Rethink Commerce Blog

When You Should Be Pushing Your Upgrades To Maximize Sales

Posted on July 21st, 2015 by

“Timing is everything” is more than just a cliché in the world of SaaS. Understanding how the timing of your messages can impact the digital lifecycle is key to converting prospects to customers, getting those customers to upgrade or buy additional features, and ultimately, turning them into your very own product advocates. When you calibrate your marketing strategy to sync your messages with the cycle, you’ll decrease customer acquisition cost, minimize churn, and increase customer lifetime value. 

Balance Messaging With Timing

Think beyond your typical sales-oriented upgrade email. Sending a customer an email that contains an upgrade pitch right after they sign up sends the wrong message. They haven’t even experienced the value of the product yet.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t mention upgrades. This is where a strategic content marketing strategy is truly effective. Think about sharing research, testimonials, and industry trends to help users learn best practices. Show them new features and help them feel like they are getting the most out of the product they already have.

Include an upgrade call to action that addresses their needs. For example, “Become a premium user to unlock even more product options.” The result will be a customer who feels that you are interested in their success, and not just their wallet.

Get A Little More Direct

Once you have an established customer and they are nearing the end of their subscription, it’s time to get a little more direct with your upgrade offers. However, you still want to carefully craft your message to avoid pressuring the client and devaluing the upgrade. Here are a few tips to do this:

  • Thank them. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Send your clients a thank you email for their business. Sending the note directly from the founder or CEO adds an additional level of importance and appreciation. Thank them for trying the product and include a clear call to action to upgrade their account with a special offer.
  • Refer-a-friend. A referral program is a great way to get new leads and promote a special upgrade offer. Offer a discounted upgrade rate for customers who make referrals. You get additional revenue, a new lead, an upgraded customer, and the customer feels like they’ve won, too.
  • A friendly reminder. As the trial period is approaching, increase your directness. “A friendly reminder that your free 45-day subscription is about to end. Subscribe now to continue using product x.”

Know Your Customers

Lastly, the timing of your upgrade pitch needs to relate to the needs of your customers. For example, if your upgrade offer includes an account expansion to five or more seats,, monitor your customers who are approaching that limit. Sending that offer to a customer only using two accounts isn’t an effective use of time. Instead, group your upgrade offers by your clients’ needs. As an alternative, offer an upgrade with an add-on module that would benefit them, and not expanded seats they have no use for.

An effective upgrade strategy will help to increase your customer lifetime value and establish a secure base for your SaaS company.  Email is an excellent tool for encouraging clients to pay for expanded use or just to explore features that they may not know about yet. Balance your messaging and timing. Know when to be direct, and know the needs of your customers in order to maximize upgrade sales.

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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