Uncomplicate – How to frame an upsell strategy

Uncomplicate by Freshworks brings you crisp and insightful videos which will focus on answering one tactical question around sales & marketing, support & collaboration, employee engagement, and growth.

You have your flagship product in place, and have garnered a swathe of customers who love your product. You now start building additional features, or even new products, and want to start cross-selling or upselling them to your set of loyal customers. 

What most startups do at this stage is to start treating these customers as ‘new’ prospects, and follow their standard sales strategy to cross-sell or upsell the features or products to them.

But this approach is flawed, according to Irit Eizips, Chief Customer Officer & CEO at CSM Practice. 

Companies should, instead, chart out a different strategy for their expansion selling (cross-sell and upsell) programmes, and make use of customer data to build the strategy out. 

Track and analyse data

“There’s quantitative data that we can get from different systems and there’s the qualitative data. The place and time to use those two areas of data is after you’re done with the sales handoff and the implementation – probably after a year, when you’ve established your case for product adoption and can start talking about additional things that you can do,” Irit says. 

Companies can curate qualitative data from people who speak to customers regularly, including customer success managers, account managers, support executives, delivery or services professionals. These different teams can serve as listening posts and collect data about the customer and his needs, and then pass the insight along to people who can take the expansion forward. 

Then there’s quantitative data. Support data, survey data, usage data, and even conversations that customers have on the community portals can provide companies with rich data that can be used to plan expansion selling strategies. For instance, from support data, you can track tickets and see which customer you can cross-sell and upsell training to. 

Upsell and cross-sell isn’t just about features and functions and other products you have but even services you can offer, Irit pointed out. 

Be proactive, not reactive

Most importantly though, companies should be proactive with their expansion selling, as opposed to being reactive when a customer expresses a business need that you see an opportunity for. 

Companies should plan recurring campaigns for expansion selling in addition to ad-hoc campaigns that are carried out as and when new products or features are launched. 

And they can tap into all the different pieces of data and analysing three different pieces of data, Irit says:

  • Consumption trends: What have the customers purchased versus what are they using 
  • Adoption trends: How much are they using, what’s the frequency of usage, what are some things we are expecting them to use but they’re not 
  • Goals and KPIs: How much value is the customer actually getting, what other business needs do they have and have they achieved their goals with us 

“What we want to do is to translate customer information into actionable insights,” Irit says.  

Companies can study the data to see which customers are likely to have a given set of business needs, compile a list, and share it with customer success managers or account managers who can validate that the need exists and start sharing the solutions. 

“What we want to do when designing the strategy is to take a look at what are the customers needs we know we can address, and then, based on the products and services we offer, what is the bundle we can offer a client that has that specific need,” Irit says. 

(This post was co-produced by Praveen Ramesh.)