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What You Need to Know to Plan a Successful Upsell/ Cross-sell/ Expansion Campaign

What You Need to Know to Plan a Successful Upsell/ Cross-sell/ Expansion Campaign

There is no better time than now. 

Upselling and cross-selling campaigns can boost revenue and customer satisfaction. But to truly reap the benefits, you have thoroughly plan and execute these campaigns – and make sure you aren’t working in a silo. Here are some essential steps and considerations to help you craft your next Upsell and Cross-sell campaign.

Designing an Upsell Campaign – Where Do You Even Start?

Start with the basics. While many of us are clear on the effect any type of selling can have on revenue, before you set out on this project, you should really be clear on what you are aiming to achieve. 

So, first off, although it may be obvious to some, here’s an answer to a question I was kind of afraid to ask when I first entered the realm of customer marketing: 

What’s the difference between Upsell, Cross-Sell and Expansion? 

Upselling, cross-selling, and expansion are all marketing techniques aimed at increasing revenue and customer loyalty, but they differ in their approach and goals.

Upselling encourages a customer to upgrade or purchase a more expensive version of the product they are considering. The goal of upselling is to increase the overall revenue of the transaction by selling a higher-priced item. 

An example of an Upsell in the B2B SaaS world would be when a company that sells a project management tool, offers a more advanced version of the software with additional features, such as team collaboration or time tracking. They may encourage their customers to upgrade to this more advanced version, which will cost more but offer more value.

Cross-selling is when a customer is offered complementary or related products to what they are already purchasing. The goal of cross-selling is to increase the total value of the purchase by adding on other items.

An example of a cross-sell in our world would be when a company that provides email marketing software, would offer its customers a related service, such as a landing page builder or an A/B testing tool. By offering these additional services, the company can increase the total value of the sale and improve customer satisfaction.

Expansion is when a company seeks to increase its revenue by expanding its products or services to new markets, geographies, or customer segments. Expansion typically involves creating new products or services or entering new markets altogether.

In the enterprise SaaS arena, this could be an HR software provider seeking to expand into new geographies or to expand its product offerings, such as offering payroll software to complement its HR software. By doing so, the company can increase its customer base and revenue streams.

In a nutshell, Upselling and Cross-selling focus on increasing revenue from existing customers, while expansion aims to reach new customers or markets. Customer Marketing is a powerful strategy to support efforts in any of these scenarios. 

Getting started – Know your customers.

The first crucial step to any good campaign plan is always research. Establish a clear understanding of your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points, so you can identify opportunities to offer products or services that will truly resonate with them. 

Add data from your CRM or customer marketing platform, such as demographics, usage, and support experiences to that, and you have a strong foundation of understanding to build on. 

There are many different tactics you can use to get a richer depiction of your customers’ experiences and needs; you can conduct surveys and gather feedback to identify what they are looking for and what they value most. 

If you haven’t done so already, work to create customer personas that represent your buyer audiences. This will help you design your strategy, your campaign messaging, and your medium. There are many free templates out there, you can use the one provided free by HubSpot as a good starting point. 

Build a cross-team task force. Your sales and customer success teams (even if you are all on teams of 1), are your most valuable resource for gaining a deep understanding of the market. They are your partners in this mission and you would be wise to get them involved from the get-go. 

You might try to find a champion in each corresponding team if you can and set up a task force to plan and carry out the campaign. It’s also important to establish clear roles, responsibilities, and communication channels to ensure everyone is on the same page. Ongoing communication is key.

Getting strategic – Know your destination (and your limitations). 

Before you launch your campaign, make sure you establish your objectives and make them clear to your team and campaign partners. Align with your team on goals and KPIs and work to achieve them together. This is what being customer-led is really all about and its where the real (revenue) magic can start to occur. 

It’s alright to be ambitious but make sure you set attainable goals, start small and grow from there. This will help you stay focused, measure progress, and evaluate success. Your objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

For example, you might set an objective to increase revenue from existing customers by X% within the next six months. Or you might aim to upsell a certain percentage of customers to a higher-tier product or service.

Getting results – Know what to package. 

If you are going to get results with your campaign, you have to be focused on what your customers will value. Companies are often focused on selling what they believe is new or exciting, while customers may need a simple upgrade to their existing product that will help them move their mountains more efficiently. 

Knowing when to launch is almost as important as knowing what and how to launch. If a customer is a churn risk, or has just had a few frustrated support calls, or has just published layoffs or budget cuts, this probably isn’t the best time to approach with a sales campaign. 

Getting going – Know your journey. 

Get to know the customer journey to identify opportunities along the way. If a certain customer has been successful with a solution you offer over time, they could be a candidate for advocacy to help you market your campaign to less mature customers. Or they could be a candidate for an upsell to more user seats or an advanced feature, as they may seem ready to grow. 

Be sure to incentivize with discounts, free trials, or other promotions to encourage them to take advantage of your campaign.

Getting better and better: Know what to measure and what to fix.

In any campaign, but particularly in one like this that is tied directly to revenue, be sure to continuously measure and analyze the success of your program. Use data and analytics to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to your approach.

Your goals will always be specific to your business, but there are some general KPIs you can refer to, when assessing your next steps. Look at retention rates, Lifetime Value, NPS, engagement metrics like email open rates or clickthrough rates, upsell/ cross-sell revenue. Look at when people are responding and when they are dropping off and see what can be done to optimize your efforts. 

Lastly but never leastly, we know that many customer marketers are working on a mighty team of one or two, some are the first to fill this position in the company. Keep in mind that your successes will be the basis of the buy-in you get for the programs that follow. 

Getting the credit: Know when to celebrate.

So, celebrate your successes, celebrate your customers’ successes and be loud and clear on the impact of your programs so you can grow your programs, your team, and your career consistently.

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