Earning the Right to Up-Sell and Cross-Sell


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While Customer Experience (CX) is a topic that everyone is jumping on today, other business pressures and traditions sometimes cause us to over-market and over-sell. Whether you buy into the idea of permission based marketing or not, too much marketing at the wrong time generates negative emotional reactions that can end the customer journey with a suddenness that is quite jolting.

Customer Experience, while a key consideration for the modern marketing mix, is not about marketing as we have thought of it in the past. I’ve already talked about the changing role of marketing in the CX era, but here is another look.

Customer Experience Management is not about offering targeted personalized ads to customers. It’s about delivering great experiences consistently. As a result, meeting the customer need in a way that is timely and easy is job one. Once you’ve done that, you might earn the right to up sell and cross sell–by offering highly contextual ads. The customer has to come first. Meet or exceed their expectations first around the particular phase of the journey they are on, build trust, and then you’ll earn the right to market to them. Overload them with ads too soon and you’ll lose their trust and create a negative Moment of Truth.

This is particularly true from a service perspective for existing customers. Great experiences are not about creating new ways to up and cross sell. It’s about addressing the customer issue quickly and effectively. Do that first, then you can offer them ways to get more value. Your organization may call it up sell or cross sell, but most customers aren’t interested in that (who wants to be up sold?). If you offer ways for customers to get more value, then they’ll probably listen. Internally, this may be called an up sell or cross sell strategy, but you need to think about it differently from an experience perspective.

This issue is not limited to ads. Recently, I started to complete what I thought was a NetPromoter survey. I hate surveys but will sometimes respond to one question. And that is what I thought I was doing. But that one NetPromoter like question turned into a series of questions and constant badgering for me to explain my answer. The service I had received was fine (not spectacular, but not bad), but that survey had a bunch of annoying questions. My experience went from “fine” to “annoyed”.

Even Amazon is getting on my nerves. The volume of e-mail marketing messages that I receive from them seems to have grown exponentially, at least one a day. I think in the last three years, I may have opened 1 of them. They do so many other things right, I wish they’d figure out that I ignore these messages and stop sending them. For me, it’s easier to just hit the delete key than to figure out how to turn them off. Amazon should know they get my business without the constant barrage of emails. That is the worst part of my Amazon experience—but overall all the goodness they bring me on their site makes up for it. And yes, I found a way to reconfigure my message delivery options from them, but I had to do it—versus them doing it for me based on my usage patterns.

In today’s world, the customer has more control and advocacy drives many decisions, therefore marketing needs to think differently. We have to focus on customer value first. Then as we deliver that value and build trust, we earn the right to expand our marketing efforts with that customer. And, the ultimate win is to then turn that customer into an advocate that does the marketing for you (both for themselves and their peers).

But the key thing to remember is that old marketing tactics might put the cart (targeted offers) in front of the horse (delivering great experiences). If you do that, your efforts won’t deliver the value that a well implemented Customer Experience strategy can provide.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Hank Barnes
Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies--particularly around marketing, positioning, and customer experience--for technology providers. Hank has more than 25 years of high-technology sales and marketing experience in both field and corporate roles, both as an individual contributor and the marketing leader for several startups. He is a long-time proponent of customer-centric marketing and the use of customer experience as a key differentiator for business success. His posts here include content from his days with Adobe, SAP, and now Gartner


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