<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=577820730604200&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

There are differences between cross selling and upselling, and there are also similarities. Both strategies are a way to create new or greater value for your client. Both also improve your sales results by improving your client's results. We'll look at how best to pursue each of these sales strategies. We'll also look at cross selling versus upselling, and how to make it easier to employ each strategy.

Cross Selling versus Upselling

Cross selling can happen in many ways. It happens when you are selling your prospective client another product or service. You are also cross selling when you sell something new to an existing client. You are also cross selling when you add a product or service when you acquire a new client by adding something to your main offering.

Upselling is when you sell your client something that is more expensive than your core offering. For example, you might upgrade the offering in a way that improves the client's results. Another time upselling might occur is if you add other options that increase both the overall price and the value the client experiences. Most of the time, you upsell during your first sale, while cross selling can be done in the customer's life cycle.

Why You Cross Sell

One reason sales organizations cross sell is because it increases revenue. It also improves the client's results and improves your relationship selling. In larger companies with many products and services, taking care of more needs within a single client allows you to increase your footprint and become a strategic partner. The more your client can rely on you to meet their needs, the less they need to look elsewhere.

Cross selling can be used in a land-and-expand strategy. First you land by selling your core offering before adding on other products or services. Once you have delivered results, you can introduce new products and services while pursuing other departments or divisions.

Why You Upsell

The number-one reason to upsell is to provide your client a better product or service. Upselling is difficult for salespeople who believe that their clients don't want to buy anything at a higher price point, even if it would be better for their client or customer. To succeed in upselling, the salesperson needs to recognize that some percentage of their prospective clients want to pay more for something better.

One of my clients sells travel services. People selling holiday packages often ask clients for their budget, then they tailor the vacation to the budget. However, when salespeople showed clients three options at different price points (e.g., a less-nice, below-budget option; an on-budget option; and a much better, above-budget option) about 35 percent of the travelers took the higher-priced offering. You don't hurt your client by helping them get what they want. Upselling is more prevalent in B2C sales than it is in B2B, but the same strategy works with business clients, who may be willing to pay more for better results and a higher level of service.

Client Life Cycles and Lost Clients

Maybe you have had the experience of losing a client because your competitor found a receptive person inside your client's company. This person was intrigued by an offer that promised new value. Without ever speaking to you, that contact worked on their team and removed you and your company, replacing you with your competitor.

Here is a truth about client relationships: You have been paid for past value. Your clients want new value. Either you create new value or one of your competitors will provide it. The more value you create, the better your relationships. Whether you use a cross-selling strategy or an upselling approach, you are responsible for delivering new value.

How to Position Yourself to Cross Sell versus Upsell in B2B Sales

There are several ways to position yourself to open a conversation about adding more products or services. You can use a roadmap to present the path your client might take during their life cycle. You might also use a maturity model to see where they are when compared to other companies.

One of the best ways to position is to share the ideas of a roadmap or a maturity model to improve your ability to cross sell. After you create value for your client and earn the right to propose what comes next, you present your next idea in a quarterly business review. If you need to add more products and services to boost your client's results, the best strategy is cross selling. When you need to move the client up to the next level, the strategy is upselling. Upselling is like an upgrade.

Upselling can be more difficult than cross selling when the client doesn't recognize how an increased investment will provide an increase in the value they receive. It can also be challenging when the client focuses on the price without considering the benefits it supports. Cross selling can feel easier because it adds additional products and services.

New Value Is New Revenue with Cross Selling versus Upselling

When you create new value, you also create net new revenue. Some sales organizations will do better with a cross-selling approach because they have a wide range of products and services to sell. Other sales organizations, especially those with a single offer with different tiers, will need to upsell their clients to create the new value their clients need, which also supports the creation of new revenue. In either case, you must provide new value.

Sales organizations do well when they make cross selling and upselling an intrinsic part of how they sell. These strategies don’t work nearly as well when they are undertaken as one-off campaigns to capture more revenue. Your sales force won't produce the best possible results if the approach isn’t built on the idea that you should continually try to increase the value you create for your clients. You will generate more net new revenue by using these strategies in your day-to-day selling. Both cross selling and upselling will also help you keep your clients, preventing them from looking elsewhere for new value.

Sales 2022
Post by Anthony Iannarino on December 21, 2022

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

ai-cold-calling-video-sidebar-offer-1 Sales-Accelerator-Virtual-Event-Bundle-ad-square
salescall-planner-ebook-v3-1-cover (1)

Are You Ready To Solve Your Sales Challenges?


Hi, I’m Anthony. I help sales teams make the changes needed to create more opportunities & crush their sales targets. What we’re doing right now is working, even in this challenging economy. Would you like some help?

Solve for Sales

Join my Weekly Newsletter for Sales Tips

Join 100,000+ sales professionals in my weekly newsletter and get my Guide to Becoming a Sales Hustler eBook for FREE!