Whale Hunting involves your deliberate choice of big customers that you want to sell big deals to. It’s about managing your sales targets in a very disciplined, systematic way. I’ve written about how to define the categories of traits that are important to you. The next step is to add measurable numbers, statements, or qualities that will help you separate the best whales from the rest. You should develop three columns of metrics for each category: A, B, and C. The “A” category is the ideal and the “C” category is the lowest metric that would be acceptable if other things about the company and the sale were right. The “B” category is in between those extremes.
Here are some examples of metrics:
- company revenue: In the “A” category, revenue should exceed $100 million in annual sales; in the “C” category
- deal size: In the “A” category, the potential deal size would exceed $500k; in the “C” category, deal size would be above $100k
- brand recognition: In the “A” category, the statement is high quality internationally known brand; in the “C” category, the statement is high quality brand not yet well known.
- growth plan: In the “A” category, the statement is aggressive growth plan; in the “C” category, the statement is incremental growth plan.
- fiscal soundness: In the “A” category the quality is exceptional; in the C category the quality is average.
- geographic location: In the “A” category the quality is western U.S.; in the “C” category the quality is international.
Please note that all of the metrics, statements, and qualities will be different for each company and each target filter. These are YOUR criteria for finding the best sales prospects.
Once you have worked through the metrics with your sales and business development team, you need to test them with past and current customers to be sure they are realistic markers of what is ideal for you. The discussion–even argument–around metrics is healthy and will lead to new understandings.
The metrics may change over time. Make them part of your strategic planning process to ensure regular review and updating.
And above all, once you’ve determined metrics–manage to them! If a prospect or a prospective deal does not meet your criteria, walk away!