In many instances, we limit ourselves in how we go about selling into large accounts. Sales managers work diligently to “even out” territories ensuring everyone has a chance to make lots of money. But in the end, sales people struggle to reach their full sales potential. Why? Because their biggest enemy is their own perspective. Here are two main scenarios illustrating the point.

Large Accounts with Big Names but Little Revenue

We know that large accounts with big names like Apple, Microsoft, Merck, UPS or Citigroup spend a tremendous amount of money to ensure their businesses are successful. They sign very large contracts with other companies, but not with yours. You look at these accounts as small since they currently do not bring in much revenue to your company. Isn’t this a self-limiting view?

What if you looked at these accounts differently? If you’re always thinking of these large accounts as “small,” then aren’t you possibly underestimating their potential? One recommendation is to do more market research, upfront, to understand what each firm is trying to accomplish in big, broad business terms. Such information is typically found in annual reports, analyst calls, 10-Ks, etc. Then, determine the value your product and services can bring to that firm by figuring out some small, medium and large revenue assumptions. Finally, look at the overall potential of the account and then assign territories. Although the potential purchasing timing may not be known, it will give you a better swag at territory development.

Now, these big-name, large accounts may not truly need your product and services, and therefore may be deemed a smaller revenue account. But, as a sales manager, you have to do the research (or have someone do it for you) first to ensure territories are as equally distributed as possible based on valid data.

Large Accounts that Yield Sales Equal to Quota

In this scenario, you have the same large accounts, but you only sell them what will help you make quota. The key issue is, you’re failing to see the potential of the account in totality and/or you are self-limiting what you believe is a large investment for your customer. If you only price opportunities at a price point that gets you to quota or a bit above, with no view as to the potential value of the big-name account, then you are most definitely leaving money on the table. Typically, this occurs when you don’t truly understand the value your products and services can deliver to your prospect/customer. Or, you have a self-limiting perception of what a big deal really is. For example, your view of money is limiting if you think $2 million dollars is a lot of money for the customer to spend, even though they get hundreds of millions in value per year.

In the first scenario, you’re limiting yourself since you view the account as small from a revenue perspective – that’s your perspective, not your customer’s. You do the same in the second scenario by limiting the opportunity to fit into our quota. They may pay more money for your products and services, but in your view, you limit yourself by thinking that’s a lot of money, so why bother going for more?

Reach Your Full Potential

Eliminate those self-limiting thoughts when looking at large accounts. It’s all about the potential of what your products and services can provide to these bigger clients. Determining the size of the deal depends on what you find out by researching the account and talking to executives. Gain perspective on their major initiatives and goals over the next 1-3 years and what the value means to them specifically. That being said, don’t forget about the many smaller accounts that could have just as much or more potential for your products and services. Are you limiting yourself in both large accounts and small, and not selling to your full potential?


Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter