Entrepreneurs How To Identify Upsell Opportunities To Maximize Your Profitability

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The opinions expressed by enterprising contributors are their own.

For agencies and other service consultants specializing in small businesses, few things can be more helpful in increasing revenue and increasing the lifetime value of their clients than taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible.

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The business-to-business equivalent of a McDonald’s employee asking if you’d like to upgrade from small to medium fries, upselling is your way of offering customers more so they deepen their commitment to your agency. By better understanding what upselling opportunities look like, why they matter, and how to best implement them in your agency, you can increase your earning potential like never before.

What do upsell opportunities look like?

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There is no one size fits all when it comes to upselling. Some of the most common types of upsell include product or service upgrades, encouraging customers to purchase multiple quantities of a product, product or service customization, and offering extended service periods.

For agencies, this provides valuable flexibility—and many ways to upsell.

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For example, an agency may offer monthly marketing service plans, but also upsell its clients by offering an annual plan. This annual plan may be offered at a slight discount compared to the monthly plan, but has the advantage of keeping customers “locked in” with the agency for an extended period of time.

Another option may be to encourage customers to purchase additional marketing services. For example, a small business client may approach the agency looking for a new graphic or logo, and the agency may also offer to provide web design services so that the company’s website matches its new graphics. With each of these upsell opportunities, the ultimate goal should be to find ways to create additional value for your customers.

Are there services adjacent to what you already offer that make sense to customers but aren’t in your wheelhouse? For example, maybe your agency writes great content but lacks the ability to optimize it for search. Or maybe you get new leads for your small business customers but don’t use trigger automation to nurture those leads. In such cases, it may make sense to work together with other providers and technology partners so that you can white-label their services.

RELATED: Customer Service Is the New Upsell

Why upselling matters to agencies

In a survey of small businesses conducted by VCITA, more than 68% of respondents said they handle their own marketing, compared to less than 24% who outsource their marketing to an agency. This is indicative of the fact that agencies often struggle to provide value to small business clients – or to effectively communicate how they can provide value – and this represents a major opportunity for those agencies. Pointers who are excellent in this regard.

Upselling is easier for agencies that are great at communicating their unique value propositions and that can tailor their packages to the specific needs of potential clients on an agile basis. Depending on the type of upselling offer you have, this can demonstrate the extent to which you are paying attention to your customers’ needs. It also helps to highlight the versatility your agency provides – how you can be a true “one-stop shop” for clients to effectively manage all of their marketing needs.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that upselling can be a powerful driver of revenue. A HubSpot survey found that 72% of salespeople who upsell report that it drives up to 30% of their company’s revenue.

The 80-20 rule (or the Pareto principle) applies here too – where 80% of revenue comes from the top 20% of customers. Upselling can help you maximize the profitability of your agency’s top clients, ensuring more focused sales efforts that deliver strong results.

How to Maximize Your Upselling Potential

The HubSpot survey cited earlier found that 88% of sellers try to up-sell to their customers. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every humiliating attempt is going to be successful. The most effective agencies focus on ways that their upsell offers create real value for the client rather than just seeking a one-time profit increase.

This requires that you understand the SMBs you work with and their specific problems. Analytics are only part of the story. You need to take the time to talk to prospects and understand their specific needs. Hear their feedback so you can build trust and strengthen your relationship.

By taking the time to get to know your customers and prospects, and combining that with your diverse network’s in-depth knowledge of your capabilities and services, you can then provide tailored, engaging upsell recommendations. When recommendations truly align with the needs and pain points of the customer or prospect, they will look at your ability to provide a relevant service that truly adds value.

To do this successfully, Adobe recommends that you limit how many upsell options you provide to the client. Too many options can eventually lead to analysis paralysis that makes it difficult to reach a decision – or turn the customer away altogether. Upsell recommendations should also try to stay within 25% of the SMB’s planned budget, as dramatic price increases can also scare off customers.

Upsell can (and should) be a priority for current clients – those who already have some degree of trust in your agency. Something as simple as a quarterly or semi-annual check-in can help determine whether a client is satisfied with your agency’s services, as well as provide opportunities to identify new ways your agency can upsell. can add more value through Active listening during these customer conversations can be especially important for identifying upsell options that your sales team can offer in the moment.

RELATED: 4 Things That Create an Unforgettable Customer Experience

Make the most of your sales opportunities

Regardless of the customer, you should consider the potential sales opportunity with every sales interaction. Whether it’s getting a customer to order additional deliverables or upgrading them to a higher “level” of service, upselling isn’t just a one-time bump in revenue from a customer.

It’s also a way for you to showcase your best work – and why you’re worth a partnership for the long haul. When you upsell effectively and then deliver on the promises you make during the sales process, you’ll set your agency up for lasting success.

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