MSPs: 10 Ways to Upsell Your Existing Customers

MSPs: 10 Ways to Upsell Your Existing Customers

What's the most logical place to find new revenue? One obvious tip: Check in with you existing customers and upsell them new services. But in many cases that's easier said than done. What you really need is a simple, repeatable upsell strategy that you can use across your entire customer base. Here it is...

... but first, I've got to tip my hat: The original 10 Upsell Tips come from Inc. magazine. If you're a small MSP, you should spend time reading both Inc. magazine and Entrepreneur magazine. Both publications and online destinations offer advice that small business entrepreneurs -- including upstart MSPs -- can leverage.

Crediting Inc. magazine, I've reworked the 10 upsell tips a bit below to reflect MSPs:

1. Think lifetime value, not transaction value: Have you ever calculated the total cost of aging hardware for your customers? Instead of focusing on the up-front purchase price, find a way to show the long-term ROI of managed equipment. For instance, Intel can point you to vPro power saving figures to help cost-justify desktop and mobile fleet replacements.

2. Go for a no-brainer upsell: A prime example - Microsoft has ended mainstream support for Windows XP. And 74 percent of corporate systems are stilling running XP, according to PC Magazine. Take inventory of your customers' networks and see what end-of-life products they'll need to abandon soon.

3. Offer complementary products or services: You want fries with that? Or, stated another way: If you're selling video conferencing systems, why not add on video streaming and/or video archiving services?

4. Stay in touch: This tip sounds so basic... even lame. But are you using a CRM or PSA system to track how frequently your sales team is in touch with your customer base? Moreover, does your sales team check in with customers just to see how they're doing -- without making a sales pitch?

5. Practice the art of the perfectly timed pitch: Start to learn about vertical market buying cycles.

  • When within the calendar year do schools open up their IT budgets?
  • When do government agencies receive their allotted budget ... and when's the drop-dead deadline for spending that budget?
  • When do your customers typically close their quarterly books?
  • When do they plan for their next fiscal quarter or fiscal year?
Answer all those questions and you'll start to time your sales pitches more effectively.

6. Help your customers sell more to their customers: A prime example: Help your customers mobilize their sales forces, so that they can spend more time with their customers. Include marketing services in your portfolio to help end-customers SEO their web sites and marketing programs. Figure out the digital signage and point-of-sale markets, to help retailers suggest additional purchases to consumers.

7. Remind customers of everything you offer:
  • Does your web site offer a single, well-organized page listing all your products and services?
  • Do you have a one-page printed leave behind for your customers?
  • And most importantly: Can your sales team describe everything you offer in a clear, concise set of sentences?
8. Create incentives for in-house referrals: Simply put, reward your customers when they refer business your way. Offer them discounts, rebates or credits each time you win business from their referrals.

9. Give Customers a say in what you sell: Check out Dell's IdeaStorm web site, which allows visitors to suggest ideas and weigh in on new potential products that Dell may consider offering. You may not have the budget -- or audience -- to launch an IdeaStorm-type site. But you can leverage low-cost tools like SurveyMonkey and PollDaddy to gather customer feedback on what you should be selling to them.

10. Put some skin in the game: If you build an e-commerce system for a customer that allows the customer to lift revenues by 20 percent, should you ask for a piece of the action? Conversely, if you're not meeting your SLAs (service level agreements), should you be offering your customers financial credits? Food for thought.

That's quite a lengthy list. From where I sit, tips #4, #7 and #8 sound pretty easy for most businesses to implement immediately. I wonder how many MSPs have already done so?

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