"Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble." - Warren Buffett
Every year a seller gets their territory. It is usually cut by region or by vertical or another framework the operational leaders in the company have decided. The goal with each territory is that it is suited well to the seller and their managers to maximize the potential revenue that can come out of it.
I have long thought that a seller’s territory is like a stock portfolio—but instead of equities, a seller has a set of accounts in which they will invest their time.
After the portfolio is assigned, you overlay account plans, which are essentially a strategy of how to attack your territory. Again, to think in investing metaphors, this is a seller’s investment thesis, where they have to make decisions on how best to spend their time (and even their team’s time), and it’s something they need to use to justify that investment to their stakeholders (e.g. sales management).
As part of this thesis, the sellers are often given a framework for how they are expected to manage their portfolio. They have a sales process and a commitment they are making to the company to use that process to generate accurate forecasts and meet or exceed their quota.
In a traditional sales motion, that is essentially where the investment analogy would end. But in the new world of trials, proof of values, freemium, usage-based pricing, PLG, and even large expansions, the game has changed, and with it arrives a whole host of new analogies from the investment world.
As a seller, you can now take your existing qualification data and overlay quantitative data. This data can showcase account momentum for the seller. For example, the seller might follow MEDDIC to get the ultimate timing of the buyer's decision, but they can also use data to make bets on when/why/how the customer will close. They can follow along with a customer’s activity, they can chart those shifts, look at historicals on how other won customers charted, and plot a path: assuring an accurate forecast to their management. Here is an example of what I mean using Variance. Tracking the customer’s activity through a trial and understanding what the gyrations and overall performance might mean for the ultimate close probability and timing.
If your territory is your portfolio, your opportunities are your call options. In the equity market, options are a leveraged bet on a belief that a stock will do something within a time window. Opportunities are very similar: where you take all your leverage in the form of your time and you make a bet on who will close when. If you can make this happen, you get paid handsomely, if you don’t, you’ll probably miss your number and can’t get that time back.
Where does this all go?
Imagine looking at the market cap of your opportunities: what are they spending vs what they could spend? What is their growth rate, and how can you maximize value? Similar to stocks, all this data is, in theory, available to you. The market for equities is worth ~$120 Trillion(!) and is the largest collection of wealth in humanity, we can take lessons from this market to apply them to you and your personal wealth journey.