Are your salespeople putting enough time, effort, and thought into developing and retaining business with your current customers, especially in large key accounts? Even if they are, how do you know if they are doing this effectively?
Our clients tell us that the cost of sale for acquiring a new customer can be up to ten times more than for developing business in an existing account. Increased profitability of business over the life of a retained customer is why most organizations are allocating more resources to sharpen their customer retention and growth strategies. But, not all are doing this in a disciplined and systematic way.
Too many salespeople focus on chasing the next big deal. Many sellers depend too much on inbound demand generation driven by marketing. This has conditioned many salespeople to be reactive. Whenever a “hot” lead surfaces, they drop everything to chase it down.
Selling more to existing accounts means getting ahead of this reactionary curve. Your salespeople must dedicate enough time and thought to strategically analyze their customer, identify where the real growth opportunities exist, and determine how to add value. To maximize sales in current accounts, this discipline must be executed consistently by every seller with account management responsibilities.
White Space Analysis is an approach to help account managers to systematically understand:
- What’s happening in a customer organization
- The drivers and issues that are impacting the customer
- The initiatives that they are considering to execute their strategy
- How they can create value in the account by enabling the customer to succeed
These insights enable sellers to identify a customer’s performance gaps or problems, and where your solutions and capabilities align with those issues. Think of this as a two-axis matrix, with the vertical axis listing the problems that a customer is struggling to overcome, and the horizontal axis listing your solution set.
Simple but Powerful
Our clients report that the White Space Analysis exercise, while simple to execute, consistently increases the number of identified opportunities to create value and generate new business by two to seven times.
Once an account manager identifies the highest-value solutions that match up to a customer’s most critical business issues, they can then prioritize the opportunities, assess their strength of relationship and access to decision makers, and develop a practical plan to gain access, build support, and secure the business.
White Space Analysis is one element of SPI’s Major Account Planning training program for improved account sales planning and relationship development. The discipline of White Space Analysis enables your sales team to identify where they can create new value, for both customers and for your own organization, and thus, maximize results in accounts. It changes the reactive behavior of most sellers, and helps them to develop a higher level of relationship. This is especially important in large, key accounts, which represent the most profitable customers.
If you sense that you should be getting more from your existing accounts, then start by downloading our White Space Analysis template.