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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

Eliminate “Random Acts of Prospecting” with an Activation Cycle – SLA

Posted by Jamie Shanks on Nov 23, 2018 5:00:00 PM


When you walk the sales floor, or conduct your 1-on-1's with your sales team this week, pay attention to the "random acts of prospecting".  Seller A is so different than Seller B, and Seller C has no plan, and Seller D is so objective with their process”. You’re not alone! These are very common things I see inside sales organizations around the world. Sales professionals are given so much latitude, that there is absolutely no real prospecting process. Yes, there are current or lagging indicators such as:

  •  # of meetings per week
  • 3x pipeline coverage

But there very little to no LEADING indicators such as:

  • # of accounts selected and activated into sales conversations per week
  • AVG sales play to run against an account to activate the account
  • # of days an account has been inside an Activation Cycle
  • # of days and # of sales plays, an account should stay inside an Activation Cycle before its REPLACED

It’s critical your sales team gets off this ‘random acts’ track, as it’s costing your MILLIONS/BILLIONS:

  • Each seller on your team is holding onto accounts WAY, WAY too long. Your loss is the opportunity cost of the seller discarding non-activated accounts earlier/objectively, to find new opportunities. This problem compounds itself as you’re not only missing opportunities, but you’re leaving market share open for the competition. Each account in a target market you’re not touching (especially if you have a ‘social proximity – Asymmetrical Competitive Advantage) and you’re not on that account, because you’re spending too much time on pretty logos you really want to chase (being subjective)…
  • Having an unteachable, upscaling, prospecting motion. How can you teach if you can’t turn it into a repeatable process?


Best-in-class sales organizations are doing the following:

  • Centralizing a common language around business development/pipeline creation/prospecting (pick one and make it part of your new language).
  • Using historical data and math around sales quota requirements to determine how long 1x account should be held (on AVG) in an Activation Cycle.
  • Designing sales plays within that Activation Cycle, and OBJECTIVELY running each account through this process, and OBJECTIVELY keeping the account (because it was activated within the time parameters), or REPLACING the account because there was no activation.
  • Sales plays are omnichannel (analog, digital and experiential), bringing value-packed sales plays into the customers' hands.

FIRST STEP – Activation Cycle Design, turned into a Service Level Agreement.


activation cycle design

service level agreement


Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks

About the Author

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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