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How to unlock cross-selling in your business

Cross-selling to existing customers can offer more predictable, lower-cost revenue growth compared with more volatile ‘new logo’ wins. It’s invariably a key step towards the recurring revenue ‘gold standard’ of a 100%+ Net Revenue Retention (NRR), which sees the existing customer base contribute more revenue each year, even after churn. Cross-selling can also add real strategic value if it is established as a scalable capability. But it is often a complicated team sport, with the number of products, divisions, people and processes involved making clear ownership and co-ordination essential.

At Hg’s latest sales and marketing forum, a group of 90 sales and marketing professionals took a deep dive into the cross-sell operational framework derived from the Hg portfolio and external experts. They took away some key lessons:

  • Start small with a cross-sales pilot.
    But once you gain traction, put in the milestones and decision gates to drive automation and scale.
  • Find your cross-sales hot spots.
    Which product–customer cross-sales options are easiest to execute and offer the biggest opportunity? Invest in rigorous analysis upfront, leveraging not just hard data but views from the sales, marketing and service teams on the front line.
  • Take a customer-centric approach.
    Start with the customer’s needs and think through the target cross-sales journey. What products get sold in at the start? What follows? And at what trigger point? How does that differ by persona? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking in divisional or M&A-constructed silos.
  • Reduce complexity.
    Get your target product pairings into logical brand, proposition and pricing packages that will support the cross-sale.
  • Sell-in vs cross-train?
    How to set up the sales execution depends on product complexity, proximity and customer relationships. Both routes have drawbacks. But make deliberate choices, and then manage the limitations carefully.
  • Activate the full customer team.
    Don’t focus solely on sales and marketing. Ensure you train and incentivise the service and support staff, consultants and engineers who are working with customers on a day-to-day basis.
  • Market your offering effectively.
    Cross-sales deserve the same rigorous campaign execution as new business.

Cross-selling is a new way of working. It’s a change management effort and needs constant reinforcement, especially by senior management, before it becomes ‘business as usual’. But as the forum delegates heard, the Hg portfolio community has experience of implementing these changes and can offer the playbooks, templates and support to their Hg peers on the process and the issues involved.

Chris Kindt
Mark Fulford
Jolanta Pilecka

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