Growing Revenue: Pause or Push Forward?

Growing Your Strategic Account Footprint

“We’ve had one of these before when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren’t going to lay off people, that we’d taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place — the last thing we were going to do is lay them off. And we were going to keep funding. In fact, we were going to up our R&D budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that’s exactly what we did. And it worked. And that’s exactly what we’ll do this time.” – Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple interview with Fortune Magazine during the 2008 Financial Crisis/Recession reflecting on the last recession.

In troubled times, the best companies see the opportunities, not the problems. In the second half of this blog series, we will use the four basic Cross-Sell/Up-Sell Whitespace Quadrants (as shown in the picture below) and breakdown the two most impactful areas of focus to drive revenue growth.

sales quadrants

Step 1 – Identify Your Current Situation

It’s absolutely crucial at this point to understand where you have ‘assets’ within each strategic customer account. These are the roots of the relationship from which you can identify new areas for revenue growth.

Existing ‘assets’ can be either the people you know, the products you’re ready to sell, or specific knowledge of a customer’s business challenge. Let’s look at the questions you should be asking with regard to each of these categories in order to identify new revenue growth ideas.

  1. Current Relationships – Which key executive relationships that you have today can you leverage for growth? Can you sell them more of a proven solution or add a complimentary product to their mix? Perhaps this relationship is a networking link that can be leveraged to make new introductions to peers in other buying centers.
  2. Product Saturation – What products and product families, by buying center or region, are you selling to the customer? How does your footprint map against the competitor’s footprint? Identify the opportunities to secure existing business, position yourself in open business sectors, and strategically attack competitor strongholds.

  1. Solving Business Needs In New Buying Centers – How does the customer buy your product or solution? Identify and stack rank the buying centers where you could sell your solution.

Step 2 – Build your strategic growth plan

Now that you have a clear understanding of what the whitespace looks like today, you need a strategic plan for revenue growth within the key account. You probably can’t sell them everything in your portfolio and you can’t chase every opportunity. Identify where to invest and build a strategic plan to grow your wallet share. Now is the time to gather the team and build the execution plan.

The 5 key steps to turning whitespace insights into action are:

  1. Identify the team(s) that can help you both strategize and execute.
  2. As a team, identify your best bets for growth. Feel free to come up with a dozen or more scenarios and debate them. But in the end, you should target 3 to 5 viable revenue growth ideas.
  3. Identify stakeholder relationships you can leverage to gain access to the key decision-makers for each of your 3 to 5 ‘revenue growth ideas.’
  4. Craft the value proposition for why your solution should be adopted now. For example, Financial Institutions use the term ‘de-risk the portfolio.’ In a financial crisis, most of them like to reduce risk. Ask, “how is it we can help them reduce risk through increasing investment in your firm?” Leverage your value, your proven track record, and your response to difficulties but speak in terms that resonate with their current mindset. People in stress or crisis do not communicate the same way they do when they are not so stressed so consider your messaging for each key relationship.
  5. Build a team-based action plan to gain access, validate the value, and pursue the evaluation of each of your ‘big bets.’

Now is the time to double down on strategic planning efforts. Deepen insights into how your customers are adapting and how your organization can help address their needs. Train your, now virtual, employees on how to more acutely understand their client base, drive more revenue in strategic accounts.

Salespeople, front-line management, and even executives may believe, “There’s nothing we can do to drive near term revenue or better our chances to win business.” That’s 100% incorrect. With the proper strategy around account and opportunity planning, organizations have the ability to come out on top. The best companies will identify hidden short-term revenue opportunities and position themselves to accelerate when this is over.