Develop a Data-Backed Account Management Strategy

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, you’ll be able to:

  • List ways data can help your reps strategically approach their accounts.
  • Describe how to use whitespace analysis to identify cross-sell opportunities.

Use Data to Drive Your Strategy

You just learned how important it is to have accurate data, how your sales reps can help by capturing their customer data, and how your reps can use data to advance each of their opportunities. Now let’s take a step back and think about the big picture. How can you use data to understand your customer base as a whole? How can it help you optimize your interactions with your biggest accounts so you can sell more? That’s what you learn in this unit.

Understand Your Largest Accounts

If your CEO comes to you today and asks who your biggest account is, can you answer them correctly? It’s not as simple of a request as it sounds.

Let’s look at a hypothetical company, Tangerine, as it tries to answer that question. Tangerine has an account, GalacticSpace, that buys $1 million annually with Tangerine. Oh boy, does the company roll out the red carpet for GalacticSpace. Tangerine has other big accounts too, but since they spend less money, Tangerine focuses most of its efforts on GalacticSpace. The company’s top customer list looks something like this.

  1. GalacticSpace: $1,000,000
  2. PupsRUs: $750,000
  3. We <3 Dogs: $500,000
  4. K9 Food Suppliers: $400,000
  5. Puppy Kingdom: $350,000

Recently a super smart sales ops person at Tangerine discovered that PupsRUs, We <3 Dogs, K9 Food Suppliers, and Puppy Kingdom are all part of the same company, Dogs Extraordinaire. That means that Dogs Extraordinaire has a combined $2 million account, making it Tangerine’s biggest customer by far. Its revised top customer list actually looks like this.

  1. Dogs Extraordinaire: $2 million
  2. GalacticSpace: $1million

For years, Tangerine was unintentionally deprioritizing its biggest customer. What’s more, the company was giving Puppy Kingdom a 15% discount and PupsRUs a 12% discount. That inconsistency with different branches of the same company didn’t reflect well on Tangerine. Tangerine also had a very junior rep managing the Puppy Kingdom account, and he made some mistakes. The company missed opportunities to optimize its largest account for one reason: it didn't understand who its top customers are.

Thankfully, Tangerine did a data overhaul and brought in some data vendors from Lightning Data on the AppExchange. The company soon realized the connection between the Dogs Extraordinaire accounts. Reps later found more accounts that are linked to other larger companies. This let them shift accordingly and get the right people covering the right accounts. Tangerine sales leaders brought the team together to create a more strategic approach, which paved the way for deeper customer relationships.

Identify Whitespace to Discover Cross-Sell Opportunities

Now that the company has a better handle on its customers, Tangerine wants to make sure it’s getting the right products to each of their customers.

A Tangerine sales rep—let’s call her Alanna—knows that PupsRUs loves its product, The Tangerine1000. Other Dogs Extraordinaire divisions might have a great use case for it, too. Alanna needs to understand each division and what products they buy from Tangerine today. Alanna can look up each contract manually, but that can take hours—hours she can spend selling. She wants to understand how to manage this across her entire customer base.

Alanna teams up with Sales Operations to learn about the hierarchy in all her accounts so she can understand things like:

  • Which larger companies own which smaller companies?
  • Which products does each account currently have?
  • How much revenue opportunity can there be at each corporate family?

Sales Operations pulls together a great list of which products each branch owns so that Alanna can do some whitespace analysis and find the gaps where there are products they haven’t yet bought from Tangerine.

Alanna follows three steps to use whitespace analysis to close more deals.

  1. Understand customers’ current products: Alanna has an overview of accounts and can see who already owns what products. It’s a big help in seeing where there’s whitespace—products they haven’t yet bought from Tangerine—so she can understand what products can be helpful.
  2. Find the right account: This view is helpful because she can see which Dogs Extraordinaire divisions don’t have The Tangerine1000. She decides to bring it up with We <3 Dogs, since the division doesn’t have it and can probably benefit from it.
  3. Create the new opportunity: This part is second nature. Alanna opens up an opportunity, and within a few weeks, she’s closing a new deal with We <3 Dogs.

Connect with Your Biggest Customers

While the Tangerine story is just that—a story—the company’s challenges are not much different than those of real Salesforce customers. Use the data that is at your fingertips, and make sure that you’re approaching your customers with the right strategy.


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