You have a new customer. They buy just one product or one service from you. You deliver! They are happy. They want to be even happier, so they buy more things from you. They want to be the happiest they have ever been, so they buy everything they possibly can from you.
Okay, it’s not quite as simple as the Dick and Jane books and “See Spot run.” But it could get close.
Most organizations tend to build their revenue and profit budgets on the expectation they will grow within their current clients in addition to adding new ones. Merger & Acquisition executives (who are supposed to be experts in forecasting synergies) consistently expect 20% or more growth simply due to cross-selling. Yet, data shows about 80% of organizations do not meet their cross-selling expectations. Why? They don’t instill disciplined processes or strategic focus in these three areas:
Trust. Expertise. Commitment
The stronger the relationship, the more successful the cross-sell. Having a solid relationship with a client company and with multiple Decision Makers and Influencers in that company has a significant impact on cross-selling success.
In a McKinsey study regarding cross-selling success, they found relationship strength was a difference-maker - as in this case study: A technology services organization achieved an 80% cross-selling rate within a year of the merger at accounts where salespeople had strong relationships with relevant decision-makers. Accounts where the reps had to sell to unfamiliar people took about 18 months longer to achieve similar results.
Trusted Advisor isn’t a sales professional’s self-proclaimed title. It’s what a sales professional must become if they expect to grow within their clients, and the only people who can determine whether the title is fitting is the client. The lesson here is that sales leaders need to assess the strength of and the number of existing relationships at the account level. Using a combination of voice of the customer (VOC) interviews and NPS feedback is the most accurate way to get a current diagnosis and actionable insight to begin to build a roadmap for your organizational relationship strategy.
Companies often make assumptions about what account teams could sell (i.e., Budget) without an honest evaluation of the sales organization’s knowledge, skills, and expertise. If you expect a team of “farmers” to cross-sell, you need to recognize the skill set required is more akin to "hunting." To determine whether your reps have what it takes for cross-selling initiatives, sales leaders need to assess the teams’ skills, identify gaps, and provide tools, training and disciplined processes to help them cultivate strong relationships, understand risk, look for opportunities, get on the “inside” and position themselves as experts in the eyes of your customers.
“Putting all their eggs in one basket” is not an objection you’ll hear if your customer knows you are committed to them. Successful cross-selling is not an accident. It’s a strategy that often requires building new organizational muscles and demonstrating leadership discipline and commitment—starting at the top. Customers want fewer vendors, not more. Customers want a partner, someone they trust, who can provide expertise and is committed to them and their success. This means executive sponsorship, client advisory councils, strategic Quarterly Business Reviews, and an unwavering focus on "solving your customer's problems."
With today’s supply chain challenges, I have witnessed great success in organizations where formal, top-down focus on key account management is in place with processes and discipline. Partnerships are stronger, revenue and profits are growing, and the future is more certain. A recent example of success: Case Study - Kindred: Measuring Client Experience
Trust. Expertise. Commitment. These are the requirements for cross-selling and account management success. Butler Street has the tools, processes, and training to help you achieve your goals. Contact us to get started.