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How to Find and Prioritize Accounts

Sales operations pros need a clearly defined ideal customer profile and target account list to operate efficiently. Prioritization is crucial to optimizing where sales teams spend their time. At the Sales Operations meeting Wednesday, panelists Stefan Castelán and Adam Harless addressed how they use existing CRM data — boosted by additional data providers — to prioritize accounts in a data-driven way.

Kaitlin Stich of DataFox moderated the panel discussion at the office of Prezi, a presentation software company. The discussion centered around two major themes: account prioritization and lead scoring for sales representatives.

Streamlining Account Prioritization: Quality over quantity, always

In sales operations, keeping your sales team operating efficiently is critical. At Prezi, Harless’s sales representatives have previously struggled with sifting through high quantities of low-quality leads.

“We are growing quickly and have a ton of inbound business that our reps are trying to sift through. A lot of our reps’ time is spent just trying to get off the phone,” said Harless. “We had to shift the mentality and get reps to focus on what matters, not just bringing in meetings.

To optimize his team’s efficiency, Harless leaned on both repetition and buy-in from his team members.

Castelán described how his initial account prioritization model was “a rough hack” to route quality marketing qualified leads (MQLs), and went through multiple iterations throughout the year.

When an audience member asked how many times he had to change the model, his answer (four times) illustrated how important constant adaptation was to success. When asked if he saw an uptick in conversion rates after these iterations, Castelán’s answer was clear: “absolutely.”

This theme of adapting to achieve success resonated with the crowd. When asked who in the audience had built their own method of tiering, one brave audience member explained:

“I do, but I do it in Excel. I look at past data, draw conclusions, and create my own model.” After a brief pause, she added “based off of bad data,” which was met with laughter.

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Her closing comment captured the general Meetup’s sentiment.

“There is definitely room for improvement.”

Deep Dive: Lead scoring for inbound, outbound, or hybrid teams

“Whether your team is 5, 50, or 5,000, data is language that all teams should leverage to help you make changes, hopefully optimizations, to prospect prioritization,” - Kaitlin Stich.

“At Prezi, the lead score is the top priority for our inbound team,” said Harless.

Prioritization can be layered; finding the best model for achieving success requires not only an adaptable model, but a little creativity. At DataFox, Castelán is working on a “hybrid” between inbound MQLs and outbound action — a sort of outbound qualified lead.

“If the company is doing something that should trigger your outbound team to pounce, we are building that into our scoring mechanism,” said Castelán. “If a company hires a new VP of sales and they fit our ideal customer profile criteria, we will route them to our outbound team rather than our inbound team.”

When it comes to implementing a new strategy — in an ever-changing industry — adaptability and preemptive streamlining are very helpful.

“The key is to keep your strategies refreshed. Be open to constantly adapting them based on feedback from your team so you’re not running into a headache down the road,” said Harless. “Move on to the better thing you are doing.”

Those who have embraced scoring in their sales operations have really embraced scoring.

When prompted, nearly all audience members who had raised hands showing they were actively using scoring broadly, kept their hands raised when asked if they were scoring leads and accounts as well.

Ultimately, the panelists agreed, whatever your model, to be efficient, it should absolutely include scoring.

“You should be scoring any leads that come in and prioritize accounts accordingly,” said Harless. “Unless you have a million people to do busy work.”

To learn more about sales operations, make sure to stayed tuned for our next Sales Optimization SF Bay Area MeetupBuilding a Career in Sales Operations!