Account List Management-It’s A TOUGH Job!


(By Rick Fink) Do you know one of the biggest reasons why most businesses don’t advertise? This may surprise some, but it’s simply because we’re not calling on them.

While this week’s message is directed primarily to sales managers, the message can be equally as valuable to sellers, if, they heed the message.

I think we can all agree that the businesses with the most potential are already on someone’s list and are not on the “open list”. The question is, are they “really” being called on and, if they are being called on, are you getting the most out of that business?

As a sales manager, in my opinion, your #1 job is to build and maintain a strong sales team. You do this by hiring good people with strong potential. Then you continually train them and keep them motivated. Many other factors fall into a sales manager’s job description, but one of the most overlooked areas, especially in media sales, is account list management.

There are several reasons why account list management is overlooked. The three main reasons are:

1) Managing a list properly is a touchy subject and tends to upset your sales reps (that’s a topic of its own for another day).

2) We assume that there are more than enough accounts to go around, and if we miss a few it won’t affect sales that much.

3) You are just too dang busy and you don’t deem it as crucial to your success as your other duties.

Reason #1 is true. Even asking about their activity with one of their accounts can get a rise out of them. Then, if you even suggest moving an account from their list, whether they are calling on it or not, you might see a whole new level of upset.

Reason #2 is false. Remember, the businesses with the greatest potential are already on someone’s list; they just aren’t being called on or being called on properly.

Reason #3 is for you to determine, but I do challenge you to look at your reps’ lists and see how much potentially missed business is on these lists.

How many sales managers have heard this response when you ask a sales rep when they had last spoken with “insert client name here”? “Oh, it’s been a while, but I plan to call on them in the next week or two”. I’m willing to bet that most of you are shaking your head, yes! I’m also willing to bet that many of the sellers reading this are smiling right now, and if they’re honest, are saying to themselves, “Yeah, I’ve said that before”.

I don’t like rocking the boat and upsetting reps any more than you do, however, at some point it’s a sales manager’s job to make sure that we are getting the most potential out of each and every account list.

Sales reps, if you believe that it’s “your account list” or “you own it”, think again! It’s not your list! It’s whoever owns the company’s list; you’re simply allowed to call on them. If you’re not, it’s your manager’s responsibility to make sure that someone is!

Here’s an excerpt from Google on the definition of a sales manager’s responsibility:

“It is the sales manager’s duty to map potential customers and generate leads for the organization. He should look forward to generating new opportunities for the organization”. Side note: The words shown in bold are exactly the way it was copied from my google search. With that said, doesn’t “map potential customers and generate leads for the organization” describe “Account List Management” to a tee?

Media Reps… Are you doing your job and calling on the accounts on your list? If not, either call on them or give ‘em up. If every seller would do this, everyone would have more accounts to call on.

Sales Managers… Are you managing the account lists? If not, start! There are a lot of businesses, with potential, simply not being called on.

Account List Management – It’s a tough job!

NEVER Stop Learning – Get Better Every Day!


Rick Fink from ENS Media ( can be reached by phone at 605-310-2062 or e-mail at [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here