How sellers can use AI to improve whitespace analysis

8 minute read

When we speak about AI in sales and its potential impact, we would be remiss not to specifically focus on whitespace and AI. AI can be a powerful tool for targeting whitespace revenue – low hanging fruit to the seller.  

This guide is going to focus specifically on the impact of AI on whitespace. Although we will discuss the background of whitespace in general, you can learn more about the importance of whitespace in our guide on the topic. 

What is whitespace in sales? 

Surprisingly tricky to measure, sales whitespace is the existing untapped opportunity within customer accounts to cross-sell and up-sell. Once your team has done the hard work of cultivating a relationship, instilling themselves as a trusted advisor, and landing and expanding a deal, without a strategy to target whitespace effectively, they are not reaping 100% of the fruit of their labor. Still, most companies undervalue this critical sales channel, often to the point where they haven’t even set up key performance indicators (KPIs) around it.  

How has AI forever changed the way sellers do whitespace analysis? 

AI has significantly impacted how sales teams conduct whitespace analysis, making it more efficient and targeted while also increasing return on investment. Here’s a breakdown of the key changes since AI has graced the world of selling. 

Faster Identification of Untapped Potential:

AI-powered tools can analyze vast amounts of customer data, purchase history, and even social media interactions to pinpoint areas where existing customers might be receptive to additional products or services they haven’t considered yet. This saves sales reps time sifting through broad data sets and allows them to focus on qualified leads within existing customer accounts. 

Prioritization and Targeting:

AI can analyze numerous factors like customer size, industry, past purchases, and even sentiment in communication to prioritize whitespace opportunities. This allows sales teams to target the most promising leads within the identified white space, maximizing their conversion potential. 

Data-Driven Insights for Personalization:

AI can uncover hidden patterns and connections within customer data, revealing specific needs or preferences that weren’t readily apparent. Sales reps can leverage these insights to personalize their outreach and tailor their offerings to address the customer’s unique whitespace needs. 

Predictive Analytics for Future Opportunities:

Some advanced AI tools can analyze trends and predict future customer needs based on industry shifts, competitor actions, and even technological advancements. This allows sales teams to proactively identify white space opportunities before they even emerge, giving them a head start in capturing new markets. 

Automation and Streamlining:

AI can automate repetitive tasks associated with whitespace analysis, such as data collection, lead scoring, and basic outreach. This frees up valuable time for salespeople to focus on building relationships, crafting compelling pitches, and closing deals. 

How AI can help you target whitespace and grow revenue  

 Now that we’ve discussed what whitespace is in depth and why it should matter to your organization, you are wondering – how does AI help?  

When it comes to key account management and targeting whitespace, AI has a massive impact.  

Here are a few key areas that AI can help:  

Identify buyer intent   

You’ve put in the work to identify which of your accounts has the most potential upside for revenue growth. But how do you know their intent? Are they ready to make the leap? When it comes to cross-selling and upselling, processing, and understanding that intent ahead of your competition is critical. AI can process that data and address those signs before it’s humanly possible to do so.  

Being the first to address the needs of your key customers can give you a huge leg up on the competition.  

Improving customer interactions   

Limited amounts of time are spent face-to-face with the buyer. Sellers need to make use of this time wisely. By analyzing the information in your existing account and all your interactions with buyers within the buying group, AI can help sellers tailor solutions to the unique needs of their buyers, helping them to make the most out of each interaction. 

Better revenue team alignment  

The revenue team is critical to helping sellers uncover whitespace and navigate the complexities of the buying process. AI can help the revenue team work better together, and better work with potential buyers to provide tailored solutions, address needs and bolster customer satisfaction.  

AI does this by providing activity and behavioral information sales managers and leaders can use to find gaps and help steer their teams back on the right course before a minor slipup turns into a major deal slippage.  

Taking whitespace analysis social  

Many businesses realize how important social media is to sales. Social sellers outperform their peers, and many buyers are now using social media as their main information source. Luckily, AI can help streamline customer analysis from a social standpoint through complex algorithms and analytics.  

There are many ways they can do this – through analyzing common hashtags around their audience, and even which words are used most. Processing this sort of information at scale would have been impossible for a seller before. Today, it’s easy to do this in practice, and leads to unlocking extraordinary potential to connect with potential buyers.  

Beyond analyzing potential buyers themselves, AI can use data from social media to help sellers stay on top of the trends and topics that matter most to their ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), making it that much easier for them to position themselves as experts and thought leaders in their field.  

AI and whitespace: the relationship element 

Before leaving it at how important AI is going to be for the future of whitespace analysis, however, it’s vital to underlying the relationship element of whitespace analysis. As sales leaders find over and over again, it is the relationship that is the surest force in uncovering hidden opportunities in accounts. 

Existing customers are more likely to buy from you than new ones. They already have a proven track record of excellence with your business, and if you’ve played your cards right, you understand their unique challenges better than anyone. So how exactly important is the relationship element of whitespace element moving forward in the future? 

Relationships are crucial in sales whitespace analysis, even with advancements brought by AI. Here’s why: 

Understanding Needs, Not Just Data

While AI excels at analyzing data to identify potential whitespace opportunities, it can’t replace the human touch when it comes to truly understanding customer needs. Strong relationships allow sales reps to have open conversations, delve deeper into customer challenges, and uncover hidden needs that data might miss. 

Building Trust and Advocacy

Presenting whitespace opportunities can sometimes feel like upselling, which can be met with resistance. A strong relationship built on trust allows the salesperson to have a collaborative conversation. They can explain how the new offering addresses a specific customer pain point and how it aligns with their overall goals, fostering a sense of partnership and advocacy. 

Championing the Deal Internally: 

Even with a compelling proposal, getting internal buy-in for a new offering within the customer’s organization can be challenging. A strong relationship with key decision-makers allows the salesperson to become a trusted advisor, advocating for the solution and navigating internal hurdles to secure approval. 

Long-Term Growth and Retention: 

Whitespace analysis is most effective when used to build long-term relationships with customers. By focusing on solutions that truly benefit the customer, sales reps can foster loyalty and encourage repeat business. Strong relationships also open doors to future whitespace opportunities as the customer’s needs evolve. 

AI as a Relationship Enhancer: 

While AI can’t replace relationships, it can strengthen them. By automating tasks and providing insights, AI frees up time for salespeople to build rapport and have meaningful conversations with customers. Additionally, AI-powered data analysis can help personalize sales interactions, further strengthening the connection. 

Relationships are the cornerstone of successful sales whitespace analysis. AI is a powerful tool that can enhance the process, but it’s the human connection that ultimately unlocks hidden potential and fosters long-term customer success. 

The next frontier: AI and beyond 

 We’re amid rapid (and major) innovation, thanks to the arrival of artificial intelligence, which will usher in a new era of insights and scale. Here’s what’s coming in the world of Account Based Selling (ABS):  

Artificial intelligence will offer a new era of insights 

AI will offer sellers a far wider range of insights, giving them unprecedented levels of knowledge about their customers and how best to serve them. The better these insights get, the more people will hurry to adopt technology as an essential component of maximizing customer value.  

Soon, AI will be accepted by sales leaders, working together with them so closely that sellers may not even be fully cognizant of it.  

What will be clear, however, as insights become the chief currency of the AI-driven future – there will be no greater failure than for a seller or revenue team to miss forging meaningful, lasting connections. The ability of AI to hyper analyze customers, data and interactions will only raise the stakes for relationship sellers as buyers become accustomed to more.  

Sellers able to understand their customers’ businesses even better than they do themselves will be the very greatest, and shine far more even in the pre-AI world.  

In the end, no matter what advances in technology are made, selling comes down to one thing and one thing above all others: relationships that build trust. 


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