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The 5-Step Path to Grow Existing Accounts

No matter what business you’re in, there’s a really good chance that expanding wallet share among your current customers is a major priority for you this year. In fact, there’s a really good chance that expanding wallet share is a major priority for B2B customers every year.


Four key reasons:

  1. You’ll encounter less resistance among customers who are already familiar with you. Your sales team already has contacts in the firms, and they know your reputation. You aren’t starting from scratch the way you would be with a brand new lead.
  2. It helps with retention. The more customers buy from you, the more likely they are to keep buying from you. Each additional sale is like another hook in the customer that makes it harder for them to ever leave.
  3. In a defined market, you might not have any other options. If you sell to a small group of customers, say car makers or laptop manufacturers or international airlines, you might already do business with 80%, 90%, or even 100% of your potential market, and new entrants are few and far between. In these situations, expanding sales to existing customers is really your only choice for increasing revenue.
  4. You might find incredible opportunities. We know of one B2B firm that was able to grow revenue by 20% in a single year just by farming their existing book of business. It’s hard to generate that type of increase in any other way.

So how do you get there? What should you do if you want to increase sales to current customers? Follow these five steps:

  1. Don’t expect your sales reps to do it alone. It’s not fair—or at all realistic—to expect your individual salespeople to come up with strategies for increasing wallet share. It’s the company’s job to figure out where the opportunities are and point the sales team in the right direction. The case study Innovating to Maximize Sales Productivity outlines how one company fed opportunities directly to their sales team to great effect.
  2. Look across all your customers. You probably aren’t going to find your biggest opportunities among your biggest customers. After all, you already have a large percentage of their business. Look at your smaller customers—all of them—to find larger opportunities. The Whitespace Analytics webinar explains in detail the process of finding those hidden gems.
  3. Try to recover share first. The easiest business to get is business that you used to have. Even if your overall revenue from an existing customer has remained fairly steady, check to see if their product mix has changed. Recovering this lost business is easy, low-hanging fruit. How to Prevent Customer Defection has some great tips that can help.
  4. Next try to grow share. After you have recovered previously lost sales, the next best opportunities are among customers who aren’t buying as much volume as they should or who aren’t buying product lines that they should be. Segmentation and analytics can be a tremendous help in this regard, and the express guide Five Performance Boosters of Follow-On Sales has some great advice.
  5. Leverage technology for scale and speed. Yes, you can perform all these tasks manually, but it might require a twenty-person team and take five times as long as it would with the right software. Today’s sales and analytics technology is truly amazing. Investing in this area is likely to pay off with huge dividends. If you aren’t familiar with the options and terminology, check out Making Sense of Sales Technology for an introduction to what’s available and guidance on what might be right for your company.

And if after all of that you still need more resources, we recommend Generating More Sales from Existing Customers and Closing the Gap on Growing Existing Customers.

Expanding wallet share is such an important topic that we’ve devoted a lot of time and energy to it. You should do the same.


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