New Account Selling Objectives

New Account Selling Objectives should include account intelligence as a strategy and 10-K analysis as a tactic, to accelerate customer acquisition and acceleration.

The 10-K provides an overview of the company’s primary business operation, including its products and services – how it makes money.  Typically the 10-K will also include:
Risk Factors – an overview of any and all risks that the company faces or could face in the future.
Financial Data – specific, detailed  financial information about the company over the last five years.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) is where the company provides a narrative on its business results from the previous fiscal year.
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – this section includes the company’s audited financial statements, including the income statement, balance sheets and statement of cash flows.

New Account Selling Objectives – Competitors Selling to Decision Makers? You’ve Got a Big Problem

To a company, a 10-K is a 300+ page annual report required by the SEC, this gives a comprehensive summary of the company’s financial performance. To the internal stakeholders, it gives valuable insight into how well a company is being operated, what are the challenges, and what it is planning to do to remedy them quarter by quarter and year by year.

So, why should a sales rep care about a target account’s 10-K? As complicated as they may be — pulling crucial information can help your sales team reveal the funded strategic initiatives of a target account and the reason behind them. They can also learn how the company wants to drive sales, lower costs, reduce risks, to make the initiative effective. Knowing this will improve the unique value propositions used by any sales team, create more aligned new account selling objectives, and help get increased meetings and opportunities. Furthermore, knowing your way around a 10-K can help uncover specific case study (also use cases) alignment and examples that can add value to your sale.

New Account Selling Objectives – What is the Correlation Between a 10-K and a Company’s Initiative?

Who better to explain the inside workings of a company then the management of the organization? Chief Executives and Chief Financial Officers are the ones who give the commentary in the notes to the financial statements—they are required by law to ensure its accuracy and alignment with the company. Where most of the initiatives come from is in the ‘Management Discussion and Analysis’ section. This section provides vital information on trends in the industry, SWOT analysis, management insight on key line financial items, and risk/concerns affecting the company. By gathering this information, you now have effectively the same information most C-level executives do and can rationalize where the company might be headed next.

New Account Selling Objectives – Impactful Information for Closing More Business

You can learn a vast amount of information to give you leverage when selling to executives and for advancing new opportunities, all the way to closing the sale—including what drives EBITDA, future capital expenditure plans, depreciation on any equipment (including software), etc. Your team will now have better insights into the details of the products and an analysis of the trends in revenue.

Think about it? Knowing all aspects of the company and how they operate can transform the sales pitch, presentation, even demo! Convincing one executive to like your product is one obstacle—but convincing the whole decision committee is the goal. Getting familiar with a company’s 10K can unlock the potential of convincing everyone why your product is a necessity. Connecting your knowledge of the company’s bottom line, their products, and vision—your sales team can align with anyone of the decision makers on the committee.

New Account Selling Objectives – The Key 10K Financial Metrics Every Salesperson Should Know

  1. Profit vs. Cash Flow: As a sales person, if you know how the expenses are accounted for, and how the different expenses are recognized on the statement of cash flows, you gain a new perspective on how your target companies can (or cannot) fund your product.

For example, if a company makes a capital expenditure, accounting principles and depreciation schedules make the company expense the item over its useful life. In terms, this makes profit reported greater than the actual cash flow of the company—in the statement of cash flows, capital expenditures subtract from overall cash. It’s not uncommon for an early stage, fast growing company to show profits but experience losses in cash flow. Salespeople who can comprehensively have this talk are more likely to get meetings with decisions makers and to close more business deals.

“As the saying goes, “Profit is an illusion, cash flow is reality.” There is a significant difference between profit and cash flow, and salespeople who don’t fully understand this difference are at a HUGE disadvantage and have virtually no chance to be viewed as anything more than a peddler.”   – Doug Davidoff

  1. Key-Financial-Metrics-10K-Salespeople-Should-KnowCurrent Ratio: The current ratio explains if and how many times the company can cover its short-term liabilities. The higher the better—the more financially healthy the company is. By knowing this ratio, you can tell if your prospect may be facing capital emergencies or if it has capital available to reinvest in parts of its business. Being a salesperson, this will give you insight if a company is ready to put their cash to work. Now, as a sales person you can position your offering to match this research and it gives you a better feel of how your competitors may be positioned in this sale (think pricing). Alternatively, a company with a low current ratio may need to find alternative financing (for example I may propose leasing rather than purchasing).
  1. Asset Turnover: The asset turnover ratio is another way of measuring if a company has sufficient capital to invest in other areas. If a lot of capital is tied up in unsold inventory then it is very unlikely as a salesperson, that I would approach them with lofty pricing for my product.
  1. Gross Margin vs. Net Margin: All sales teams need to understand how their product contributes to their customer’s revenue and costs. If you want your sales presentation to blow away the customer—explain to them how your product will unlock more money for them to run their operations. Gross margin represents the amount of money left over after accounting for the companies cost of goods sold (COGS). Net margin represents the income left after all expenses have been paid for (COGS, SG&A, operating expenses). By increasing your gross margins, the company will ultimately increase their net margins by a multiple—as a sales person, understanding this is crucial to any effective business case and value proposition.

New Account Selling Objectives – The Bottom Line

Most CMO’s and CRO’s don’t utilize the information inside of a 10K—mainly because it’s tedious work and 95% of sales either cannot do it due to lack of financial acumen or just won’t.  All the information discussed above is not hiding—it is sitting in plain sight, available to the public. Imagine being able to formulate your sales presentation with metrics that show the company is financially sound enough to invest in your offering.

Or showing the decision makers that you understand their product and how your offering would supplement this. When effective salespeople get meetings with C-level executives, it’s only for a short amount of time—they need to be convinced quickly that you belong here. And by using the information in a 10K and using value engineering, you can achieve just that.

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Additional Go to Market Resources From Four Quadrant

Strategic Account Plan Template >>

QBR Presentation Template >>

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Free Go to Market Insights for Sales & Marketer’s >>

Charts, Stat’s & Graphics for Sales >>

Go to Market Strategies & Tactics >>

Go to Market Planning Examples

By Peter

Peter is a strategic and visionary marketing executive and brand champion who has leveraged his unique combination of classical training and entrepreneurial experience at start-ups and F500 companies to transform technology innovations into multimillion-dollar revenue streams. His experience spans all areas of marketing, including go-to-market strategy and execution; brand identity and brand positioning; product development; sales and marketing leadership; customer acquisition and retention; and influencer and analyst relations. Peter consults with c-level executives, teaches at USF’s EMBA program and serves as an advisor to start-ups.

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