Sales & Marketing | Read Time: 5 Minutes

How to Make Clients Your Best Prospects: A Step-By-Step Guide to Cross-Selling and Upselling

July 15, 2020

Applied Systems logo By: Applied Communications

As you likely well know, cross-selling is a technique used to get a client to buy an additional product or service that’s related to what they originally planned to buy. For example, when buying a new phone, a sales associate might also recommend you buy a phone case as well – this is cross-selling. Upselling is a sales technique that encourages the client to purchase anything additional in the same selling interaction that would make the primary purchase more expensive with an upgrade or premium. Using our last example, a sales associate might suggest a higher-end phone model or perhaps a larger data services package – these are upsells.

But insurance isn’t phone sales and you have to ask – is it that easy to just know what cross-selling and upselling offers are available and simply ask your clients if they’d be interested? Not exactly. To be successful in today’s competitive environment, you need to incorporate a marketing and sales strategy that incorporates these tactics and more.

To get started, check out these five steps to build and implement your cross-selling and upselling strategy to your client base.

Step 1: What Are Your Goals?

Before you get started, you must know where you’re going. By aligning your cross-sell and upsell strategy to support your overall sales goals, you can build the programs and tactics that will get you to your goals most effectively!

Begin by mapping out your marketing program goals. Start by working backward from your sales goals to calculate how many wins, opportunities, sales leads, marketing leads and lead source successes you need to reach this goal.

Review client data to discover conversion rates between each stage of your sales funnel to determine how long it takes a client to buy more products or upsell to a better product to help inform the number/type of campaigns required to meet your goal.

Step 2: Who Is Your Audience?

Now that you have your goals set, it’s time to get to know your audience. Your cross-sell and upsell audience will often consist of your existing clients. With this information at your fingertips, you’ll have everything you need to create buyer personas and align the best products or services to cross-sell or upsell to each persona.

Even if you already have buyer personas, set dates in your calendar to re-evaluate these buyer personas and identify new clients that may be entering your sales scope. For example, as Generation X moves into a new stage of life, what products do you have that could fit a gap in their coverage? How should you approach them differently from their Baby Boomer predecessors? What challenges are they facing that the previous generation didn’t?

Once you solidify your buyer personas, identify which are a good fit for cross-sell or upsell – and those that are not. If you can't explain how the additional purchase will benefit the client’s overall goals, then it's not an upsell worth pursuing. Instead, meet your clients where they are in your sales funnel and focus your attention on marketing efforts that fill a gap in their current plan.

Step 3: What’s Your Sales Funnel?

As mentioned earlier, creating well-thought-out marketing programs that match the various stages of your demand generation pipeline is pivotal in knowing which product to market and when. It’s important to know too that each client is different, and so their journey through the marketing to sales process will vary.

Many factors influence how a client will move through your sales funnel, including the number of personal risks being evaluated or the company size and type of business, loss exposures, and the complexity of your product or solution. Through each stage of their buyer journey, you should be working with client-facing departments within your business to accelerate the client’s transition from one stage to the next.

Step 4: List Segmentation

As a business, you should collaborate with key stakeholders, including your Marketing and Sales team, to identify clients who will make your business bigger and more profitable.

Segment clients and prospects based on various demographics such as location, coverage purchased, usage, and product interest to define target lists to market to. Once you’ve defined your lists, take a look at the products and services your business offers and map those products to your segments. Start by looking at what products or services your clients are already using and then identify gaps in coverage or an opportunity to upsell. Based on this, you can build targeted marketing campaigns that will effectively and efficiently cross-sell and upsell clients.

Step 5: Marketing Mix

You’ve set your goals for the year, you’ve identified your audience, and segmented all of your clients and prospects into distinct lists to effectively market to them new cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

The time has finally come to develop your marketing tactics. As you begin drafting targeted marketing messages to your client, you’ll want to use a good mix of different tactics that promote marketing materials via different channels to engage your clients in different ways.

If you don’t know what campaigns work well just yet, start small by testing content, like infographics, via proven channels, like email, to see what resonates best with your audience. By understanding email marketing campaign analytics, you’ll see which messages and channels your audience is engaging with and which they seem to pass over. From there, you’ll be able to optimize and scale your programs as you grow.

Overtime, cross-selling and upselling will go from a guessing game to a well-oiled machine. You’ll see that by doing the groundwork to align your marketing efforts with sales goals, you can focus on growth within your existing client base while simultaneously knowing how to attract and grow your prospective client base.

For more best practice tips and simple how-tos like this, visit the Applied Marketing Automation Hub.

Applied Systems logo

Applied Communications

For more than 35 years, Applied Systems has led an industry we helped to create with a mission to continuously improve the business of insurance. Insurance agencies and brokerages have faced new challenges and demands on their businesses over time, and we have been there to guide them. Since 1983, Applied has been at the forefront of insurance technology, leading the way through innovation. As the insurance industry becomes increasingly global, we are delivering new technology and expanded multinational capabilities for this changing marketplace.