Cross-selling, in sales, is when a customer is persuaded to add an additional, complementary product to their purchase. Cross-selling is important because it boosts overall revenue and can also increase the customer's satisfaction since the related product serves to improve their experience with the product initially being purchased as well.
The key to cross-selling is o understand the customer's needs and anticipate a product that would help improve their experience with that product or service. Cross-selling is not effective and can lead to dissatisfaction is the complementary product is irrelevant, inappropriate or incompatible.
Cross-selling is similar to upselling, which is when a salesperson persuades a customer who is already making a purchase to opt for a more premium option.
An example of cross-selling in B2B SaaS would be a company that sells their CRM to a customer also marketing a document-management technology that would help support the function of that customer's business.
Example: Rick, a sales manager at a SaaS company for invoicing software had a big day. He made a sale of his company's software to a large client who wanted to improve the workflow of their accounting department. Rick also sweetened the deal by cross-selling a partner company's subscription management software.
Channel sales, also known as indirect sales or partner sales, are sales facilitated through third parties instead of directly through a company’s sales team. These third parties may be agencies, influencers, or distributors. This is a common go-to-market strategy amongst B2B (business-to-business) software companies.
Channel sales is often a far more efficient system for driving revenue than direct sales, since the company doesn’t have to hire a sales team. Rather, the company only pays if and when partners make sales. Typically, partners are paid a cut of the sale, so it doesn’t require the same degree of overhead investment or risk as hiring and training an inside sales team.
That being said, to unlock maximum growth potential, many companies opt to use both direct and channel sales. Since partners will likely have access to different audiences than your sales team, it’s often worth investing in both. The programs are usually complementary as opposed to cannibalistic.
Example: Lavender Ltd. drove 30% of their revenue last year via channel sales, up from 20% the year before.