Customer Success and Upsells: How to Make the Most of Opportunities




  • — May 29, 2019

    When your goal is to grow your customer’s business, upselling becomes a means, not an end. That’s the advantage of working within a customer-centric environment. Your success depends on your customer’s success, so expansion becomes a necessity for both parties. Upsells are the result of the growth a customer has enjoyed because of your commitment to delivering lifetime value.

    It’s also worth noting that up to 70% of revenue in a subscription business comes from existing customer renewals and upsells. Customer success upsells are critical to your own success.

    Let’s look at how you can generate customer success upsell opportunities and encourage continued expansion.

    Upsells Happen Every Day

    Unlike renewals, upsells aren’t tied to timelines. Rather, they are a function of the customer experience.

    To create happy customers, you have to shift your focus from the sales event and toward the ongoing nurturing of existing customers. This customer-centric model demands that you shape your actions to meet the customer’s needs in order to drive recurring value for both sides.

    There are several key goals of the customer-centric enterprise:

    • Share information across the enterprise to surround the customer with personalized service.
    • Accelerate onboarding to help the customer realize value early.
    • Resolve escalations quickly to ensure continued value.
    • Nurture the growth of each account.
    • Continually monitor customer health.
    • Proactively engage customers with personalized campaigns.

    Such careful attention to the customer and a positive customer relationship will make this process simple and natural.

    Converting Upsell Opportunities

    Forging a responsive, proactive relationship with your customers is beneficial for every stage of the customer journey. The renewal and upsell phases of your customer success journey should be a discussion rather than a last-minute effort to generate additional revenue.

    If you know your customer’s business, you should be able to offer relevant advice on its growth. You can then frame your upsell efforts around personalized exchanges or email campaigns. Remember, though, that not every customer will be able to upsell; focus only on companies that have good opportunities for such expansion.

    You might employ campaign themes around:

    • Company Growth: We noticed you’ve expanded your team. Do you need additional seats on your license?
    • Industry Trends: This new feature would help you better achieve X.
    • Change in Management: We understand you’ve recently changed marketing management and think you could benefit from additional training.
    • Product Usage: We’ve noticed you’ve been using X feature more recently. Our premium feature would help you achieve even better results.

    In each case, the upsell campaign should be based on account-specific information. Show your customer how closely you’ve been paying attention and they’re more likely to see your efforts as sincere.

    Metrics that Reveal Upsell Opportunities

    Whoever said happiness can’t be measured didn’t have the right customer success platform. Every interaction and action your customer undertakes with your team or your product generates data. This data should be stored in a customer success platform, where it can be comprehensively tracked and analyzed. You can then use this information to identify if a customer is ready for expansion.

    You might look at measurements such as:

    • Usage Data: If a customer is using the product frequently or is heavily leveraging specific functions, then it is time to offer them access to premium features or other advanced products.
    • License Utilization: Is the customer approaching the license cap on their account? If so, it is natural to offer them more seats.
    • Product ROI: What do your business success metrics tell you about the ROI a customer is enjoying? Successful customers experiencing value are more likely to respond to upsell campaigns.
    • Company Demographics: What type of company and industry are you dealing with and what features of your product suit this field? Not all industries are equal, so you need to consider domain when pursuing upsells
    • Satisfaction Metrics: Any customer feedback on your product is gold. You can readily identify happy customers through their direct responses to surveys, escalations, and customer success engagements. Happy customers are more loyal and more responsive to upselling.
    • Customer Health Score: A customer health score is generated within your customer success platform. It is a combination of customer data used to create an overall satisfaction level as a quantifiable mark out of 100. It offers you an enterprise-wide view of the state of your accounts. All you have to do is focus your upselling efforts on the top performers.

    You can make the task of identifying upsell opportunities easier by setting up custom alerts within your customer success platform. Essentially, you establish thresholds across any of the above metrics that will automatically trigger email alerts. So, if a customer reaches their license cap, creates a spike in usage, or begins regularly accessing a feature, you’ll be notified right away.

    Natural Customer Success Upsells

    Customer success upsell opportunities are generated by a positive customer experience. Creating lifetime customer value will naturally produce the right conditions for expansion.

    By forging a personalized relationship with your customer, you set your customers up for long-term growth. Upselling is an outcome. Put in the effort to nurture your customer’s growth and they’ll need you to help them expand.

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