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Sales Solutions
Making the Most of Your Accounts vol 9, issue #3
March, 2012

For some of us, the initial sale into a new account is but the end of the line for a deal we've been working for weeks, sometimes months. We celebrate the victory, figuratively take a few victory laps, and then it's on to the next deal. For many others - those who are also responsible for "Account Management" - the initial sale is but the starting point of a relationship which has the potential to be grown. Unless your company separates new business sales and account management roles, part of your role - and a great way to increase your production - is to upsell and cross sell in your accounts. For definitional purposes, "upselling" is selling more of the same product or service, or selling other products and services, to the same buying unit in a large account. Cross-selling is selling any product or service you offer to a different buying unit in that account. Together, these two activities represent a tremendous opportunity for you to generate additional revenue for your company - and income for yourself - in a relatively easy way, because you already have built important relationships in these accounts. But like most things, there is a right way and a wrong way to do both. Being successful at growing revenues in accounts requires that you use a systematic approach, that you know when it's appropriate to broach the subjects, and what you'll say when you do.

The approach I recommend is to - immediately upon closing your initial deal - schedule three follow up activities for yourself: a 7-day-after-training follow-up call, a new customer survey, and a 30-day follow up call. The purpose of the 7-day follow-up call is to make sure the new customer is completely satisfied with all aspects of the sale and post-sale activities (installation/implementation/rollout, training), setting the stage for the 30-day follow-up call (it's also an opportunity for you to uncover- and resolve - any issues they're having). It also conveys to the customer that you're not one of those sales people who's his best friend throughout the transaction, but once you have the signed contract, you're never seen nor heard from again. In short, it cements the relationship between the customer and you.

The new customer survey - which should come from your manager - serves two purposes. The first is to signal to the customer that not only do you care about them, but that your organization cares - and wants to make sure - that your entire experience was either satisfactory or exemplary. The second purpose is to uncover any issues they may have been reluctant to tell you about. Just as your own follow-up call served to cement the relationship between the customer and you, the survey helps cement the relationship between the customer and your company.

The purpose of the 30-day follow-up call is to make sure the new customer is still satisfied, but also - and more importantly - to schedule a meeting to uncover additional revenue opportunities in the account (and also to determine if the customer would be willing to be a reference, or provide a referral). Why wait to schedule this meeting? This gets at knowing when it's appropriate to broach the subject. The reason is you need to give the customer time to use your product and experience how your organization supports them. Most customers will be hesitant to steer you in the direction of more business based solely on how nice you'd been to them during and just after the purchase, because if the product and support turn out not to match what you promised, they'll have egg on their face for having recommended a sub-par product and organization to other departments. They will, however, be amenable - even eager - to making introductions, and considering other offerings themselves, if your product and your organization have proved themselves worthy.


Implement the approach outlined above. Line up your largest accounts, ranking them from largest potential to smallest, as well as strongest relationship to weakest. Then, list the products you did not sell, and the departments you did not approach. Schedule a meeting with your primary contact to introduce products you did not present when you first sold the account, and solicit his or her suggestions on where else in the organization your products could be used. Then ask for introductions to the appropriate people in those departments. As for what to say, it's as simple as, "Ted, from all the feedback I've received from you, it appears your decision to select us is one you're glad you made". When he confirms that, simply ask, "Now that you've had some experience using the product, who else in the organization do you think could benefit from it?" And as for Ted himself, you could say, "Ted, were you aware that we provide product/service XYZ?" Let me tell you about it..." You know have both cross-sell and upsell revenue opportunities teed up. All you have to do, then, is go and get them!

Good Selling!

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