Account Planning

White Space in Business: 4 Things You Should Know

Posted On
September 30, 2020
Resource Type
Account Planning
white space in business

In the age of remote work and a more challenging economy in 2023, modern sales teams are turning to white space within existing customers to find more opportunities to sell. While white space in business isn’t a new concept, it’s an often overlooked one. Many reps think white space analysis is a task that bears little fruit but will bury them in work – an overwhelming thought. But sales teams are finding that putting in more work at the beginning of the selling process greatly reduces the sales cycle and leads to an exponentially more positive outcome. If the meaning of white space and how to properly run a white space analysis is a bit of a gray area to you, you’ve come to the right place.

What is White Space in Business?

White space in business refers simply to any gaps in a customer’s needs, which includes product features and uses, audiences, and any other differentiators.  This is an efficient and effective sales strategy to drive revenue from accounts that are already seeing value from you.

Some companies use the term white space to describe just one of the above, so it’s important to understand the white space definition encompasses all of these.

Examining the white space in business can not only save hours of grueling selling time but also makes it easier to sell because you’re performing an in-depth look at existing customers you’ve already sold to. Having your foot in the door already eliminates the initial process of getting interest – you’ve already got your customer’s ear.

The reason white space is becoming a hot topic in business is that these unmet customer needs are lying in wait for sales teams to identify and help their customers solve, thereby growing more business. With how COVID-19 has affected how teams sell, many are turning to white space to uncover opportunities for growth.

Steps To Identifying The Right Accounts And Stakeholders

  • Segment current customers by size, industry, and geography, and then look at trends in the customers that renew or expand
  • Assess customer performance versus the goals they laid out with you and target companies that are seeing value
  • Leverage your initial stakeholders to map out key decision-makers in other business units that you haven’t engaged yet
  • Document the number of users that could benefit from your product or service upfront and store this in opportunities or accounts within your CRM

Template For Finding White Space In Key Accounts

White Space Opportunity

The business gaps that sales teams identify within an existing account are more specifically referred to as white space opportunities. As mentioned previously, a gap can mean reconsidering who the product is for, finding alternative ways they might use your product or missing product features that would help seal the deal.

Finding the white space in business requires some thought and creativity. It’s helpful to have a thorough understanding of your products and their capabilities in order to think about new uses and so on. Talking with other sales reps on your team is also a good step to take as you consider the possible white space opportunities.

Types of White Space

Upselling: Upselling is the process of driving additional purchases of a product or service that makes the total dollar amount increase. This could be selling additional subscription licenses if you’re in SAAS, or it could be upgrading the tier of the subscription you have. These upgraded packages may have additional functionality and capabilities, and another example could be adding certain excursions or perks to a trip as a consumer. Ultimately as a sales rep, manager or account management team, you should be upselling customers and driving additional revenue as your relationship matures.

Cross-Selling: This is the process of selling complimentary products, services, or add-ons that will enhance the purchase of the customer. This could be selling different product lines if you have multiple products you sell. One example could be in the office furniture space. Suppose you sell an office chair, you may also find an opportunity to sell a mouse, a computer monitor, or other accessories to improve the individual’s workspace.

White Space Analysis

The process of uncovering these hidden sales opportunities is known as white space analysis. Performing a white space analysis will take time, as it requires thorough knowledge of your customers, their needs, and use cases.

Unfortunately, customer data isn’t always so readily available if you want to go through the process of analyzing the white space, so many companies don’t take advantage of it.

To make it easier, start by identifying a few key accounts to analyze and ask yourself:

  • What product(s) are they using?
  • Do they have a need that any of your other products could fill?
  • Do they currently have a solution in place?
  • Is there high adoption of your tool? Are there trends or tendencies in how often they purchase certain products or services from you?

White Space Technology

Of course, there are also many solutions on the market that offer comprehensive white space technology. It’s best to find an app that will leverage your existing customer database via your CRM to help you find viable white space in business. Native Salesforce applications like Prolifiq makes white space analysis easier. You’ll also want white space technology that enables you to template your analysis so answering questions like the ones above is easy to complete for every account.

account-based sales

White Space FAQ

How do you find white space in your customers?

There are a few different ways to think about finding whitespace in your customers. Is there a specific segment you’ve seen consistent growth in? Are there other product lines that aren’t generally sold initially but could be added down the road? Do teams start with pilots of your product, providing a chance to land and expand? Sales managers or other team members should work with your sales team to break down the best accounts. A good white space analysis starts with leveraging existing customer data in your CRM and starting to map out what an excellent account to grow looks like. Once you’ve identified a set of accounts, think through whom the champions were in your initial deal. Can you work with them to make introductions to other business unit leaders? The sales process of mapping out and documenting the key stakeholders is very beneficial to have at hand when looking for these growth opportunities. Once a set of customers has needs or more potential to grow, the team should work with marketing to drive 1:1 or 1:few targeted campaigns to drive awareness and interest in your product in parallel to working with your internal champions.

How can sales teams more effectively cross-sell and upsell key accounts?

At Prolifiq we have a process in place where marketing, sales, and customer success work together that better help us accomplish this:

  • Document key goals, and objectives, and help set the team up to measure their progress against those goals
  • Continuous education via email, customer webinars, and team syncs that keep your company top of mind
  • Driving product adoption, the number of account plans, relationship maps, and cross-sell templates used is a good KPI
  • Use your stakeholders and help them position the product and its impact internally
  • White space mapping – identify key stakeholders in other business units that don’t use your product to engage

What is white space and why is it important?

Whitespace is a term used to describe the potential revenue growth or expansion that a business can generate from its existing customer base. Leveraging existing customer data, you can pull together companies more suited for growth with your business, and provide reps the resources to drive growth in those key accounts. Whitespace mapping is a sales strategy that teams work through to identify, prioritize, and measure engagement and effectiveness when it comes to revenue generation. Cross-selling would be the execution of that strategy, which means the sales rep is selling a product or service that compliments their initial purchase.

Whitespace is important because acquiring new customers is costly, time-consuming, and less consistent and reliable than working on companies that already trust and invest in your business.

How can I Identify Opportunities for Expansion Within My Customers?

As you do a whitespace analysis, you may look for business units not using your product or service. Break down your customers by industry, company size, geography, or however your team segments customers. Are certain groups of customers consistently renewing and growing? Are other segments consistently churning or spending less? If you’re subscription-based, can you get additional seats sold? If you’ve tapped out the number of teams or users you can sell to, are there additional product lines you can sell in? Mapping out key decision-makers in other functions, product lines, or subsidiaries is a good way to begin strategizing on expanding with that account. Are there products you can sell that typically complement an original purchase? Cross-selling is a great way to drive revenue quickly as well if you’re more transactional.



If you’re looking for a native Salesforce app that visualizes the white space in an account plan so you can quickly identify the best opportunities for customer growth, check out Prolifiq CRUSH and request a demo today!

Posted On
September 30, 2020
Resource Type
Account Planning