cross selling upselling tactics b2b

5 Key Elements of a Cross-Selling and Upselling Strategy for B2B Businesses

07 January 2021 by

You might think that the most significant aspect of sales in B2B is generating new business.

But you’d be wrong. 

Sure, finding new leads is important, but not as important as looking after your existing clients.

prospect vs customer statistics

The statistics show that the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is somewhere between 5 and 20 percent, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent.

That’s because you’ve already done the hard work. You’ve already built a successful relationship with your existing customers. They already know and trust your company.

Plus, you’ve gained plenty of insights into their preferences – so you’ll be better placed to sell them the things they genuinely need.

It’s going to be much easier (and cheaper) to continue that relationship than it is to create a new one.

But how do you maximize the revenue from those clients and improve customer retention and brand loyalty?

Easy! Upselling and cross-selling.

Hang on. Isn’t that a bit. . . unethical?

Well, it might be if you just bombarded the client with extras they didn’t want or need, or if you tried to sneak costly add-ons through on the sly.

But if you present the right offer for their needs at the right time, cross-selling and upselling will actually enhance the customer experience.

Note: Ready to start cross-selling and upselling? Sign-up for Leadfeeder’s free for 14 day trial to see which companies visit your website and the pages they visit to personalize your campaigns. 

What exactly are cross-selling and upselling?

Upselling means offering the same product but with enhanced features and a greater cost or an enhanced version of a product. This can be anything that increases the price of the original product – such as a version upgrade, product protection, customization, or an extended contract.

Cross-selling means offering another related product or service, such as a keyboard and mouse to accompany a new computer.

You can also offer a bundle, where you parcel up several related items and offer them as one package. There’s usually an incentive to choose this, such as a lower overall price or qualification for free shipping.

Everyone loves to feel they’ve gotten a bargain, so customers who were originally searching for one item are likely to switch to the bundle. 

Here are five key elements of cross-selling and upselling tactics all B2B businesses need.

5 key elements of cross-selling & upselling for B2B  

1. Know your customer like the back of your hand

You probably already know how important it is to have an in-depth knowledge of your customer.

But these insights become even more vital when it comes to cross-selling and upselling in B2B. 

That’s because the relevance of an extra product or service to that particular client will determine whether or not they buy into it.

Your job is to find out in advance which product or service will have the greatest impact and to be ready to prove its worth to the customer. How will upselling or cross-selling benefit them and add value to their business?

Using data, both quantitative and qualitative, is a great way to build up an ideal customer profile of your existing clients – and today’s technology makes it even easier to collect.

For example, introduce RingCentral call recording for business, which automatically holds on to the data from each call, ready for later analysis.

Get your marketing, sales, and customer service teams together and have them take a closer look at customer profiles. 

Website visitor tracking can help build a picture of who’s interested in you.

Encourage and look out for client feedback and online reviews, covering all touchpoints on the customer journey. 

When you spot a good review, that could be the perfect time to jump in with an upselling or cross-selling opportunity.

Customers also love a bit of personalization, as it proves your business has taken the time to get to know them and their preferences. 

Do they like to be addressed by their first name or their title? 

Is there an optimum time of day to make contact? 

What’s their preferred channel?

Use a VoIP phone service to consolidate multiple channels into a single interface, so clients can use whichever method they prefer at the time. And your team can easily follow up without losing the thread. 

It pays to train your customer services team to spot openings for additional sales. 

Developing their listening skills will help them identify such opportunities and pass them along to the sales team for follow-up.

customer journey analytics

2. Understand your product inside & out

It’s no good knowing your customer if you don’t know what you’re trying to sell them.

It’s unlikely that they’ll just agree to the extra sale without asking any further questions – so you need to be ready with confident answers.

For instance, let’s say you aim to upgrade a client from a basic software package to a more advanced version. 

Why would they want it if you can’t tell them what the extra features are and why they’re so desirable?

Developing a knowledge base will put this kind of information at your employees’ fingertips, but you also need to provide thorough training on all the products and services you offer.

You should have an easily-accessible inventory, and use accounting for inventory to keep up with the value of current stock. That way, you can advise sales reps of the things they should be prioritizing.

Get your sales team to promote your best-reviewed or most-sold products and services. 

Savvy customers will do some research before agreeing to an upgrade or add-on, so they’ll soon spot that you’re offering them something popular and sought-after.

This could be something the customer genuinely needs (such as an upgrade when they reach the storage limit on a file-sharing app) or just something you know they’ll love (a new phone case in their favorite color!).            

The best screen sharing tools, like those from RingCentral allow you to demonstrate products and services to clients, which is an ideal way to show off useful features and benefits.

Never pass up an opportunity to show how your company cares about the customer’s needs. 

Using your product knowledge, you can explain how an upsell or cross-sell recommendation will help them achieve their goals.

The motivation of your sales team is also important – they should always be looking for an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell, not switching off when they’ve completed an initial sale.

albert einstein quote

3. Don’t be annoying!

Yep, you heard. There’s nothing worse than a sales rep who’s the wrong kind of persistent.

It’s happened to all of us – you just popped in to grab a chocolate bar, and now the shop assistant is hell-bent on persuading you to buy whatever’s in the bargain bin at the checkout.

Or you’ve just told the call center agent that you’re already struggling to pay your car insurance, and she goes right ahead and suggests the more expensive breakdown cover.

Listening to your customers is crucial. 

Judging the opportune moment to recommend a product can be tricky, but if you get to know your clients well, this should be easier to achieve.

The trick is not to push too hard. If your client seems stressed, distracted, or in a rush, pull back and wait for the next interaction. You’ll most likely get another chance.

If they are handled in the right way, product recommendations can actually drive between 10 and 30 percent of revenue.

Firstly, make sure what you’re offering complements the original product or service and is useful to the customer, as opposed to a random extra. 

If it’s not relevant, they will see straight through it and think you’re just selling for the sake of selling.

You should also keep in mind the client’s original budget, and don’t let the upgrades or add-ons stray too far over it. 

A good rule is to make sure they don’t increase the price by more than 25 percent.

Tell the customer exactly what they’re getting and how much each item costs. 

Keep a running total of the price throughout the conversation to avoid a shock at checkout and possible abandonment of the entire sale.

deadly sins of sales

While it’s good to provide a choice, too many options can be confusing. 

Simplify your products so that you don’t offer several that are near-identical – this will make life easier for both customers and sales teams.

There’s one other thing guaranteed to irritate customers: being put on hold, especially if they are forced to listen to that synthetic noise that passes for music!

If you absolutely must place them in a queue, how about using the opportunity to recommend a product or service? 

A RingCentral VoIP Phone System allows you to record an on-brand message, to plant a seed for future sales, for instance.

Although certain aspects of sales can be learned, those reps who are naturally empathetic are more likely to treat customers carefully and get the desired result.  

4. Use the right software to track data

Successful cross-selling and upselling for B2B relies upon having the right tools as well as the right people.

Investing in smart software can help with everything from keeping track of companies who visit your site, to an efficient online booking system to remind clients of their appointments.

The right software will vastly improve your multi channel or omni channel offering, ensuring parity across channels. This means you can interact in the customer’s preferred way and keep the lines of communication open.

Ongoing campaigns can benefit from call center phone software, which includes click-to-call and automatic dialing features to save time.

While the human touch will always be important, it’s helpful to automate aspects of the sales process with AI to enhance your client relationships.

For instance, you can harness data monitoring and predictive analytics for customer insights, while machine learning and natural language processing will help personalize the interactions.

Software that categorizes products and tags related products makes for easier cross-selling and upselling, such as introducing an “Other customers also bought. . .” feature.

Meanwhile, using a RingCentral Hosted Phone System makes it easy to manage remote, mobile, and contract workers in multiple locations.

sales followup statistics

5. Your follow-up is the last impression  

Maintaining communication with customers after the sale is crucial, as opportunities for further upselling or cross-selling may present themselves.

Follow-up by emailing them thanking them for purchasing from you, and check whether they’re happy with the product or service they chose.

You can also reward loyalty with special offers, or incentives for giving feedback or recommending a friend. How about a loyalty points system to encourage further business?

If they didn’t go for what you offered on this occasion, follow up with a message to remind them of what they’re missing. FOMO and urgency are handy tactics as long as you don’t overdo it.

Reactivating cart abandoners is another good tactic to increase revenue if you engage in B2B ecommerce. 

In March 2020, 88 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned. 

It may simply be that the customer got distracted by something else – we all know what that’s like – so a reminder would be helpful.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but you could always try downselling! 

Offering the product or service with a slight reduction in price or features may improve the client’s opinion of you and bring them back to do more business in the future.

As ever, the importance of website maintenance is a key factor – ensure your online presence is continually updated and refreshed, as well as optimized for multiple devices.

Cross-selling & upselling in B2B is a no-brainer

Using the cross-selling and upselling tactics discussed in this article will help you hang on to your most precious asset – your clients.

If you make the effort to gain in-depth knowledge of your customer and your product, your business will reap the rewards.

Remember that personalization and incentivization go a long way toward keeping customers happy. Try offering a free trial of a product or service you know they’ll love.

This bit’s worth repeating: don’t annoy your clients with pushy sales patter. Take care to offer the right product at the right time.

Use the latest technology to enhance the customer experience. For example, RingCentral can show you how to install a VoIP Server to handle incoming calls and messages to reduce missed opportunities – it’s best to connect with the client when they want to speak to you, as they may not be so keen when you call them back!

Essentially, keep your customers happy and you’ll keep them for life.

Note: Ready to start cross-selling and upselling? Sign-up for Leadfeeder’s free for 14 day trial to see which companies visit your website and the pages they visit to personalize your campaigns. 


Sunny Dhami
By Sunny Dhami

Sunny Dhami is the Senior Director, EMEA Product Marketing & GTM for RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing and VoIP server provider. He has extensive Marketing experience across SaaS, Telecommunications and Technology sectors within companies such as Vodafone, Reed Elsevier, Calor Gas and SapientNitro.


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