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Part 4: Life at 1,000 Dials a Day — Does Speed Kill Sales Strategy?

It just makes intuitive sense, doesn’t it? If you go fast, it will all be a blur, and you’ll miss the good stuff.

After all, how can you execute a carefully targeted Account Based Everything strategy without slowing down and carefully curating every contact and conversation? Surely talking with “random” people isn’t going to get it done, and “Life at 1,000 Dials a Day” sure sounds pretty random.

It’s true — you can get into trouble going too fast, especially in either the wrong direction or no direction at all. You can also get into trouble going too slowly: by the time you show up, your more aggressive competitor has captured your strategic target’s hearts and minds.

Account Based Strategy requires targeting. That’s an absolute. But the real success driver is intelligence. If your most powerful competitor learns more about the account faster than you do, you end up at a permanent disadvantage.

There are only two sources of intelligence that matter: public information and private information. Let’s assume you and that mean competitor both have access to the same public information, and that you can acquire and digest that information with equal speed. (Feel free to reject this assumption — but now we are living in a fantasy, not a scenario.)

So, the win/lose differentiator immediately becomes private information. How do you get private information? Given that corporate espionage is wrong and unsustainable, you will have to rely on (drumroll, please) … conversations. Conversations between your sales reps and the right people at your strategically targeted account.

Time is of the essence! There are only two possibilities: either your team has the first conversation with one of those “right people,” or you are playing catch-up. And as you get further behind, one conversation at a time, it gets harder and harder to play catch-up. While you are trying to figure out who to talk to, your competitor could be living at 1,000 dials and perhaps 50 conversations per day, leaving your team in a cloud of dust.

The more strategic targets you should have, of course, the worse this math gets. Talking to three or four people per day means that your best reps can only work a handful of strategic accounts in parallel. Talking to 40 or 50 or more targeted people per day means that your strongest talent is getting the most opportunities to learn — about needs, who’s a player and who’s a poseur, what monsters are lurking beneath which rock, what preconceptions and misconceptions are running rife, and more.

So it turns out that in a competitive world — the only world we live in and one that is oddly ignored by many sales strategists, who often advocate approaches that should be footnoted with “* assuming you have all the time in the world”— if you are not fast, you are in second place, or worse.

There is only one winner in a sale. For the slower players, the game shifts quickly from “strategy” and “targeting” to “survival” and “Would someone please help me make my number?” For the fastest, there is an opportunity to dominate: an opportunity that gets easier and easier as they pick up wins.

So the answer to the question “Does speed kill sales strategy?” is a resounding “No.” Speed, applied intelligently to get, and exploit, private intelligence, actually enables strategy that delivers the only thing that counts: winning the accounts you want and leaving the dregs for your competitors.

Links to Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, and Part 12 of this blog series.