There are many reasons why a Sales team can miss quota; from an overstated forecast to the unforeseeable swings of the market. Consistently meeting monthly and quarterly Sales quotas isn’t easy to do. Unfortunately, at one point or another, most companies face the unsavory prospect of missing sales numbers. When this happens, it is neither prudent nor fair to ask the team to just “sell harder”.

In the competitive market, sales teams need the advantage of every available resource. Maybe the most overlooked resource in B2B sales is the existing customer base. Recently, Bain and Co. calculated that, “The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer [base] is 60-70%”.

Your customer base is an invaluable asset, who has already proven its willingness to buy from you, and the best way to maximize this asset is to cross and upsell into it. In the world of B2B, an estimated 20% of customers drive 80% of total sales. Cross selling allows your Sales team to deliver more value to your customers, gain larger share of wallet and increase customer retention – while hitting their sales targets as well. What a win!

Here is a roadmap to successful cross selling so that you can helps your sales reps make their numbers every quarter.

The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer [base] is 60-70%.

The Sales Opportunity.
Most B2B companies tell us that 80% of their revenue comes from 20% of their customers. The typical customer buying distribution for a B2B company looks like the chart above. About 40% of the customers buy multiple products and about 60% of the customers buy very few, or just one product. This presents a great sales opportunity. The typical sales lift due to cross selling in B2B is 2 to 5% – a very attractive option, given that there are few other avenues with such potential.

The treasure trove of insight.
I was on a call today and a VP of sales asked me – I’d like my sales reps to call on our customers with meaningful recommendations? But the data in my CRM is terrible. Where can I get this information?

All the information on what your customers are buying is in your sales orders. Your sales order data is a treasure trove on who buys, what they buy, what products are bought together and when. Integrating this information into your CRM system is not a luxury. It gives you a competitive advantage in your ability to serve your customers with relevant offers.

The challenge is, knowing what products to present to these customers. The key to effective cross selling is timely relevance. The sales professional must be able to say – “I am calling you to recommend product “X”, a great complement to product “Y” you purchased. Most customers who purchased “Y” also purchased “X” with positive results”. The reasons for the recommendation add validity to the sales call, and make it easier on the sales professional to engage the customer and close the sale.

Details of cross-sell execution

B2C companies have been leveraging recommendation and cross-selling techniques successfully. But B2B sales are more complex and success lies in the ability to deliver the relevant information into the hands of a sales person in timely manner, so that they can act on it.

So how do the cross sell opportunities help a company to meet their sales targets? And how would this work in practice?

– All the cross-sell opportunities for your customer base can be converted into new opportunities in your CRM system. This creates a set of tasks for your sales reps to call on existing customers – armed with good recommendations and reasons on what they should buy and why.

– Shown here is an example of a cross-sell opportunity in Salesforce. It shows the opportunity details – client, what they have already bought, what to recommend and why. It is set up to create tasks for the sales reps – so that they know who to call, what to offer and why.

– And once again, the success of cross selling depends on relevance of the offer.

Hitting sales quota is a monthly maxim; B2C or B2B. By leveraging your customer base and through advanced predictive analytics, you can help your sales professionals meet their sales numbers every quarter.

What are your thoughts on leveraging data to help your sales reps meet their sales targets?