The Coaching Effect Blog

Are your prospects ZONKEYS?

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

February 24, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, VP Marketing, EcSELL Institute

What is a ZONKEY?  It is a cross between a zebra and a donkey and frankly, isn't really good for anything, except a lot of extra work.  During our sales manager webinar, held last Friday, our instructor, Jeff Koser, CEO of Selling To Zebras, explained the need to sell to zebras and get rid of your zonkeys.  By now you are either really confused or really curious....

During the webinar titled "Selling In The New Normal", Jeff explained that our selling environment has changed. Sales levels, margins, and average deal sizes are down. Sales cycles are longer with many more ending in non-decision. Finally, sales decisions are moving up to the C-level. This is where we are. It isn't going to change soon. As a sales manager, you must coach your sales reps to operate and succeed in this "new normal".

Jeff's advice is to become better at targeting your prospects.  You need to identify your zebra.  He defines a zebra as:

"A ZEBRA is a prospect that is the perfect fit - a sales prospect where a win is highly likely because there is not only a solution fit but also a philosophical, demographic, political, and cultural fit between your two companies.  Importantly - you know the business problems you solve, and the resulting quantifiable value!"

Rather than me trying to explain how to methodically define your ZEBRA, I recommend you read the document "Selling In The New Normal" which is available on our website. CLICK HERE.

Also note that there are industry specific ZEBRA TEMPLATES available upon request. Send an email to: and ask for your (Insert INDUSTRY) ZEBRA TEMPLATE.  The template will help you ask the right questions to identify your perfect customer.

Check out all of EcSELL Institute's sales management courses, sales leadership conferences, and sales manager training resources by visiting our website at

Now let's hear from you... how would you define a ZONKEY?!

Topics: Performance Tracking/Analytics, Sales Skills Development

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