The best way to increase revenue in middle market companies is with an up-sell or cross-sell strategy with your existing customers. Up-sell means to sell more (like a higher level program that you offer) to an existing customer, and cross-sell means to sell other products or services to an existing customer.

There are two main reasons why:

  1. You already have a working relationship, you are a trusted adviser, and you understand some things about their company, buying team, and culture. This creates a simpler sales opportunity than calling on companies you don't know.
  2. You still have to sell, but if you have done the ground work already, it should be much quicker than finding a "net-new" customer and starting from scratch.

Bigger companies have bigger marketing and sales budgets. Maximizing up-sell and cross-sell opportunities is one way to level the playing field with the big guys.

There are three ways to up-sell, cross-sell, and increase revenue.

  • Have an annual business review. This strategy is good for longer-term customers and those you haven't had as much interaction with as you should have. By letting them know this is an annual meeting that you do with all of your best clients, they will usually be happy to meet. At this meeting, discuss their satisfaction with your company and products, their ideas and suggestions, and a discussion on what they are working on in the upcoming months. This is the top way to formally understand their upcoming challenges and plans. From here, you can provide them help with the direction they are going. Most customers of a middle market company will understand and participate in company-wide customer feedback programs such as the annual business review, so it should be easy to get input from clients and learn from them.
  • Monitor your current customers through social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. There is no excuse for you to not know about anything they talk about through these tools, and there are tools for pay that create daily watch lists for you. If your client company's CEO is tweeting about a recent fundraiser, you should be promoting it and mentioning it to your contacts. See what they are talking about. If it is focused on growth, offer new solutions to help them get to their growth goal. If it is about the importance of their customers' satisfaction, introduce programs or ideas that focus there. Why not listen as they tell you and the world? Small companies are finding ways to do this in a big way, and there's no reason your mid-market company can't make it happen.
  • Talk to others in the company. Great leaders practice "managing by walking around," and you can do the same as a great vendor-partner for them by regularly visiting them or regularly calling all the members of their buying team. In addition, talk to users of your services to gain feedback you may not have heard from leadership. Bring on a seasonal intern or recent college graduate and have them shadow you while you connect with existing and past customers. Train them on what it is you want to learn from your clients. Collect data, analyze it, confirm it, and then base new offerings to customers on what you hear from the end-users and internal influencers.

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Lori Richardson is the founder and CEO of Score More Sales. Lori is a thought leader on B2B front-line sales growth and works with (or in conjunction with) technology brands worldwide. Follow her on Twitter.