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It can be really frustrating to be falling behind.  

Especially when it comes to upselling and cross-selling.  

When done right, they are powerful tools that can drive growth and revenue in our industry. But most COOs can’t meet their targets. And though that can cause a lot of damage, there are ways to turn things around and overcome these challenges.  

Let’s have a deep dive into the big picture.  

How Missed Upselling and Cross-selling Targets Impact Your Company  

It can be dangerous to fall behind on these targets because you’re at risk of impacts like this:  

  • Dented profits and revenue: Missing targets means less money coming in both in the immediate and in the long term. And this is for customers you already have and potential customers in the future. And unfortunately, revenue is key to the SaaS industry where you must constantly grow.  
  • Disruption of your operations: Because you have to divert so many resources and so much time to the upselling and cross-selling process, the sales process slows down. The teams might feel forced to focus on customer acquisition, which has a much lower conversion rate. 
  • Unhappy customers: When upselling and cross-selling opportunities are missed, or even worse, or are based on mistaken assumptions (whether product, current customer need, or current subscription). This makes customers feel misunderstood or ignored, and competition and churn are too high for them not to just leave for a better offer with better service.  
  • Loss to your competitors: Staying ahead of your competition is so key, but it’s impossible if you leak revenue, get a bad reputation, and hemorrhage customers. That damages both your market position, and future investibility.  
  • Morale: The frustrated sales team’s struggle with morale will impact future productivity. It’s a tough cycle to escape.  

None of these impacts are good for your brand. And when you start to experience multiple impacts at the same time, you can get into trouble.  

That’s not something you need as a COO. Because you’re responsible for the growth of the company. You’re the one who has to explain to the boardroom why things are the way they are.  

What Causes Failed Upselling and Cross-selling Targets? 

Through our time working with many COOs across multiple sectors of SaaS companies, we’ve discovered the most common factors that contribute to falling behind in upselling and cross-selling targets: 

Limited and out-of-date knowledge of product offerings: If the sales team doesn’t understand the product offering, they won’t be able to spot upselling and cross-selling opportunities. They also won’t be able to explain a product’s value to customers. And even worse, they won’t know which products complement (or contradict!) the packages customers already have.  

Incorrect or inadequate customer segmentation: If customers aren’t segmented correctly, and that segmentation isn’t regularly updated, sales teams won’t get the level of understanding that they need to sell to the right customers at the right time. Customers can’t be treated as one group – they have unique needs and preferences.  

Insufficient training: If sales teams don’t have the training and resources that they need to identify opportunities and act on them, they’re at a huge disadvantage. Training should be an ongoing process too – there’s lots for sales to keep on top of including the offering and the best ways to convert customers

No data-driven insight: Your freely available customer data has so much potential if you use it in the right way. Comprehensive data and analytics can give you priceless insight into your customers’ behavior, preferences, history, needs, and usage, even when they leave and why and what it would take to get them back.  

Miscommunication with the marketing team: Sales and marketing must work together. Sales teams need marketing to bring in leads and content that shows value propositions for the product offering. Marketing needs feedback from sales about what customers think and why they say yes or no, to tweak their content.  

No time and low morale: Sales reps simply do not have the time they need to upsell and cross-sell because they’re too busy trying to keep up with the database, liaising constantly with the revenue team, putting out fires, keeping up with customer service, etc. And they’re up against unrealistic sales targets without the resources they need to meet them. That is very bad for morale and pushes sales turnover through the roof.  

The good news for COOs (and anyone else who wants to the sales team to do well) who are reading this is that acknowledging these causes is the first step in turning things around.  

Actionable Solutions to the Problem 

There are steps that you as a COO can take to turn things around and start bringing in the revenue you need to help grow the company and customer base

  1. Get good, reliable customer segmentation: Use your customer data to figure out the most up-to-date segment that will respond to upselling and cross-selling. Then you’ll be able to create unique messaging that meets customers where they are. 
  2. Give ongoing training: Give your team the knowledge they need about your product offerings, which products complement one another, and the most cutting-edge ways to up and cross-sell. Working with the development team will help enable information to flow in both directions. 
  3. Get sales and marketing to collaborate: Allow both teams to regularly meet and align their messages according to the needs of both teams. It helps increase the likelihood of a seamless customer experience. 
  4. Get and integrate data-driven insights: Take advantage of analytics that can crunch your data to give you the patterns, trends, and opportunities the system has spotted. And – bonus – these insights will empower you as the COO to make the most informed and effective decisions.
  5. Give your team time, resources, and realistic expectations: If something isn’t working, especially over the long term, leaning into it and applying pressure won’t help. You need to change it. Talk to the team about what they need. Study the most successful SaaS sales teams out there- what are they doing differently? What resources do they have?
  6. Automate it all: Automation takes care of all the other solutions in this list and wraps them up in a big bow for your sales team. 

Automation will streamline your entire lead-to-billing process, so not only will you have a happy sales team that performs, but you’ll have a marketing team that’s up to scratch, a development team that is confident that customers understand the offering, and a revenue team that gets all contracts and terms accurately and in real-time.  

That’s basically all your operations automated with the flick of a proverbial switch.  

Automation relieves your sales team of these processes:  

  • Agile and adjustable recommendations of the best pricing models AND products, no matter their complexity.   
  • Crushing silos for good between teams by giving date and information in real-time. This cuts down on mistakes and speeds up the selling and invoicing process. No more revenue leakage!  
  • An end to loss-making orders because you’ll know how much your customers are likely to spend and use.  
  • Reliable upselling and cross-selling recommendations – not only the time and customer, but which products they’ll find useful. It also feeds this info to the right salesperson at the perfect time and pushes the contracts, sales, and terms to the revenue team.  
  • All sales data is available in real time, and accessible by whichever teams need it. 

All of these strategies will give your sales team the support they need to meet and exceed expected sales performance. Automation makes it easy and cost-effective.  

This means you as a COO can regain control over all upselling and cross-selling efforts, surpass the targets, unlock the full potential of your product offering, and take all this good news with you to the boardroom.   

We all know how important an excellent Customer Lifetime Value score can be to the success of your SaaS company. So upselling and cross-selling are essential for driving this growth.   

Falling behind targets can impact your financial status and operations. It’s a level of stress that you and your sales team don’t need.  

Fortunately, there are strong, proven strategies available to you.  

By adopting a customer-centric approach, leveraging data-driven insights, fostering collaboration, and embracing automation, you can unlock the full potential of upselling and cross-selling.  

Give yourself and your sales them the tools they need to bring in the revenue and growth that you want.  

Say goodbye to manual revenue processes and boost your growth with Bluefort’s cutting-edge automation solutions. Learn how our end-to-end system streamlines the end-to-end process. 

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Ready to supercharge your SaaS revenue with automation? Discover how Bluefort can transform your upselling and cross-selling game.

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