The List is the Strategy

Friday Funnel Focus by EPOCH Sales Management Solutions

The sales manager or the business owner acting as the sales manager needs to ensure that each selling individual has a finite, focused, written and workable target list.  Creating focused, finite, workable, and written lists of the right targets is crucial for salespeople looking to drive sales effectively. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how small business owners can ensure their salespeople build such lists:

Each list needs to be focused on the Ideal Client Profiles (ICPs)


Start by identifying and clearly defining your ideal customer profiles

By identifying the characteristics and needs of their most valuable customers, they can focus their efforts on prospects who are most likely to convert into sales. Consider factors such as industry, company size, location, job titles, and pain points. Salespeople should have a clear understanding of their target market and ideal customer profiles. The more specific your ICP, the easier it is to create a targeted list. 

Small businesses typically have 1-3 ICPs.  An ICP comprises the top 1-3 profiles, based on 1-3 Prospect Profiles (PPs) at each of their 1-3 Ideal Account Profiles (IAPs). Ideal Account Profiles can be built by reviewing the characteristics of the best and worst customers. For smaller lists, one can use a table or spreadsheet and list the various accounts and characteristics. For larger lists, consider the use of data enrichment tools such as UpLead, Datanyze or ZoomInfo to help determine IAPs.

Segment Your Market

Divide customers into different segments based on factors such as biggest, most growable and most at risk. Segmentation such as A,B,C,D allows salespeople to allocate their time based on the value and potential of each segment. High-value customers or those with significant growth potential can be prioritized over others.

Further break down your market into segments based on common characteristics or needs. This segmentation will help you tailor your approach to each group effectively and allow for more personalized and effective outreach.

Include selected Strategic Centers of Influence (COIs) in your lists

Determine who the strategic centers of influence are in your industry or niche. These could be industry leaders, influencers, partners, or key customers who can help drive sales and referrals.

Include selected 1st Connection Contacts, based on list of 2nd Connection Prospects

Salespeople should identify specific 1st connection contacts who have the potential to introduce them to valuable 2nd connection prospects. 

Set Clear Sales Goals for your Monthly Target List


Determine what you want to achieve with your list. Are you looking to increase revenue, expand into new markets, or grow your customer base?  Setting specific and measurable sales goals will guide the creation of your list. Create a monthly target list by selecting a specific number of leads from each segment. Ensure that this list is manageable and aligned with the salesperson's capacity. Establish monthly goals for the number of new 1st connection contacts to add to their list. These goals should be realistic and align with your business objectives.

The size of the target list depends on the sales role and can be different for any company, depending on their market.  Here are some guidelines:

  • Sales Development Rep may have 200 to 500 contacts on their list each month as they conduct prospecting activities full time.
  • Account Executives may have 50 to 200 contacts on their list each month as they focus on closing new business at new accounts with or without the help of a sales development rep.
  • Account Managers may have 20 to 50 contacts on their list each month as they focus on closing new business at existing accounts while maintaining business with their existing accounts.
  • Use Data and Research: Invest in data and market research tools to identify potential prospects that match your ICP. You can use CRM software, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, or industry-specific databases to gather this information.

Prioritize Leads

Not all prospects are equal. Prioritize your leads based on factors like their likelihood to convert, potential deal size, and alignment with your company's long-term goals. This will help your sales team focus their efforts where they matter most. Salespeople can use prioritization frameworks such as the Eisenhower Matrix (based on urgency and importance) or the 80/20 rule (focusing on the 20% of customers who generate 80% of revenue) to guide their time management decisions.

Document the List

Ensure that your salespeople maintain a well-documented list. This could be in the form of a spreadsheet, CRM system, or a dedicated sales prospecting tool. Include relevant details about each lead, such as contact information, buying intent, and previous interactions.

Review and Update Regularly

Markets evolve, and so should your list.  Encourage your sales team to regularly review and update their lists to remove outdated leads and add new, high-potential prospects. Review lists monthly to monitor progress on last month’s list and validity of this month’s list to support each salesperson’s prospecting activities.

Define Outreach Strategies

Determine the best outreach strategies for each segment. This could include personalized emails, phone calls, social media engagement, or in-person meeting. Tailor the approach to each lead's preference.

Implement a Sales Process


Develop a clear and structured sales process that your sales team can follow. This includes steps from initial contact to closing a deal. Having a defined process ensures that your salespeople know how to approach each lead on the list.

Provide Training and Resources

Invest in training and resources that help your sales team improve their prospecting skills. This could include workshops, courses, or coaching sessions on effective outreach techniques and objection handling.

Monitor and Measure Progress

Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track your sales team's progress. Monitor metrics such as conversion rates, revenue generated, and the time it takes to close deals. Regularly review these metrics to make adjustments to your approach.

Review Progress

At the end of each month, salespeople should review their progress for the previous month. This includes assessing how many new 1st connection contacts were added and any interactions or introductions that occurred.

Track Outcomes 

Keep track of the outcomes of these introductions. Did they lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, or other valuable connections? Document these outcomes for future reference.

Feedback and Collaboration

Encourage open communication within your sales team. Salespeople should share their experiences and insights on what works and what doesn't when dealing with prospects. Foster a collaborative environment where team members can learn from each other.

Celebrate Success

Recognize and celebrate the achievements of your sales team when they meet their goals or close significant deals. Positive reinforcement can boost morale and motivation. Consider implementing a performance-based incentive system to motivate your sales team to achieve their monthly targets. 


By following these steps and emphasizing the importance of maintaining a well-organized and focused list, small business owners can help their salespeople build a strong foundation for successful sales strategies. Remember that consistency and adaptability are key in the world of sales, so be prepared to iterate and refine your approach as needed.


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October 20th, 2023|Categories: | |

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