Cross-selling and upselling are powerful techniques to increase your revenue and build customer loyalty. 

By taking the right approach to cross-selling and upselling, you can increase your average order value (AOV) and CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), adding a sustainable revenue source to your sales strategy. In fact, some leading businesses attribute 70% of their income to upselling alone.  

Here, we will explain the difference between cross-selling and upselling while offering practical tips that will help you grow your business. 

Cross-selling vs. upselling: what’s the big difference?

To use cross-selling and upselling effectively, you need to know the difference between the two—let’s explore.  

Cross-selling is the art of enticing a customer to buy something in addition to their main purchase. Cross-selling techniques include offering personalised product add-ons or curated product bundles.  

Upselling is the art of encouraging a customer to purchase an item more expensive than they have previously bought or are in the process of buying. Upselling techniques include product or subscription upgrades.  

Using data to optimise your cross-selling & upselling strategy

In the age of information, we have a wealth of data at our fingertips. By using data-driven insights to analyse customers’ preferences and buying behaviour, you can optimise your cross-selling and upselling activities for maximum conversions.  

By embracing data, you will gain the power to offer personalised and timely product add-ons or upgrades that are likely to provide value to your customers. Use data as your guide, and you will strengthen your customer relationships while boosting your revenue.  

Taking an analytical approach to your cross-selling and upselling efforts also allows you to identify which customers are not worth approaching based on a range of factors. If you identify that a consumer escalates customer service issues frequently or requests excessive refunds and returns, your cross- or upselling efforts are likely to offer less value. 

Essential cross-selling & upselling tips

Using customer data as your guide, you can utilise these essential cross-selling and upselling tips that will improve your sales success: 

Value simplicity

Whether you approach your customer via telephone, email, online chat, social media, or through your website’s buying journey, keeping it simple is key to cross-selling or upselling success.  

Whether you’re going for the cross-sell or the upsell, offering too many products and cramming your messaging with information will only serve to overwhelm your customers. That said, offering a maximum of three relevant items will grab your customers’ attention and increase your chances of success. 

Broaden your communication points

Typically, cross-selling or upselling happens towards the end of the sales cycle—when the customer has already committed to making a purchase.  

While reaching out with tailored product upgrades or complementary product bundles at the checkout is an effective communication point, making contact at different points of the customer lifecycle will broaden your revenue-boosting horizons.  

Here are some additional communication touchpoints you can use to your advantage:  

  • Reaching out to a customer with product upgrades or suggestions through SMS or email when they’ve abandoned their shopping cart. With this approach, an incentive will usually result in a conversion—free shipping or an exclusive discount, for example.
  • Offering tailored product add-ons or suggested upgrades through your product pages is a constructive way of personalising the customer experience while increasing your chances of boosting a customers’ AOV before they’ve committed to a specific purchase. This is an approach eCommerce giant Amazon uses to its advantage.
  • Connecting with your consumers post-purchase is another solid approach to cross-selling and upselling. Use a multitude of touchpoints to reach out to your customers with complementary product suggestions and incentives for their next order. 

 If you’re running a subscription model or service, reach out to customers around their renewal date with discount membership add-ons or upgrades, showcasing the reasons why it will enhance their personal or professional lives. 

Boost brand loyalty with data and user-generated content

Circling back to data for a moment—by encouraging your sales reps and marketing team to use case studies, customer reviews, testimonials, ROI calculations, and purchasing metrics, you will increase brand loyalty—which, in turn, will accelerate the growth of your business.  

You can use the above data sources to identify value-packed products or services that certain segments of your audience might not know about.  

Armed with the right solution and persuasive yet approachable messaging, you will show that you are more than just a business—you will become a trusted brand that your customers will invest in long-term. And when you build consumer trust, your cross-selling and upselling success will flourish. 

Define your cross-selling or upselling prospects

If you want to maximise your chances of engaging your customers and converting them through a cross-selling or upselling interaction, you should define your SQLs and MQLs from the offset.  

By setting the parameters on what makes a prospective consumer that has progressed past the engagement stage or someone that is likely to become a paying customer, you will be able to streamline your communications and reach out to the right people at the right time in their journey.  

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” – Seth Godin  

To bring all of the above elements together and maximise the long-term success of your cross-selling or upselling strategy, working with the right CRM is essential.  

Workbooks’ CRM will empower you to score and capture cross-selling or upselling leads, gain access to invaluable customer data, and manage all of your communications from one place.   

If you would like to know more about our CRM solution, please get in touch. And for more sales & marketing insights, read our guide to the benefits of business analytics.