Expansion is gaining focus across the board at B2B organizations. While large enterprises have long been focused on expanding their influence and share of wallet with top customers, more small and midsize businesses are now emphasizing cross-sell and upsell targets in their revenue goals.

This is for good reason. It’s more cost-effective to mine existing relationships, and this deserves more attention in uncertain economic times and as companies face increasing challenges to bring new customers on board.

But B2B frontline marketers often struggle to tap into expansion opportunities — particularly in a way that is scalable and repeatable. Here are three of the top issues that keep them from making an impact:

  • Assuming that all customers are good candidates for expansion. There’s usually not a lot of scrutiny about whether an existing customer makes a strong fit for another offering. This is especially true in B2B scenarios involving mergers or acquisitions, when frontline marketers find themselves with a new customer base to engage. Too often, it’s assumed that if an existing customer doesn’t yet have the other offerings, they should. This completely “inside-out” approach spells out the business interest without reference to the buyer’s interest. Instead, frontline marketers should begin by modeling fit for their offerings and making sure that they are mapping customer insights and behaviors into their prioritization and engagement efforts — just as they should for net-new prospects. Existing customers create a rich pool of first-party data — the most common data source for frontline marketers to neglect.
  • Going it alone. B2B marketers sometimes get involved in expansion without aligning across the account and with customer-facing teams responsible for achieving expansion goals. It’s too often seen as an issue of marketing coverage — taking, once again, an “inside-out” approach that simply chucks clients into existing reputation or demand programs — instead of a holistic, strategic, and adaptive approach to engaging the client base. Just as customers create a rich array of insights from their first-party interactions, so are they engaging with various digital and personal touchpoints that go beyond what prospects and new buyers have access to. Frontline marketers aren’t making the most of their efforts — and, worse, they risk creating or contributing to a disjointed customer experience — if they don’t partner across sales and customer success.
  • Failing to establish a process. Expansion opportunities are too often treated as one-offs, especially if account managers or customer-facing teams only flag specific expansion opportunities for attention. No matter how large or small the scope, expansion marketing efforts should be measured and managed so that they can be scaled and optimized. Frontline marketers need to apply the same levels of rigor and structure to expansion opportunities as they do to new business.

Forrester clients can check out our report on The Science Of Cross-Sell And Upsell that delineates the process for successful expansion marketing and can also meet with us for guidance on bringing it to life within their own organizations and use cases.