Customer Experience

8 Upselling Best Practices Every CSM Needs to Know

Manoj Rana
March 1, 2023
min read
8 Upselling Best Practices Every CSM Needs to Know
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8 Upselling Best Practices Every CSM Needs to Know

Upselling and cross-selling have been very popular techniques for increasing revenue and providing a better experience to customers. Indeed, when you upsell correctly, you could end up benefiting financially while also delivering a more personalized experience to your client.

That being said, you need to know how to upsell your services the right way to ensure that you don’t actually end up driving the customer away. Without further ado, here’s how upselling works and the ten upselling best practices every CSM needs to know.

Understand How Upselling Works

Before diving into the practices themselves, it is first necessary to understand how upselling works in the first place. The main goal is to have the customer purchase a higher tier of a specific service. On the other hand, cross-selling is when a customer purchases something additional, though the two terms can be used interchangeably at times. In practice, upselling has three phases or stages:

1.  Identification of Upselling Opportunities

2. Pursuit of Upselling Opportunities

3.  Closure of the Upselling Opportunity

Different upselling techniques can be used in different phases of the upselling process, so knowing at which stage you are is critical. Moreover, in the context of customer success, upselling also involves the anticipation of potential customer questions and challenges. You will have to address and solve these proactively to upsell successfully and ensure customer success in the short term and in the long run.

#1 Identify Customers for Upselling

First, you will need to identify customers for upselling. Realistically, you won’t be able to upsell to all your customers, so you need to make sure that you find opportunities for upselling. You will need to identify customers who will be the most profitable to you (i.e. it will make sense for you to spend your time and energy on them). There is a number of indicators that could help you find such customers, but one of the best ones to use is usage.

How much a specific customer uses your service (overall duration as well as frequency) could help you identify them as an active user. Such users will be more likely to be interested in upgrading their service to a higher tier which will give you an opportunity to upsell. You can send them an email when they reach a specific threshold of usage to inform them about it and offer an upgrade. It is fairly easy to set up such emails to be triggered and sent automatically.

#2 Personalize to Ensure Customer Success

Customer success will be different for different customers which is why you will need to find out what customer success means to a specific client of yours. Only then can you truly personalize your offer to them and upsell successfully while ensuring customer success. A one-size-fits-all approach is definitely not the route to take – instead, treat every customer individually and personalize your approach to each one of them.

Consider the customer’s history with your company. What are their buying habits? What are their needs, priorities, and preferences? What kind of customer are they? If you don’t have any of this information, then you should try to find out as much of it as possible throughout your communication with the said customer. Once you have this information, it will be easier for you to determine what is the best thing you can recommend and upsell as a result.

Moreover, by communicating with customers and discussing what customer success means to them, you can also establish a stronger relationship with each client individually. Building trust and loyalty are crucial for your business, and through such individualized treatment of each customer, you can build them over time and grow your client base.

#3 Use Feedback to Understand Customers Better

Customer feedback is critical for understanding your audience, but what’s even more important is having a feedback score for each customer. This score includes all kinds of feedback that you receive from a specific customer. Some of the things you can do using customer feedback include:

·      Understanding the different segments of your target audience and the separate customer profiles of each segment.

·      Identifying the most profitable customers who have more chances of buying extra when you are upselling to them.

·      Determining the products or services that your customers tend to purchase when you are upselling to them.

·      Getting ideas for new ways you can upsell and cross-sell to returning and new customers.

Martin Connery, an expert from the writing service agency Trust My Paper, says, “Some customers will be your advocates and will regularly post reviews online. Others will be less proactive, but they will still eagerly provide you feedback if you ask for it (e.g. through a survey). You can also get customer feedback by looking at what kinds of support tickets they have (e.g. questions, concerns, propositions, etc.)”

#4 Be on the Lookout for New Users

As a customer success manager, you already know that different customers have different journeys and experiences with your business. And while you need to manage them well and try to upsell to your current customers, you should also be on the lookout for new users. If you start tracking their journey from their first interaction with your brand, it will be easier for you to ensure their success while upselling to them.

In some cases, it may not even be a matter of a new customer but rather a potential customer. If someone is showing interest in your services, then you should take the initiative and reach out to them. You could give them a consultation on what will be the perfect solution for them and then try to upsell to them by offering a service from a tier above.

#5 Think of Potential Use Cases

In addition to being on the lookout for new users, you should also think about potential use cases. We live in an ever-changing world, so it is only natural that your customers may start encountering new problems and challenges for which they will need to find solutions. You should be there to anticipate these issues and offer the right solution before customers even start considering it.

You will already have a lot of knowledge about the kinds of use cases your usual customers have, so by looking at those use cases, you can think of related issues that could arise. If you know the industry and your services well, you can also predict what kind of problems and challenges your customers could start encountering in the nearest future. This is also precisely why you need to be up to date with the latest news and trends.

#6 Know Your Services Well

Speaking of knowing the industry and your services, this is another thing you should definitely work on if you don’t already feel comfortable with your services. The only way that you can make truly helpful recommendations and upsell successfully is by knowing what you can offer in the first place. That being said, it’s not just about knowing your services.

Marissa Osborne from the Best Writers Online writing reviews service notes, “You need to be an expert in your own services, but you should also study your audience and specifically the different customer personas that you are working with on a regular basis. Think about ways you can seamlessly integrate upselling into your communication with customers be it via phone calls, emails, and so on. Eventually, upselling will become a natural part of your job and you will become even more successful at it.”

#7 Find the Best Timing for Upselling

Just as you need to personalize what recommendations you make, you should also choose the right time for making said recommendations and pursuing an upselling opportunity. Every customer is different while also being at a different point in their buying journey, so you need to make sure that you start preparing them for the upsell at the right time. This time may be somewhat difficult to identify at first, but you will get better at this skill as you get more practice – it’s just so intuitive.

To find the right time, you should turn to the personal profile of a given customer. Are they impatient? Are they open to recommendations? Do they have a history of purchasing something extra from your brand? What are their usage metrics? Depending on all of these things, you will be able to figure out whether it’s the right time to upsell. It’s almost never too late or too early, but it can still be challenging to find just the right time.

#8 Utilize Social Proof for Persuasion

Social proof is used all the time for selling services, but it can also be used for upselling with just as much success. Essentially, it is ideal for persuading a specific customer to make the purchase when they are unsure about the quality of the service and want additional proof that it is truly as good as you say it is. Generally, customers trust other customers more than the brands themselves, but you can use several types of social proof to upsell more effectively:

· Customer Reviews – These are reviews of your services from other customers. You can find them on social media and then demonstrate them to the customer you are upselling to.

· Expert Reviews – These are also reviews of your services from experts. These can be people in the industry who have shared their opinions about your services. This way, you can show that an authoritative figure approves of your offer.

·  Media Coverage – This is coverage of your brand and what you offer in different types of online and offline media. When you get mentioned by a news outlet, it already gives your brand legitimacy. And if it is a specific service that you are upselling that gets mentioned, then it will be even more useful for your case.

Wrapping Up: Upselling Best Practices

All in all, upselling is a bit more complicated than it can seem at first, but it is nevertheless a very popular and effective method for increasing revenue and personalizing customer experience. Use the tips in this article as best practices to improve your upselling skills and take your customer service to a new level.