We’ve all seen the statistics indicating how much easier and more efficient it is to sell into your existing customer base than close new opportunities. While this is generally an accepted principle of B2B marketing, many organizations struggle with how to do cross-selling and upselling right. 


As much as companies wish it were so, simply creating a new offering doesn’t necessarily mean it will fly off the shelf into your waiting customers’ hands. In fact, new offerings often struggle out of the gate, leading to all sorts of internal discussions about whether product developed the right new solution, if marketing knows how to position it, or even if sales is clear how (and to whom) to sell the new offering.
So the question becomes, how can companies better prepare themselves for success with new offerings? We find companies that take a strategic approach to cross-selling and upselling new offerings consider three key factors that drive better results:

  • Knowledge of the targeted buying centers. Successful cross-selling and upselling of new offerings starts with evaluating the quality and quantity of account buying center insights currently available. Common sources of account insights include the sales force automation and marketing automation systems, along with customer relationship management platforms. Also consider data available from customer support, professional services or even finance systems. Partner networks are also good sources of insights that can help understand how to position the new offering. Having a depth of knowledge about the various buying centers within your accounts can be difference between cross-sell and upsell success, and seeing the new offering fail to make an impact.
  • Fit of the new offering. Consider the level of customer interest in the new offering, as well as timing and relevance considerations. Assessing fit can also incorporate an evaluation of the internal skills that drive the ultimate achievability of potential cross-sell and upsell goals within existing accounts.
  • Relationship of the existing customer. Knowledge and fit are important considerations; however, often the critical trump card is the state of existing relationships with contacts within the customer account. There is a strong linkage between the level of satisfaction and the likelihood of purchasing additional products or solutions (especially new offerings). Sadly, developing and assessing the relationship is the step most often ignored by B2B companies because it can often be the most difficult to manage.

Once all information is gathered, use a segmentation approach to classify your customers based on knowledge, offering fit, and relationship, and use this information to prioritize where and how you will invest. This insight-based approach should drive not only cross- and upsell results but also the added benefit of supporting a more meaningful, longer-term customer relationship.