Rethink Commerce Blog

How To Effectively Cross-Sell With A Subscription Model

Posted on May 14th, 2015 by

Any marketer knows that cross-selling is a crucial component of long-term e-commerce success. If your customers are happy with the products they currently use or intend to buy, they are more likely to be open to buying separate, additional products as well. The same is true for SaaS providers, though conventional subscription models may be a little less obvious solutions for cross-selling opportunities than basic shopping carts. So we’re here to help with some tips on how you can effectively cross-sell with a subscription model.

Map The Customer Journey 

A great way to start determining your cross-selling opportunities is to map out the exact journey your customers take once they activate and begin using your service as paying subscribers. Ultimately, you want to determine how they use your service and where they begin to find limitations.

Discovering these limitations and contacting your customers as they arrive at these points offers a great opportunity to promote related products. Remember, when cross-selling you should position your new software as a solution to a customer’s problem or limitation, not simply another service that costs more.

Gather Feedback 

Mapping your customers’ journey through your software is only possible with direct input from them, so try to gather as much feedback as you can about your customers, their satisfaction with the software, and their potential unanswered needs. Do this either via surveys, emails, or personal calls. Gathering that information will also be crucial for the next step.

Stay Relevant 

There’s a fine line between offering relevant new products and bothering your customers with products for which they have no need. Using the feedback you have now gathered, and determining just what your customers need, is crucial in offering only additional products that actually make sense and are helpful to them.

If you can walk that fine line, your chance of cross-selling success increases substantially. When done right, your customers may actually see cross-selling as customer service designed to solve their business problems rather than a constant sales pitch. But if it’s done incorrectly, an irrelevant sales pitch may actually cause you to irritate and lose current customers.

Use Testimonials 

Focus on customer testimonials when advertising related products to existing customers. Testimonials are the digital equivalent of asking a friend for advice. When they are presented in a believable way and from customers who have used the additional products successfully, these testimonials can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful cross-sell.

The effectiveness of testimonials in persuading customers has been confirmed in study after study. They are considered the most successful form of content marketing, even when the message is as short as Amazon’s “customers who have purchased this item also bought” suggestion.

Bundle Prices 

Another way to incentivize your current customers to subscribe to additional software is to bundle your prices. Your subscription for Software A may be $50/month, while Software B costs users $65/month. To increase subscriptions that span both software solutions, try offering a price like $90/month for both solutions combined, while also mentioning the savings that price creates in comparison to both individual subscriptions.

Be Proactive Through Trend Analysis 

As this KISSmetrics article notes, “there is no ‘one solution’ that is right for every company to use with its customers” when it comes to cross-selling. By mapping your customers’ journey and gathering feedback, you can begin to identify patterns that allow you to offer additional software to customers that may not have reached the limitations of their current subscriptions yet.

Once you identify these patterns, you can reach out to current customers before they become unhappy with these limitations. In other words, analyzing trends and establishing your cross-selling strategies based on emerging patterns allows you to increase the long-term success of your SaaS solutions.

Avangate powers modern Digital Commerce, solving the complexity of online commerce, subscription billing, and global payments for Software, SaaS and Online Services companies. Backed by a proven cloud platform, unmatched expertise and a depth of digital commerce services, Avangate helps digital business leaders drive the fastest path to revenue, maximize the value of every customer, and expand global reach. Contact us for more information about how our digital commerce services can help you grow your business.

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Raj Badarinath

VP, WW Product Marketing and Alliances

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