Do the reps on your team push for the close -- and then vanish from buyers’ lives, never to be seen again?

If so, your company is losing out on a valuable source of revenue.

It’s far easier to sell to existing customers than bring on new ones. After all, your salespeople don’t have to prospect, qualify, or build a relationship. They’ve already established trust and credibility, and even better, they know their clients’ needs, goals, and preferences.

In addition, expanding the account means clients are less likely to churn. The more products and services they’ve invested in, the more difficult it will be to switch vendors or develop an in-house solution.

Customers also benefit from being cross- and upsold. Adding complementary offerings helps them derive more value from your product or service; plus, it strengthens the connection between their company and yours so they have greater access to your expertise and guidance.

To encourage your reps to cross- and upsell, use these four strategies.

1) Require Semi-Annual Check-Ins

Every six months, your salespeople should check with their customers to review their progress, gauge their satisfaction, and look for opportunities to expand the account.

It’s a good idea to foreshadow these calls before the deal is even won. For example, during the sales presentation, a rep might say, “In addition to [X resources] we have for our customers, I’ll meet with you twice a year to answer any questions you might have and make sure you’re getting as much value as possible from the product.”

Once it’s nearing the six-month marker, they should schedule a 30-minute call. Here’s the general agenda your salespeople should use -- have them send it to the customer in advance so everyone starts the meeting on the same page.

  • 5 minutes: Intros
  • 10 minutes: Answering questions
  • 10 minutes: Discussion of [new product, additional offering]
  • 5 minutes: Feedback

After a rep has met any new stakeholders, she should help the customer with any problems they may be facing. Then, using her knowledge of their situation and history with her company, she can introduce a new offering. For example, she could say, “In the past six months, you’ve increased your order quantity of [X material] by 20%. It would be cost-effective to buy [Y material] at the same time -- by purchasing it from us rather than another supplier, you’ll save [Y amount] on every shipment.”

Or if she’s a software rep, she might lead with something like, “Your organization’s users spend [number of minutes or hours] each week in this section of the tool. Based on that, I think you’d benefit from [Y related add-on] -- it’ll help you [solve a specific problem, finish this task more quickly and efficiently, save money in X way, etc.]”

2) Eliminate Your Reps’ Fear of Checking In

Some salespeople dislike calling on customers. They fear they’ll be blamed if the product hasn’t lived up to their customer’s expectations. However, in my experience, the customer takes 90% of the blame -- if not more -- if the product isn’t performing how they’d like. In other words, they’ll attribute their disappointment to a lack of time, effort, energy, and so on.

If you notice a rep who seems hesitant to check in, ask what they think will happen. You may need to probe a little, but they’ll usually end up saying they’re afraid of the customer canceling. Tell them that’s highly unlikely to happen -- and that these are the three common outcomes:

  • The customer is thrilled with the product, giving your rep the perfect opportunity to cross- or upsell them
  • The customer is satisfied with the product, and the rep can help them work out any issues they’re experiencing and potentially sell them more features, products, or services
  • The customer is unhappy, in which case the rep or account manager can develop a plan to help them (and hopefully salvage the relationship)

3) Educate Your Reps and Customers

Your reps can’t sell new products or services if they don’t understand them. Every time your company launches a new offering, hold product training sessions. These should cover the product’s functionality, use cases, and potential ROI, along with how to position it and which types of customers and/or prospects it’s best for.

Public product webinars help you educate your customers in a scalable yet engaging way. Have a product expert -- whether that’s a product marketer, your CTO, or even your CEO -- explain the product and answer questions from the audience. You can even record these demos so your reps can use them to email current customers.

4) Teach Your Reps to Continually Add Value

Nothing suggests you care less about your client’s success than ignoring them until you want more money. That’s why reps should periodically add value to their customers’ lives without any immediate requests.

For instance, your salesperson might set a Google alert so she knows every time her client’s company is mentioned in the news. When they expand to a new office, she can call or email to say congratulations and connect them with a local expert they may find helpful.

Or perhaps her contact posts on LinkedIn he’s looking for audio producers. Your rep should send along the name of a producer in her network who might be a good fit.

These gestures prove to customers your salespeople are fully invested in them. When the time comes to cross- or upsell them, they’ll be more than willing to engage.

You can promote this behavior in four ways. First, set the expectation that all of your salespeople should contact their customers twice per year at the minimum.

Second, bring in current customers to team-wide meetings so they can discuss their experiences. This will show your reps the impact of adding value after the sale.

Third, make sure you have a library of resources (blog posts, ebooks, videos, white papers, and so on) on a variety of topics relevant to customers. Encourage your reps to pull from this content when communicating with their clients.

Fourth, use your one-on-ones to monitor progress. For instance, you could ask, “What have you done this week to drive cross- and upsells?” You’ll keep the objective top-of-mind for your reps.

These techniques will help you turn your sales team into a cross- and upselling machine. You’ll see the difference in your results.

HubSpot CRM

Originally published Mar 17, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated June 15 2021


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