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How do you upsell an existing customer?

upselling tips

Driving revenue can take on many shapes and forms, with upselling to existing customers being an important contributor to growing profits. The main draw for upselling to existing customers is that it provides a new revenue stream with no (or minimal) additional customer acquisition cost (CAC) that obtaining new accounts require.

How do you create a strong upselling strategy? It is dependent on building consultative partnerships with decision-makers with the goal of adding value to their business. Adding value after the initial sale takes time, focus, and understanding to gain the trust of your customers.

Trust is truly the foundation of a positive CX. Without it, upselling to existing customers cannot happen if there is a belief that your company fails to deliver on its promises set forth throughout the customer lifecycle.

Tips to help the Customer Success team become more comfortable with upselling conversations

To execute your upsell efforts efficiently and consistently, front line Customer Success teams should have a thorough understanding of the sales process. They should listen to sales calls to better identify and recognize buying signals. They should participate in sales training activities to build confidence and reduce hesitation when it is time to have relevant upsell conversations.

Customer success teams also need to become experts with your products and services – not just cursory knowledge. This is critically important as they need to clearly understand how additional products may complement current product sets.

But being a product expert isn’t enough. The most effective “upsellers” have an intimate understanding of your customers’ business. What that equates to is knowing their customer base, the products or services they provide, and most importantly, their goals. By understanding their business, they will be able to upsell offerings that provide value by addressing your customers’ needs.

Identifying the right time to upsell your customer

When is the appropriate time the Customer Success team should look to upsell? Natural customer milestones make a great opportunity to expand the relationship.

As an example with SaaS products, you can establish triggers to alert on the best time to reach out to discuss expansion or upsell opportunities. Some circumstances to consider are receiving favorable Net Promoter scores or other positive satisfaction-related feedback, reaching certain user levels and usage metrics, and also any indicators you can capture that show how your product or service has solved an issue or goal they set at the beginning of the engagement.

One way you can start implementing this approach is to ask your customer at the onset of the engagement, “What would need to happen in order for the engagement to be viewed as a success?” Document their definition of success and leverage it to trigger upsell conversations.

With Customer Acquisition Cost being a significant expense, now more than ever, it’s important to ensure that your Customer Success team is cognizant of upsell signals and then well trained to take advantage of opportunities.


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