There’s very many situations that gain clearer expression with application of the good ol’ 2×2 matrix. When I delivered a day’s coaching on political mapping not long back, the assembled throng thought that the Product Market Grid was the earliest business example, yet a case could be made for Napoleon’s method of prioritisation pre-dating Ansoff’s Box.
In any case, I was delighted to read over a cuppa thoughts from SPI’s blog [update: dead link replaced, here with the training vendor’s territory segmentation analysis pitch page] on how a solution seller should focus in straitened times through a 3-celled 2×2.
Their recommended credit crunch recession-busting trick is to segment your buying universe along relationship-closeness and spend-potential lines. You should naturally address most of your efforts to those more likely to award the largest orders. What is interesting about their approach though, is that the degree to which you are ‘in bed’ with them doesn’t seem to necessarily matter.
This is because they believe that such “highest business potential scores” accounts require the same skillset to win deals from, whether they’re yet-to-be-won or longheld accounts. It is on such opportunities where “you should spend more than half of your time in targeted business development activities”.
The further you’d move along this path I reckon you could become less focused on relationship strength (which should always remain a key) as you zoom in on exactly how you ascertain, then verify, potential spend.