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If you are going to exert the effort to go and win a client, why not put forth a little more effort and win the whole account? Sometimes we can succeed in winning orders and do so in a way that makes it more difficult to get what we were really after.

Below are a few reasons sales organizations have low wallet share and some ideas about how you can increase it.

Transactional Selling

There are differences in selling transactional business and selling more strategic accounts. The activities are very different, and what allows you to succeed in one can cause you to fail in the other.

If you treat a strategic account for whom you could create tremendous value like a transactional account, creating little value and closing for orders, you often get exactly what you asked for. Because you did so little value creation and avoided a strategic level of value creation, you are perceived as transactional. Now you have orders, but you don’t have the conversation and the opportunity that allows you to move up the levels of value creation to strategic.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes you have to prove yourself and earn trust. But more often than not, it’s better to treat the sale as strategic from the beginning, foregoing transactional orders now in order to capture the lion’s share of wallet later.

Treat transactional clients as transactional and provide them the right value creation. Treat strategic accounts as strategic and create the right level of value for them so that you can capture the wallet share.

Too Few Relationships

In larger, more complex organizations, it’s difficult to capture wallet share when different segments of the company can make their own decision as to who to use. It’s easy to get trapped in a department or pigeonholed into some segment of the business when you are really capable of providing more and earning greater wallet share.

To capture wallet share, you have to develop the relationships that allow you to capture new segments and new divisions. Sometimes, you have to work your way up to high-level decision makers to be able to make a case to consolidate their spending across divisions or business units. The relationships you develop are what allow you to find your way through your client’s organization and to build consensus along the way.

Make relationships throughout the organization so that you are known, so that you are trusted, and so you can create the opportunities to improve your wallet share.

Poor Execution

It’s ugly, I know. Sometimes the reason you have low wallet share is because you deserve to have low wallet share. If you aren’t executing now, it’s difficult for your client to imagine trusting you with even more work.

Sometimes the only way to gain an opportunity to improve your wallet share is to execute on what you already have. You might need to have an honest and candid conversation with your team about execution. You might also need to ask your client for a do over.

However you proceed, to earn a greater share of your client’s spend, you need to first deliver on the promises that you have already made.

Poor Account Management

An account manager can make the difference in gaining wallet share. Ensuring that you have the right team with the right people in place is a critical factor in growing your wallet share.

Large clients are built on exceptions. Much of what we do to create value for them requires us to customize what we do for them and how we do it. In a lot of sales organizations, it’s tough to get these exceptions made. Having an account management plan and the right account manager can make a difference in successfully serving large clients and gaining wallet share, especially an account manager that can sell inside the organization.

As a salesperson or sales manager, you have to sell inside to make sure you have the right resources—and the right people—in place to earn greater wallet share.


What are the reasons that you have low wallet share in some of your clients?

What changes would you need to make to increase your wallet share?

Do you sell differently to transactional clients than strategic clients?

How can you gain the relationships you need to improve your wallet share?

How do you ensure that you execute in a way that earns you the right to improve your wallet share?

Sales 2012
Post by Anthony Iannarino on January 26, 2012

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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