Stop Ignoring the Opportunities for Cross-Selling and Upselling

Business professionals who primarily focus on new customer acquisition may be overlooking one important area of sales potential: cross-selling and upselling to existing customers.

Teaching your employees to cross-sell your product line better increases your company’s revenue—and adds value to your relationship with the customer. The more value your customers get out of your relationship, the more likely they are to be loyal.

And because it takes more effort and resources to acquire a new customer than to retain a loyal one, the return on investment you get from cross-selling and upselling is tangible.

How cross-selling adds value

Cross-selling your product line isn’t about tacking on extras that your customers don’t want in the first place. Nor is it about selling them a more expensive solution when it’s more than what they need.

Instead, cross-selling is about getting to know your customers’ business so well that you’re able to help them solve problems in unexpected ways. To do that, a salesperson needs to communicate with the customer.

That can take the form of anything, including a regular value-packed newsletter or a quarterly business strategy session with your bigger clients. This also gives you a chance to cross pollinate ideas among customers. If you learn that one customer is using your product in interesting ways, you can share that with your other customers to increase your product’s value.

This also helps keep your company’s value top of mind. “A lot of times, clients don’t understand what your benefit is,” Dainty says. “Or if it’s been two years since they bought your product, they may have forgotten. And they always have competitors knocking on the door.”

Don’t just assume everything is fine if you’re not hearing anything from your customers. They may be having a problem with your products, but they’re too busy to call your service desk.

How adding value sets your company apart

By effectively demonstrating the value that your customers get your flagship product and the add-on products, you’re cross-selling, you can make a strong case for why it’s worth working with your company.

How to get cross-selling right

Most companies don’t equip their teams with the tools they need to cross-sell new products.  Nor do most companies introduce new products to their sales teams effectively. The thing you want is to become an expert in the customer’s problem. Becoming an expert on your customers’ problems allows you to fine-tune the services and solutions you try to sell them, and to do so in a way that customers perceive as valuable rather than pushy.

Ultimately, investing in the growth of your customers—big and small—will increase your company’s revenue and help your customers grow.

If you’ve demonstrated your company’s value as your customer grows, you’ll see that return in loyalty.

Case Study: Relationship of Digital Video Viewership and TV Programming

Nielsen found…

The growing popularity of digital video finds more and more Americans watching TV content on desktops, smartphones and tablets. This change in how content is consumed has advertisers and agencies paying closer attention to the relationship between digital video viewership and traditional TV programming, and examining how emerging synergies between the two can be used to improve brand-building opportunities and boost campaign effectiveness.

YouTube commissioned a Nielsen study to explore the relationship between YouTube engagement and TV program viewership, and whether or not there is a direct correlation in viewing habits. Nielsen’s analysis revealed that there is in fact a positive connection between both YouTube views, uploaded TV content on YouTube and TV reach.

Key findings revealed a statistically significant relationship between TV reach and higher YouTube engagement among persons 18-years of age and older. The more people watched TV program content on YouTube, the more likely they were to tune into that show on linear TV. And conversely, YouTube viewership rose as TV program reach increased.

As digital video viewership continues to grow on platforms such as YouTube, advertisers, agencies and TV programmers have an opportunity to leverage the connection between digital views and TV audiences. This presents a valuable means to communicate brand messages to a wider audience, at the same time grow audience share.

Select this link for access to the entire case study.

Mobile Geo-fencing

With the increasing movement of consumers from traditional web browsing (i.e. laptop and desktop computers) to mobile browsing on tablets or smartphones, advertisers are now using a mobile marketing technique called geo-fencing when trying to target potential customers.

Geo-fencing is a variation on the more commonly known geo-targeting – that is, restricting the placement of digital ads so that they only show up to users within a predefined location.

Geo-fences help you establish and reach on-the-go audiences at the most opportune time and place. This radius precision technic sets a pre-determined geographic area and we then deliver your ads to users who are inside the fence based on GPS coordinates. Messages can also be set to appear during certain days/times to maximize reach.

By identifying mobile users’ precise locations based on GPS, you can send hyper-local messages to mobile devices. Ads can be sent to mobile users at and immediately around Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, YUM Center, RUPP Arena, Commonwealth Stadium, Churchill Downs, Keenland or any other desired sporting venue. It is also a perfect medium to reach conference attendees, college campuses, certain areas of a city, etc.

Get Employees Involved…

Let employees be your biggest champions and brand advocates.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Total cost – $0 

Have fun with selfies at company events. Mock selfies all you want. They’re the most popular form of self-expression on the Internet. Why wouldn’t companies take advantage of that?

Ask employees to write handwritten notes to customers and take photos. Don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note. We hear that more and more in today’s digital environment. Ask five employees to write one personal note per week to customers. Ask them to send the notes, but also ask them to take photos of their notes, blurring or hiding customer names, and post through your social channels. This way, you share with a wider audience and you also get one-on-one, intimate communication with your customers.

Ask employees to highlight “summer Fridays.” In the summer, many companies offer summer Friday hours. So, why not ask employees to share how they’re using their time away from the office to recharge and refresh? Consider aggregating all this content on your site or regramming through Instagram.

Have Employees on the same page as your advertising messages.

When you are investing money on new incentives, programs, services, etc., make sure your employees are up to date and well informed. For example, if a new product line or pricing features is being advertised and marketed, it is very important to make sure that employees who are actually interacting with customers can answer questions related to the new feature. Whether it’s a new rate on a CD or a new incentive from a car manufacturer, well informed employees can help boost your brand and customer experience.



Research Roundup: Know What Your Customers Want Before They Do

It is important be able to anticipate future needs of your customers. This will give you a competitive advantage as most of your competitors will only change after reacting to needs customers already have and may be shopping elsewhere to get. Her are a few tips to help you know what your customers want BEFORE they do.

  • Staple yourself to a customer’s order.  Track key customers’ experiences as they traverse your company’s pathways and note where the experience breaks down.  Some hospitals ask interns to experience the check-in process as fake patients. One client asked managers to listen in on its call center. If you can’t exactly put yourself through a customer experience, try role-playing exercises at all points of the customer’s experience with your company.
  • Field diverse customer teams.  One bank added members of the back-office support group to its customer team, supplementing the usual customer-facing roles. IBM sends senior teams from different disciplines into the field to meet customers and develop a deep understanding of how to serve them better.
  • Learn together with customers. GE invited its top customers in China, along with local executives and account managers, to a seminar on leadership and innovation. Doing so not only helped GE executives better understand the mindset of Chinese counterparts; it also helped them to influence that mindset.
  • Lean forward and anticipate.  Focus on what customers will want tomorrow, as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson did so exquisitely.  Try to envision different futures through tools like scenario planning and then explore how underlying market shifts may affect your customers.

Remember that sometimes you need to get out of your own way to really understand your customers. Psychologists know, for example, that you’re likely to listen for problems that fit your own offerings, and to discount others. That can cause you to miss important opportunities, or to get blindsided later.

So, try to listen with a third ear, as an anthropologist would, to what your customers are saying to you.  If you can truly hear them, they’ll tell you all you need to know.