HomeBlog Key Considerations for Impactful Cross-Selling and Upselling in Financial Services

Key Considerations for Impactful Cross-Selling and Upselling in Financial Services

August 24, 2016 | By Robert McKinnon

  • The challenges for marketers to impact cross-sell/upsell are uniquely linked to the structure of the sales organization
  • Marketing’s strategy should be determined by whether the.company is targeting an existing buying center or a new buying center in and existing account
  • Evaluate marketing’s access to client data points prior to developing an approach to supporting cross-sell/upsell efforts

One of the most common challenges for financial services marketing organizations is how to positively impact the company’s efforts to capture growth from existing clients. This is particularly important in financial services, because between 40 and 70 percent of a company’s growth rate is derived from growing wallet share from existing clients. However, in many instances, financial services marketers struggle to establish a role that allows them to positively impact the growth of existing clients.

As in other industries, financial services has often considered cross-sell and upsell efforts to be primarily led by sales. But more companies are realizing the need to give marketing a key role in growing existing accounts. To determine marketing’s role in cross-sell/upsell, assess these three characteristics of your organization:

  1. Sales organizational structure. Generally, financial services sales organizations are aligned by either product or buying center. For example, large diversified financial services organizations may have one business unit selling insurance, another selling treasury solutions and yet another selling the capital markets offering. Asset management firms generally have a sales organization aligned by account, selling the offerings across the various buying centers. The challenges that marketing faces to support cross-sell/upsell efforts are unique in each scenario. When sales teams are aligned to product offerings, marketing’s emphasis is often on identifying cross-sell/upsell high-propensity opportunities within product silos and facilitating cross-sell/upsell through targeted programs bridging opportunities across silos. When sales teams are aligned to a buying center, marketing often prioritizes sales enablement programs in support of the company’s cross-sell/upsell efforts.
  2. Upsell or cross-sell. Many financial services marketers fail to distinguish between cross-sell and upsell efforts in their efforts to grow wallet share. SiriusDecisions defines cross-selling as a coordinated approach to generating demand within new buying centers; upselling, on the other hand, is a coordinated approach to generating demand within existing buying centers. From sales enablement to messaging and lead generation, marketing must tailor programs to the unique challenges of targeting an existing buying center within an account vs. targeting a new buying center within an existing account.
  3. Marketing's access to client information. Sales organizations in financial services are notorious for closely guarding the client relationship. In many cases, this limits marketing's ability to gather insightful data points to support cross-sell/upsell efforts. Impactful and targeted programs require marketing to have access to data points that give insight into the state of a client relationship.

In financial services, the best approach for improving marketing’s impact on cross-sell/upsell efforts can vary tremendously. However, assessing the marketing function with these three key characteristics in mind is the first step to developing a plan that will have optimal impact on growing wallet share with existing clients.

Robert McKinnon

Robert is the Segment Director of Financial Services at SiriusDecisions. He is a marketing and sales leader with a background in asset management, corporate banking and brokerage. At SiriusDecisions, he works with marketing leaders in the financial services industry on organizational and strategic alignment, marketing compliance, marketing investment and budget and content strategy. Follow Bob on Twitter @robertmckinno10.

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