“Upsell current clients” has always been one of the mantras of the sales industry. After all, selling more to the base creates value beyond the obvious revenue gains. It increases trust, executive exposure, credibility, confidence, and provides a stronger ROI due to the decreased cost of goods sold. This not only creates value for the client, but also delivers an incredible customer experience that is paid forward in the industry.
Throughout my career as a sales leader in the technology industry, I’ve found that one of the key factors in selling more to an existing client is shifting your mindset quickly from closing the deal to taking responsibility for a successful implementation and, ultimately, product adoption. At Bullhorn, we serve the global staffing and recruiting industry, which operates in a highly competitive environment with extreme margin pressures. Justifiably so, our clients rely on our system and their entire technology ecosystem to drive efficiencies and empower their teams to deliver more quickly for their own clients. This means fulfilling on promises made in the sales cycle to ensure the product works.
So how can you, as a sales executive, increase your wallet share within existing accounts? Here are three tactics to consider when servicing your existing bases that could pay dividends (both literally and figuratively).
Plan for future growth within initial contracts.
When initially selling to a company, plan to include a clause about future growth in the contract. That way, you don’t need to look at each new purchase as an entirely new negotiation. This will streamline the process because contracts can more times than not slow down the delivery of new products as parties reengage in the legal process. Planning for future growth with customers from the first day shows your initial commitment to them. You’re investing in them, and you’re championing their growth. Not only does that showcase true partnership, but it helps unlock new opportunities to reach new stakeholders in the business and develop relationships with them.
Develop a strong steering committee with transparent communication.
Establish a core implementation team and create a regular cadence of communication to your customers – both those involved in the project and those who aren’t involved in the project. How often are you planning to communicate your project updates to your customer’s CEO or their other senior leaders? Chances are you’re only going to talk to these executives on a quarterly basis, while you’re speaking more regularly – on a daily or weekly basis – with project implementation teams. Whatever communication frequency you decide, stick with it for consistency. Clear, concise, and transparent communication shows that you won’t get stuck in the nitty-gritty details and can articulate future plans. Allocate the right resources, establish consistency, and communicate honestly, and you’ll have a stronger foundation to add more to over time.
Focus on speed, but not at the expense of quality.
In any industry, speed is crucial to getting business done. And if you’re getting your customers ramped up on new products to help them complete their work, you need to do it as rapidly as possible. Implementing projects can stall for a variety of reasons and take months to execute. Assign key roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in the project, so each team member knows what they need to get done and by when. Consider incorporating a project plan that delivers a minimally viable product with phase-two and phase-three projects outlined to get to business value more quickly. Reaching both small and significant milestones will attract the attention of stakeholders and open conversations for more opportunities in other departments or other offices.
It all boils down to creating an incredible customer experience. If your products make your customers’ lives easier and help them work faster and smarter, the more they’ll want to use the newer products that you’re selling. And the more that they can become raving fans, the more opportunities you, as a sales leader, have to sell more within an existing company and create stronger customer relationships – the ultimate goal. But keeping a forward-looking approach in the beginning can help set you and your client up for an easier path along the way.
David Stott is vice president, enterprise, international at Bullhorn, the global leader in CRM and operations software for the recruitment industry.