White space Opportunity
The ultimate goal of key account management is to know future areas of growth in their strategic accounts. How do you know where the growth is? DemandFarm’s whitespace analysis framework is a simple yet powerful tool to do that.
The tendency is to seek for account growth through existing solutions to people in the account with existing relationships. You will be surprised to know that Account Managers leave a lot of money on the table with this approach. This will also allow competition to sneak in.
Creating a visual white space map of the account and careful analysis can unearth hidden opportunities which otherwise don’t seem obvious. This exercise is called whitespace analysis.
Here is how it works.
Identify and list down all the products/services/solutions that your company tales to market. Let’s call them OFFERINGS. It is advisable to not exceed more than 10 offerings. If your company has more, try to have sub offering classification and club more than one sub offerings to a single parent offering.
Identify and list down ‘Buying Centers’ in the account. Buying Centers are those units in the account that can buy your offering(s) independently. They could be various divisions of the account or functions in an account or territories in the account. They can be a combination of these three. This is tricky. It requires a deep understanding of the account in terms of org structure, power centers, decision-making process, budget allocation, etc. Therefore this step is not static, Buying Centers could change or get added over a period of time. If you don’t know the account well, it’s ok to start with just one.
Since it is tricky, let me explain with an example. Let’s say your key account is a large global bank.
Divisions: Retail Banking, Wholesale Banking, Investment Banking, Merchant Banking, Asset Management, Wealth Management.
Functions: Finance, IT, Sales, Marketing, Operations, HR
Territories: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America
Now depending on what your offerings are – Buying Centers could be Retail Marketing, Asia Operations, IT infrastructure, Asia, Wealth North America.
You get the drift. One thumb rule is Buying Center should be able to independently buy at least one of your offerings on its own.
Create a matrix/grid using these two lists – Offerings versus Buying Centers. I call it Account Landscape. Here is an illustration.
Mark all the areas where you already do business in the Account Landscape with opportunities data. This could be all ‘Closed Won’ opportunities in the past 12-24 months. A view of ‘Closed Lost’ Opportunities is also helpful to know where you did not win. Also, of course, active opportunities in pursuit now.
Now, let’s analyze each Offering and decide its relevance in this account. Not every offering of yours is not relevant to all accounts. It is very helpful if you can also assess the intensity of competition where relevance is high. Similarly, assess each buying center for its attractiveness. A simple RAG (Red-Green-Amber) analysis will do. Look at the illustration below
Now it must be easy to identify those ‘white spaces opportunities’ of growth. Start with ‘Green’ boxes and see vertically where growth can happen. Also horizontally. And there could be opportunities to ‘mine’ for more revenue in existing projects. In the illustration below, I have identified 3 ‘white spaces opportunity’. Highly relevant offering with highly attractive buying centers gives me two of those white space opportunity. It also helps that we are already engaged with other offerings in these buying centers.
As you can see, a methodical approach to unearthing new opportunities to grow your accounts as illustrated above is very impactful. At DemandFarm we have made this process easy by building these tools inside your CRMs. While Account Managers do the thinking, visualization is made possible by DemandFarm to make it easier.
As always at DemandFarm, Account Managers are the heroes. We believe in providing them with tools and frameworks to make their thinking strategic, focused and cohesive. But it is the Account Manager’s expertise, experience & domain knowledge that ultimately matters.
We have seen this white space opportunity through account mapping work in several companies.
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