It’s no secret that solid sales strategies make good sense for any business. And a crushing sales strategy means utilizing just about every tool in the box. Cross-selling and upselling are some of the most useful ways to drive revenue, but to achieve success, sales teams need to personalize, enable buyers, and build loyalty with customers. 

So just how can cross-selling and upselling move the needle? First, you need to know the differences between these two classic approaches. 

Client Cross-selling

Cross-selling is the age-old tactic of selling an additional product or service to a customer at the time of sale. Typically, and ideally, these products or services are related to what the consumer is already buying. 

Retailers and restaurants are industries that thrive on cross-selling. The fast-food industry’s “would you like fries with that,” has not only become a good punch-line but is the gold standard of cross-selling sales strategies. And the Amazons of the world have become digital retailing giants through cross-selling. No fries at Amazon, but they offer a variety of “you might also be interested in” products before you head to the checkout - even a few while you’re in the checkout. Amazon has become so good at cross-selling, they attribute 35% of their sales to the practice. That’s no small fries, especially in retail. 

But the benefits aren’t just limited to restaurants and retailers. Client cross-selling can positively affect the sales process of any team, from complex sales to business to business (B2B). The key is in understanding how products and offerings work together. The cross-sell must complement the original sale and make sense for the buyer. Sales teams often talk about cross-selling but fail on the execution of engagement with their current clients.

For more complex sales, you may need to hit that white board to brainstorm which offerings make the most sense including quarterly business reviews, scorecards, strategic plans - aka journeys to provide prescribed engagement with the clients - sales enablement for the modern buyer

Once you pin down which cross-sell products could make the most impact, let the buyer know exactly how this additional opportunity will benefit them from every angle. Start small, see what works, expand from there. 

Client Upselling 

Upselling, by contrast, offers customers a more expensive product, upgrade or add-on at the time of sale. It’s a bit trickier—you run a higher risk of alienating an already on-board customer—but it can turn into big results for sales strategies. 

Airlines have mastered upselling, a fact you probably already know if you’ve ever swapped that middle seat for a business class window. But other industries have also cashed in. The now retired “supersize” of the fast food industry is an example of upselling and the practice is practically bread and butter for software as a service (SAAS) companies because who really wants the version with ads or really limiting features? 

The art of upselling means knowing frontwards and backwards customer motivations at every stage of the process. It’s a fast-paced world, which means buyer wants and needs can change frequently. By keeping up with these fast-moving needs, sellers can be confident that the upsell offer is going to make an impact. 

In a complex sales process, upselling requires constant communication, on-point client relationship management and more. Test the waters, study what’s worked, and gather feedback from your existing loyal customer base to build effective upselling strategies. 

Offering fries at the end of the sale wasn’t a happy accident. It was a strategic sales enablement approach that allowed even 15-year-old cashiers to confidently affect the bottom line. 

Although there's some up-front work in figuring out how the pieces fit together and how they fit with buyer wants and needs, cross-selling and upselling can make a huge difference for any leader responsible for growth.

About ProteusEngage

Sales Enablement for the modern buyer, powered by a proven collaborative digital Workspace and buyer-centric communication ProteusEngage helps drive relationship success.

About Proteus Engage

The ProteusEngage sales enablement platform was designed by sales industry leaders who struggled with complex new business development and current client cross-sell success. ProteusEngage is different from any other sales enablement platform on the market as we leverage a buyer first methodology powered by proven Industry Prescriptions. ProteusEngage's one of a kind Workspaces drive engagement, collaboration, consistency and communication - driving relationships and revenue success.

Proteus Team

Post by Proteus Team

We at Proteus have developed relationships with multiple leaders from a variety of different industries, product, and service types. From these conversations, we've gathered some great insights.