6 Steps for a Successful B2B Cross-Sell and Upsell Strategy

6 Steps for a Successful B2B Cross-Sell and Upsell Strategy

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Posted: August 24, 2016 | Lifecycle Marketing

Are you doing enough to hit and potentially exceed your revenue goals? If you’re not marketing additional products or services to existing customers, you’re missing out on low-hanging fruit.

To thrive and succeed in today’s competitive environment, you need to incorporate cross-sell and upsell into your marketing strategy to reap the full benefits of your hard-won customers. In fact, data from Forbes reveals 90% of the customer value for B2B businesses is actually obtained after the initial sale. Don’t leave this on the table for others to grab—start implementing customer marketing today.

But how can you get started? Follow these six steps to build an effective customer demand generation strategy for cross-sell and upsell:

1. Start With Your Goals

By understanding your goals from the start, you can ensure that everything in your cross-sell and upsell strategy is aligned to help you achieve them. For revenue marketers who support sales, which is most B2B marketers, bookings revenue is the ultimate metric. By mapping your goals for each stage of the revenue funnel, you can measure your impact along the way.

It’s a good idea to work backwards from your sales team’s bookings revenue goal (usually a quota) to calculate how many wins (closed-won deals), opportunities, SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), and campaign successes you need to generate based on your internal revenue funnel. Revenue FunnelLeverage historical data on conversion rates between revenue stages, sales velocity (time it takes to convert a customer to buy more products, and campaign performance to understand the type and number of campaigns you’ll need to hit your goals. If you have a marketing automation platform, it’s important to map out your customer revenue model, taking into account your unique business cycle and its complexity, sales velocity, and the flow of customer leads. And if there’s not enough historical data for you to look back at, it’s never too late to start building your baseline so you can test and optimize your campaigns over time!

2. Understand Your Target Audience

The next step is to understand who your audience is and build detailed customer profiles, including their roles in the organization, goals, needs, and pain points—at every stage of the buyer journey. Because your audience consists of existing customers whose demographic and behavioral data are already in your database, it’s likely that you already have all this information at your fingertips. However, you’ll still need to create personas to identify the best products or services to cross-sell or upsell that are most relevant to each customer’s unique interests.

3. Develop a Customer Journey

Your customers will be going through different journeys depending on the size, type, and complexity of their organization, their sales cycle, and the complexity of your product or solution. Below are some common stages that you should consider. Through each of these stages, you should be working in collaboration with customer-facing organizations to accelerate the customer’s transition from one stage to the next.Customer Journey

During enablement, which includes post-sale onboarding and enablement services, it’s critical to match the customer’s original expectations set by sales with the reality of the customer experience. At this point, it’s best to give your customers time to get ramped up with your product before you present them with other opportunities.

During the adoption and retention stage, your objectives should include driving up usage, platform adoption, and customer retention across all segments and growing overall usage maturity so that your customer is ready to buy more products and services from you during the growth stage, where you’ll continue to provide value to your customers by identifying cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Then, once your customer is successfully using your product, realizing value from it, and having a great customer experience along the way, they’ll be more likely to recommend your product to others and advocate for your brand, which is another huge opportunity on its own. In fact, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 84% of B2B businesses initiate the buying process with a referral.

4. Segment Your Customer Base

From a strategic standpoint, you’ll want to identify the biggest and most profitable segments—those with the highest customer lifetime value potential. Equally important, hone in on the smallest and least profitable customers that demand a lot of effort and resources and determine whether you should continue investing resources into making them successful or deprioritize them, and change your acquisition strategies accordingly. This is a decision that should be made as a company, so you should collaborate with business stakeholders, customer success team, segment marketing and other groups.

From a programmatic standpoint, you can segment by demographics, firmographics, geography or location, and behavior, as well as product ownership, usage, and product interest. With a marketing automation platform, you can define your segments with great precision, which is instrumental to the success of your marketing programs.

5. Map Products and Solutions to Segments

Once you’ve defined your marketing segments, take a look at the products and services in your portfolio and map those products to your segments. Start by looking at what products or solutions your customers already own (which should be available in your CRM system) and where the “white space,” or opportunity, is. Based on your evaluation, you can build special views for your salespeople in your CRM system so they know exactly what to sell to each of their accounts. And for your own campaigns, you can build smart lists that will help you deploy very targeted cross-sell and upsell campaigns to your customer segments.

6. Design Your Program Mix

Finally, it’s time to determine your marketing tactics. You’ll want to use a mix of different programs designed to engage your customers across a variety of channels. The good news is that you don’t need to spend money on expensive acquisition programs like advertising and search since you already have access to your customers. Take a look at the channels and devices they typically engage on and reach them there.

If you don’t know what programs work well just yet, start small by testing some proven tactics like email, webinars, live events, nurture programs and go from there. You’ll be able to optimize and scale your programs as you grow—just make sure that you start with your goals so your programs are measurable from the start and drive towards your goals.

What’s your take on customer base marketing? Have you seen value from focusing on it in your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Looking for more on customer base marketing? Check out our ebook, Customer Base Marketing: How To Keep Your Customers Coming Back For More.

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Anastasia Pavlova is Senior Director of Marketing at Marketo leading Demand Generation programs across the entire customer lifecycle – from new customer acquisition, to retention and cross-sell. She has over 15 years of experience in integrated marketing strategy, product marketing and marketing programs across SaaS, ecommerce, and consumer products industries. Anastasia holds an MBA degree from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.

Read Anastasia's Blogs

90% of the customer value for #B2B businesses is obtained after the first sale. It's time to cash in

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