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Why Automation Makes Upselling and Cross-selling Smarter

Two decades ago the definition of a good customer experience was strikingly different to how we describe it today. Automation has revolutionized the buyer journey and is turning the practice of targeting customers into an increasingly precise science.

And while on the one hand the online buyer experience may seem less personal, it has in fact become progressively personalized. The data from automated systems helps companies to predict customers’ needs without them having to ask, and with this new change, sales methods such as cross-selling and upselling have transformed and evolved too.

Upselling and cross-selling are two terms that are often muddled. A classic upsell is the offer of a more feature-rich alternative to make a sale more profitable. The customer selects a laptop, the website then recommends the same product with the option to choose a more powerful processor – this is an upsell. Cross-selling, meanwhile, is the offer of complementary or related products. The customer selects a specific software, the website recommends that they also buy premium support.

To ignore the extensive functionality automation offers would be to do your business a disservice. Upsells and cross-sells can account for as much as 30% of your annual revenue – if managed properly.

Here’s how you can use automation to support your cross-sell and upsell strategy.

Keep Growing and Tuning Your Online Portfolio

If you want to improve your cross-sell and upsell experience, it pays to have all of your products and services available in one place. It’s also important to keep innovating; add new products, features and functionality and revise your offerings (and offers) periodically so as to keep customers interested. Make sure to provide your users with pathways to multiple functions – the wider the variety of products, the more business problems you can solve across an organization.

In assessing what to offer your customers, it’s also worth eyeing up your direct competition. If you can provide more comprehensive and effective solutions, you’re more likely to stay ahead of the game.

Offer Reasonable Pricing Incentives

Be methodical and consistent in your approach to pricing and create a variety of packages to entice customers to increase their order value. You can, for example, start with a simple plan that can then organically grow into more complex offerings over time.

It is important to enable customers to pay for the value they need, rather than ply them with too many confusing or immoderately priced options.

Your pricing model has the potential to make or break your business. The perfect metric should align with your customers’ requirements, grow with them and be predictable (and palatable).

Automation that enables customers to track their usage and have a history and breakdown of costs offers an extra layer of transparency, allowing customers to feel more secure in their spending.

Use Your Systems Data to Know Your Customer

Automation allows you to identify and track your user’s journey, including what the customer bought, when they bought it, what their spend is, what their usage is, and so on. Having this information, as well as basic data, such as the client’s name, their location and the type of organization they are in, helps you to smartly package and allot your products in a targeted way.  

Each product or service add-on should aim to meet a different customer need. And, as Dharmest Shah, CTO and founder at Hubspot says, “Customers are usually very good at identifying their problems, not so much the solutions.” This is where you as the product expert can use client data and cross-selling and up-selling to your advantage.

Give Your Customers a Gift

Who doesn’t like a freebie? Customers can be given an extra incentive to either upgrade or buy additional products. This can come in the shape of discounts, free trials, free products, or premium professional services, such as a free one-on-one consultation.

When bundling products and services together, the end users’ needs have to be weighed, the profit margin has to be measured and, with these in mind, the business can judge what can be offered at no charge. “B2B customers want to see a lot of value before buying more,”saysTodd Berkowitz, research director at Gartner. Giving your customers a gift is one valuable way of doing this. 

Lastly – Don’t Forget to Check in When the Customer Checks Out

Upselling and cross-selling shouldn’t end the moment a customer checks out of your site.

It is important to analyze your customer segments and purchasing frequency. Look back at historical data to understand who the most valuable customers are and what their order size is. Then be strategic in touching base with them. If, for example, a client typically re-orders every 12 months, why not reach out to them three months before renewal to see how they’re getting along? This is an opportunity to, not only reinforce the customer relationship, but is also a chance to offer them new and better solutions. 

Posted by Karen Turtle on 13-Feb-2019 10:24:25


Karen Turtle is the editor and content manager at Cloudmore. She joined in 2018 and is the company’s newest cloud evangelist. Karen covers topics from; the evolution of the subscription economy, to shadow IT, to basically everything on anything-as-a-service.

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