Updated: Nov 1
Research shows time and time again that acquiring new clients is more expensive and less effective than growing your existing accounts. In fact, you’re 60-70% more likely to sell to your existing clients than you are to acquire a new one.
When it comes to driving new revenue growth and increased profitability, a successful Professional Services business leverages their most valuable assets; their existing clients.
They do this through many different account expansion strategies, one being Cross-Selling.
What is Cross-Selling
Cross-Selling, also known as a “land and expand” strategy, shows a client how you can drive results and help them grow in different areas using your services beyond what you were initially hired to deliver.
Once you show a client that you have delivered a successful engagement for them, you can expand into bigger, longer, and higher value engagements that impact other areas of their business.
Benefits of Cross-Selling
To cross-sell products, consultants must build strong relationships with their clients, and be clear on how their services can continue to benefit them.
Some of these benefits include:
Peace of mind knowing they’re working with a trusted partner.
Gaining efficiencies within their business when services are integrated and a single vendor relationship to manage.
Not having to engage with the procurement process with multiple vendors.
Firms can also benefit from Cross-Selling as their consultants develop a deeper understanding of their client’s business and its accompanied nuances. Managed properly, this deeper relationship can help consultants create and offer more valuable and tailored solutions.
It also means less ramp-up time per engagement, as consultants don’t need to continuously go through procurement and client onboarding.
Roadblocks to Cross-Selling
Many consultants face a high degree of pressure to grow their firm through selling additional services. They are put in a position where they are asked to leverage their relationship with their clients to make additional sales. This can put their client’s guard up, and put the consultant’s reputation on the line.
With these concerns in mind, it's no wonder why consultants will actively skip over this step and miss potential opportunities to grow their client’s accounts.
Cross-Selling should be differentiated by your consultants from overselling or upselling, as Cross-Selling will add value to the relationship if done well.
Strategies to improve Cross-Selling today
So how can your consultants begin to cross-sell more effectively? Here are three strategies we suggest.
1. Identify how your services fit in with your customer’s journey
While this may sound obvious, make sure your services are clearly mapped out and your service catalog well packaged. It should be clear which services run complementary to each other and which can be bundled. For example, if you’re offering recruitment and coaching services, these can be easily packaged together as they go hand in hand when helping a client build a team.
Next, think about your client’s journey. If your consultancy offers a diverse range of services that can help a customer across a number of categories, you can map out how your services support each step along their journey.
For example, if you’re offering technology consulting, your solutions may span across separate streams for CRM and for marketing - but the consumer journey happens across both those channels. Your consultants should be mapping both these offerings onto a larger roadmap and pinpoint where their solutions fit in across the client’s transformation.
If your initial engagement goes well, your client will likely be excited to hear how your other services can drive more results. This makes the leap consultants need to take in conversations about new potential services much simpler.
2. Change your mindset from selling to providing value
To get around the discomfort of selling, your consultants need to shift their mindset from making sales to providing value. Here are a few ways to make the mindset shift:
Work towards becoming a trusted partner
As a consultant, you want to position your firm as a long-term strategic and trusted partner. This status takes time to build, and Cross-Selling with this tactic won’t happen overnight. You’ll need to show that your work and recommendations drive results.
A tangible step you can take to start building trust after your first engagement is to offer free monthly check-ins post implementations. In these meetings, you can monitor the results of the original service that has benefited the client. These meetings not only strengthen relationships but also provide you access to new information that may set the stage for future opportunities.
Once you’ve begun building a long-term relationship with your client and have demonstrated measurable results, they will be more willing to trust you. They will be less guarded, which will make the future cross-sell feel softer.
Cross-train your team of consultants
Cross-train your consultants so that they are able to spot Cross-Selling opportunities and comfortably speak about solutions which may not be directly within their wheelhouse. Consultants don’t need to be experts in every area, but they should be able to understand how their full suite of services can add value to a client.
This kind of cross-training can be achieved through weekly touch points or lunch and learns across departments and will require a considerable amount of collaboration amongst your employees.
Bring your leadership team into the initial stakeholder meeting
When possible and appropriate, you can bring leaders from different areas of the firm into the initial stakeholder interview at the engagement kickoff. This will ensure that different teams have clear sight and understanding into the client’s pain points and can make recommendations for valuable Cross-Selling opportunities. It will also show your clients that your leadership is invested in their success right from the start.
Taken together, these strategies will help consultants deliver value to clients and remove some of the friction involved with Cross-Selling.
3. Create a structured account development program
For major accounts where the revenue potential is significant, it’s recommended that a structured Account Development program is created so that key milestones trigger new conversations that expand the client’s vision of what’s possible.
This means you are always bringing new ideas and insights to your client, both before and during the project execution. Ideas can be triggered and discussed in the form of “Weekly Learnings” or “Brainstorming Sessions”. With enough of these conversations, new opportunities to position yourself as a trusted advisor will present themselves.
It’s worth noting that your consultants should be building relationships with the stakeholders who are heavily involved in the day-to-day, as well as the higher-level stakeholders responsible for decision-making. This will help you get a global perspective of what is happening within the organization.
Learning effective Cross-Selling strategies can take time and effort – it can be difficult to know where to start. We offer Sales Consulting services that help you achieve your goals, retain more clients, and save you money on client acquisition.
Get in touch with us to see how we can assist you with sales consulting and account expansion.