Measuring the Effects of Your Up-Selling and Cross-Selling Efforts

Posted on 04/01/2007 in Selling Skills

"Customers who buy two or more products or services 
from you are much more likely to remain customers."

                                   -Carol Kinsey Gorman

Up-Selling and Cross-Selling

We are seeing an increasing trend with our clients who express a growing need to improve the ability of their entire organization to up-sell and cross-sell more effectively.  All industries can benefit from up-selling and cross-selling.  If your company is not actively engaged in up-selling and cross-selling, you are probably missing some important opportunities to grow your sales and to build customer loyalty. 

In a recent Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Blog, we defined up-selling and cross-selling, provided examples, and outlined the benefits of effective up-selling and cross-selling.  In this blog we want to point out how you can measure the effects of your cross-selling and up-selling efforts and discuss who in your organization should be doing the cross-selling and up-selling.  

How Can You Measure Success?

Listed below are some of the most common and popular ways to measure how well a cross-selling and up-selling program is working:

  • Average sales volume for each customer increases - measured in dollars or units, sales volume is one way to assess if upselling has occurred.
  • Sales breadth expands - measured by the number of products or services for each individual.
  • Your aggregate cross-selling ratio improves - measured by the number of products or services divided by the number of clients.
  • Customer attrition decreases - sometimes higher than normal attrition rates can means that cross-selling and up-selling attempts have been ineffective.  High customer attrition can also be due to other factors as well.

Up-Selling and Cross-Selling Should be a Team Effort

Almost every customer has unmet sales opportunities.  Consider your current customer base and ask yourself these two questions for each of your key accounts:

  1. Are there opportunities to up-sell some of the existing products and services that a particular customer buys?
  2. In addition to the existing products/services, are there opportunities to cross-sell some additional products and services?

We suspect that most, if not all of your current customers have unmet sales opportunities for which you could up-sell and cross-sell additional products and services.  As such, every person at your company who interacts with customers should be competent and confident at cross-selling and up-selling.  If you limit the cross-selling and up-selling only to your sales force, you are likely to miss some additional sales opportunities.  In particular, involve your customer service and technical service personnel.

In fact many STAR clients say that the person in their organization who has the most contact with the customer is the Customer Service Representative (CSR).  Customers know and trust the CSR, which means that the CSR is in a unique position to identify and solicit opportunities to sell additional products or services to existing customers.  Solicitation of additional business is a critical competency for customer service representatives.

For similar reasons, technical service personnel are often in a position to cross-sell and up-sell products or services to customers.  If a customer is having a problem, and the tech service person interacts in person or over the phone to fix the problem, that is great, but wouldn't it be even better if the technical service person could communicate potential sales opportunities to your sales team?

It is important to clarify that when we say that customer service and technical service personnel should be participating in the up-selling and cross-selling efforts, we aren't suggesting that they take on the sales role.  We believe that up-selling and cross-selling should be a team effort.  You will see sales growth if your customer service and technical service personnel can improve their ability to identify the up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and then pass those opportunities to the sales force for further investigation and closure.

Visit our Essential Selling Skills workshop page for more details.