Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mining For Gold In Your Existing Accounts Uncovers Cross-Sell Opportunities

By Scott Gillum, SVP of MarketBridge; Author of the B2B Sales & Marketing Knowledge Sharing blog

The pipeline took a beating last year and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better this year. In fact, signs are pointing to an even more challenging year. It’s rough, no doubt, but there is one area where you might find opportunity, and its right in front of you. Try mining your existing accounts for opportunity and you might just find a goldmine in your own back yard.

Sales force compensation policies and coverage models create cross-sell opportunities in existing accounts that are easy to identify and capture, if you know where to look. To discover it, you need to mine two critical pieces of information. First, you’ll need to dig out information on when you acquired a customer. This information is usually available in your CRM, Order Entry, Customer Service systems. It will be important to note what product or services they purchased and what additional products/services they have acquired over the life of the relationship.

The second piece of information you’ll need is date/s when you launched/introduced your most successful/largest products. Once you have this information, you then create a simple grid (see below) with the following sorts:

  • Segment your customers into date acquired using ranges (0-2yrs, 3-5 yrs, etc.)
  • Segment your products based on when they were launched using ranges (same as above)
  • Then create a cross segment via the two sorts (see below)

The analysis is that it is simple and actionable. Once complete you’ll find the following:

  • New customers will be well penetrated with new products (see reasons above).
  • Old customers will be well penetrated with older products (ditto).
  • As a result, there will be opportunities to sell new products in older customers and… yes, you guessed it…older products in new customers.

We discovered the pattern years ago when building out new sales channels for companies. To avoid channel conflict we had to find “white space” to create opportunity for the new channel. If you have dedicated product specialists this pattern will be even more extreme. You will need to do some work on the products (in particular the older ones) to see if they are still relevant. It’s particularly useful for finding opportunities for products that are “rev. 2.0, 3.0, etc. Sales reps tend to take a pass on a product enhancement or extension.

The need for easy to access opportunity couldn’t be greater in today’s economy and, as everyone knows, the value of gold goes up in a recession.

As Senior VP at MarketBridge, Scott and his team have helped clients in the Financial Services industry developed innovative ways to bring new products to market, improve market coverage and growth through the deployment of new channels of distribution and increase the overall performance of sales and marketing investments. Over the last 10 years he has also lead the Marketing practices and he continues to direct the marketing activities of the firm. His unique insight and use of digital media and interactive marketing has earned him MarketBridge’s Innovator’s Award for creative application of technology.

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