Tips for Training Your Team to Upsell & Cross-sell

Post date :

Apr 8, 2024

Why is this even important?

Driving additional revenue from existing customers via cross-sell and upsell is an incredibly efficient way to to grow your business and profits. When you look at the value of a lead or a customer, being able to incrementally increase the revenue from each interaction can have a huge impact on your bottom line by giving you a better labor cost per revenue dollar margin. 

Let's explore important items to consider when setting up a training program to help your team become more effective at upsell and cross sell. 

What is the difference between cross selling and upselling?
  • Cross selling is adding on additional products/services (adding on a maintenance plan or using the opportunity on-site to find other preventative offerings)

  • Upselling is getting someone to spend more on the same thing (think tankless water heater over replacing the tanked version)

These are similar motions that both involve helping your team understand the moments that offer each motion when working with clients. 

Why aren’t we doing this already? 

The most common reasons that upsells and cross-sells aren’t happening are related to people and process. 

  • Who is in charge of this process? If its the service techs, was this a part of their job that was outlined to them up front or just something you added onto the existing team? Consider the type of tech you would hire for if this was a job expectation. You may also consider having a separation of sales team members vs service technicians if you have a ticket size that can justify multiple touch points on a job.

  • What is the process you have outlined for the team and at what points on each service job do they have defined and specific sales opportunities? If you haven’t documented where upsells CAN happen, then you’re mostly just hoping that they happen organically. Figure out where you have these moments that matter and then you can create a training process for your team at each instance. 

  • Does your team know their numbers? How are each of them doing at add-on sales and who is on top of ‘the leader board’? (do you have a leader board?) - if you asked your team how they are doing on this area, would they have an accurate answer or is it just based on how they feel about it? The saying goes “measure what matters” - if this is something you want to improve in your business, its going to have to be a focus and something you track. 

Pro Tip: Go back through your last 6 months of jobs and look at what was sold. Figure out where there could have been an upsell to a better margin product or a cross-sell of another service. Look for the most common examples and start with these. Even getting 1-2 more dialed in processes can show very quick returns.  

Setting up a standard process:
  • Document what ‘good’ looks like and include specific examples. Give your team real world scripts and explanations they can use to demonstrate the to buyer what the value is. Don’t ask them to just make it up themselves - your best sellers will be able to take these scripts and make them ‘their own’ but get everyone to master the initial versions to create a minimum baseline. 

  • Set up internal training so you aren’t asking your team to practice on the customer. This can take the form of classroom training but should also include live role play so everyone is getting comfortable with the actual scripts and process. 

  • Audit and inspect what you expect from the field. Managers or leaders should go along on calls on a regular basis to set the expectation of how to execute these processes and also to inspect the performance. You can also make sure you are measuring the performance of the team in dollars and cents to see who is excelling and where you need to focus on more training. 

  • Create an on-going process, not a one-time event to make sure it ‘sticks’. It takes weeks and months to create habits and get people to learn new skills. This is not something you can accomplish with a one-time classroom session. Make sure that you conduct regular training with the team and incorporate your sales process into weekly meetings. This not only helps habitualize the process but it shows your team that you are taking it seriously and plan to follow through on the entire program (so they can’t just ignore it). 

Align incentives: aka “show me the money!”
  • Show your team how they can make more money by increasing the return on their time. There is a limit to how MANY jobs they can do in a day. Once they hit that ceiling the only way for them to make more money is to create more revenue from the time they are in the field. By improving the overall value and margin of their jobs, there is more money to go around… including to them! 

  • Understand your margins and the value of ‘incremental dollars’ before you setup any compensation plans for the team. It will not benefit you to improve top line revenue if the cost of the service is just going to eat up all your margin. When you add additional sales to existing engagements, look at the cost of the incremental dollars (with and without the upsells) to see how much more profit you are making by incorporating these motions. 

    • This allows you to dial in your pricing on these add-ons

    • Once you know your margin profile, you can create incentives for the team to drive their performance without killing your margin and profit. 

  • Keep it pretty simple for the reps to understand how they makre more money. 

    • Example: For every $1 of upsell you create, we can pay you 6%

    • Make 5 stops in a day - create an additional $800/day in add-ons = $48/day = $11,520/year in additional compensation from the jobs they ALREAY are on. 

    • The top line revenue on this model is $192,000/year in additional sales. Your profit is going to come down to your margin on the upsells - so get that dialed in before you set any compensation models. 

    • When the plan is easy to understand, you don’t have to spend a bunch of time managing it. Keep it simple!

  • Make it attainable but make sure the top performers are beating the rest of the team. By setting goals that are attainable, you remove the ‘I can’t do this’ conversation from the team. When others can see that it IS doable (and some techs are actually beating the goals) then you can drive performance by creating a healthy but competitive environment. No one is well motivated when they see that everyone is failing - so even if you want to increase the goals over time, start with a level where a strong performance will yield good results for the team member. 

When you make cross selling and upselling a standard part of your overall customer engagement you will see bigger margins, better compensated teams and larger profits. By making this process and training a priority, you are investing in your business for the long term.