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Cross-Sell & Up-Sell: 3 Key Areas Your Sales Team Needs to Be Trained In

by Rachel Clapp Miller /

Cross-Sell-Up-Sell-3-Key-Areas-Your-Sales-Team-Needs-to-Be-Trained-In.jpgWhen it comes to sales pipeline, net new logos are never a bad thing. However, your sales reps ability to cross-sell and up-sell is often a lynchpin to your organization meeting its revenue goals repeatedly.

Too often sales leaders issue a directive to pull money from existing accounts, in an effort to make those quarterly numbers. That creates a fire drill for managers and reps who are trying to push forward deals that aren’t baked. The end result is a lot of frazzled sales behavior and an increase in discounting.

To effectively cross-sell and up-sell, your reps need to master the fundamental sales skills. Cross-selling and up-selling should be part of their regular operating rhythm. 

3 Key Area of Cross-Selling & Up-Selling Your Sales Team Needs to Be Trained In

1. Digging Deep in Discovery

You can’t effectively cross-sell and up-sell if your reps can’t uncover the pain points and their business impact. Many sales teams use role plays to provide reps practice having the sales conversation. They can also be effective training reps to use silence and effective questioning to truly uncover the business impact.

Effective discovery requires the right question flow (here are some podcasts on that topic) as well as an ability to feel comfortable digging deep on negative consequences. Salespeople are natural problem solvers. They want to solve problems not talk about them. However, if your salespeople are unable to dig deep into the problem they won’t be able to effectively quantify the pain that demands a premium price.

  • Create opportunities for your reps to practice effective discovery with role plays.
  • Observe them on phone calls and listen specifically to their discovery skills.
  • Identify the reps whom you think do a great job of uncovering business pain and provide opportunities for other reps who need coaching to observe them.
  • Encourage your reps to be comfortable with silence and structure their questions around getting to the end game.


2. Clarity on How you Create Value for Customers 

There is no better tool to provide for your reps than a framework that allows them to effectively demonstrate how they can create value for their customers.  Ensure your reps have a keen understanding of the following:

  • Who are the target buyers that own the problem you are solving?
  • What are the key value drivers that drive these buyers to action?

You may think you have clarity around those questions, but does every rep in your organization have that same clarity? Does the digital content your buyers see demonstrate that same value? How is your service or product organization prepared to deliver that value?

What do you do?

First, assess your organization around the value you deliver. You can use this template to email key members of your team.  The next step is to train your reps on those value drivers and how you deliver on them.  Your reps will never be able to land and expand or cross-sell and up-sell if they don’t understand how they can create additional value for customers.

Building this clarity is not a one time event. You need to shift the mindset of your sales organization from inside out to outside in. This maniacal focus on the customer requires a transformation in many organizations – treat it as an ongoing process, not a one-time shift and you’ll be more successful in implementing true change in your organization.


3. Articulate Differentiators in a Way that Has Meaning to the Buyer

Many salespeople can rattle off product or solution features that are different that they’re competitors. The challenge is that these features and functions rarely have meaning to the buyer. Why do I care that you offer unlimited licenses for your product if I only have 10 team members? (well I may care if I want to expand the solution to my sales team to drive better data insights between marketing content and revenue generation). When it comes to cross-selling and up-selling, your salespeople need the ability to align the differentiation with what is meaning to their targets.

Your reps need to understand these three points

  • If they’re expanding their solution, what is the business problem they’re aligning with (related to the value drivers mentioned above)?
  • Then what’s important to the decision maker as it relates to the solutions requirements? 
  • How do your differentiators align with those requirements.

Teach your reps to effectively maneuver their cross-sell and up-sell conversations by effectively mapping out these three components. A pre-call or pre-meeting planner can be an effective tool to ensure that their conversations are focused on uncovering these critical components as it relates to differentiation.