4 Steps to Solving the Cross-Sell Problem

Many organizations I work with struggle with getting their sales teams to sell ALL the products in their product portfolio. This is particularly difficult to do when there are silos of business units each with their independently defined goals, that don’t include helping the other silos sell their respective products. This gets further complicated when each silo has its own sales force. In the absence of a big organizational change, what can you do to please management’s insistence that product marketing managers do something about the lack of cross-selling?

Step 1: Focus on the primary buyer not the products

Product marketing managers get stuck in their cross-selling programs when they focus on the features in the products rather than the problems they can solve for their buyers. Your sales team can’t possibly build sufficient knowledge about every product. They zero in on a few that will help them achieve quota. Each business unit likely has a go-to buyer persona they consistently call on. Who is that? Do you really know the buyer or just their title? If you haven’t already, build a buyer persona for this buyer.

Step 2: Identify the primary buyer’s top 5 problems

When you have a deep understanding of a buyer persona you have identified their top issues/challenges/problems and ranked them in priority order. For now let’s just worry about the top 5, because any problem that is a lower priority than 5 won’t get attention anyway.

Step 3: Find the products in the portfolio that address the top 5 problems

Take your understanding of the buyer persona’s top 5 problems and match the products in the portfolio that truly address one of their top 5 problems. Don’t force fit it or make it only work at the PowerPoint level. It either addresses the problem or it doesn’t. Don’t fool yourself.

Step 4: Define product bundles

The intersection between the buyer persona’s top 5 problems and the products that address those problems is your baseline for developing product bundles – that are anchored in the buyer persona. Develop positioning documents for your bundles and enable the sales force to close more deals.
David Daniels

David Daniels


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