Encouraging your sales channel to upsell and cross-sell

Encouraging your sales channel to upsell and cross-sell

March 26th 2021 -

Upselling and cross-selling - two simple strategies used to sell more! And two simple strategies that your sales channels should be using! 

By creating upselling and cross-selling opportunities, your sales network can offer customers more brand value, develop their relationships and, ultimately, generate more revenue! But in order to achieve this, there’s work to be done on your end. Training your distribution network to know the products inside out, as well as the customers, will boost their confidence when it comes to selling. The more confident they feel towards your brand, the more loyal! After all, it's easier to sell a product or service when you feel supported and can back your sales pitch with excellent marketing content and sales tools. 

Understanding upselling and cross-selling

We’re sure you’re already familiar with the terms, but let’s just clarify exactly what upselling and cross-selling mean.

Think of it like this… You go to a phone shop as you’ve smashed your phone. You’re very happy with your existing phone, but unfortunately, it somehow fell out the window and smashed into smithereens. You explain to the salesperson what happened and they convince you that actually, a phone with a bigger screen is more suitable for you. It’s slightly more expensive, but you agree to the sale. And ta-da - this is upselling!  To put it simply, it’s when a salesperson convinces a customer to buy the higher-end or upgraded products in a range.

Cross-selling is used to pair up complementary products that add more value to the customer experience and, ultimately, generate more income for your business. In our example above, the salesperson may advise buying some screen protectors or new headphones alongside it. 

These techniques are growth strategies that make the most of pre-existing customer relationships and build on them. Cross-selling and upselling are natural progressions in your sales cycle as nearly one-third of buyers rely on staff to make suitable product suggestions to them. As a result, Accenture reports you could increase your customer lifetime value by as much as 57%!

These evidence-based strategies are a cost-effective approach to growing your business. To encourage your sales network to utilise upselling and cross-selling opportunities, you need to train them effectively.

Train them to utilise customer data

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools help businesses identify opportunities by leveraging customer insights. Train your people to identify trends and understand the data that these tools provide so they can further personalise the customer experience and offer the right solutions. For example, the salesperson could review the customer's purchase history. When was the last time they purchased? What did they purchase? Are there additional features that would work for them? Maybe they've bought a product that other customers typically pair with a complementary product; it's essential to continually review the data so that distributors can make timely, useful suggestions to the buyer. 

Train them in the best practices 

When cross-selling or upselling, it's important to keep in line with best practices. Using outbound tactics or anything that makes the sales pitch look disingenuous could have a reverse outcome to the one you were hoping for. The goal is to promote long-term loyalty, not a one-off sale that will inflate sales figures for one month and lead to a steep decline the following. 

It's important to start off with a good understanding of the customer. The distributor should approach the conversation already prepared with some insight into the customer and their needs. They should ask questions and get to know the buyer in order to understand what's driving their demand for your product or service. 

These steps ensure that the salesperson can offer suggestions that align with the customer's requirements and demonstrate value. This approach wins over the customer's trust and leaves them feeling satisfied with their purchases. 

Train them with resources

Distributors are likely to have a wide variety of other brands in their catalogue. The way to ensure that your product or service is top of their list when it comes to selling is to provide a wide range of useful resources that can turn them into brand experts for your business. The more confidence they have in answering a customer's question about a specific product, the more likely they'll be to put that one forward. 

By providing distributors with a resource-rich hub or knowledge base that they can refer to for product specifications and updates, you're empowering them with the necessary tools to close sales faster and give more reassurance to their customers. After all, wouldn't you rather buy from someone who didn't have to "get back to you" every time you had a question about your purchase? Access to information breeds transparency––for the salesperson and the customer. 

You can also make the learning process fun and engaging by scheduling workshops and training days through your hub. If you're offering a cross-selling/upselling course, you can ensure that distributors are interacting with the resources by including quizzes to test their knowledge and help them to develop practical, applicable skills. 


Incentivise training

Distributors are busy; they're already managing all the other brands in their catalogue and dealing with customers daily. Apart from offering all the necessary support to train them in your cross-selling/upselling initiative, you have to demonstrate how they can also benefit from taking the time to upskill. 

A strategic incentive programme that rewards them for the time and effort they put into improving their cross-selling and upselling knowledge will boost their motivation and uptake of your training programme. It's crucial to select a platform that speaks to your specific distribution channels' requirements and a rewards partner that can provide meaningful and desirable rewards. Incentivising your sales distributors with rewards that resonate with their wants and needs will motivate them to work harder at improving their cross-selling and upselling capabilities. It will also help to keep them engaged with your brand. This means that any future training initiatives you roll out will be met with enthusiasm, and you'll get the results you're aiming for. 


For more information about Incentivesmart or to speak to one of our sales channel incentivisation experts, get in touch with us today. 

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