Find Your Reason for Being
I’ve always been fascinated with the Japanese concept of Ikigai.
Ikigai can be defined similarly to the well-known French phrase “raison d’être.”
In essence, it’s your reason for being.
Taken a step further, it’s the sense of fulfillment you get when you align how you spend your time and energy with what you care about. Many cultures around the world share a similar notion.
It makes sense, right?
The feeling of spending your limited time and energy on the wrong pursuits is draining and something universal we can all relate to.
What makes Ikigai unique is how it can be visualized and acted upon.
Put simply, if you accurately fill out the four categories—what you love, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, what you are good at—and see where they all connect, you can find your purpose for living.
Your passion, mission, vocation, and profession will all be harmonized and help you move more effortlessly through life.
Doing this exercise helped me find my career in sales, but it also inspired my approach for finding and choosing which accounts to pursue.
This paid off huge in 2019 when I earned $1.5M in SaaS sales for the year, the first time ever reaching the 7-figures annual earners club in my career.
How Did I Get There?
Heading into 2019 my manager and I worked closely on defining a theme for the year, which was to “slow down in order to speed up.”
That first started with deconstructing my target account list and finding a way to align it with what was truly important to me. Operating in this way allowed me to be hyper-focused and excited about my work every day. I even moved some massive accounts from my list like Walmart, Apple, and Uber to others who were better suited to manage those accounts because they didn’t meet my ideal criteria.
This is something most sellers wouldn’t be willing to do.
But by letting go of the fear that I had to hold onto every account assigned to me, including the biggest logos, I was able to more effectively harness my time, energy, motivation, and focus.
Here’s What the Framework Looks Like
1. I identified the five primary criteria that comprise an account that’s right for me (this should and will be different for you)
- I look for an industry first. Can I lock down the first major [insert industry] to try my product?
- An area where I have domain expertise. I need a certain level of confidence to consult on the industry in front of the prospect.
- The potential for a large deal. For me, that means seven-figures or larger, but not all circumstances are equal.
- The ability to move fast. Certain industries (such as financial services) run more slowly due to the auditing and security process. I try to avoid those friction points whenever possible.
- A company trying to do something interesting. Whether they’re on the cusp of innovation or going into a new period with a transformation mindset, I want to be excited by where the company is heading.
2. I very precisely defined what each of these general categories means to me. What is interesting? What do I mean by industry first? Where do I actually have domain expertise?
3. I plotted these criteria out in a Venn diagram — in the middle is a diamond
4. The closer each company is to touching the diamond, the higher I rank that account (they became my “Diamond Accounts”).
That set of rankings becomes my strategic priority list to focus on.
Try It For Yourself
This method is entirely customizable.
You should set and define criteria to fit your specific circumstances.
You can use the following free guide to try it yourself.
Approaching my career in this way is what excites and motivates me. It has allowed me to find deal after deal with fascinating brands where I’m able to add real value and make customers happy.
I hope sharing this can help you find the same, if you haven’t already.
What characteristics do you care about the most when identifying the best sales targets and opportunities?
Text me your answer at (917) 810-2325.
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