Selling Microsoft

Growing Your Company: The Power of Net-New

Partners who focus on net-new clients will see growth; but you'll need focus and correct execution to really pull out a win.

Over the last few years as we've worked with partners in strategic planning sessions to help them build predictable revenue, one trend we've found is that clients who focus on adding net-new clients experience greater revenue growth.

Bringing on net-new clients requires careful focus and execution in several key areas:

  1. Company leaders must set the stage by asking: Is this a goal we (management committee) are all committed to achieving? If the answer is yes, then the first metric to be set is a specific number of net-new clients sold per quarter. Depending on the size of the organization, it may be appropriate to then determine metrics by practice for net-new revenue and net-new clients per quarter.
  2. Create a marketing plan to assist in attracting net-new prospects. You should expect to spend additional marketing dollars as compared to simply marketing to your existing customer base. We normally recommend that each potential prospect must be "touched" eight to 12 times by e-mail, direct mail, phone calls and other campaigns. The secret to a successful campaign is touching various job titles at each prospective organization, such as president, VP of sales, marketing, human resources and CFO. The marketing messages must be unique and specific to each job title.
  3. Next in the game plan is to consider sales compensation or sales contests to build excitement and awareness of management's interest in this objective. In creating sales compensation plans we often create an additional percentage or dollar bonus on all net- new clients sold if sales or revenues are greater than X dollars. These may be based on monthly or quarterly objectives. In some cases a sales contest is set up to replace competitive vendor installations with Microsoft Dynamics ERP or CRM applications. "Wanted" posters can be hung up with the bonus dollars visible -- marketing needs to be aligned with this campaign as well.
  4. Management must consistently reinforce the vision to the entire company -- as well as to the sales team -- at monthly company meetings, sales meetings and in all written communication where appropriate.
  5. The last area that's important is the dashboard or scorecard. This is the measurement tool that shows by company and by individual salesperson the existing and past performance against the stated objective. From a current status perspective the sales leader would want to track:
    • Number of net-new calls per week and per month
    • Number of net-new proposals per month
    • Number of net-new opportunities in the pipeline
    • Dollar value of all net-new opportunities in the pipeline
    • Number of net-new opportunities sold, QTD and YTD
    • Dollar value of net-new opportunities sold, QTD and YTD

The classic line, "What gets measured gets managed," is the secret. If management pays attention to its objectives and pays attention to the execution and actions of marketing and sales, the desired results will be achieved. Each month both executive and sales management ask the questions: Are we on target? If not, why not? What are you going to do to fix the problem?

One other point we like to recommend: You should graph these numbers to show the trend analysis. This will help you link the marketing and sales actions to the results and will help the salespeople better understand the correlation between goals, actions and results.

The important element to understand is, once you have captured this net-new client, you now have the goal of earning a greater portion of their "IT Wallet Share." The second, third and fourth sales will be easier and earn higher levels of profitability.

About the Author

Ken Thoreson is managing director of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. You can reach him at ken@acumenmgmt.com.