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Cross Selling Vs Upselling: What You Need to Know

All in all, there are two major approaches to driving more sales revenue: Getting new accounts or growing the value of existing ones.

If your enterprise has a strong inbound marketing operation, you probably already have your pipeline full of eager, highly qualified new leads. But, no matter how well things are going in terms of new business, existing customers still represent a huge reservoir of opportunity.

Cross-selling and upselling are complementary ways to take those relationships further.

What is Upselling?

If your enterprise provides solutions with many tiers of service, then upselling is probably for you.

Upselling is expanding value by getting customers to move to a high-end product, usually a version of one that they already use. Sales pros have a great example of this in their back pocket: Customer Relationship Management systems and other productivity software they rely on daily.

CRMs are usually licensed to sales teams based on either the number of distinct users (“seats”) or the number of contacts they need to keep track of.

Email marketing software works the same way; so do many other tools used in SEO, Web development, and digital advertising.

In effect, upselling makes an existing, primary product more expensive.

The question is: How do you know when it’s the right time to upsell?

Customers tend to be ready for a “new and improved” solution when they reach a bottleneck with their existing one. What this looks like from your perspective depends on the nature of your offerings. In software, there are some telltale signs:

  • Multiple users keep using one account instead of creating additional ones that cost more.
  • The customer frequently reaches any monthly resource limit before the end of the month.
  • Customers consistently try to access features only available in a more advanced version.

If it doesn’t seem like you can get the information you need to upsell at the right time, consult with your technical team to see if new analytics features can be added. With the right data, you can tailor your upsell discussion to the specific needs the customer already has.

What is Cross-Selling?

Cross-selling is the art of finding new solutions that boost the usefulness of existing ones.

Cross-selling usually introduces an accessory that’s separate from, but enhances, another product.

For example, retail brands that bundle a desktop computer and a printer at the same time are cross-selling. You could buy either one separately and each would still be useful without the other.

Odds are that if your company already has a full portfolio of interrelated goods and services, you have a strong sense of how they all fit together. Still, cross-selling should be something you put on your calendar and spend time on as part of your regular follow-up strategy.

Customers are often focused on the solutions they use and won’t go browsing through everything you have to offer. You might have to read between the lines to spot a cross-selling opportunity.

Sales and marketing teams can work together to leverage the power of cross-selling early in the buying process. Since it’s most likely to be successful right as customers first make a purchase, cross-selling suggestions should integrate into the Web experience.

By supplying marketers with information on common customer objections and questions, sales pros can help them make sure that Web content and UX are aligned with maximum cross-selling.

Cross-selling is much more effective in some industries than others. Manufacturing and other sectors centered on capital equipment enable easier cross-selling because products unlock synergies with immediate, measurable effects – making it easier for customers to justify in their budget.

Cross-Selling and Upselling Work Together to Strengthen Your Business

Upselling has a bigger place in the business model of most companies than cross-selling, especially once customers reach maturity. Still, both approaches to selling have their place in the big picture.

By being alert to the ways your products work together and how they can add value in different situations, you’ll be more likely to recognize chances to strengthen a given account. Every time you do that, you’ll not only help your customers to excel, but also deepen brand loyalty.

You can formalize your approach to upselling by making sure related questions are consistently used on your discovery calls. Once a customer is on board with your solutions, check the account status every now and then for telltale signs it’s time to upsell.

After the initial sale, cross-selling means you have to be perceptive. Check in with customers now and then – on account “anniversaries” and after trigger events – to keep them informed about purchases that could meet their changing needs.

Even most experienced sales pros aren’t getting all the mileage they could out of cross-selling and upselling. That makes them an exciting and wide open horizon to achieve even better sales results.

Inbound Sales Process

Rob Steffens

Rob Steffens

I am the Director of Sales & Marketing here at Bluleadz. I'm a recent newlywed who enjoys spending time with my wife vegging out and binging our favorite shows or getting some exercise on the Racquetball court.