her sales cycle is usually twelve to eighteen months. The effort is intense and time-consuming for her.

Riley can’t afford to spend six months on a project only to discover the prospect and Titan weren’t a good fit for each other in the first place. She needs to know that before investing a lot of time.

She is considering four companies: Standard, Acme, United, and Republic. Which companies should she aggressively pursue?

Riley wants to evaluate the four companies so she knows where to be allocating sales time. She needs a scorecard to qualify the opportunities. Here is how she can set one up.

Scorecard Criteria for Allocating Sales Time

The criteria she may use are:

  • Profile―Is the company the right size, in the right industry, with the right products?
  • RelationshipIs Riley engaged with the right decision makers?
  • Mindset―Is the company willing to invest to improve its manufacturing process?

ProfileDoes this company match the profile of Titan’s successful customers?

  • Size―Are the company’s sales big enough to afford Titan?
  • GrowthAre the company’s sales growing, stagnant, or shrinking?
  • Industry Segment―Is the company in a segment that can use Titan effectively?
  • Products/Services―Can Titan enhance the company’s offerings?
  • Target MarketsCan Titan improve the company’s position in its target markets or open up new markets?
  • Problem/ChallengeDoes the company face the problems or challenges that Titan’s solution addresses?

A lot of this information is available on the internet and through business databases such as Hoover’s, D&B, and Avention (OneSource).

The basic question is which companies are a fit for Titan? Which have the capacity―and the likely need―to justify a $500,000 investment in Titan?

If a prospect is too small or in the wrong industry segment, there may not be a fit. If that’s the case, Riley should not spend a lot of time on the prospect.

RelationshipDoes Riley have relationships with the key decision makers?

A company’s profile may be a great fit but to close more strategic deals Riley needs to develop relationships with the key decision makers.

  • What is the decision-making process and who are the key players?
  • Is the decision maker one person or a committee?
  • Who are the “influencers” who can accelerate or sabotage the decision making process?

Riley needs to know the process and the players. Navigating the decision-making process is becoming increasingly important, particularly at larger companies.

A company’s profile may be a great fit for Riley. But if she does not yet have relationships with the decision makers and influencers, her time is better spent elsewhere.

Mindset―Does the company have the right “mindset” to want to invest in Titan’s solution?

  • Is streamlining manufacturing a strategic priority?
  • How much money is the company willing to spend to accomplish this?
  • Does the company have the rapid growth and long-term profitability required to invest in a Titan solution, which has a three- to five-year payback?

If a company is more concerned with short-term profitability and conserving cash, they will not be a good candidate for a Titan solution.

The Allocating Sales Time Scorecard

Below is the scorecard Riley developed to evaluate the four prospects. For her to spend focused time on any company, it must generate a score of 10 or higher.

For any attribute:

  • 4 or 5―Very strong
  • 3―Worth working with if other factors are 4 or 5

  • StandardThe company is smaller than ideal, so paying for Titan may be a challenge. But Riley has a great relationship with the CEO and believes he can push through the project. The company is very growth minded. And that is in Riley’s favor.
  • AcmeThe company is big enough to afford Titan and Titan is a good strategic fit for Acme. But Riley doesn’t have a relationship with the key players. Furthermore, the company is not open to new solutions.
  • United―Titan is a perfect strategic fit for United. Riley has a reasonably good relationship with the key decision makers. The company is somewhat growth minded, so it should be open to adopting Titan’s solution.
  • RepublicThe company has the right profile. But Riley doesn’t know the key players well. Also, the company is not growth minded.

Invest Sales Time Wisely

Sales time is a precious commodity and effectively allocating sales time is critical. Train your reps to invest their time wisely by using a scorecard to evaluate each customer or prospect. Then use metrics and incentives to reinforce this evaluation process.