Upsell and cross-sell campaigns can increase revenue, enhance customer experience and multiply your initial investment in earning a prospect’s business. We asked Launch Marketing’s executive team (Christa Tuttle – CEO, Shawna Boyce – Executive Director, Jeff Raymond – Executive Director) for their answers to four key questions to address in designing successful upsell and cross-sell campaigns.
1. What should teams focus on when building an upsell or cross-sell campaign?
Jeff: Focusing on customer’s needs and objectives is first and foremost. I would never recommend approaching these types of campaigns from the standpoint of “who could we possibly upsell or cross-sell this solution to?” Instead, I approach them from a customer-centric perspective of “who would genuinely have a need for or derive value from this product or solution?”
Shawna: A related way to think about it is in terms of personas. If you’ve only developed prospect personas, know that it’s important to also personify your customers- some will be appropriate for a cross-sell or upsell opportunity while others will not. Personas help you group customers based on who you can provide value to, their level of benefit and how to best speak to them in these campaigns.
Jeff: Building on that, it’s also important to consider negative personas and define what characteristics make some customers ill-fit for this type of campaign. Weeding out customers or prospects that are not ideal for upsell or cross-sell can serve as a good starting point.
Christa: I often think of upsell and cross-sell campaigns as a low-hanging fruit. Once you’re targeting people who have already gone through the lengthy sales process and transitioned to being a customer, you’re working with someone who’s a little more brand loyal, understands your proven solution and starts off on your side from the beginning.
2. What are some best practices to implement an upsell or cross-sell strategy? Where might they differ?
Christa: As Shawna mentioned, homing in on customer personas and understanding where they are in the customer life cycle is critical. For instance, if you’ve just sold someone a software package with core functionality, it may be appropriate to offer additional support or functionality packages as they hit certain milestones. In contrast, it wouldn’t make sense to immediately offer them a different or upgraded model from what they’ve just purchased.
Jeff: Examining the five Ws (who, what, where, when, why) is a helpful best practice for planning these campaigns. “Who” addresses the demographic and behavioral criteria that defines the intended recipients. “What” establishes which products or solutions are truly relevant based on the customer’s current situations and needs. “Where” focuses on channels that enable communication to only your targeted audience, whether via email, retargeting, direct mail, etcetera. “Why” encompasses the messaging that addresses customers’ needs and communicates the value added by the offer. “When” define items like whether your campaign will be time-bound or if an upsell/cross-sell should be offered automatically each time customers reach certain engagement milestones.
Shawna: Always get input too from internal team members that have already built personal relationships with your customers. In tandem with the marketing-oriented elements we’ve discussed, they can play a vital role either by personally extending an offer themselves or just by checking to see if their customer has any questions about offer details they already received.
3. How does sales and marketing impact the execution of these types of campaigns?
Christa: Sales and marketing alignment is a foundational component of any business – both marketing and sales need to openly communicate and have a shared understanding of the ideal client profile, their needs and pain points and agreement of how to define each stage of the funnel. Since B2B sales are typically more complex and relationship-based, maintaining a high degree of transparency and collaboration is critical.
Shawna: Exactly. With these longer sales cycles, you also don’t want teams encroaching on one another. For example, sales won’t want marketing teams disrupting prospects with an upsell or cross-sell campaign as they’re getting close to the conversion stage. You really need to be aligned every step of the way in order to be mutually supportive throughout the sales cycle.
Jeff: Sales and marketing alignment is no more or less important at any one stage over another. Christa said it best when she referred to it as a “foundational” component for everything from a B2B business development perspective. That is certainly no different when it comes to cross-sell or upsell campaigns.
4. Why do you think this type of campaign is important for B2B firms?
Jeff: Like the adage that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers, your best source of additional revenue is most often existing customers. Or, if we’re talking in terms of the prospecting phase, selling to someone who’s already that far down the pipeline is easier than restarting the sales cycle with a brand-new customer.
Christa: When done right, cross-sell and upsell campaigns can add value to the initial investment that the company has already made. Not only are you boosting your revenue, but the added value you’re giving to the customer gives you the opportunity to build a stronger relationship and foster an improved customer experience. This can translate to more brand loyal customers or even brand advocates for you in the long run.
Shawna: These campaigns are also important because on the flip side, if you get it wrong, an attempted cross-sell or upsell can really turn people off from your brand if they’re under the impression that you just want more money from them and aren’t actually focusing on their needs. The customer should always be at the forefront, otherwise these campaigns can severely damage your relationship with the customer and your company’s reputation in the process.
Constructing your next up-sell/cross-sell campaign? Schedule a free 1:1 consultation with one of the Launch Marketing experts for more on how to make the most of it.
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