Upselling and Cross-Selling: The Ultimate Guide For 2024

Upselling and cross-selling are two powerful B2B strategies to improve your sales revenue and build customer loyalty. Both strategies are applied (mostly) to existing customers to generate further sales.

If your brand offers an extensive range of products or services that your customers are unaware of, upselling and cross-selling can be a brilliant way to generate that additional revenue.

However, many sales representatives struggle to effectively leverage these techniques.

If you are new to the concept of upselling and cross-selling, you have landed in the right place. Here, we will give you the inside scoop on upselling and cross-selling so you can discover ways to leverage them into your outside sales strategies.

Upselling and Cross-selling

What is Upselling?

Upselling is a sales strategy that involves motivating prospects to purchase a higher-priced variant of the product or service that they are interested in.

The goal of an upselling strategy is to demonstrate the added benefits and features that come with the higher-priced option.

Let’s understand with an example:

Say the customer has added a pair of heels to their online shopping cart. The upsell is to suggest another pair of heels, which is similar in terms of color, style, and material, but more expensive. If the customer decides to buy the suggested heels, it will increase the average order value, and consequently your profit margin.

It is generally easier to sell to existing customers than acquire new ones. Upselling to existing customers can yield 5-25 times more profit. Also, effective upselling can increase the customer's lifetime value by 30-40%.

No wonder a large number of businesses are leveraging comprehensive upselling strategies to outrank their competitors.

Listen to this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with sales expansion expert Michael Tuso who teaches his best sales sales expansion strategies for field sales!

What is Cross-selling?

Cross-selling is also very similar to upselling, as both have the same goal – increasing average order value.

However, cross-selling involves suggesting related or complementary products or services to a customer who is already in the process of purchasing something. As per statistics, cross-selling contributes to 10-30% of eCommerce revenues.

Let’s take an example:

Say a customer has selected a bicycle and added it to their cart, complementary product suggestions could include that of a helmet, water bottle, cycling shoes, and other cycling gear.

Cross-selling is an excellent strategy that enables businesses to grow their sales by bringing new products to the attention of actively interested customers. Consequently, many businesses are employing these strategies on a massive scale, which gives enticing ‘you might also like’ suggestions as soon as you add any product to the cart. These suggestions are becoming increasingly more relevant, thanks to AI and data analytics.

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Benefits of Upselling and Cross-Selling

When used correctly, both upselling and cross-selling can greatly improve the health of your sales pipeline.

Here are the top 5 benefits of using these strategies in your sales processes.

1. Optimizes the value of every sale

This is the most obvious benefit of upselling and cross-selling. These techniques guide the customers to buy more products, in addition to expensive ones.  

This enhances the overall order value, creating additional profits at marginal incremental costs. Remember once you have spent your valuable marketing budget to attract new customers, maximizing order value is the key to increasing the cash flow. Especially if you’ve invested in a performance marketing agency to carry out the marketing part, it must have been costly but worth it, thus, you should try to maintain the balance.

2. Improves ROI

Buying new leads and bringing new customers on board is both a tedious as well as exciting process. On the other hand, marketing your products to your existing customers is much easier and more lucrative.

Implementing upselling and cross-selling strategies not only enhances customer satisfaction but also significantly contributes to improving ROI by maximizing the revenue generated from your existing customers. 

Upselling and cross-selling can do wonders for your ROI, but one sales tool that can also help is Badger Maps

Badger Maps is a route optimization tool that can help sales teams create ready-to-drive routes with 100+ stops in seconds

Salespeople who use Badger Maps drive 20% less each day, saving an average of 8 hours per week on planning and driving.


"After getting Badger Maps, weekly meetings per rep jumped from 12 to 20. This led to a 22% increase in annual revenue."

Brad Moxley

Business Development Manager, Cutter & Buck

You can see all of your contacts on an interactive map, allowing you to narrow down which accounts you want to see by filtering for industry type, days since last check-in, and more!

With less time spent on planning and driving, you will have more time for important sales activities such as lead generation. 

Upselling and cross-selling can play an important role in the sales process, however, it’s important for salespeople to cover all of their bases and ensure they are maintaining healthy relationships with their current customers while at the same time discovering new ones.

Badger Maps can also help sales reps mobilize their CRM, giving them access to important customer info directly from the field. This enables them to sync and leverage data in their CRM, all from their mobile device.  

Badger Maps can integrate with leading CRMs such as HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho, Salesforce, NetSuite, Insightly, and many more.

With a tool like Badger Maps, sales teams can drastically improve ROI.

Sign up for a free trial today to see how you can benefit and start to watch your ROI soar to new heights!

Drive 20% Less. Sell 20% More.

3. Increases customer retention and loyalty

The logic behind upselling and cross-selling is two-fold. One, it demonstrates your business as a one-stop shop where customers can get access to additional products. This means they don’t have to run around buying different products from different companies. This enhances customer retention.

Second, if the customers end up purchasing upsell/cross-sell items, their trust and loyalty towards your brand will grow. The customers will feel that the brand truly understands them and offers products of relevance.

Check out this Outside Sales Talk podcast to hear some of Alice Heiman’s best customer retention tactics that will help drive repeat sales!

4. Offers a holistic shopping experience

Often, customers are not just looking for products alone but seeking personalized, holistic shopping experiences where they can find the products they need. With effective upselling and cross-selling strategies, you can promote products that match a customer’s unique needs and preferences

Not only will this ensure a pleasant shopping experience but also add to your business’s reputation.

5. Ensures long-term gains

Upselling and cross-selling can boost customer loyalty, which in turn, can lead to repeat purchases. Once the customers are loyal to your business, you can market more valuable products and increase the likelihood of impulse buying.

These factors can contribute to more positive outcomes in the long run, both in terms of sales and revenue gains.  

Effective Cross-selling and Upselling Strategies

A lot of salespeople view upselling and cross-selling as unethical practices meant to gain more sales out of a customer.

However, this isn’t correct. These techniques must be deployed to improve the customer’s experience and help them score better deals. The aim should be to make recommendations that might fulfill a customer’s current needs and enable them to make a well-informed decision.

Explore these 8 effective tips to elevate your cross-selling and upselling strategies:

Effective Cross-selling and Upselling Strategies

1. Know your business and your customers

The process starts internally. While you are undoubtedly familiar with your business, it is vital to start exploring the various upselling and cross-selling options related to your primary product or service. You must also ensure that these options are financially viable.

For instance, if you require a whole new team to manage the additional items or to deliver the upgrade properly, then maybe upselling and cross-selling aren’t meant for you.

Apart from that, you also need to understand your audience and their customer journey. 

Acquaint yourself with your target consumers’ needs, preferences, demographics, and purchasing power. You can create buyer personas for your customers to understand them well. This information will help to eliminate the guesswork and identify products that your customers can truly benefit from.

Discover the 3 top tips that you need to create a buyer persona that will help you close more deals!

2. Recognize upselling and cross-selling opportunities

Many times, recognizing the most appropriate upselling or cross-selling opportunities gets tricky. This is because customers rely on their internal motivation when buying an item. They don’t want any third parties pressurizing them to purchase.

Therefore, you must be strategic when you offer any complementary products or services by keeping the needs of the customer in mind.

For instance, an upsell may work best on customers who have a particular need in mind, but not a particular product. This offers the right opportunity for sales reps to suggest a high-priced item than those in which the customer has expressed interest. This may lead to a successful upsell.

Cross-sale, on the other hand, works best when the customers are fixated on purchasing a particular item whose value can be enhanced by another item. In such a case, the sales rep must demonstrate the overall experience the customer can benefit from, leading to an effective cross-sale.

3. Offer product/ service bundles to reduce decision complexity

The more steps or actions a customer has to take when making a decision, the more complicated the decision becomes. It is vital to find ways to make the buying process simpler and decision-making faster. One effective way to do that is product bundling.

Bundling means grouping products that are related or relevant to a customer’s needs.

product bundling

4. Use price anchoring technique

Price anchoring is a brilliant strategy that helps to enhance upselling and cross-selling opportunities and increase product-led sales. The strategy leverages a higher-priced option as the ‘anchor’ to guide customer decisions.

Let’s understand this with an example:

Say you are a mobile service provider and want to encourage your customers to subscribe to a premium smartphone plan. You offer three subscription plans:

  • Basic Plan: $30/month - Includes call and text services.
  • Standard Plan: $50/month - Includes call, text, and 5GB of data.
  • Premium Plan: $50/month - Includes call, text, 5GB of data, and a complimentary streaming subscription worth $15/month.

Now in this scenario, the Premium Plan serves as your anchor. Despite being priced the same as the Standard Plan, it offers additional value to the customers. Therefore, a majority of them will opt for the Premium Plan while negating the Basic Plan completely.

The price anchoring technique, in this case, motivates customers to perceive the Premium Plan as a superior choice and ultimately influences their purchase decision.

5. Build trust and customer relationships

A key principle in upselling and cross-selling is to help the customer and recommend products that make sense to them. You can use gathered customer data to make suggestions that meet their needs or solve a potential problem. This will help to build trust, loyalty, and long-lasting relationships.

Here’s what you must avoid:

  •   Bombard customers with too many recommendations
  •   Suggest cross-sells and upsells before the customer has chosen a product
  •   Opting for sly tactics such as subtle price hikes through hidden fees 

Listen to this podcast episode where Shari Levitin reveals her secrets to building trust with your customers and selling with authenticity!

6. Offer loyalty perks

Offering loyalty perks is a brilliant way to maximize the effectiveness of your upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Customers who purchase more should get rewarded with more benefits.

Loyalty rewards can come in various forms, including:

  • Gift cards
  • Referral programs
  • Thank-you emails
  • Free shipping codes
  • Product discount vouchers
5 Benefits of Loyalty Programs

Make sure to train your sales reps about the different loyalty offerings so they can include them in their upselling and cross-selling efforts. When a business offers more loyalty perks, customers are likelier to buy into an upsell pitch.

Additionally, if your brand leverages any lead scoring tactics, you can easily identify high-value customers who are likely to respond positively to these perks. By focusing your efforts on those customers, you can significantly boost upselling and cross-selling success. 

7. Personalize customer experience

Offering recommendations for an upsell or cross-sell campaign based on a customer’s past purchase and preferences creates a more relevant and tailored customer experience. It increases the chances of the customers finding value in your offerings.

According to statistics, 89% of marketers witness a positive ROI when they leverage personalization in their marketing campaigns.

It is advisable to leverage social media analytics to obtain valuable insights into customer preferences, behavior, and sentiments. It can be game-changing for personalizing the customer experience, and subsequently, boosting upselling and cross-selling efforts.

8. Don’t forget to follow up

Often, the best upselling and cross-selling opportunities ascend after the customer has made a purchase. So, to increase inside sales, you must train your reps to follow up with existing customers to make sure they are happy and suggest appropriate product recommendations.

They can do this through phone calls, follow-up emails, or text messages. During the follow-up, the reps can subtly present any additional products or upgrades that may offer value to the customers. With strategic planning, a follow-up can be the perfect way to incorporate an upsell or cross-sell as well as fuel successful lead generation.

An effective follow-up strategy remains crucial for closing a sale, and one tool that simplifies this essential stage in the sales process is Badger Maps.

Studies have shown that 80% of deals need five or more follow-ups to close. With Badger Maps you can make sure you never miss a single one.

The Follow-ups feature lets you add a date for your next follow-up appointment, and set an appointment reminder.

With Follow-ups to keep you on track, you will never miss an opportunity simply because you forgot to contact a prospect.

Real-world examples of Upselling and Cross-selling

Now let’s look at some excellent real-world examples of these strategies demonstrated by renowned brands.


Semrush is a popular SaaS-based online marketing platform that showcases a tactical upselling example. It enables its users to create a free account and get access to limited platform features. Once the users become acquainted with the platform, the brand drops strategic CTAs on each page, encouraging its users to upgrade their plans.

The brand also offers a highly discounted price on annual plans, enticing users to choose yearly subscriptions over monthly ones.


IKEA is a famous Swedish brand offering the widest range of furniture and home products. The brand leverages smart cross-selling techniques to enhance its revenue while making its customers’ lives easier.

IKEA constantly gathers customer data by tracking their buying patterns. Using that data, it offers highly tailored and relevant suggestions and attractive deals that are hard to resist.


Mastering cross-selling and upselling is crucial for sales reps seeking to boost revenue and enhance customer relationships. 

With the right implementation, these techniques not only help to boost revenue but also create a wholesome shopping experience for your customers.

About the author: Yash Chawlani is a B2B Marketing Consultant and Founder of Merlin, a result-oriented online marketing agency. He specializes in SEO and Content Marketing and helps various B2B & SaaS companies with his top-notch marketing strategies.  

LinkedIn: Yash Chawlani

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