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The Dos and Don'ts of B2B SaaS Cross-Selling for Retention

Cross-selling to your B2B SaaS customers is a great way to retain them; this is because cross-selling increases the lifetime value of the customer—and drives revenue for your business(!). That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to cross-sell. But before we dive into that, let’s define what cross-selling is:

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling is the strategy of encouraging a customer to also buy a product or service that is similar or related to a product or service they already have. As an example, one delicious, albeit greasy, cross-sale you might experience is ordering a hamburger at a fast food restaurant and being asked if you want fries with it.

Now that you have an understanding of cross-selling, let’s walk through dos and don’ts to help your B2B SaaS company boost revenue and retention.
Do: Train sales to focus on new and old business.

Most B2B SaaS companies are focused on bringing in new business. They train sales hunters to constantly bring in the next new sale, forgetting about the ample opportunities they have within their current customer base.

To avoid missing easy cross-sale opportunities:

  • Work with your marketing team to build cross-sale email nurturing campaigns directed at happy customers
  • Train your sales team to recognize cross-selling opportunities
  • Build a cross-sales and retention team (if you have the resources)

Don’t: Expect that customers know about all of your products.

This is a classic mistake that’s easy to make. You assume that your customers see your brand as the next Apple, Nike or McDonald’s. You think they know everything about your company. Then you reach out with messaging based on those assumptions and get shut down immediately.

Assume that your customers know only about the product they use, and nothing else. Dropping the names of products they don’t recognize and then requesting a meeting will get you nowhere. Start from scratch, build credibility based on your current relationship and move from there.

Do: Use consultative messaging.

When cross-selling, make sure your sales pitch is more like a conversation. You can do this by:

  1. Taking the time to listen to and learn more about a customer’s current challenges
  2. Asking them what they are currently doing to combat those issues
  3. Showing that others who experienced those same challenges are now using your product to overcome them
  4. Discussing how this pivot will fit into their existing workflows

Using a more consultative approach with customers will show them that you respect your relationship with them, and want to help them grow their business.

Don’t: Sell to unhappy customers.

Do you know who your satisfied and unsatisfied customers are? If not, you need to find out. Don’t begin cross-selling until you can weed out the unhappy customers from your outreach list. You can usually survey or interview customers to gauge their satisfaction level.

Why do you need to avoid calling on unhappy customers? Because unhappy customers who only hear from you when you want something from them will become even more dissatisfied.

Once you find out who the unsatisfied customers are, don’t leave them hanging. Send them to your training or support teams. Then, measure their satisfaction in the following quarters to see if they are a fit for a future cross-sale reach out.

Do: Provide value.

Cross-selling makes the sales process easier because you’ve established a relationship with your customer. However, you are still selling an intangible product, so you need to establish the value of that product quickly.

Emphasize value and benefits and don’t get caught up on features. Explain how the product makes their life easier. Doing this will help you win more business.

Are there other dos and don’ts to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below. If you’re looking for help with other ways to retain customers at your B2B SaaS company contact Milwaukee B2B SaaS marketing agency, Accelity Marketing.

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