When it comes to growing your agency, repeat business is where the money's at. In fact, 61% of SMBs report that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, rather than new business. Not to mention, on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase.

If you're looking to grow your agency, then your focus should be on getting your most loyal clients to upgrade by upselling or cross-selling. Of course, there are several ways to do this including providing the best customer service, making sure your marketing and advertising services are top-notch, and providing clients full access to their account manager, to name a few. The focus of this blog, however, will be on best practices for upselling your current clients.


Whats the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

Upselling is when you convince a customer to upgrade their purchase, regardless of what it is they bought. Its a sales technique that door-to-door salesman mastered years ago.

To give you an example: You know how every time you go to a fast food drive-through, they ask you would you like to make that drink a large? That's upselling. You may not have intended to buy a bigger, better drink, but the employee's mention of it, and your agreement brings more revenue into the fast-food chain than you initially intended on spending.

Cross-selling is a little different from the upsell. Cross-selling involves convincing a customer to buy another product on top of the one they originally came to buy. Once again, door-to-door Cutco salesmen and saleswomen do this in every one of their demos. Agree to buy a set of dinner knives and you wind up buying a machete, a katana, scissors that can cut a bulldozer in half, and a warranty in case a bomb disintegrates your near indestructible knives. You intended to buy product A (dinner knives ) and you left with product A and product B (warranty + superhero scissors, machete, and ninja katana).

As a digital agency, thankfully, your upselling goals will be a lot less annoying. Your goal will be to train your salespeople to consult with individual clients, pinpoint their marketing and advertising needs, and then offer a better, yet similar, product (maybe an elite package instead of the standard package). The upsell opportunity will improve your client's marketing reach and brand recognition, and you don't even need to be in a customer's face to cross-sell or upsell. Many times, you can just include a simple CTA (call to action) that nudges someone to buy additional products or upgrade their current product.

Any time your salespeople offer an existing client or a potential client a compatible, yet higher-end product or service, that counts as an upsell.

cross sell vs up sell


Best Practices for the Upsell and Cross-sell

Now that you know the difference between the cross-sell and upsell let's talk about best practices for upselling. In other words, how can your salespeople upsell your marketing and/or advertising services in a way that will resonate well with clients and result in better services for the client and more money for your agency?


1. Organize your Current Client Information: Get a Lay of the Land

It's difficult to upsell clients if you don't know who they are, how their current campaigns are performing, and/or when they would benefit from upgrading their service package. You don't want to sell something an existing customer doesn't need. You want to address pain points with the upsell. This also applies to the cross-sell, although you may not always have enough data to know which products would benefit the customer most.

There are a few ways to go organizing your client data to identify opportunities. Let's talk about them.

The first step is to go through your customer database to identify what marketing services specific clients may be missing. Many agencies will employ a dedicated VAS (value added sales) team to handle this task and only this task. With the help of the right customer database and a team of dedicated sales agents, you can easily identify which customers are missing out by not taking advantage of your full services. VAS teams are tailored to provide value that's specific to a known customer need.

One of the main ways marketers can gain these important insights is to have a clear understanding of the health of their client's campaigns. Tools like TapClicks visualize and aggregate all the data, allowing you to gain more insights into what your clients need. If you know what a client needs then you can upsell or cross-sell in good conscience. No one wants to feel like their being sold, but everyone likes to have their needs met. The more you understand client needs the more powerful your upsell pitch will become.

The last tactic to address is to contact free trial users, customers who have been on a basic plan for 3-6 months or customers with obvious problems in their marketing strategy. Once you have identified these clients, evaluate their account and website, and put together a strategy that you know will yield results. The most common upsell in marketing is to upsell the amount of time or expertise required for the campaign, so you'll need to be knowledgeable (without the jargon that annoys people) if you want to position yourself for a successful upsell or cross-sell.

No business has a perfect marketing strategy. For example, you may be running social media ads for a company that directs customers to a website that hasn't been updated for years. Your social media services may be great, but clearly, this client can benefit from a website update from your most talented designers.

Remember when you keep tabs on your customers and contact them at the right time with the right service upgrade options, you both win.


2. Demonstrate the Success of Other Clients that Upgraded or Use Additional Products: The Case Study

There is a reason marketers write up case studies and try to distribute them like Halloween candy. Case studies offer quantifiable results on how your products and services took different businesses from zero to hero in a hurry. A case study offers a clear visual of what could happen if the client would just believe in your suite of products.

Of course, you want to post your case studies online and use them as a lead magnet to draw in new customers. But, remember, your current customers have the most value when it comes to contributing to your bottom line.

With this in mind, consider inviting clients on your basic plans to read case studies from clients that are using your full services. This is especially helpful if you have a case study of a client that was in a similar position to the client you are trying to upsell. Case studies act as a first-hand testimonial to how great your services are and how exactly your services will yield better results.

When you demonstrate the success of other clients that are using your full services, it acts as a nudge to help those using your basic services to upgrade.


3. Provide Excellent Reporting: Back Up Upsell/Cross-sell with Data

With all the different marketing and advertising agencies on the market, clients have an abundance of options. If you want your agency to be competitive, you have to not only offer the best services but also demonstrate to your clients with full transparency exactly how your services are building their business. This is how to differentiate yourself from the competition. You can't argue with data, especially if its data that tells a clear story.

You can accomplish this by offering robust, real-time, and customizable reporting as well as full access to campaign analytics. You can use tools like TapClicks that give clients full access to analytics and reporting tools, set up automated reports, and visualize the data in ways that highlight successes and highlight opportunities. Investing in a live dashboard tool will help your agency tell the complete data story. It will also help your clients visually see how your services are impacting their bottom line and how they may benefit from doubling down on your services.

When your reporting tools are excellent, it's easy to identify what is working for particular clients, what is not working, and it arms your salespeople with the tools to show exactly how upgrading services will help their business grow.

As an added benefit, TapClicks also offers industry-specific analytics and reporting dashboards. This means you can send an industry-specific templated dashboard that perfectly captures the right data.

Reporting is one of the most important aspects of demonstrating your value. The more you can do to customize the reporting experience, the more opportunities you will have to successfully upsell and cross-sell your services.

Wrap Up

It's worth it to get your ducks in a row when it comes to arming your sales team with the right tools to successfully upsell your clients. Your loyal customers will grow your business faster than focusing on acquiring new customers, in part because you're dealing with people who already know you and trust you to a certain extent.

In conclusion, remember that upselling and cross-selling are much easier if:


  • You understand your customer's needs
  • You have a team dedicated to upsells.
  • Your customer data is organized and digestible
  • You can prove your value through case studies
  • You can differentiate yourself with reporting dashboards that support your claims that they would benefit from additional investment in you and your product.

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