CPQ-Guided Upselling and Cross-selling Boost 5 Key Sales Metrics

A story about one B2B's missed opportunity exemplifies a common problem for mid-sized businesses in accelerating markets and shows how CPQ can be integral to the core business strategy.

Mike Kephart

Sales leaders struggle to get their reps to upsell. In B2B, where sales are already complicated, it can be even more difficult because reps are already challenged by the run-of-the-mill product, and they do not have the bandwidth to handle anything new.

At the best of times, this challenge shaves off a bit of profitability, but once the pace of the market quickens, upselling can make the difference between lackluster performance and taking a stable source of revenue in an emerging market.

Here’s an example that I think many execs and sales leaders will feel hits a bit too close to home, a story from my own experience, showing how Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) can help the sales organization boost key sales metrics and achieve a stellar ROI.

Lack of Sales Support Deters Upselling

I worked for a lower mid-market B2B who innovated a game-changing product but who could not get their sales reps to sell it — through no fault in the product, only a hangup in Sales.

Their main product was an auto-reimbursement program. The program could save our customers a lot of money at the same time putting more money in the employee's pocket. The savings came from state and federal tax relief. A slam dunk, right! Wrong! Under the new program, Sales Reps would be required to track their miles in order for the program to work, keeping a mileage log with miles traveled and trip destinations manually, then later typing the information into the online system. It was a hassle, and you know how much Sales Reps like doing paperwork.

We came out with a great product that solved the problem. The new product was a small inexpensive device, which plugged into a car’s 12-volt adapter, capable of tracking mileage and location data by GPS. Today, any smartphone has GPS,  but back then it was a big step forward. All you had to do was plug it in to start tracking your mileage. At the end of the month, you connect the device to your computer and uploaded the data. The process would take you to a website that would map out all your trips. All you had to do was confirm that all of the trips were for business purposes, then hit submit. It saved employees a lot of time.  

From my point of view, the device was great because it would almost double the size of the deal (Metric #1: Deal Size). I immediately plugged it in my car and checked it against my odometer to make sure it was accurate.  I looked for all the things a customer might oppose, so I could speak to their issues and hang-ups. I added screenshots of the website to my standard presentation deck, showing exactly where I drove and what I did to demonstrate how accurate the product was. (Metric #2: Time Spent on Non-Sales Activities). If I was going to a presentation, I would use the device on my way there, uploading the data, so I could show the prospect the exact route of my trip, even where my car was parked in their parking lot... (Metric #3: Pre-Sales).

Customers loved it. Almost every deal I closed included the GPS chip in the proposal (Metric #4: Close Rate). It was so successful, I presumed everyone on the sales team was doing the same thing.

Well, six months later at a team meeting, I found out that I and just a few others had even bothered plugging the device in! Few were up-selling the device. Account Executives were not cross-selling it either.

The GPS chip was such a natural fit for our main product, it was by far the easiest upsell I have ever had in my bag. And the fact that six months later only a handful of us were out there selling it, was unbelievable to me.

Then, I realized that none of the reps were inclined to put the work into developing their proposals to add the new device. I had created and added the sheets to my proposal, which was a lot of extra paperwork, work that all the other reps anticipated and wanted to avoid.

Generating those proposals would have been worth it to the company because, if the entire team had upsold the GPS chip, with my rate of success, the company would have increased revenues of that product line by at least 20%.

How CPQ Enables the Sales Team to Upsell and Cross-sell

CPQ enables the company to automate the deployment of new products, or any cross-selling/upselling opportunities. Sales leaders can go into the CPQ and change the quote’s guided selling, so that as the Sales Rep is generating the quote, the new, recommended product will pop up.

All the rep needs to do is click, and the specifications/information/pricing populates with the quote. The Rep does not need to spend hours like I did, amending the quoting process.

CPQ encourages the person to upsell; it says, “Oh by the way, you sold this, do you want to add these three products that go along with it?” Revvy CPQ makes it that easy to do suggestive upselling. Click the button, sell more.

If that company had had Revvy CPQ, I can guarantee more reps and Account Executives would have sold the chip, and the company would have won significantly more revenues (Metric #5: Revenues).

Boosting Customer Experience with Strategic Cross-selling and Upselling

Manufacturers are innovating constantly for their customers, and the sales environment can change very quickly.

My company had a few years to sell the GPS chip before competitors and technology caught up to us. But at the time, manual data entry was a significant deterrent to our customers.

The new product solved that major objection and a significant customer experience issue. Instead of telling the Sales Rep to track their miles on a paper sheet and plug it into a computer at the end of the month you have a product that streamlines the process. You automated an annoying piece of work, improved the end-user experience and customer satisfaction with the tool.

In many cases, Sales Reps do not have the time or inclination to do the heavy lifting required for every change coming in from Operations. That’s why ALTAVI talks so much about strategic alignment. These sales enablement tools can lift barriers, increasing the ability for silos and business functions to coordinate efforts to the ultimate gain of the customer, the Sales Rep, and the entire business.

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