Your pipeline is littered with phantom sales opportunities destined to go nowhere.

Do you really know why?

Unless you are a marine biologist, you might need a refresher on what plankton means. Plankton are the diverse collection of organisms that live in large bodies of water and are unable to swim against a current. When you think of the large bodies of employees inside companies comfortable with status quo, think of them as plankton. Well-meaning though they may be, these folks float along at the mercy of their company’s sea tides and currents making little effort to push against them. Ironically, salespeople spend much of their time prospecting to the very same people – the plankton – who will rarely push against the internal current of status quo.

You might wonder how that happens.

Funny thing about human psychology. Your sales reps get that feel good rush of reward when anyone at a prospective account agrees to talk to them. These reps believe that if someone takes their call it must mean that a viable sales opportunity now exists. Let’s bust that myth immediately.

People in any organization hesitant to buck status quo may talk to salespeople and nod politely during the presentation or product demo but that in no way signifies a pressing need to buy what your company is selling. And, while these status quo resistant buyers may not overtly lie, they often give the impression that they have significant influence on the purchasing process when they don’t. To keep their secret and save face, they then assert themselves as the influencer to the VITO (very important top officer), Economic Buyer or what Tohoom calls the “Hoom.”

Seasoned sales professionals know that selling to an Economic Buyer, VITO or Hoom, increases win rates, increases average sales price, decreases resources wasted on unqualified deals, etc. We can all agree that your teams must sell to the person who has budget and signing authority for your product or service, as well as those people in that company tasked with influencing the decision to buy.

As sales leaders, we must ask ourselves how we can help our salespeople break free of the safety of their comfort zones. We need to help them understand that they put themselves at a significant selling disadvantage when they avoid calling on the Economic Buyer (Hoom) and members of the influencing committee, instead choosing to waste time with the status quo avoiders.

There are three things sales leaders must do:

  1. Define the ideal characteristics of your target Hoom
  2. Determine if your reps engage with those people who meet your Hoom criteria
  3. Manage the Hoom prospecting process for each of your reps on a regular basis

Looking at these in more detail, notice how Tohoom focuses your salespeople’s selling time on the right buyers, leaving selling to plankton for your competitors.

What does a Hoom look like?

In an earlier white paper, we introduced you to Tohoom’s Stakeholder Lifecycle Management software (Target – Find – Connect – Collaborate) TM designed to help you manage the critical elements of the prospecting process for each of your salespeople. We led with the Target phase and discussed how to set your prospecting strategy by focusing on your sales organizations selling universe.

Next, salespeople need to “Find” target Hoom’s and members of their influencing committee. This is where you’ll put on your “private investigator” hat because your data enrichment tools can only get you so far.

Data enrichment tools, like LinkedIn, start the process of looking for these Hooms based on potential titles. At this point, you’ve made an educated guess that this person could be your target buyer (Hoom) but, how do you know if your guess is correct?

There is only one way to confirm your assumption that you’ve identified this individual correctly as your Hoom. Determine if this individual has:

  • Budget for this buying decision
  • Signing authority to finalize the purchase

It only takes seconds to ask these questions, but if overlooked or skipped, your salespeople will waste a lot of time and precious energy focused on sales opportunities destined to go nowhere.

The confirmation process doesn’t stop here though. Look for the person(s) who must agree and sign off that your solution provides the business benefits promised. If you sell a technology solution, this likely includes someone in a more technical role who can confirm that the technology works as needed.

Expand your sales influence by identifying an internal company sponsor.

Think of these folks as supporting coaches on your sales team. Though they may not have the decision and budget authority to buy your solution, they can be great at helping salespeople navigate internal hierarchies to get to the right decision makers fast. This becomes invaluable information that sellers can use to create “influence maps” to support their strategy for winning deals.

Bringing it all together.

Your salespeople now know how to determine the target criteria for an ideal Hoom, and they know to verify they’ve Found one. Inside any one target account there can be multiple Hooms that salespeople could be selling too, so how do you make sure that they find them all? This is where Tohoom eliminates chaos from the salespersons day and provides the support needed to consistently accomplish the prospecting strategy over a long period of time.

Inside Tohoom, identify the subset of Hooms that a rep agrees to find over the next sales activity period. These Hooms are set in a Find this Period state in Tohoom. Having identified this subset of Hooms, your salespeople are now expected to prioritize their prospecting activity based on this information. A shared understanding is formalized between sales leaders and their team members of how and when prospecting time will be best spent. More importantly, this creates a focused way for sales managers to hold their salespeople accountable to prospecting early and often but ensures they are spending the highest percentage of their time pursuing target decision makers (Hooms) only. Tohoom’s powerful cloud prospecting software manages the setting and tracking process taking the guesswork out of the equation for both the salesperson and their sales manager.


Working with companies like yours, we have found that many sales leaders feel frustrated at the time their salespeople waste with well-meaning, nice people inside target accounts who have no authority to make or influence purchasing decisions. As a result, ghost opportunities clog the pipeline unnecessarily.

On top of that, many of our customers had no system to manage the strategic prospecting process of finding and tracking the decision makers who can authorize a purchase and key members of  pre-sales opportunity buying committees who are instrumental in influencing a sale.

Imagine the positive impact on your sales teams’ prospecting efforts when they:

Create opportunities with the RIGHT decision makers at the earliest stages of the buying process. These reps set the table for closing success and clearly distance themselves from competitors.

Salespeople and front-line sales managers have conversations about a Hoom’s confirmed budget and signing authority prior to investing significant time and resources to pursue a deal. Influence mapping starts pre-opportunity.

Finally, everyone in the sales organization understands the mission clearly – FIND and TRACK the right people so that all prospecting efforts are synchronized and more effective.

Ready to take the next step to see Tohoom in action and talk to one of our strategic sales partners about your strategic prospecting goals? Visit, call us at 949-864-6660 or email: