customer retention

Customer retention and beyond! Upsell, Cross Sell and Indication

Even more important than selling is retaining your customer base. Why?

Because by retaining customers, in addition to leaving them satisfied and not suffering from churn, you get referrals and even an upsell or cross-sell of your solution.

Hi all! My name is Izabela, I’m a consultant here at Outbound.

Today we’re going to talk about upselling, cross-sell, referral, and beyond that, what you need to do to go beyond retention with your customers.

The customer journey and its perception

To start, we need to look at the funnel proposed by the management of agro farmhouses and understand that our leaders, whether we like it or not, will go through these steps:

  • Knowledge;
  • Education;
  • Selection;
  • Purchase: this is where we need the lead commitment;
  • Onboarding;
  • Impact: where your customer actually starts using your solution;
  • Growth.

To understand how the lead is, or should be, in each of these steps, we need to know what is the perception he has in each of them:

  • OH SHIT: the lead discovers that there is a problem that he had no idea was happening before;
  • A-HA: is the moment of education when the lead understands exactly where he was going wrong;
  • WOW: reaction during selection and onboarding, in which the lead realizes that he made a good choice by investing in Capital Smart City, making a commitment and realizing what the future scenario will be like;
  • I-HA: perception during impact, when he starts using his solution;
  • OMG: reaction during growth, where it really goes beyond what you proposed, developing each step better.

This funnel was developed by Winning by Design and is focused on SaaS methodologies. However, you don’t necessarily need to be a SaaS to understand this logic.

Like it or not, when you’re working on some project, or any other scenario, you’re also going to have your lead go through these steps.

To retention and beyond!

Before moving on to the next topics, let’s talk about retention. After all, you don’t get anywhere if you can’t retain your customers.

In order to retain you, you need to have a sale that is well-aligned with your leads.

If the sale is not well aligned, you can end up suffering from a churn, your CAC doesn’t pay for itself and you can still gain a negative promoter in the market.

This is definitely something we don’t want.

In addition, after the sale, you need to check if your service and results are up to what was agreed.

Also because, if you are not managing to deliver the service and results you promised, you will not generate any kind of trust in this customer.

A very important point in relation to retention is being able to maintain a lasting competitive advantage.

Understand if your value proposition is managing to be competitive over time.

Of course, we will end up working with external factors, such as new competitors.

You can’t prepare too much for these factors, but you can still start trying to change your value proposition a bit.

Just be careful not to do this too quickly, try to do this in the medium term.

If you change your value proposition too quickly, you end up having the opposite effect and losing the trust you have with your base customers.

The nomination process

When we talk about nominations we need to understand that each type of nomination has its time. There are two types of indication: active and passive.

Active referrals

The active referral, as it is coming from the side of the seller of the solution, does not need a specific moment in which it should occur.

At any point in the funnel, you can invest in asking for referrals, you just need to know that the approach will change according to where the customer is.

Of course, there are times when an active referral request will be most effective, but how your customer passes it on to the potential lead varies a little.

If he just made an appointment with you and is in a WOW moment, he will probably say:

I just met a company, I think it’s very interesting and you should know it too.

When it starts to have the first impact on your solution and your value proposition is already more significant, the indication will be different:

I started using a very good solution. I think you should check it out too because I know you have a problem similar to mine. It would be nice!

When the customer is currently OMG, growing, it is very likely that when you ask for a referral, he will say:

Of course! I’m having a lot of positive results, I have friends and I know other companies that are in a similar situation to what I was. I’m sure it will be really nice of you to talk to them too.

The active indication can happen at any time, but be careful to understand what would be the most appropriate timing for you to try to request this indication.

Passive referrals

Passive referrals are less predictable and we can’t quite understand when we will have an interesting volume of referrals.

Even because, you are not the one who has control of these indications. However, you must ask yourself:

How can I work a good volume of passive referrals, since I don’t have the slightest control over this process?

The big issue here is that you need to have consistency in your process.

I like to make a parallel with inbound, where we don’t have much idea of ​​how long it takes to have X number of leads.

However, we know that when we work consistently on a strategy, at some point these results start to show.

Try to think of this same logic when we talk about passive referrals.

Any incentive is valid!

Some research shows that the magnitude of the incentive you offer to customers is independent of whether or not they refer leads to you.

From the moment you asked for a referral and that client is already willing to give it, he will do so regardless of the magnitude of the incentive you offer.

I’m recommending your company much more because I trust your value proposition and what you do than the encouragement you’re offering me.

One logic I really like to think of is that you should use this incentive as a form of thanks.

Since you’re going to make this nomination, as a thank you, I’m going to offer 3 months of my solution free.

The process is a success!

The keyword when we talk about referrals processes.

It’s no use trying to establish a whole referral strategy if you don’t try to structure it well.

For both active and passive referrals, you can try:

  • Focus on passive referrals in marketing thinking about your funnel and when it might be more interesting for the customer to make a referral;
  • Focus on active indications in the customer success team, because nobody is better than CS to understand if the customer is having the perception we want.

Upsell vs. Cross-Sell

Before moving on to upsell and cross-sell strategies, I need to reinforce what is the difference between the two and what is the best strategy for each.

A great example of an upsell would be a Reev customer who was looking to hire new users or a new feature that the tool has.

When we think about cross-sell, it would be more related to a client that already has Reev, it started to have several results, receives the approach:

I understand that, in your current scenario, it would make perfect sense for you to invest in hiring training with our consultancy.

Can you really understand the difference?


The first point we need to understand is that growth needs to be bilateral.

This is even a very logical question. You can’t try to expand your solution within your client without it having had some result.

Like this? I still haven’t seen any kind of feedback from your tool and you already want me to buy more? Does not make sense!

If you try to upsell at the wrong time, you can even burn the movie with this client.

Even thinking about this type of strategy, a good way for you to be able to make the lead see value in this upsell is to offer a test of what you’re offering.

I understand that today, you using our Premium version would make a lot of sense.

As you have been our customer for so long and are having great results, even for you to understand better, I will offer you 3 months of Premium.

Then you can tell me what you think and let’s talk.

You gain by being able to talk to this customer about this subject over that time.

Planning to give a UP

The keyword when we talk about upsell is planning.

Remember that before making this contact, you need to understand if your customer has already had any results.

Therefore, it is interesting that you have planning to understand what the chances are and when it will start to have these results.

I know that, right after onboarding, with the solution implemented, in about 3 months it will start to have visible results.

This is a great time for you to start talking about upselling, for example.


The most important point here is that you need to add value to that lead and have context.

The customer already has a solution for your company, it is starting to see growth, why would you try to sell another solution without it having context with his scenario?

Your goal should always be to further improve your customer’s growth. It’s no use trying to push a solution that won’t make sense.

Building on this idea of ​​context, when we talk about the promotion here, this is a good idea of ​​the context for you to start talking to this customer.

We are in a special condition for those who are already clients and I understand that it would make sense for you to invest in this acquisition.

You already have a context and you’re showing him why it makes sense to invest in it.

Trust is everything!

The keyword when we talk about cross-sell is trust. You have to have trust and a good relationship with your customer.

It won’t make any sense for him to invest in contracting a solution without him having confidence in what you do together or confidence in the results.

Only with confidence in this will he invest in hiring a new solution.

Don’t invest in a cross-sell strategy unless you know you have your customers’ trust and a good relationship with them.

Well, folks, this was the last Flipchart Friday of March, in which women dominated!

I hope you enjoyed the theme and also hope you can get started with these strategies in your customer base.

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