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What To Learn From Swallows

Can we learn something from swallows? No, not those pointy winged birds that keep coming back to the mission at San Juan Capistrano – I am talking about the bug eaters at my house.

Just about the time that the sun sets this time of year you will find the skies above the little valley beside my house full of swallows. Reportedly these little birds fly around with their tiny beaks wide open in order to catch bugs. In my case we are talking about bad bugs – the ones with little syringes constantly on the lookout for warm blooded victims. They dart back and forth over my head, and while I cannot actually see their beaks gaping at a 90 degree angle scooping up those nasty mosquitoes, I willingly believe they are doing a good job.

Finding insects in the sky or on the ground around my place (and in my place) is not all that difficult for a bird to accomplish. However, there are times when the bugs are more plentiful and that would be at dusk. So, this is when the swallows come out, and they clean up. They get their dinner and they go home.

And what are we supposed to learn from this, especially on a site dedicated to all things customer related? As far as I am concerned, this is all about segmentation.

Champlain Sunset

You see, the swallows don’t waste their time flapping their wings with their mouths agape at high noon when the mosquitoes are hiding from the sun. But, how many of your sales reps do the equivalent? How many times do they go visit friendly customers, those that are easy to get appointments with, rather than going where the bugs are more plentiful?

Segmentation is all about deciding which customers have the greatest amount of bugs to offer up and flying mainly there to catch them. It is a simple concept. The swallows get it – somehow they have figured out when the feeding is good. But they have done this without a whole bunch of customer analysis. It is a simple concept, but not necessarily easy to get right.

The trick is figuring out which prospects have the most opportunity and it can take some effort to get that analysis right. But the analytics portion of the equation is just one piece of the challenge. Even when sales folks know which prospects have the biggest set of bugs to catch on paper, they still have a tendency to hang out where things are most friendly.

Segmentation is one of the key factors that differentiates top sales functions from the rest of the pack. However, it takes more than just knowing where to fly, it also requires a discipline to assure that sales reps spend their time where the insects are most plentiful and not where it may be easier to fly.

Make sure your reps are going where the bugs are.

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