Up-selling is a common B2B sales strategy designed to sell a larger, more feature-rich, and expensive product to an existing customer.

See also: Cross-selling 

Up-selling and cross-selling are often confused with each other. However, they are separate sales strategies. Up-selling is designed to sell a larger, more comprehensive, and expensive version of the same product/service while cross-selling sells complementary products as add-ons to an existing customer. 

Why it is important 

For SaaS businesses that work on a subscription or recurring revenue model, selling to an existing customer is often more effective than acquiring and selling to new customers. 

Besides the obvious increase in revenues, up-selling also increases the value a customer receives. This increases the LTV of a customer since they are more likely to stay longer because of the value they receive. 

Best practices

  1. Before up-selling, make sure you thoroughly understand your customers’ user experience across segments or cohorts. Only if relevant solutions are shown to users at the right time, will up-selling work. 
  2. Suggest upgrades that are proportionate to the cost of the original order to make the offer attractive yet viable.  
  3. Don’t overwhelm customers with too many unfamiliar products too soon. The more familiar they are with the add-ons, the more likely they are to buy them.
  4. Calling your plans “good” and “better”

Avoid the temptation to call your upgraded solutions better than what your customers currently have. Instead, emphasize on maturity and suggest that they might have bigger needs and therefore, would benefit from an upgrade.

Related terms

Move your customer onboarding onto the fast lane