Cross-sell and upsells are big opportunities for business to business (B2B) companies of any size. With zero advertising or customer acquisition costs, it’s strategic selling at its finest. But selling additional products or services to existing customers using your client services and account management teams who aren’t keen on selling, takes some finesse. The key is making the process seamless and automated. 
Of course, it begins with solid strategy. 

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 either at the time of sale or down the road. Typically, and ideally, these products or services are related to what the consumer is already buying or using. 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. 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 selling upgrades and additional services after the initial sale, it’s a bit more complex than extra fries and window seats. When empowering your client services and account management teams to set up the ask, you’ll need to start with some classic questions - “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Why,” and “How.” 

Step 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 even if it's carried out by non-sales team members. It might be helpful to work backwards here, starting with revenue goals. If “X” clients upgrade their software, what would that mean to the bottom line? If “X” clients were saved from churn, would that ease the burden on the sales team? Specific numbers here are helpful in your overall strategy. 

Step 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. Maybe key stakeholders aren’t involved after the sale. How can you re-engage or keep them part of the discussion? 

If your client base is well divided up into buying preferences, products or services, which segments are the most profitable? Which are most vulnerable to churn? Where are your biggest cheerleaders? These might be the perfect places to start.

Step 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.” 

Knowing the journey can help you determine what to offer in the cross-sell or upsell and when it makes the most sense. What needs to happen during the onboarding, adoption and retention stages to support growth through a cross-sell? This may be increased overall usage, visibility on how to maximize your product, ongoing client services support and more. 

Step 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. 

Step 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,” — strategic assets delivered on a timeline for maximum engagement. These are the emails, webinars, videos, and more that help you stay engaged with your customer while setting the stage for the cross- or upsell. 

Ideally, these are all automated for seamless execution by your client service team. You can still add personalization at any point, but this final step will help you streamline the process, empowering your team and, ultimately, empowering the buyer throughout the journey. 

Client cross-selling and upselling strategies can mean big business for B2B groups. 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 through targeted engagement. 

Are the wheels turning? Our experts at ProteusEngage help B2B groups connect with their clients for more revenue opportunities. Best of all, our proven Keep and Grow process takes the load, and the guesswork off your to-do list. Schedule a discovery call to learn more. 

About ProteusEngage

Meet the World’s First Collaboration Platform for Customer Success and Relationship-Based Selling, powered by our Proven Engagement Formula. 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.