The Art Of The Upsell And What It Means For Profitability

Conceptual 3D render image with depth of field blur effect. Compass with the needle pointing the word customer, Concept of crm and lead conversion.

As an MSP, you’re looking for ways to grow your business. One way, of course, is to acquire new clients. But acquiring new clients can be a long and costly process. Another way to grow the business is increasing your MRR from your existing clients. Key to this is up selling them to a higher level of service.

You have a built-in advantage with existing clients. You know them and their needs. And they know you. If you’re already providing reliable service to them, they’re going to be inclined toward doing more business with you if you can show them the business case for it. Successful upselling conversations come from that.

It’s All About The “Up”

Before you start an upselling conversation, make sure you have something to upsell. If you have a selection of a la carte services, that’s cross-selling (and the subject of another blog). If you don’t already have other service tiers, consider bundling related services and offering them at a discount from buying them separately.

Upselling clients to higher-level products makes sense for an MSP. Those products usually cost more, increasing your MRR. It benefits the client too, as the higher tier offers advanced capabilities that your customers will benefit from in terms of increased security, lower risk, and other benefits.

Those business benefits are the “up” you should be focusing on when speaking with clients. The client needs to see value in taking on the additional spend. Emphasize what the client is getting. More security features keep customers safer and happier, meaning less time needs to be spent addressing customer issues. Often the upgraded features can automatically handle things that would prompt a customer call on more basic packages.

Some of the best benefits to play up are:

  • Saving money: reducing manual intervention needed, for example
  • Saving time: automation can deliver results faster
  • Getting better insight into the business: more in-depth reporting can help your client make better business decisions

A good way to show these benefits is to do a side-by-side comparison of your client’s current services and the higher-tier. You can show, point by point, what they gain. Be careful to lead the conversation with the business benefits, not the technical features of what you’re offering. By all means, talk about the technical capabilities when relevant, but gauge your conversation to the client’s concerns. Some will want a lot of technical detail; others will want just an overview.

One thing you should never do is disparage their existing service, or their reasons for choosing it. Remember, they’re your customer. You don’t want them thinking they made a mistake in signing up with you. Instead, explain why they need something different and better now. Have they grown? Has their risk profile changed? Has the wider environment changed?

A good way to drive the point home is to provide examples and case studies of how other customers have benefited from the higher-level service. A video testimonial from other customers on the positive impact they’ve realized from the upgraded tools is a powerful asset.

Leave Them With Something To Think About

Not every selling conversation ends with a sale. But you can make that conversation keep working for you even after it’s over. To do that, have a selling sheet or collateral to give customers. An asset to leave with them so they can review and share with others in the company. Let them look or consider later if needed.

The upsell conversation should be consultative and educational. Even if you don’t close a deal, you will have likely learned something about the client’s needs. It will have opened a dialogue that you can build on.

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Author Josh Pederson is senior director of global product marketing at MalwarebytesRead more Malwarebytes guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.