Why is it that so many business to business (B2B) companies are focusing on building client cross-sell and upsell strategies?

It’s because they work. 

Not only are existing customers more likely to buy after or during the time of sale, there’s also no mess with additional advertising or customer acquisition costs. It’s strategic selling at its finest. Which makes now a great time to invest some time in effective cross-sell and upsell sales enablement strategies. But where to start?  

First, a brief overview of cross-sell and upsell: 

Client Cross-Sell is the practice 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. If you’ve ever been asked to buy fries at the drive-thru, you’ve experienced cross-selling. 

Client Upselling offers customers a more expensive product, upgrade or add-on at the time of sale. Upgrading for the ad-free version of your favorite app, or trading your aisle seat for a window are all examples of upselling. 

For B2B companies and complex sales processes, cross-selling and upselling isn’t quite as easy as extra fries and window seats. To build a sales enablement strategy that works, we head to some classic questions - “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Why,” and “How.” 

1. Your “Why”

The first step is to understand your goals, your “why.” Strategic selling processes should align with and complement your overall sales initiatives. It might be helpful to work backwards here, starting with revenue goals. What sales are needed to help you reach your goals? Which services or products could be most effective? For past campaigns, look at performance stats, conversion rates, sales velocity and customer needs. The more data the better in buttoning up your strategies. 

2. Understanding “Who”

There’s no buyer enablement until you know who the buyer is. Think about your customers at every stage of the process. Who’s involved? What’s their position? What are their motivators and pain points? These answers vary throughout the journey, especially in more complex sales processes, so a clear map is important in understanding how and what to cross- or upsell. 

You may even want to divide your client base into different segments based on buying preferences, products or services. Which segments are the most profitable? Which have the most lifetime value potential? Segments could be divided by region, industry or product interest. Your customer relationship management (CRM) tools can be helpful here for reference. 

3. The Client Journey, Your “When” 

Understanding the customer journey is essential to know when to offer the cross-sell or upsell. You may need to map out several journeys for each client segment and show cycles or stages within the journey like “acquisition,” “onboarding/adoption,” “growth.” For complex sales, the journeys could be, well, complex. But knowing the journey can help you determine what to offer in the cross-sell or upsell and when it makes the most sense. 

A proper view of the journey can also help shape the cycles and stages. What needs to happen during the onboarding, adoption and retention stages to support growth through a cross-sell? This may be increased overall usage, continued engagement from the sales team, ongoing support and more. 

4. The Client Cross-Sell and Upsell, the “What”

The client journey helps determine the best time to offer a cross-sell or upsell opportunity. Now’s the fun part, determining the “what.” Match your client cross-sell and upsell services and products to opportunities in various customer segments and journeys. Start by looking at what’s already working, what makes the most sense and historically, what has had the biggest impact. 

5. “How” It Comes Together

The final step is mapping out the marketing activities for each cross-sell and upsell opportunity. We like to call these “plays.” Think emails, webinars, videos, phone scripts and more to provide scope to the offer. Your goal here is to show the buyer how the opportunity benefits them from every angle. You can still add personalization at any point, but this final step will help you automate strategic selling, empowering the sales process and, ultimately, empowering the buyer throughout the journey. 

Client cross-selling and upselling strategies can mean big business for B2B groups and more. But winging it is just not an option. Stop leaving money on the table and start creating your killer client cross-selling and upselling strategies.

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.