Increasing client upselling
Management consultants Bain & Company once published survey results saying that whereas 80% of companies think their service is superior, only 8% of their customers agree.
It’s since become one of those legendary statistics that is quoted across the internet, even though the number of survey respondents wasn't exactly huge and the report is over a decade old now.
So why do we mention it here in the context of trying to increase B2B client upselling? It's because there is an obvious link between expanding business with existing clients and giving them outstanding service, and there is often a large client service perception gap that can be invisible to the company. Worse, with client expectations rising, there is a risk of the gap remaining wide.
What can help? When we spoke about it to business managers using Synergist, several made the connection between implementing their consultancy management system and a subsequent and welcome rise in upselling.
What’s the connection? For Lisa McLaren, Director of Finance & HR at ClickThrough, it’s all about having the right information to share with clients. She told us:
“Upselling takes place now. Before Synergist, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve that. Having the data makes all the difference.”
It's all about improving the quality of service. For some clients it can be an eye-opener when the service provider delivers a step change in detailed information about project progress, time spent to date, landmarks achieved, automatic alerts and project health reports, particularly if their previous experience with suppliers included almost none of these.
Steven Clark, Financial and Commercial Manager of Tayburn, agrees. For him, upselling is not just about having the information, it’s seeing how team members develop with it and are inspired to recognise opportunities when the moment is right.
He told us:
“It’s given them more of a sense of responsibility, more discipline. The team have become much more commercially minded now. They understand margins. It’s also helped our account managers and account directors earn more from existing clients.”
Steven Clark, Tayburn
It would have been interesting if that Bain graph had analysed the service delivery gap into its constituent elements. How much of the gap was about the quality of the actual delivered work? And how much was about the flow of supporting information; the updates, the alerts and the feeling that the consultancy is not on top of everything? It's frustrating to see great work undermined by poor information flow, making upselling harder than it need be.