Key Account Managers: How to Identify Cross-Sell and Upsell Opportunities

Looking to hit your business growth goals this year?  As businesses strive to do more with less, customer retention and expansion is the way to go. This allows you to spend less on costly new customer acquisitions while protecting the 20% of your existing customer base that generates up to 80% of your revenue.

Delivering measurable customer results is the best predictor of customer retention. So, it’s essential that key account managers (KAMs) continue to find ways to deliver desired customer outcomes. Account managers can achieve this by keeping their account plans well-aligned with their customers’ goals and priorities. Then they should be on the lookout for additional opportunities to grow and expand their accounts.

In this article, we review cross-selling and upselling, their benefits, and how to identify these opportunities to help with continuous customer value delivery.

What is cross-selling and upselling?

Cross-selling and upselling are ways to generate extra revenue and boost customer lifetime value.

Cross-selling is encouraging a client to purchase a separate product, service, or feature that complements their initial product or service purchase from your company. Upselling involves encouraging a customer to buy an upgraded or premium version of the product or service they are purchasing.

What are the benefits of cross-selling and upselling to key accounts?

In addition to the obvious benefit of increased revenue, cross-selling, and upselling offer additional advantages to your organization such as:

Higher customer lifetime value (CLV): An increase in CLV is an obvious by-product of the customer spending more with your organization during their partnership with your business.

Increased customer satisfaction: When KAMs make recommendations that address emerging customer needs and requirements they enjoy more benefits from using your product or service.

Greater customer loyalty and advocacy: Delighted customers who can more fully leverage your products or services thanks to insightful guidance from their KAMs become loyal long-term advocates of your company.

Better customer retention:  As KAMs stay attuned to evolving customer needs, challenges, and goals, they advise clients accordingly. This helps VIP customers continually receive value from your products and services while overcoming challenges and achieving their goals.

Identifying Cross-Sell and Upsell Opportunities

Recognizing chances to cross-sell and upsell isn’t difficult when KAMs know how to identify them. Here are some ways to find these opportunities to benefit from the advantages of cross-selling and upselling to key accounts.

Know and Understand Customer Needs, Challenges, and Goals

It’s essential that account managers not only establish a baseline of knowledge about their account but also continually update the information and deepen their understanding of the client’s needs, challenges, and goals. There are three particularly effective ways to gain this information and insights:

Org charts: Creating a robust org chart of client organizations and continually revising it as the account changes is crucial. It enables KAMs to identify key decision-makers within the account, understand the decision-making process, and prevent single-threaded business relationships. This helps account managers develop a deeper understanding of the goals, challenges, and priorities of the client and keeps them abreast of expansion opportunities as new users are added to the organization.

Ask questions: KAMs need to ask the right questions to stimulate customer conversations. They can use a combination of routine Voice of Customer (VOC) questions and thought-provoking radically authentic discovery questions.

Engaging various contacts within the client organization in meaningful conversation provides valuable insights about what’s happening within the account, what challenges they are grappling with, and what their current goals and priorities are.

SWOT: Looking at your accounts from all angles routinely through the lens of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats helps you retain your customers. These insights also enable KAMs to easily identify potential cross-sell and upsell opportunities that best address the client’s current needs, challenges, and priorities while helping them achieve the customer’s goals.

Conduct Routine Account Reviews

Establishing an account review cadence that best suits your level of day-to-day account engagement and product or service type is crucial. These reviews ensure that KAMs stay on the same page with their accounts and are aligned with evolving needs, challenges, and goals. These meetings also provide an additional opportunity to engage with C-suite contacts that offer a different perspective than those of the day-to-day account contacts for a bigger picture view of the account.

Collaborate and Communicate Internally

Stimulate internal collaboration and communication across departments by instituting routine internal account reviews and a shared collaboration hub where customer notes and data reside. This enables everyone who engages with the client to easily document and view each engagement with the client and ensures everyone is up to date. This gives KAMs a 360-degree view of the customer and reveals opportunities as they arise.

Product Knowledge and Expertise

Developing a deep understanding of your products or services and their uses and keeping abreast of the product roadmap facilitates the identification and promotion of cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Knowing the timing of upcoming new product or feature releases also allows KAMs to pique customer interest when the client has previously expressed an interest.

Encourage Customers to Network

Creating opportunities for clients to engage with one another gives them a chance to share how they are leveraging your products or services within their respective organizations. Some ways to encourage this type of customer interaction include Customer Advisory Boards (CABs), roundtables, webinars, and in-person events or conferences.

This expands their understanding of how to use your offerings and helps them envision additional ways they can benefit in their business. This creates new cross-sell and upsell opportunities in existing accounts. Then, KAMs only need to be aware that the customer attended the event and follow up afterward.

Share Customer Success Stories and Use Cases

Another way to expose clients to additional uses of your products or services is by sharing success stories and use cases with them. This opens the door for the identification and discussion of cross-selling opportunities within accounts.

Start Cross-Selling and Upselling

Knowing how to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities within top accounts boosts revenue and helps your organization increase retention while achieving your growth targets. It isn’t difficult to recognize these opportunities within top accounts if you know your accounts, meet with them routinely, collaborate internally, develop product knowledge, encourage networking, and share use cases. It’s time to develop your KAM team’s cross-sell and upsell identification skills.
See how Kapta can simplify account management and opportunity identification. Schedule a demo today.

Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta
Jennifer is a Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta