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3 Most Important Upsell Hacks for Sales Managers

Sales7 MIN READMay 22, 2020

3 Most Important Upsell Hacks for Sales Managers


Acquiring a new customer costs 68% more than upselling to your existing customers. So, easy mathematics: you need to upsell more.

However, 77% of B2B companies fail to achieve the full potential of selling more to their current customers. The majority of businesses have built their sales strategies focusing on new leads and are missing out on the marvelous chance to grow their revenue from the existing customer base.

However, upselling – just like any other sales strategy – takes some dedicated thought and planning to be successful. As sales managers, we are responsible for making upsells a useful tool in our team’s sales kit.

Here’s what you as a sales manager can do to boost upsells in your team.

#1 Define upsell goals in your sales targets

Whatever you do, do it with passion goals. Every good strategy starts with defining what you want to achieve and what it takes to get there. In other words, having clear and achievable upsell targets will make sure you actually reach them.

Without specific goals in place, part of your team will probably never even try to approach your existing customers to sell more. And, those that do, might give it a go every now and then without understanding the real impact it could have on the company’s business results.

These three targets are some of the most widely used ways of defining upsell goals in sales targets:

  • Activity goals: Define the number of upsell emails and calls your sales reps should shoot out every month or week. That’s a great way of making upsells a systematic habit in your team.
  • Upsell sales quota: Set specific targets for the number of deals to close and/or amount of revenue to generate with existing customers. This will help you make sure that your team is not just sending out emails to reach their activity goals, but also working on closing them in due time.
  • Sales commissions on upsells: Include upsells in your sales commissions schemes. As selling to existing customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones, you could consider dedicating more resources specifically to awarding successful upsells. More commission means for motivation for your team to fulfill these targets.

Tie upsells to the sales targets and metrics that make sense to your team and business. Use the SMART goals guidelines to make your upsell targets Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based – like the rest of your sales goals.

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Flag all conversations with the potential for upsells from the previous period and

#2 Map your upsell potential (on a regular basis)

As soon as you’ve set upsell goals for your team, make sure your salespeople know which customers to approach. Not all of them will be suitable for the purpose.

Set your sales team up for success with a master list of existing customers who could potentially buy more of your products and services. This will require some additional research and strategizing. If you’re keen on boosting upsells in your business, you should consider taking this task upon yourself or collaborate with business development teams.

Here are some of the aspects to consider when building the list of potential upsell opportunities:

  1. Company size: Sort your customer list by revenue and/or the number of employees to find the biggest players. These businesses are more likely to have the resources to buy more of your products or services.
  2. Functions and operations: Segment out companies with specific teams where your product or service could be offered besides the existing users. Other teams in the same company are the strongest positive referral you can have.
  3. Growth: Look into how your customers are doing. Raising a new investment round or hitting a huge milestone in user numbers might hint that they are more open to buying more from your company.
  4. Positive signals: Find potential upsell leads with high CSAT/NPS scores or product engagement and move them up to the top of the list (because nothing is worse than calling a potential lead and hearing about their 5 open customer service tickets).

Review and update your upsells master list on a regular basis because these circumstances can change quickly. Remember that your competitors are also keeping an eye on large and fast-growing companies, so a missed opportunity for upsell could give them the upper hand.

Go through the list of your potential upsell customers on a monthly or quarterly basis. This will help you keep up with everything happening in the market.

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Flag all conversations with the potential for upsells from the previous period and

#3 Review sales conversations and provide feedback

Last but not least, don’t just ask your team to do more upsells – tell them how to do it, too. Every conversation that your agents have with your customers can be a chance to sell more. Help your team spot and seize these opportunities.

The easiest way to boost upsells in your sales interactions is by conducting regular email and call reviews to provide constant feedback on how to sell more.

  • Highlight the conversations where sales reps could have upsold. That’s how your team will learn to notice the opportunities they need to start nailing.
    Flag all conversations with the potential for upsells from the previous period and go through them with your team. Explain why these particular conversations would have been suitable for the purpose to help your sales reps understand the rationale behind your suggestions.
  • Provide feedback on how to plug upsells into sales emails and calls. Give actionable advice on how to introduce related products or services the customer might be interested in.
    From suggestions for asking how the company is currently managing some specific tasks to straightforward examples like “By the way, we just launched this new product you might be interested in, I’d be happy to give you a tour” could help your sales reps master the art of upselling in every conversation.
  • Track your team’s upselling performance over time. If you set up a sales Quality Assurance program and use a sales scorecard to rate your reps’ emails and calls, create a dedicated rating category for upsells in the rubric.
    By using a sales conversation review tool like Klaus, you’ll be able to measure how well your agents seize the opportunities to upsell in their conversations over time. See whether your team is starting to propose more upsells in their interactions, and notice any drops in their performance as soon as it happens.

Regular sales conversation reviews will help you gain control over upselling in your team. If your team is not meeting their goals, you’ll learn why their emails and calls are not inspiring your customers to buy more. Regular feedback will help them improve their performance and meet their quotas in no time.

Flag all conversations with the potential for upsells from the previous period and

If you want your team to start selling more to your existing customers, create an environment that fosters upsells. As sales managers, it is our duty to help our sales reps excel in their jobs.

Specific goals accompanied by a list of potential customers to target and instructions on how to close those deals will create a framework to make upsells systematic and successful in your team.

Not only will this boost your sales quotas, but it will also do wonders for your business results. Selling to existing customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones for most companies, so start doing more of it.

Go and reap these low-hanging upsell opportunities right meow!

Read on: Why You Need to Start Reviewing Sales Emails Right Meow

Written by

Merit Valdsalu
Merit is the content writer at Klaus - though most of her texts have probably been ghostwritten by her rescue cat Oskar.

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