Focusing on Zebras makes it possible to close as much as 90% of the business your organization pursues. With such a high close rate, you can spend more time and effort pursuing high-quality leads where you can add unique value.

When you identify your Zebra, you put yourself in a position to engage with Power, the owner of the business problem your company solves.

Identifying your Zebra and selling to Power improves your chances for:

  • Improved sales
  • A stable of happy customers
  • A healthy work-life balance
  • Developing a go-to-market for selling and delivering results

To gain these benefits, you must determine the perfect prospect for your company — your Zebra.

Defining Your Zebra

The perfect prospect or customer is not just perfect from a product or solutions perspective. You know you solve your Zebra’s business problem because Power defines the exact pain points to address. You know you can win based on objective and identifiable characteristics.

Your perfect prospect is called a Zebra because once you identify its characteristics, you can easily spot it amid all the other opportunities. Those stripes will stick out from anything else running with your Zebra in the business savanna.

Zebras are the only opportunities your organization should pursue. Anything less is a waste of resources. 

Once you spot your Zebra, you want to be able to pursue it with everything you’ve got. If you waste time chasing non-Zebras, you’ll run out of steam, weakening your ability to close in on your Zebra. 

What is the actual cost of pursuing that not-so-perfect prospect?

Problems with Non-Zebras

Non-Zebras may or may not buy from someone, but they either shouldn’t or won’t buy from you. Their needs do not line up with your solution. You will never be able to provide unique value to them. 

Expending your energy on non-Zebras is like running back to the starting line over and over. You never get anywhere, and you spend a ton of resources running nowhere.

So, why don’t companies identify their Zebra in the first place? Because they cannot articulate what makes it a Zebra. They don’t know their Zebra’s attributes. Without the sharp focus provided by a clearly identified target, the company can’t develop an effective sales strategy.

Why You Must Identify Your Zebra

Sales cycles continue to grow longer, and they end in no decision more often than not. Sales opportunities age, grow long white beards, and clog up your sales pipeline. It’s where deals go to die.

Also, finding qualified prospects is next to impossible in an environment where everything is increasingly commoditized. Everything looks alike to your prospects. Because everything seems the same, everyone discounts — heavily. It’s normal. Then deals shrink, and margins sink.

Finally, getting access to Power, the high-level decision-maker, has become extremely difficult. As more competitors join your market, it’s harder to get past the gatekeepers. 

If you identify your Zebra, these problems go away. You shorten your sales cycle. Power has everything needed to make a quick decision. And you move toward closing up to 90% of your deals.

The next step is overcoming your critical sales issues, one of which may be mistaking activity for productivity. Read our next blog, Why Sales Activity Does Not Equal Sales Productivity.

In our next post, we talk about why activity does not equal productivity.


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