The major success component in any cross-selling campaign is relevancy. The right offer at the right time to the right customer. Therefore, it’s important that you keep in mind that cross-selling doesn’t just have to be about upselling your own products; for instance, a cable provider might try to upsell a new customer with a DVR package deal. Cross-selling can also be cross-brand selling, in which two relevant and related enterprises form a mutually beneficial partnership where one brand provides new leads for another. This will dramatically increase the product/service offerings and improve the relevancy to the immediate customer need. The lead seller enhances the customer experience by becoming a “concierge” service, while the lead buyer improves their customer acquisition program while simultaneously controlling their budget.

Success Factor: Only form marketing partnerships with brands that can provide relevant offers/services to your customers.

When it comes to cross-selling relevancy of products and services is the key to success. It would not make sense for the nutritional supplement provider for build a cross-selling campaign with a cell phone provider. Yes, in theory those two businesses might target a similar demographic but the offer is not nearly relevant enough to do well. Especially when timing is factored in. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer; if you were trying to upgrade your cell phone plan would you want to be presented with an offer for vitamins? Sure, you might take vitamins but that offer has nothing to do with the situation you are trying to resolve with your phone company. A non-relevant cross-selling campaign seemingly comes out of nowhere and your target audience isn’t ready to hear what your offer. In fact it will likely be perceived as a distraction.

It does, however, make sense for a nutritional supplement provider to partner with a weight loss home meal delivery company. They both target the same target audience and one’s offer can be used to enhance the value of the other. For example, customers who sign up for 3 months of home meal delivery could be presented with an offer to order 3 months worth of nutritional supplements that would aid in their weight-loss plans. You never want your customers to feel like they are being “sold to” with your cross selling campaign. Relevancy helps ensure that your cross-selling partnerships actually help improve the customer experience!

Success Factor: Know your customer and pre-qualify callers for purchase trigger events.

In addition to being relevant, a successful cross-selling campaign needs to be timely. In order to present the right offers at the right time it’s helpful to craft your message based on a certain trigger event that would spark the need for your product or service. For instance, someone who just purchased their first home might need a new home security system. The first purchase triggered the need of the second, creating a perfect opportunity for your cross-selling partner to provide value when it’s needed.  Or for an existing home owner, the birth of a couple’s first born child may be the trigger for another set of needed services. Your enterprise could actually form multiple partnerships with different brands based on the most common trigger events your customers will experience. That way you ensure that each customer gets the most relevant offer (going back to the first point) for their unique situation AND they get it at the right time.

Without that trigger event, your cross-selling campaign might fall on deaf ears as your partner’s offer has little to do with their current life situation. For instance, if their child is already seven or eight years old and you present them with a offer more suitable to the parents of newborns you have missed your opportunity to connect.

Success Factor:  Engage the product experts – in the case of call transfer programs, transfer the calls to partner product experts.

Customer service teams and sales teams are responsible for very different things within an enterprise and attract very different kinds of people. If you’re asking your customer service call center agents to handle your cross-selling campaign no wonder it’s not profitable! Customer service agents are great at calming down an angry customer, solving service issues, putting a face (and voice) to your brand and so forth. They aren’t necessarily trained to sell; they are supposed to help. But in order to successfully cross-sell someone else’s product you can’t just be a good people person, you have to be a great salesperson. Could your customer service representatives successfully sell one of your enterprise’s products? If the answer is no, how can you expect them to sell on behalf of a company they don’t know?

Call transfer programs through contact centers allow you to transfer the call to the best trained, skilled, and knowledgeable person once a customer has demonstrated interest in your partner’s offer.  By handing off a qualified and interested lead to the right people, your enterprise can avoid training issues, hiring issues aligned with sales skills, and product depth issues.

Nearly 3/4 of all busi­nesses say they invest in cross-selling pro­grams of some kind, but as many as 70% of those programs achieve lower than expected results. Without the right components your cross-selling campaign could be next!