Research shows that selling additional products and services to an existing customer is much more efficient than onboarding a new customer.
It makes sense, right - you already have the relationship in place, you understand their goals and business challenges, and you’ve gotten most of the initial logistics out of the way already. If the relationship has been successful for both parties so far, both the client and agency should continue to benefit from building on top of the efficiencies they've already built together.
But more efficient doesn’t always mean easier or that it's the right move.
Cross-selling vs. Upselling
First, we need to clear up some terminology that often gets used interchangeably but means two distinct things.
Cross-selling is selling additional (often complementary) services to an existing customer. The classic example of this is “Do you want fries with that?”
Upselling is selling a more advanced (and therefore higher priced) version of the same product to an existing customer. Sticking with the fast food example, this would be things like adding bacon to a cheeseburger or going from a medium to a large drink.
Why leverage your digital presence for cross-selling and upselling?
Digital is a lever that I feel often gets overlooked in cross-selling and upselling strategies, which is a huge missed opportunity.
Have a "always on" advocate
For starters, your website/digital presence are essentially a 24/7/365 salesperson, available to provide information and guidance to your audience whenever they need it. Studies show that buyers are up to 70% through their purchase journey before involving a sales rep - this is no different for your customers just because you work with them.
Your website is an extension of your sales team, answering questions and helping prospects understand if your agency is a good match for them or not.
Pull, don't push
There can be a delicate balance between recommending additional products and services to customers that you think they would benefit from, and coming off as pushy.
Your agency's digital presence should support a customer going through a strategic, self-guided discovery that naturally leads them to offerings that would enhance the value of their partnership with you.
That self-discovery is key. They can operate at their own pace and, assuming your content team works hand in hand with sales and understanding your audience, get their questions answered without having to jump on a call with a sales person.
Your content should pull the people who will benefit most from your product or services in. That pull allows the user to make the decision to engage with sales. So there's no pushing involved, sales just has to open the door.
Understand your audience
Digital also provides a wealth of data on your customers’ interests and challenges beyond what you may get from your status calls and check-ins.
Customers won’t always think to share everything they’re working on, and usually the conversation is limited to the current project and any questions your account managers think to ask.
So a customer’s online behavior (with the right tracking measures in place - more on that later) gives a window into their true priorities, which can help them find additional ways you can help them on their own or give your team insights to drive conversations towards ways to expand your engagement.
No more pushing your company’s newest offering or team with the most capacity – trust me, your customers and your win rates will both thank you.
What’s needed for effective digital cross-selling or upselling
Hopefully by now you’ve got a firm handle on the difference between cross-selling and upselling, why it’s an important piece of a growth strategy, and why digital is your ace in the hole if you play your cards right. So what do you need to have a winning hand?
Robust CRM data (including Closed Loop Analytics)
A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses, though many lose the meaning of it by equating a CRM with a digitized Rolodex (for those of you born this century, a Rolodex was a device for storing business cards and contact information that could be spun through quickly). When used to its fullest potential, a CRM holds the keys to growing your customers in a natural and mutually beneficial way.
The first step to success is knowing the players, which is where account mapping comes into play. With any luck, the sales team has gotten a jumpstart on this during the process of bringing on a new customer, but there’s always opportunities to understand more about who makes up an organization and their relationships to one another. This is especially crucial when your offerings span a number of different departments or functions within your customers’ organizations.
Most CRMs, including Salesforce and HubSpot, include views and integrations that pull in information on your customers’ activities on your website, recent news about their organization, or LinkedIn profiles - all of which offer valuable insights into what your customer cares about and where they might need additional support.
Closed Loop Analytics brings all of this together to help make you smarter in your cross-selling and upselling efforts. By connecting website and marketing activities with opportunities and customers, you have the story of the entire customer journey. With this data, you can make decisions about how to serve customers by understanding which channels brought them to begin a partnership with you and whether certain channels are more effective at cross-selling/upselling vs. new customer acquisition.
Thoughtful internal linking + site architecture = User Experience
Site architecture and internal linking are not just for SEO (though they are really important for that - just ask our Technical SEO team!). The way that you organize your website and connect content/pages together influences how a user experiences your services and expertise.
Remember earlier how we talked about how the overwhelming majority of the purchase process happens independent from a sales rep? Well, that means your website (and other mentions of your brand online - a topic for another day) needs to usher users along to find the information they need to address their challenge(s). Nothing squanders an opportunity faster than a clunky user experience that doesn’t help someone easily find the answer they’re looking for.
It’s important to remember that people don’t know what they don’t know, so if you’re not helping connect the dots for customers by employing a logical site structure and pointing them to relevant content, they may never realize that you have a solution that is tailor-made for their needs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of customers saying, “Oh, we didn’t know you did that service” so they went with another vendor - don’t let this happen to you!
Pixels and Retargeting
Retargeting is a common tactic in the arsenal of acquisition marketing, but it’s also a powerful tool for reminding customers of additional ways you can help them. Most users won’t take action the first time they explore supplemental services on your website, so being able to remind them of their interest and bring them back into the purchase journey can be valuable.
In order to retarget effectively, you’ll need to make sure you have all the relevant pixels on the right places of your website and that they’re configured correctly (not sure about this? Our analytics team can help).
Once you’ve got the foundation in place, be sure to frame your retargeting ads in a hyper-personalized way that will speak directly to someone who’s a current customer.
Closing the deal
Growing your customers is a win-win – customers see better results from utilizing the full potential of their partnership with you, and you form stronger relationships with those customers, plus increase their value to your organization. Maximizing the value of your customers shouldn’t take a lifetime, so use the strategies above to grow your customers now!
If you need support setting up your digital experience to better support your sales team, we got you covered:
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