Client cross-selling is nothing new in the seasoned sales process. We’ve all been offered more fries at the drive-thru or been tempted by the perfectly positioned baked goods display when we order a coffee. Offering a second sale at the time of purchase is a classic approach and for restaurants and retail, fairly straightforward. 

In the business to business (B2B) world, where selling cycles are complex, intense and long, client cross-selling can be equally complex and intense, but just as profitable to the bottom line. Effective cross-selling strategies are worth your time but require some strategy, some planning...and a few dos and don’ts to avoid alienating your prospect and risking the sale entirely. 

Do: Empower Your Buyer

It’s the age of buyer empowerment. Buyers no longer come to you with simple questions on price and features. They know you and your competitors before your very first meeting. Buyer empowerment has absolutely changed the B2B sales tools and strategies, but it has its advantages. An empowered buyer means you can build more meaningful connections and additional customer engagement right from the start. Connection provides value. Connection fosters relationships. All this means more trust between sellers and buyers throughout the sales process, including the cross-sell. 

Do: Offer Value by Understanding Client Needs

Think about your customers at every stage of the selling process. Who’s involved? What’s their position? What are their motivators? What are their pain points? These answers provide a literal map to determine what to cross-sell and when. Outline untapped opportunities that alleviate specific pain points. Look back at past sales to see what worked and what didn’t (your client management software helps here). Above all, make sure your cross-sell provides value and makes sense for you and the buyer. 

Don’t: Overwhelm Your Customer with Too Many Choices

There’s a fantastic experiment from social scientist Sheena Iyengar on cross-selling in a retail environment. At a supermarket in the mid-90s, Iyengar set up a sampling station and alternated between offering 24 and six choices of jam to shoppers. Of course, the goal of sampling stations is to sell more products—a classic cross-sell—but Iyengar was curious on whether the number of choices affected revenue. At the end of the experiment, Iyengar found that when she offered only six items, a significantly higher percentage of consumers added the jam to their carts. The same principle should be applied to B2B sales enablement strategies. Client cross-sales should be limited only to those that are concise, make sense and provide the most value to consumers. Now’s not the time to throw all the spaghetti on the wall. 

Don’t: Overwhelm Your Sales Team with Too Many Choices

Lyengar’s supermarket jam experiment is just as much about human behavior as it is about purchasing power. The same principle can be applied to your sales team when they’re faced with 24 cross-sell opportunities versus six. Make sure your client cross-sell strategies have been fully vetted and are concise and automated for your sales team. By simplifying the process, sales knows exactly what to offer, how to offer it and when. At Proteus, we call these “plays”—the emails, whitepapers, webinars, videos, etc., needed to close the deal. You probably already have a list of these for the initial sale. Adding them to client cross-sell opportunities can make a huge difference in meeting revenue goals. 

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.