My blog post Seven Requirements for Successful Up-selling listed the sixth requirement for successful up-selling, needing the right tools. Based on the sources quoted in that blog, SaaS providers who are successful at up-selling have lower selling costs for those up-sells and higher growth rates. Also, intuitively up-sells are easier sales because they are to existing customers and therefore less expensive and can help accelerate growth.
In this blog I’ll cover the sixth requirement, that you have the right tools for successful up-selling.
These tools relate directly to the right information needed as outlined in my post The Right Information for Successful Up-selling. I’ve listed out these systems in what I view as priority order although 1 & 2 are both critical for any SaaS business.
- CRM system — There are a variety of very good CRM systems available and any that are suited to your size of business will be fine for basic CRM functionality. Some more complex CRM systems can also provide substantial account planning and contract management functionality and for smaller, less complex businesses may cover the requirement for these areas. It may make sense for you to have a complex CRM that addresses these needs rather than multiple applications. The CRM system is important to keep the basic information of customer contacts and contact information plus the history of interactions.
- Support ticket system — Like CRM systems there are a variety of very good support ticket systems available. These support systems typically are part of the CRM or integrate tightly with major CRM systems. The support system is where the information of past and current support issues should be.
- Database of contracts & renewals — Simple approaches for this information could be functionality within a CRM system implementation or a simple customer database or spreadsheet used specifically for that purpose. Ideally it’s a contract management system which can not only store the documents but has the ability to store a variety of important contract terms and important dates such as notice periods and renewal dates.
- Account planning software — Key functionality in an account planning tool includes a method for analyzing white space in the account, tools for helping with analyzing the customer organization & the relationships that your organization has with the customer, and tools to help discover and document your customer’s KPIs and strategy. There also should be functionality to develop and document the key goals and objectives that you want to achieve in the account. Typically account management software also has tools to identify the key actions and steps needed to achieve the goals and objectives you’ve set. As mentioned above some CRM systems have basic account management functionality and for a less complex business this may be sufficient.
- Customer success system — This is an emerging area of tools and they typically have a combination of Customer Success Manager workflows, Customer journey workflows, customer feedback/surveys, customer health measurement, product usage and measurement tools. Some of the tools also have methods for customer segmentation and customer analytics.
The above is not all of the systems needed to run a SaaS business but these are the important ones for successful up-selling and providing you the information you need to be successful at up-selling.