On this episode of the Sales Gravy podcast, Jeb Blount (Fanatical Prospecting) answers a listener’s question about how to effectively balance prospecting for new logos with serving and managing existing accounts.
Balance Prospecting and Account Management
Maggie is a member of my insider group, and she asked me a pretty important question about how to balance prospecting and account management.
“I’m a top salesperson, and I want to stay on top. But one of the things about my job is that I have to manage and service my existing accounts, and I have to go out and look for new logos and new opportunities. And the more business that I sell, the harder it is for me to prospect to go find new opportunities so that I can sell more.”
If in your sales job, you have to go hunt new accounts and you have to manage the accounts that you go out and close, then Maggie’s question makes a lot of sense. It’s hard to be a hunter and a zookeeper at the same time.
Going out, prospecting, facing rejection, knocking on doors, picking up the phone, and calling people is completely different than servicing your accounts, upselling, cross-selling, and retaining the business that you have.
This is one of the key reasons why people struggle to balance prospecting with account management.
The truth is, in most cases, you struggle to strike a balance because prospecting sucks and you don’t want to do it. It’s a whole lot easier to call up an existing account, solve their problems, do customer service, and upsell and cross-sell with people that already know you than it is to pick up the phone and call an invisible stranger.
It’s a whole lot easier to call a friend than to call someone that will probably reject you, because that’s what happens in prospecting. You get a lot of rejection. So you say that you struggle with balance, but the reason that you’re struggling is that you don’t have any balance. You spend all of your time managing accounts and none of your time prospecting.
Next, you procrastinate and put off prospecting. You find every excuse not to prospect. Having an account base gives you really good excuses not to prospect, so you don’t. The need to prospect and the need to fill up your pipeline begins to add up.
You Can’t Do All of Your Prospecting At Once
Your sales manager is saying, “Hey, you have to go find me some new business,” and you’re not making the commissions that you want to make. There’s a lot of pressure on you. So suddenly you’re faced with, “Oh my goodness gracious, I have to prospect.” Then you try to pile all of your prospecting into one day.
Desperately, you try to do it all at one time. That’s when you start to run into big problems because you have the demands of your existing account base and you have to prospect. And nobody wants to spend an entire day prospecting because as I said earlier, prospecting sucks. Suddenly, you’re overwhelmed with this big old pile of prospecting that you have to do.
So you don’t prospect. Instead, you go back to account management, which makes the problem worse. Because you’re overwhelmed and stressed out, you feel out of balance.
You start looking for an easy button solution to a problem that, if you’re honest with yourself, you created. Not because of your workload, but because you were avoiding prospecting in the first place.
Prospect Every Single Day
The key is that you need to prospect a little bit every day. And when you do a little bit of prospecting every single day, you begin to take advantage of the cumulative impact of all those little bits of activity.
Breaking up your prospecting activity into little bits that you do every single day also makes it easier. It’s a lot more palatable to do the things that you don’t want to do in small chunks than to save it all up and do it at one time.
The first thing you want to do is begin blocking time out for prospecting. That means that it needs to be on your calendar. You need an actual time block on your calendar every single day for prospecting.
Account management is going to consume most of your day, spending time with your existing customers. Those customers are going to be calling you. They’re going to be interacting with you. They’re going to be sending emails to you. So the best time to schedule your prospecting block is at the very beginning of the day.
Front-Load Your Day With A Prospecting Block
If you wait, you will never do it. First of all, you don’t want to do it, so it’s easy to procrastinate. And second, because so many things are going to be hitting you every time you sit down to prospect, another problem is going to show up and you’re going to go chase the problem for an existing customer rather than prospect.
So front-load your day with prospecting. That means the very first thing you do in the morning is prospect. The next thing you want to think about is how much prospecting you actually have to do. And if you’re really honest with yourself, it’s not that much.
How Much Prospecting Do I Need to Do Everyday?
In Maggie’s case, for example, she’s a top salesperson and she’s got a full book of accounts that she’s managing.
Those accounts are putting commissions in her pocket and they’re producing revenue. So what she needs to do is sell enough new business to make sure that she’s covering any accounts that she loses and she closes enough new business to continually grow her account base and stay on top of the sales rankings.
So the truth is, for Maggie and most salespeople who have to balance account management and prospecting, you only need to dedicate about an hour a day of prospecting to do all of those things. When I say dedicate, I mean actually prospecting with your head down during that block of time.
You’re not researching. You’re not getting coffee. You’re not talking to friends. You’re not texting people. You’re not answering your email. You’re not answering your phone. You’re not taking incoming calls and you’re not watching cat videos. You are prospecting. You have to dedicate the time to prospecting. If you really think about this, it’s not that hard.
Discipline, Sacrifice, and Mindset
In fact, it’s really not even about balancing account management and prospecting. It’s about having the discipline to manage your day. Discipline is sacrificing what you want now for what you want most.
And if what you want most is to stay on top of the rankings, to produce new business, to earn more money, and to gain the praise and the adoration of your leaders and your peers, then simply tap into that desire to shift your mindset and do a little bit of prospecting every single day.
We want to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode – we love your comments and questions. Just send Jeb a text message at 1-706-397-4599 or CLICK HERE TO TEXT.