How to Find – and Grow – High-Potential Customer Accounts - Modern Distribution Management

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How to Find – and Grow – High-Potential Customer Accounts

With relatively little investment, proactive inside sales teams can become a valuable tool to increase sales and margins from small and mid-sized accounts.

Most of a distributor’s customers are small or mid-sized. They typically place fewer orders and those orders have a lower average value. Distributors are more likely to focus on their largest customers – for good reason. Those are the accounts that provide the greatest benefit to the company.

But with relatively little investment, proactive inside sales teams can become a valuable tool to increase sales and margins from small and mid-sized accounts. Putting a proactive inside sales force to work on those accounts also frees up field sales reps to focus on larger accounts. The results: improving business relationships at a lower cost-to-serve and increased spend per transaction.

But how do you find the right accounts to focus on? Start with the data. When we work with our clients, we look at customers by segment, SIC or NAICS industry code, size, credit score, revenue – basically any data that can give us a better picture of their business and their customer spend. We also perform a customer profile analysis that allows us to analyze customer transactions over a set period.

When we do this kind of analysis, we’re able to determine what the opportunity dollars might be for an account based on what other companies in the same segment or market are doing.

We’ve seen that smaller customers can represent quick opportunities for double-digit growth within short timeframes when the right types of marketing campaigns are combined with the right proactive inside sales resources and online systems.

Don’t leave these customers vulnerable to the overtures of a competitor who shows them a little more love or makes it easy for them to shift their spend. 

I’ve never seen a case with any of the distributors we’ve worked with where there wasn’t an opportunity to grow these accounts. For very little investment, you can keep these smaller and mid-sized accounts happy and reap sizeable rewards. Proper development of a proactive inside sales force can deliver annual growth of between 10 percent and 20 percent over two to four years.

Learn more about building a proactive sales force.

Debbie Paul is a partner with Real Results Marketing with a background in developing and growing revenue streams with inside sales and direct marketing. Learn more at

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