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For sales professionals, 2020 may be remembered as the Year of Holding on to Clients.

Yes, there were a few other interesting news events this year. But if you're in sales, here's what made this year truly memorable: With budgets frozen and companies clinging to cash reserves, a whole lot of time was well-spent on shoring up existing relationships. That’s the takeaway from a recent Sandler Research Center survey.

The Sandler Research Center created two reports based on 2020 surveys to provide insight and guidance to sales professionals: The Hunt for New Clients and The Critical Elements of Proactive Client Retention.

The Critical Elements of Proactive Client Retention offers data about how companies maintained profitable relationships with their most important accounts. A key takeaway: 73.5% of respondents confirmed that they derived sustainable competitive advantage from major accounts that provided repeat business.

The Hunt for New Clients provides data and insights in several focused areas. It reinforces several critical best practices of successful 2020 companies including choosing where to hunt, creating ideal client profiles, targeting relevant opportunities, strategizing growth with existing clients, and hunting in packs.

The Sandler research also revealed that about three in five selling organizations surveyed have created a detailed profile of the characteristics shared by an ideal client. Many base the profile on the characteristics they find in their existing best clients and include elements such as size of company, growth potential financial viability, and geography. The logic of creating and periodically updating such an ideal client profile is clear: it helps you identify and prioritize new opportunities, including those within existing accounts. Jonathan Farrington, Director of Research at Sandler Research Center, points out that “adhering to your ideal profile immediately eliminates targets that are unsuitable, so you focus only on winnable/profitable opportunities.”

2021 may emerge as the Year of the Hunt. Sandler’s research suggests that more time will be spent in the coming year discovering new opportunities as companies look to grow, spend, and thrive in recovery.

Read additional Sandler Research Center insights here.


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