Choosing Your Account Portfolio
by Greg Surtman
When I was hired as Director of Business Development at Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio) back in 2003, it was very easy to get caught up being “reactive” to the marketplace. As a result of marketing efforts, several organizations contacted us to discuss their business issues and explore how we could help. Other organizations wanted to work with us because grant funding was available. But were they the type of organizations we could do business with, year after year, and in several different areas? The answer was “few were”, and most were not. This inspired me to think about the criteria that was important in defining an “ideal” client. They were…
Criteria to consider as we choose which Organizations to pursue:
- What is the size of the organization?
- What industry sector are they in?
- How many existing college “connections” could we leverage?
Criteria to consider as we choose our level of relationship with this Organization:
- Are we considered a “tactical” or “strategic” partner?
- Can we scale some learning initiatives across the organization?
- Can we address several of their business issues?
The answer to these questions helped me determine how to manage my time and priorities, which enabled me to build an Account Portfolio of 20 organizations that would do business with me, year after year, across several different service areas. Not all organizations are going to turn out to be an ideal client, and that’s OK. Some organizations will see you as a tactical partner, choosing to do business with you one year, and with someone else the next. What’s important is that we understand the difference and choose to spend most of our time with the “Top 20 Accounts” that score well on the criteria mentioned above. These are the clients that will help us grow and sustain revenue. This approach helped me sell more than $11,000,000 at Cuyahoga Community College over 10 years, and I believe it can help your business unit move the needle in the right direction. Happy selling, my friends…
Happy Selling, my friends…