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The Ultimate Guide to Upsell Strategy for your B2B SaaS Business.

A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show them”- Steve Jobs. Upselling is crucial for any B2B SaaS business. It’s a sure-shot way to create extra revenue. So, having B2B SaaS upselling strategies is vital for your business growth. But, is that as easy as it sounds?

Oftentimes, people are not aware of solutions to their problems. They go silent once they’ve purchased a product and don’t bother to go beyond that. As a Customer Success Manager (CSM), your job is to help customers derive more value from your product so that they achieve their business goals. Monitor and track if the customer has realized the intended value from your solution. If yes, then it might be time to set the ball rolling for an ‘Upsell’ conversation.

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So, yes. It is easy. Putting an upsell plan in place, knowing the strategies, etc. is essential for that to happen. And that is exactly where most companies fail!

Let’s walk through this guide to know more about upselling strategies that you need for your B2B SaaS business. 

Why are B2B SaaS upselling strategies important?

If you can acquire new customers, then why bother about the upsell/cross-sell strategies? It’s because retaining existing customers is more profitable. 

  • Increase LTV- Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is the total contribution that a customer gives to your business. When you upsell your customer, you generate extra revenue from the same customer without any extra investment. Thus, the increased revenue indicates a higher LTV. That means you can have more money to acquire new customers and retain the existing ones. Hence, it helps increase your business’s bottom line. 
  • Helps build a deeper and greater relationship with your customers. Upselling focuses on your customers and their goals. The features that provide more value make them feel better and appreciated. 
  • A healthy customer relationship built over time ensures that your customers think about you and your solution first before anyone else. Upselling creates a great customer experience. It’s a strategy that gives additional value to your customers. 

Cross-sell vs Upsell

Points of differenceUpsellCross-sell
What is it?An upsell is a strategy (especially in B2B SaaS) that is designed to convince your customer to buy a more feature-rich edition of your product. Cross-sell is a strategy to encourage your client to buy anything in addition to the primary product.
An exampleYour customer has subscribed to a basic plan for your Customer Success software. They’ve realized the value that the tool has to offer and are happy with the product. Now you can initiate a conversation about upgrading the plan, from basic to enterprise. This would be upselling. If the customer has subscribed to your marketing tool, you can suggest they buy a subscription to your CRM as well!.

Both are part of an expansion strategy. They’re used to expand a particular customer’s account. It can prove to be a brilliant opportunity to generate some extra revenue without building new products. 

Pro tip: Check out this Upsell Opportunity Template. It can be used as a reference to create your own upsell strategy. 

How do you identify if the customer is ready for an upsell?

Now, the question that is on your mind is how to identify if the customer is ready for an upsell. Well, if you have got a plan in place you can see the signs for yourselves.

  • If the customer has achieved success using your product, nothing beats it! You can be straightforward with your plan and initiate the ‘upsell’ conversation. They already know that your product solves their problem. So they’ll be all ears to what you’ve next to offer. 
  • Knowing customers’ business challenges helps. That way you can identify the opportune moment to present your case for addressing those concerns.
  • Maintaining good relationships with the decision-makers is a virtue when it comes to upselling. 

Check out this blog- 5 Vital Signs Your Customer is Ready for An Upsell Discussion to know more about those vital signs!

An upsell playbook explains the steps that you need to take when such an opportunity arises. The screenshot below (taken from our template) is a sample playbook. After you identify such an opportunity, reach out to the respective stakeholders. Thus, a series of next steps are mentioned in the playbook which saves resources.  

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Upsell opportunity Template

Top 5 B2B SaaS Upselling Strategies/Techniques that work!

Set and monitor measurable goals

As cliche as it sounds, it’s true! Learn about your customer’s goals and priorities. Now develop an action plan with relevant milestones to keep track of their progress. Define these at the onboarding stage itself to ensure that both parties are on the same page. 

It helps in identifying the right customers who’d need additional services should an opportunity arise. Not every customer fits the budget. You can never push clients to take up something that they don’t need. A thumb rule to follow is if you’re unable to demonstrate the additional value, better to ditch the idea of pursuing the upsell. 

Use data to drive upsells

Both qualitative data and quantitative data are essential to upselling. For that to happen, build a proactive and consistent model that is based purely on data. A model that can turn customer information into actionable insights. Choose a customer success tool wisely. One that can give you a detailed analysis and real-time data about how the customers are adopting the product at the moment. 

Identifying the triggers 

There are many ‘moments of truth’ across a customer’s journey with your product. These moments or interactions can indicate if your customer will renew/upgrade or not. Most likely these are the ones that you’ve been waiting for. Probably, since the customer’s onboarding stage, you’re looking for an upsell opportunity For that to happen, you need to target B2B SaaS upselling strategies

Also, a playbook is important to see what is the next step once this trigger is generated. It would cost you time and money if you find yourselves grappling when the opportunity presents itself. If you’ve understood what the customer really needs, your job is half done. So, identify the triggers to frame the next steps. 

Compile the list of successful customers

Now that you’ve identified those triggers, track the corresponding customer accounts. It would be best to segment your customers and have a separate plan for each segment. Each customer is different, and so are their needs. The no of use cases, expectations, requirements, budgets, etc. determine what upselling strategies can be devised for that customer segment. 

Preparing custom upsells plans for each customer helps in improving the conversion rates. Yes, it takes time and effort to build these plans but that will be worth the effort. This way you can identify and ease the pain points of the customers. 

Rectify mistakes by using Customer Feedback

Customer Feedback is vital. It will help you in knowing where you lack and what you can do to improve. You can either get feedback from the Customer Success platform or via communication channels.

The Customer Success tool will have all the customer’s data that can give you insights as to how well the customer is adopting the product. Health Scores can give you crucial information that can help you in devising a strategy for that specific customer. If customers do not find a certain feature, they’ll simply stop using it. You will get that data from the tool. This indicates that there is something that needs your immediate attention.

Communicating with the customers requires more effort but you can glean vital insights. These will help you figure out what the exact problem is. The channels include chats via chatbots, calls, online and offline meetings, etc.

Suggest Reading: 5 mistakes marketers make while trying to increase upsells

Final Thoughts on B2B SaaS Upselling Strategies!

The best upsell opportunity that you have is when your customer sees the value in your offering. No doubt, you can upsell to your successful customers only. So identifying them is crucial.  It’s appalling to see so many B2B SaaS companies using the same selling strategies for new and existing customers alike. If you do the same, then let me tell you-  it’s not gonna work! Instead, create an upsell strategy by using data. Tracking goals, identifying the triggers, segmenting the customers, and having an upsell plan are some of the techniques that you should implement. 

Content marketer at CustomerSuccessBox | An avid reader, a passionate writer and a life long learner | Writer @ Hacker Noon | B2B SaaS & Customer Success enthusiast |