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Importance of Small Business Cross-Selling and Upselling

Published Jul 15, 2015

The Secret Keys to Increasing Sales from Your Current Customers

Small businesses survive on their loyal customers. But these same faithful clients often place carbon copy orders for years without ever knowing about any other offerings. If you’re a small business and not actively cross-selling and upselling your customers, you are missing out on a huge growth opportunity.

Consumers often purchase the same product or service regularly, completely unaware of the other opportunities available to them (services that they are probably buying at the business next door). This question comes up regularly: how can a small business educate their existing clients appropriately opening the door to upselling and cross-selling other services. Read on to find out!

Understanding the Difference Between Cross-Selling and Upselling

Small businesses who cross-sell and upsell are encouraging their customers to buy the next level up, the bigger tier or the better solution. A lot of brands’ marketing fall flat in this department and the full breadth of services are lost in the dark at checkout. These terms are often used interchangeably, but there’s a difference.


Cross-selling gives the consumer the opportunity to learn about all the other services offered within that company; take Amazon as an example. Amazon ranks as the second most admired retailer in the world according to Fortune Magazine. Their CEO Jeff Bezos stated that a whopping 35% of sales were a direct result of cross-sells! They do a good job of strategically letting you know what other products customers have purchased, giving you the chance to buy more. And speaking of whoppers… we can’t forget about the fast food industry. They have it down, “Would you like fries with that?”


Upselling is offering more within the same service – providing more of that same product or service. Apple specifically focuses on upselling by using their customers’ interest in the Apple Watch as a way to get them to upgrade their iPhones to a newer, compatible model. Bigger, faster, easier to use, more bells and whistles. Simply more.

If you can cross-sell first, then you can upsell within all of those opportunities.

Missed Opportunities

Learn what the client’s goals and needs are and provide the solutions that are right for them. You can’t force the service, but it could be a missed opportunity if the marketing efforts weren’t even focused on creating the need and letting the customer know.

Avoid Being too Pushy

Occasionally we’ll see e-commerce businesses simply neglect the opportunity to cross-sell or upsell in fear that they’ll appear too pushy. But if orchestrated strategically through educating the consumer rather than being aggressive in the sale, it will provide a positive experience through each transaction.

Using Customer Relationship Management Data to Cross-Sell or Upsell

Data from your customer relationship management (CRM) system can only be powerful if used correctly. Many businesses don’t even know (or maybe don’t understand) their data. We monitor your website traffic which will provide direct feedback on missed opportunities and track your wins and losses. If there are many losses, it could be a communication barrier or a confusing web design. Anticipate your customers’ needs by providing the solutions they’re looking for…then tell them about it.

Communicate to Your Current Customers

It’s actually more expensive to acquire new clients than to market to current clients. Twenty percent of your marketing should be focused on your current customers. All too often, the entire marketing budget is focused on creating new leads and customers –forgetting about the customers you already have. Communicate with your current clients. Get into their inbox through email marketing, follow them around through retargeting ads and have a conversation through social media; this will all help you to capture mind share. Remind them that you’re there and position yourself as a leader in the industry.

Identify Cross-selling and Upselling Opportunities with CMDS

Well-executed and strategic upselling and cross-selling techniques will lead to a boost in revenue simply by educating your current customers on your full breadth of offerings. If you need help identifying cross-selling opportunities or figuring out how to effectively upsell to your current customers, contact CMDS today. We can help you maximize the potential of your existing clients to get more bang for your buck (read: ROI). Plus, we’ll help you be sure your product webpages shine above your competitors with a splashy design and a strong call-to action.

Remember, marketing isn’t all about just creating leads (though we do that really well, too); Explore the power of content writing, email marketing, remarketing and social media with CMDS to communicate with and educate your customers.

What is your experience with online upselling and/or cross-selling? Who do you think does it well? Let us know!

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