This article is based on a presentation by Seema and Shanann at the Customer Marketing Summit.

Catch up on this presentation, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.

Hi, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us today to learn about our top 10 tips for driving customer demand. We’re Shanann Monaghan and Seema Rizvi, and we work at Google Cloud building upsell and cross-sell programs across our portfolio of products. 

We’re very excited to share our top tips for building a powerful upsell engine that drives value for your customers and revenue for your business. 

If you're just getting started with building upsell programs and campaigns, our tips are laid out in our suggested order of operation. 

Tip number one is your starting point, and then we’ll layer on tips two, three, four, etc. until you have a well-built upsell engine by tip number 10. That means even if you're already an upselling expert, hopefully we'll have a couple of new ideas for you today. 

Let's go ahead and jump right into tip number one. 

Tip #1: Outline your vision for customer growth

This tip is a foundational starting point. What are you trying to build? How will it help your business? 

In most businesses, you reach a tipping point where your customer base becomes big enough that it drives as much or more revenue than your net new prospects.

This is when it becomes critical for marketing to build a truly full-funnel lead generation engine. You're not only acquiring new business, but you're also engaging and growing your existing customer base. 

As your business grows, your ability to market to your current customer base is critical.

The image above is that full-funnel marketing engine. All marketing organizations start by prospecting and acquiring new business. However, over time, you need to invest in engaging and growing your existing customer base as well. Ultimately, the customers who are engaged and growing are the ones who'll become your advocates.

Tip #2: Find your upsell champions

As you build out your upsell engine, it's critical to find internal advocates who understand why upsell is a key revenue driver and will support you in building out the engine to drive customer growth. At a minimum, you need alignment and buy-in from sales operations and customer success. 

We’d recommend trialing a few upsell programs to see what works and what doesn't for engaging your customers. This will also help you to identify potential gaps in your processes and operations. Once you’ve had a few wins, you'll start to build momentum and interest in your upsell program. 

When you've demonstrated some success, consider creating an upsell council across key stakeholders to formally align on goals, processes, funnel stage definitions, and criteria.

Ultimately, you want to get to a place where upsell goals are part of the overall demand goals for the business and different teams are accountable for upselling. This'll set you up for success down the line.

Tip #3: Organize your customer data 

You can’t run an interesting or sophisticated upsell program without having access to organized and trackable customer data. Make sure you're tracking all of the following customer data points: 

  • Demographics – Including location and job title.
  • Product usage – Which products and features are they using and how often?
  • Segmentation – By industry or business size. 
  • Customer lifecycle – Are they onboarding, coming up for renewal, etc?

A mistake we've seen in many companies is that they jump right into building and trying to execute upsell campaigns, only to realize that they don't have the data or operations in place to support this. 

The hot tip here is to become best friends with your internal data or operations team. These are the people who are going to make it possible for you to have all of the infrastructure you need to run your campaigns.

Tip #4: Map your personas and your customer journey

An important step to building out your customer demand engine is to deeply understand your audience. At the end of the day, you’re talking to another human, so doing the work to build out your personas and customer journey is critical. 

Who are your key personas? These could include decision-makers, stakeholders, and influencers as well as your users. You want to understand what they’re in charge of, what they care about, what keeps them up at night, and how your product or solution can help them.

It’s a great idea for anyone who's working on customer demand to find opportunities to speak with customers directly. What was their journey to your product or solution? What problem were they looking to solve, and why did they come to you? And, importantly for driving customer growth, what are they looking to do next?

Thinking about your personas so that you really understand the human you're connecting with can bring so much life to your marketing.

In addition to building out your personas, it's also vital to map out your customer journey in order to identify the best new product or use case to surface to your customers.

Again, data is critical here, so work cross-functionally to gather insights from product marketing and customer-facing teams. You’ll also want to leverage product usage data to understand the product overlaps and key product clusters that drive growth.