[Six Simple Questions] Preparing For New Business Acquisition

Depending upon your sales culture, new business acquisition may score at varying levels in priority. If your world is like that of many sales professionals, each year you are faced with a new (often higher than the previous year) number to achieve. The fundamental questions that often surface are “Why new business acquisition?” and “Which prospects do we want to acquire”?

These are fair questions.

In some cases your number can be achieved with a robust organic growth initiative. While this is a solid strategy, unfortunately in some cases organic growth falls short and winning new business is necessary in meeting your sales growth objectives.

Quick story…
I began my sales career in the chemical industry selling cleaning products to the healthcare and food service industry. This industry is loaded with ‘me too’ products; but is an industry that I still hold a passion for and have made life long friends after 24 years. In the final day of training, my manager handed me an Atlanta phone book and asked that I create a prospect list in the above market segments.

If you have experienced anything similar to my story, I would ask that you consider the following key questions:

1. Hypothetically speaking, what would have happened if you had not won any new business in your territory (or company) in the last year?
2. Which approach has worked best for you in acquiring new business? (i.e. referral from an existing customer, social media, email, trade shows, etc.)
3. What do you see as the primary challenges in acquiring new business? (i.e. What is standing in your way?)
4. Which target industries are the best match for you and your offering?
5. Within question #4, which prospects within each industry are the best match for you and your offering?
6. What is their preference for communication? (email, voice mail, social media…)

We all lose business for reasons that are often beyond our control. Attrition can come in various forms (competition, M&A, shift in infrastructure, closure…). These loses can only be countered by winning new customers throughout the year.

Something to think about…

As you prepare for new business acquisition, has a lack of direction ever kept you from making progress?

I am curious to hear your thoughts.

Moving forward,

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