Upselling is easy when your product mix is simple. If I’m selling you a horse, getting you to buy saddle blankets or riding tackle’s an obvious suggestion. If I’m selling you children’s toys, it would make sense if I asked if you needed batteries for them. If I’m selling you a hamburger, suggesting fries is practically a natural reflex.Capturing the Upsell

However, when your product mix becomes more complex – and most B2B sellers are finding this to be the case – the upsell becomes less automatic. The best solution for the customer may be a product or combination of products that the sales rep is not all that familiar with, and without that familiarity it’s tough to provide a logical upselling option.

Expecting your sales reps to memorize the product catalog and then mentally compile a parallel catalog of upselling options is asking a bit much. That goes beyond even the concept of the eidetic memory, commonly referred to as a “photographic memory;” instead of simply retaining all the details of the product catalog, your mentally-gifted sales staff would also need to retain that list of connections of up-selling combinations that they developed. Those people – like the amazing Bob Patrella, who can remember every day of his life plus every minute detail of a fictional college basketball team he’s imagined every year for 50 years – are rare. If you plan on relying on their mental acuity to maximize upselling, you’ll be out of luck; there are only 56 of them documented in the world.

So, what do you do to give your sales staff a Patrella-like recall for up-selling combinations? Configure Price Quote, or CPQ. The software allows those upselling opportunities to be built into the system; as a sales rep develops a quote –even one that includes products he or she doesn’t know well – CPQ provides automatically suggests the up-sell.

There’s two parts to what CPQ is doing for the sales rep – and ultimately the customer – when this happens. CPQ can steer the rep away from the small stable of “favorite” products, the ones the rep is most comfortable selling, and toward the best product for the customer. It’s also ensuring that the deal is for the highest value possible, and that the sale includes components beyond the product that drove the sale that also help the buyer succeed. CPQ can also deliver all the content on the selected product without forcing the rep to rummage through your portal, ensuring that an upsell is still an educated purchase by the customer and thus a more confident purchase.

For the sales rep and the selling company, this has enormous benefits; according to an Aberdeen Group study, companies that use a CPQ solution have an average deal size 105 percent greater than companies that do not use a CPQ solution. Think about that for a moment: thanks to CPQ placing all the possible up-selling options before the sales reps, the average business doubles the size of its deals.

This is business software at its best: it’s not replacing sales reps’ talent but supplementing it, acting as a “back-up brain” for the kind of knowledge that only 56 of us have naturally.

This is not CPQ’s only benefit; it protects margin, makes the sales force much more efficient, and improves and accelerates the buying experience as well. But it’s one that gets people’s attentions: how quickly would software that can, on average, double the size of your deals size pay for itself?

To learn more about the astounding ways CPQ can improve sales performance, check out our report “CPQ: the ROI Argument.”

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