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Does Cross Sell/Up Sell need a Picasso?

Guest post by
Yusuf Taherbhai Kaydawala, Consultant, Infosys


I was watching an American documentary called 'Super Size Me' recently where the actor takes on a challenge of eating only at McDonald's for 30 days. For me, the most memorable part of documentary was how smoothly and effectively, the store agents at McDonalds were able to up-sell meals to the actor by super sizing it. That got me thinking, do we really need to be an artist to cross-sell and up-sell to customers?

Cross sell/Up sell has become critical growth engine because it increases top-line with minimum additional marketing investment. Customer acquisition costs are very high so cross sell/up sell is essential to maximize profits. I have identified 4Ts to improve cross sell/up-sell:

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Timing: You wouldn't try to sell a new product to a frustrated customer angry with your product. Would You? So any intervention will only bear result when done at the right time in the customer journey and depends on the product category. For e.g. purchase of a phone, a low end phone may disappoint a customer and will not result in a purchase. We need to introduce a high end phone upfront to keep the customer interested. While selling a laptop, we need offer additional ram or extended warranty only after customer has decided on the model since it might confuse the customer if done upfront.

Tools: We need to implement a CRM system which will help our employees identify the correct products and offers for every interaction without overwhelming the employee or the customer. When purchasing a book from Amazon, not only can we see reviews by the editor and other customers, we can also see other books purchases by people who brought that. Amazon recommends a box sets and product bundles which are great ways to up-sell.

Training: We need to incentivize and train our customer-facing employees to enhance customer experiences by not only understanding customer needs but also the benefits that customer intends to derive from it. When purchasing an expensive car, the customer is also looking at peace of mind to protect this investment. Hence we can suggest an underbody coat or additional insurance to delight the customer.

Testing: Product and service bundles, discounts and promotions, are great ways to promote cross sell/up sell. We still might not get the desired results with most bundles and promotions built using concrete insights. We need to encourage a culture in which experimentation is promoted and failures are counted as steeping stones to success.

Predictive Analytics: We need a scalable and flexible analytics platform which is capable of understanding context of every transaction by using variety of data mining techniques, models and statistics to derive insights. These insights will ultimately power our 4Ts.  

Cross sell/up-sell is a great business practice. By developing right sales processes, using right tools & technology, and providing great customer experiences, we can convert our customer facing employees into Picassos. What do you think?


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