Growth and profitability are the goals of every business including Microsoft CSP business. To achieve these goals, you need to focus on increasing sales and revenue. An increase in sales is possible either by acquiring new customers or selling more to existing customers. Upselling and cross-selling are two lucrative and profitable sales techniques to increase Microsoft CSP revenue. Upselling refers to a sales practice where a customer is sold a premium product with more features and functionality as compared to the one, they are already using. Cross-selling involves selling one or more products that add value to the customer’s initial purchase. Cross-selling and upselling are beneficial for both Microsoft CSPs as well as their customers. The following are the benefits of these sales practices:
- Boosts revenue- Existing customers are familiar with your product and service. They have already done business with you and believe in your capabilities. This makes them more likely to consider purchasing other products and services. Cross-selling and upselling opportunities help you make more sales leading to more revenue for your Microsoft CSP business.
- Builds customer loyalty– Anticipating the needs of the customers and offering value additions or enhancements to existing solutions based on those needs helps gain the loyalty and trust of the customers. This helps reduce customer churn and improves profitability. As per Harvard Business Review, “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
- Improves Return on Investment (ROI)– Acquiring new customers can be costly and time-consuming. Selling more and upgraded products and services to existing customers helps you earn more from the initial investment made by you in marketing, lead generation, and conversion.
- Adds value to customers– customers can learn about and purchase additional products and upgrades that can help them add value and increase their business productivity.
Major roadblocks to upselling and cross-selling
Cross-selling and upselling can help you achieve profit maximization for your Microsoft CSP business. There are many challenges you will face when upselling and cross-selling to customers.
Finding out which customers should be approached for upselling and cross-selling products can be quite difficult. You cannot afford to spend time and resources on reaching out to every customer. You need to shortlist the leads which are more likely to convert. Approaching customers who have no intention or need of buying more products or upgrading to a more premium product not only wastes your time but is also off-putting for the customers.
Understanding the needs of the customer
When you are trying to cross-sell or upsell, you have to approach the customers with the right products based on their business needs. Unless the sales representatives understand the unique needs of the customers, they are more likely to pitch irrelevant products and upgrades to them. Without relevant data on the industry trends, customer buying habits, and their interactions with your business, you will be unable to have a complete understanding of the needs of your customers.
Selling at the right opportunity
You not only have to find the right product to recommend but also have to get the timing of the approach right. A customer might require an additional product, but the need may not be immediate. In case the need is far away, the customers will want to postpone their purchase decisions. You need to invest time and resources in building a detailed client profile and tracking their business progress to identify the right potential opportunity to offer them more products and services. If you approach the customers at the wrong time, it may just push them away and also impact their existing relationship with your Microsoft CSP business.
Lack of expertise
To successfully sell upgrades and products that complement the existing solutions being used by the customers requires the sales team to have extensive knowledge about the industry segment as well as the features of the products they are selling. When the sales team lacks product knowledge, they are unable to convince the customers about the benefits of purchasing other products or switching to a more premium product. This not only results in a lost business opportunity but also makes the customers doubt the expertise of the company in managing their existing business.
How to upsell and cross-sell successfully as a Microsoft CSP?
Successfully upselling and cross-selling is an uphill task. You not only have to focus on increasing sales but have to develop a strategy that will help you sell complementary products or upgrades without undermining the effectiveness of the existing product being used by the customer. Here is how you can tap into upselling and cross-selling and grow your Microsoft CSP business.
Widen your portfolio
The aim of upselling and cross-selling is to earn incremental revenue by selling more products to customers who can benefit from complementary software and enhancements. To offer more choices to your customers, you need to widen your portfolio. You can do so by adding Microsoft products, solutions developed by you, ISV solutions, and any other 3rd party solutions. By widening your portfolio, you become a one-stop-shop for all the software needs of your customers. If you wish to add solutions developed by any ISV, you can reach out to the ISV to enquire if they can extend a private offer margin to you. If yes, then you can establish a relationship with that ISV and start selling their products. To know more you can access resources developed by Microsoft here.
Identify the customers
The next step is to identify the customers who would need the additional products and services and would be willing to purchase them. To correctly qualify leads, you need to analyze the purchase and usage history of the customers, the products they have been enquiring about in the past few months, and their stage of digital maturity. Sales professionals can’t collect this information just via customer interactions. Using a Microsoft CSP billing automation tool with a built-in marketplace for customers helps you gather actionable insights that can help you in lead qualification.
Nurture customer relationships
Nurturing customer relationships not only makes the customers more likely to continue their association with you but at the same time opens the window to new selling opportunities. Increased customer loyalty reduces churn and increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). To improve your relationship with your customers, you need to deliver on what you promised to them. If the customers are satisfied with the performance of the solutions, you have already sold to them they will be willing to buy more from you. Stay connected with your customers regularly to proactively address their concerns and become a dependable business partner for them.
Offer need-based recommendations
When you are looking to upsell and cross-sell to customers you can leverage the advantage of having an existing customer relationship to offer personalized recommendations. Personalized and need-based recommendations improve the chances of customers buying the additional product or deciding to upgrade their subscription. To provide accurate need-based recommendations, analyze the industry trends, business pain points of customers and the solutions customers are enquiring about.
Keep your customers engaged
Apart from directly approaching your existing customers with the aim of upselling and cross-selling, you can also send them product updates and recommendations via email and your company’s social media channels. This will ensure that your customers are aware of newer offerings that can improve their business productivity. When you keep your customers engaged, you can collect valuable customer feedback which can help you improve your sales process.
Customers need to understand how purchasing a new product can add value to the existing solution or what will be the additional benefits of upgrading to a premium product. Provide your customers with a side-by-side comparison of the existing solution and the upgraded one. Looking at added features and the benefits of the premium product will help your customers in deciding on the best option for their business.
Create product bundles
Creating product bundles that meet the needs and preferences of your customers helps in generating more sales as well as improving customer experience. Before getting started, you need to analyze the needs of the customers and bundle products that will add value to a customer’s business when working together. Customers want options, so create some preset product bundles for customers but also allow customers to customize the bundles as per their choice. Offer some discounts and special promotions to make the bundles more attractive to the customers. You can learn more about revenue opportunities from selling product bundles here.
Customers prefer to have more control over their purchases. A self-service portal allows customers to manage most of their account activities themselves. This includes buying additional licenses, and complementary products, and upgrading to a more premium version of the existing solution. Self-service enables customers to explore products on their own and make purchases without the need to get in touch with a sales executive.
Train your sales team
Convincing customers to make additional purchases requires your sales team to have complete information about the features and benefits of the products they are pitching. Identify the skill gaps your sales team has and equip them with the requisite capabilities to close the skill gap. This can be achieved by providing sales training, product-related training, etc. To know more about building technical and sales capability to grow your Microsoft CSP business, read our blog.
Enhance customer experience with CSP billing automation
A great customer experience is what will help you in selling additional products and services to your existing customers. If the customers are unhappy with the experience they have with your Microsoft CSP business, they will be unwilling to spend more money. As per HBR Closing the Customer Experience Gap Report “73% of business leaders say that delivering a relevant and reliable customer experience is critical to their company’s overall business performance today, and 93% agree that it will be 2 years from now.” One way to enhance customer experience is to provide your customers with accurate and timely invoices. Generating invoices manually can lead to inaccuracies and delays which impact the experience of the customers with your business. Use a Microsoft CSP billing automation tool to generate error-free invoices and improve customer experience.
Make upselling and cross-selling easier with C3
Are you looking to increase your Microsoft CSP business revenue by upselling and cross-selling but finding it difficult? The answer is to partner with C3 and leverage the power of pureplay Microsoft CSP billing automation. C3 offers a plethora of features that can help you earn incremental revenue by upselling and cross-selling.
- Automated invoicing– automate your Microsoft CSP billing and send your customers the correct invoices to improve their experience and build trust.
- Sell product bundles– C3 makes it easier to bundle similar and complementary products. You can also offer customers exclusive discounts and promotional coupons.
- Use extensive reporting– make use of extensive reporting and customer analytics to assess the needs of the customers and offer them the right recommendations.
- Self-service marketplace– empower your customers with self-service capabilities that can allow them to purchase and provision additional products without your intervention.
Book a demo today to see how C3 can help your Microsoft business succeed