Marketing + Sales 12: Upselling

upselling oliver gwynne

“Do you want to supersize that?” is probably the most infamous example of upselling. It’s one sentence that can quickly and easily add a few extra pounds worth of profit to your purchase at Mcdonalds, and is an almost perfect example of everything upselling should be, but so rarely is. It’s short, it takes into account what you’ve already bought and it’s effortless. So how can Sales and Marketing come together to replicate what is accomplished so eloquently in this one line?

Whose Job Is Upselling?

All good upselling starts with good data. Knowing what it is a customer has actually bought, why and what else they might be interested should all be there in your records if someone has the time and intelligence to look. Then it’s simply a case of nudging that customer in the right direction.

Marketing can do this through emails, newsletters, blog posts. With a bit of tracking you can affirm your suspicion as to what a customer is interested in and feed this back to the sales team.

Your account manager or similar can also upsell, but in my experience they are not often the best outlet. They are your problem solvers and your face for all things service related but all too often it can come across as forced when they try an upselling move. They should however take keen notes on problems/potential upselling opportunities. Too often these are missed because they aren’t switched on.

Sales is the most obvious candidate for upselling, normally they will best understand the customers needs and perhaps the right time for upsetting is when they are doing a periodic catch up like I’ve mentioned before.

Artificial Intelligence

A small rant about AI and programmatic upselling. Now this depends widely on what industry you are in, but for me we haven’t reached the level where using a bit of code will work wonders. I don’t know about anyone else but the “You might also like…” feature is so rarely right that I’m amazed when I see something I actually want on it. I feel that this space could be better used to promote deals of the month/segment specific content that although might not be tailored to the individual, casts a wider net. After all, suggesting the wrong thing (or more often than not it seems, something I’ve already bought) has the potential to rub someone the wrong way.

Timing

I once read somewhere that the time that someone is most likely to make another purchase is straight after they have made one…and perhaps this book was quite popular as most often it seems when we are upsold to… most noticeably from the cashier or as we are making a purchase. Sometimes this is small and inoffensive but other time it can be particularly annoying. The only right answer as to when you should slip in a little upselling is when the customer mentions it. If in the course of conversation they mention thinking about getting a new website and that’s something you do, it’s easy to slip in a “you know we do websites” it’s quick, it builds on what they are already buying and it’s effortless…but all too often it’s overlooked.

Insights and Timing are the two key aspects to any good upselling. This is where profiling from your marketing on what your customers are reading etc can really come into play.

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