Upselling techniques and cross-selling strategies to increase sales

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Copper Staff

Contributors from members of the Copper team

5 of our favorite tips to drive more revenue with current customers

We’re all familiar with upselling techniques and hearing questions like, “Would you like to upsize your meal today?” or “Do you want to sign up for our store credit card and save twenty-five percent?”

From fast-food restaurants and retail stores to online e-commerce stores and SaaS companies, there’s a reason all these businesses employ upselling and cross selling strategies. In short, they’re effective at increasing revenue. In fact, upselling alone can increase profit by up to 30%.

It’s also relatively easy to identify upselling and cross selling strategies in B2C environments where the customer journey is fairly linear. However, creating those same strategies in B2B businesses can be a bit trickier.

So, let’s look at some best practices for upselling and cross selling and see what it takes to create upselling and cross selling strategies to increase sales in your B2B business.

The difference between upselling techniques and cross selling strategies

The terms upselling and cross selling are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these two terms mean totally different things.

Upselling is getting someone to buy a more expensive version of something they’re purchasing or have already purchased. For example, getting someone to upgrade their software package from the introductory offer to the intermediate one is an example of an upsell.

Cross selling is about getting a prospect to purchase services or products in addition to what they’ve already purchased or are purchasing. Warranties and add-on services are popular examples of cross selling.

Both are important strategies to increase sales in your B2B business, but you have to know when to do each. Upselling is often more straightforward because customers can easily see and compare the difference.

Cross selling, on the other hand, has the potential to dilute and confuse the offer if you don’t do it correctly. For example, if you’re pitching your marketing services to a client and then you try to cross sell your web hosting solutions, things might get a bit confusing.

We’ll talk more about timing in but, but suffice it to say that both upselling and cross selling are valuable techniques to use in your business.

Effective cross selling and upselling techniques require the entire team

One of the most crucial things to realize is that cross selling and upselling are both team sports. You shouldn’t leave it all to one salesperson. Here’s why.

Client relationship management really takes the whole team because every connection you make within an organization creates a new opportunity to strengthen your relationship with that company.

For example, a typical sales process goes something like this:

Let’s say you offer HR technology.

  • Your salesperson might initially connect with an information gatherer.
  • That information gatherer might take that information back to the HR manager.
  • On a second call, your salesperson might bring in a sales lead to talk to the HR manager.
  • The HR manager says they plan to pass the information up to the VP of HR.
  • So, your sales team says they’ll schedule a call with the VP of HR and your VP of sales for the following week.
  • After the deal is closed, their IT department contacts your IT department to onboard the technology.

Now, this is relatively normal to have a bunch of people involved in the initial process. The magic happens when you continue those relationships. In this one deal, your team got to meet four different people inside the organization.

If you each add every point of connection to a follow-up pipeline, you have four paths with which to slow pitch upsells and cross sells. So, if you all add each of these people into your normal call cycle, you can all hint at an upsell to the higher package months before they’re even available to renew and upgrade.

This ensures that the entire team is already on the same page and that they’ve had ample time to think about it. That way, when it comes time for your salesperson to try and upsell their subscription, they’ll already be ready to take action. But, of course, timing is everything.

How to know the right time

Trying to upsell your customers at the wrong time can be just as bad as not upselling at all. For example, if your SaaS client has decided to cancel their annual subscription, you don’t want to try and upsell them to a higher-cost plan at that point.

Instead, you want to offer upsells and cross-sells when the relationship is on solid footing. Upselling to happy, existing customers has a 70% probability of closing, so you want to take the time to build rapport and establish trust with your customers before offering an upsell.

You have a bit more leniency with cross selling. Sometimes the cross sell opportunity presents itself quite naturally. For example, let’s say you’re a marketing consultancy specializing in SEO, CPC ads and social media. One of your social media prospects mentions their primary goal is to increase website traffic. There’s a clear opportunity to also cross sell your SEO consulting services as well.

In both scenarios, it’s important to know your client’s temperature. You have to really listen to their needs and know the best way to meet them with your cross selling and upselling options.

5 upselling and cross selling tips and strategies to increase sales

Here are five of our favorite cross selling and upselling strategies.

1. Identify your customer personas and map the journeys

Start by creating customer personas. After all, your SMBs won’t have the same needs as your enterprise-level clients. For that reason, you can’t upsell and cross sell them the same way. Instead, create personas and identify their different needs.

Then, take time to map the upselling and cross selling opportunities in your customer journeys and plan the timing. Having a rough flow or outline of when to offer cross sells and upsells to each client type.

This will help ensure you are marketing to each customer appropriately and not leaving opportunities on the table.

2. Incorporate cross selling and upselling into your sales objectives

If you want to succeed with cross selling and upselling, you have to include them in your sales objectives. Identify concrete goals and incorporate cross selling strategies and upselling techniques into your sales funnels.

For example, if you use scripts, you need to include scripting for upselling and cross selling, too. You can’t just say, “Hey! We want to increase upsells by 20% this quarter,” and not create any meaningful paths for getting there.

3. Make asking questions a normal part of the customer journey

Asking questions and getting to know your clients is part of building good relationships, but it’s also crucial for identifying which services to cross-promote and whether a client needs to be upsold. You want to focus on building a long-term relationship with the client, anyway, so these questions help serve both purposes.

Have your entire team practice active listening and incorporate some specific questions into every phone call. Doing so will help make sure your team is timing the upsells and cross sells appropriately, and it might even highlight some additional areas to cross sell.

4. Focus on the value (and accept the “no”)

At their core, your upselling and cross selling offers have to provide value for your customers. If they don’t, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Ask yourself what problems your add-on products and more expensive solutions solve. Then, focus on that value when pitching the offer.

Keep in mind that no matter how good the offer is or how much it might help the client, you’re still going to get a lot of nos. So, you need to prep your sales team for that and make it okay to take “no” for an answer.

The last thing you want to do is be pushy with your upsells and cross-sells. Your ultimate goal should be to increase your customer’s LTV. If you scare them off with overzealous upselling tactics, you’re going to risk losing them altogether.

Instead, focus on the long-term value, and if they’re not interested, move on and work to find other ways to provide value to them.

5. Incorporate these opportunities post-purchase

Be sure to create upselling techniques and cross selling strategies in between sales, too. Remember, the more times your team has mentioned an offer, the more likely your client will be ready to take it when the time rolls around.

If you see an opportunity to add on a service in the middle of a contract – do it. If you see the option to upgrade your client’s plan in the middle of their annual membership – make it happen.

There are so many opportunities between the normal sales cycles when your clients have additional needs. Take time to cultivate these relationships and have conversations even after a sale is finished because you never know what problems you can help your customer solve in between transactions.

Bonus tip: keep everything straight with a CRM

When you’re trying to incorporate upselling techniques and cross selling strategies, it can be challenging to keep everything straight and everyone on the same page. That’s where a CRM can help.

A CRM helps keep the entire team on the same page while increasing upsells and cross sells. And, when you choose a relationship-centric CRM, like Copper, you can easily keep track of your client details and streamline your entire sales and marketing pipeline right from within your favorite Google apps.

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