One of the first things we do when working with someone with direct sales responsibility is to have them create what we call a Focus 50 list. We ask them to list the 20 best sales opportunities that they expect to close in the short-term, and the 30 best opportunities they are focused on cultivating for the long-term.
Inevitably the response is along the lines of, “Not another list. I hate lists. I don’t need a list.” I’ve learned that the majority of people (especially entrepreneurs) hate developing and maintaining prospect lists. I admit it – I hate it too.
I find the task of developing my target list to be a tedious, often mind-numbing process. After all, I’ve got my CRM that has everyone’s contact information; and besides, I know who my best opportunities are.
I’ve also learned that the best leading indicator to lagging sales performance is when the focus on developing, maintaining and updating the Focus 50 begins to dissipate.
Here’s the formula for successful sales effort:
The purpose of maintaining an effective list is that it focuses your mind, it forces you to think through issues to get the clarity needed for confident action. It prevents you from lying to yourself, and allows you to measure progress instead of just activity.
So, yes, lists are a mind-numbing pain in the…butt. And, they’re necessary to achieving the top performance. Take the time and finish your list now.