Prioritizing Prospects

Prioritizing prospects is second nature to good salespeople. They do it without thinking, but you are going to need the same self-discipline from everybody. There have to be some company measuring sticks. The potential volume of business is an obvious criterion. However, you may have a cash flow crisis looming and need to convert the easy orders as soon as possible. At the other extreme, a new product release might be on the horizon. The priority then is to build up leads before the launch and not to press for immediate sales. Controlling prospects can be done with the same finesse that you apply to the accelerator pedal in an automobile.

To ensure your team prioritizes leads in the way the company needs, it's best for the person in charge of sales to spell out the company policy and go through leads with each salesperson individually, either at the weekly sales meeting or privately. It's a hard decision, whatever the size of the firm, to decide between chasing a $250,000 lead from a government department that might take six months to get through the door or another 20 to sign off against a $10,000 lead for a two-week delivery from a small firm that is unlikely to provide any repeat order for years. In practice, you try to pursue both, but the prioritizing will determine in which one you invest the bulk of your time. Sometimes cash flow will dictate the option you have to choose.

Having taken the right steps, you at least have the comfort of knowing that you have tried to make optimum use of everyone's time.

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