Use KARE when growing your business

Whether you are a sales leader responsible for an entire team’s performance or a single salesperson looking to hit your income target, you are well on your way to implementing your new business and client retention plan for 2021 – or are you?

If you are struggling with how to organize your selling time, and efforts, and are still reactively running your business rather than proactively growing your client/customer base, I would suggest exercising more KARE.

 You already know that different sales opportunities are driven by different objectives and they require different levels of prioritization and different strategies. The KARE tool is a simple, powerful resource that helps you plan and prioritize those activities by segmenting your accounts into four different groups. It allows you to categorize accounts and identify specific characteristics of each, then group those accounts for marketing, and outreach, purposes and create template approaches for each category. They are:

Keep: These are “maintenance” accounts you want to keep as foundational clients. They typically offer low growth potential and are low risk. They are easy to do business with and make regular repeat purchases. However, they produce significant revenue and may need to be managed accordingly.

Attain: New business you have targeted is typically low risk but potentially high reward, as they may currently be buying from a competitor. How much of your revenue goal is expected to come from net new accounts? What does this mean in terms of your likely pipeline value over the next sales cycle? Are you pursuing new business at levels that allow you to grow or are you standing still because of high churn rates?

Recapture: These are accounts that have lapsed for any number of reasons. Perhaps you blew it and lost the account due to poor service, or miscommunication, or there was a problem within the account that froze budgets, or a new executive came in and replaced you with one of their favored suppliers. With these accounts, is there sufficient growth potential? Is there strategic value in recapturing these accounts? Are there decision-makers in the account who still favor your company? Have they simply stopped placing new orders while still using your product or service?

Expand: Usually the most profitable accounts are those that are already buying and have high growth potential. Your aim here is to increase your “wallet share” in those accounts by either increasing the range of products you sell to them or expanding their purchasing into parent companies, sister companies, subsidiaries, joint venture partners, etc. Have you completed a strategic account review identifying what they buy, and don’t buy, so you can have a clear view of the likely opportunities?

 Now that you are familiar with the KARE concept, here’s a simple three-step exercise that will help catapult your business forward:

Step One: Go through your entire client/customer and prospect lists and categorize each one into one of these four buckets. (I might suggest you pay particular attention to the Expand category. Many of the sales teams we work with fail to go sufficiently “deep and wide” into their existing accounts.)

 Step Two: Make a list in each category, identifying your:

· Top five current clients (K)

· Top five prospects (A)

· Top five former customers (R)

· Top five clients who have the best potential for growth (E)

Step Three: Formalize your “Playbook,” or plan, for attacking each category – no more “winging it.”

Create and capture best practices, including:

· A document where these are outlined in writing

· Step-by-step sales process for each

· Talk-tracks, approaches, questions, solutions, etc.

· Schedule, timetable and goals for daily and weekly activities.

 The business development plan you and/or your team formulated to reach your annual revenue goals is ever-evolving. Now is a great time to (re)evaluate yours and, perhaps, apply an element of KARE to your efforts. ♦ 

Jim Marshall is owner, and president, of Sandler Training of Tampa Bay, which provides sales, corporate and management training to high-achieving companies and individuals. Contact him at 813.287.1500 or

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