Encouragetech evaluates business opportunities, conducts market research and “voice of the customer” interviews, and brainstorms with teams. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and improved customer loyalty, as well as increasing profits through cross-selling.
“Cross-selling” is a hot topic in today’s business environment: Senior executives of multi-divisional enterprises are championing cross-selling strategies to increase the number of products each customer buys. And, if they’re not talking about cross-selling, they’re being asked about it by financial analysts during earnings conferences calls, particularly if they run companies that have pursued aggressive acquisition strategies.
For leaders with imagination and tenacity, the benefits of cross-selling are huge. Long after the sizzle is gone, successful cross-selling strategies are delivering the bacon – growing revenue, building loyalty, lowering costs of customer acquisition and retention, and making it tougher for competitors to get a taste of your business.
While there’s no debating the value of cross-selling, not all companies have figured out how to do it, or if they have, they don’t always do it well. First, and almost inevitably, cross-selling meets human resistance to change. Most organizations promote and reward based on what you do or don’t do within your organizational “silo.” By definition, successful cross-selling requires that the people you hire to meet the needs of your customers develop a broader view of those needs – moving beyond the traditional limits.
Second, cross-selling initiatives in many companies tend to focus on sizzle and miss the obstacles embedded in their organizations. If you’ve been in sales:
- You’ve been to meetings where a senior leader rallied the troops to offer all the products of the company to your customer, only to be told by your manager afterwards to “remember what you get paid to sell.”
- You’ve been frustrated by the inadequate tools available to communicate another division’s value proposition or to convey a lead from one of your clients to a different sales team.
- You’ve been reluctant to expose your valued customer relationships to the newest “flavor of the month,” potentially risking retention of your base business.
- Your company’s more focused on what they want you to sell than how the customer benefits.
- You may have paid just enough attention to cross-selling initiatives to avoid attracting unwelcome attention from management.
These survival tactics may get a salesman by in the short term, but they cut off the valuable opportunity inherent in cross-selling for organization and its customers. Without addressing the perceptions driving these tactics, a cross-selling initiative fails; it simply adds fat to the organization without generating benefits.
Recipe for Success
In our experience, successful cross-selling can be supported by common elements that every company can learn. These elements include:
- aligning goals over a sustained period,
- promoting the right offer to the right customer,
- clarifying how sales and service organizations each play a part, and
- rewarding those organizations when they cross-sell successfully.
Our clients have seen that implementing cross-selling in a large organization also requires finely tuned processes for:
- sharing information,
- communicating the offer,
- delivering training in qualification and referral management,
- establishing rewards and recognition, and
- developing effective reporting disciplines.
So successful cross-selling coordinates expertise from many management disciplines: