Cross selling – the dream versus the realityPosted on: May 2, 2014
Here are the key points from a presentation titled “Cross selling – the dream versus the reality” I made yesterday at The Law Society Law Management Section Annual Conference 2014. Thanks to all those folk who took the time to give me some positive feedback afterwards – it was much appreciated. #LMSconf2014.
So is cross selling The Holy Grail of business development? Or Motherhood and Apple Pie?
Cross-selling is much talked about in professional practices. It’s kind of obvious that if you have invested time and effort in winning a client then it makes sense to promote other services to that client as the relationship develops.
But there are many assumptions and misunderstandings as to how it works. Most firms will admit to having a cross-selling initiative, but how many would say that they have been successful? There are, of course, some great success stories (see https://www.kimtasso.com/crm-success-statistics-from-freshfields/).
From cross-selling to cross-buying
Cross-selling is inherently an internal perspective. The firm wants to sell more of its products and services to a client. Yet, like all sales initiatives, we need to start with the client and what they perceive and need. Empathy skills come to the fore here – as well as research and relationship investment. https://www.kimtasso.com/take-a-walk-on-the-client-side-empathy-and-emotional-intelligence-when-selling-professional-services/
And clients – whether they are private clients, OMB/SMEs or large corporates – will have different decision making and buying processes which will have an impact on the success of a cross-selling initiative. Smaller clients – where the main contact is with the owner – will see value in the time saved and convenience of a single point of contact for a variety of services whereas larger clients – where there are qualified professionals and procurement experts – will focus on “horses for courses”. So it’s important that you segment your market and focus your sales and relationship development activity.
Check that the service is consistently good
If you are to avoid putting established client relationships at risk – from different service expectations and/or inconsistent client experiences – you need to check that the service from different teams is up to scratch. Easier said than done.
And it’s not just about rational service elements as part of your quality programme. Emotions and perceptions play a huge part. I have heard clients report that they left a firm because receptionists didn’t recognise their voices on the phone, or because they felt that their partner “didn’t value the relationship”.
Start on the inside
Internal relationships are critical too. You are unlikely to put your client into the hands of a colleague who you barely know – and I have heard partners state that they simply don’t rate or trust their colleagues’ skills enough to put their clients in their hands. Build those internal relationships first.
So analyse the risks (a structured reasons for and against cross-referrals process) and mend internal rifts. And look at procedures both to smooth the transition to ensure that the client has a good experience. And ensure that if a partner risks passing over a client, that they will receive some sort of recognition or reward.
Digital information drivers
At the heart of good cross-selling programmes is good data. The database word strikes fear and loathing into most lawyers hearts. The CRM (Client Relationship Management) database needs to extend beyond supporting e-newsletter mailing campaigns. It needs to capture a range of internal indicators and external intelligence about the organisation (or family) and individuals – static and behavioural information. And don’t forget Data Protection, Privacy and Ecommerce laws. Advanced organisations are using behavioural economics and predictive analysis to show, for example “similar clients used these services at this point”.
But the information should set the benchmarks and help measure progress towards what you want to achieve with your cross-selling programme whether this is increased revenues and profits, reduced cost of sales, greater share of pocket, increased NPS (Net Promoter Score), higher cross-selling or referral indices within specific segments, online campaign effectiveness or enhanced client life time value.
A desire to increase cross-selling needs to be converted into a coherent strategy. And one that meshes with the firm’s overall strategy and new business development programmes.
This means setting out a compelling vision, setting clear aims, assigning resources, ensuring the programme fits the external client environment and demonstrating confident leadership.
Some cross-selling programmes will focus on internal marketing and communications, some as part of a sector approach, others on online promotion through intelligent web interfaces, others through the focused use of social media and others through targeted effort on major client relationships.
Part of a Key Account Management (KAM) programme
It’s trickier to manage the rich knowledge arising from multiple contacts over many years from a key relationship. There’s tacit and implicit knowledge that can be trickier to capture and maintain. And when information from intensive client listening programmes, regular satisfaction reviews and strategic account planning programmes are incorporated the challenge grows.
But in many cases, the deeper and more collaborative relationships forged through genuine (as opposed to short term sales initiative) key account management programmes are the key to enabling effective cross-buying or even the co-development of new services.
Machiavelli commented: “It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things” and we must remember that promoting cross-selling often requires a concerted and sustained change management programme (There are several blogs concerning change management in the professions).
The behaviour of senior role models, service excellence and quality systems, compliance integration, individual fee-earning targets, policies regarding relationship management responsibilities, internal communication, information systems, recognition and reward systems, training and e-learning programmes and financial management systems must be aligned to support the cross-selling dream.
At the end of the session, delegates asked me to elaborate on the use of social media in relationship management. Here are few links that address this but there are many more in this blog:
- We have never done any client research - where do we start?
- What is the secret of effective cross-selling?
- Marketing a family law practice
- Pricing in the professions – books for marketers, lawyers and accountants
- Managing Change and Growth
- How do I establish a Key Account Management (KAM) programme?
- How can a lawyer become more effective at business development?
- How can I improve my pricing strategy?
- How do I integrate social media into my business development?
- What is emotional intelligence (EQ) and why is it important?
- Encouraging solicitors to sell – Aligning cross-selling with professional conduct rules
- Getting to grips with Key Account Management (KAM)
- 6 top tips for change management
- Internal relationships – 60 ideas to help marketing professionals forge stronger relationships with lawyers, accountants and surveyors
- Getting it past the partners – All about buy in
- Book review - Rainmakers and Trailblazers (Business development for lawyers) by DWF
- We’re all change managers in professional services
- A-E of cultivating a culture of relationship management
- Book review: Let’s get real or let’s not play – The demise of dysfunctional selling and the advent of helping clients succeed (Mahan Khalsa)
- CRM success statistics from Freshfields
- Book Review: The New Successful Large Account Management by Robert B Miller and Stephen E Heiman with Tad Tuleja (KAM – Key Account Management)
- Client Experience Management CEM – Two research reports
- How do I tackle client profiling for my key client management (KAM) programme?
- What are the most appropriate selling frameworks or models for professional firms?
- Training and Facilitation
- Legal marketing case studies – Strategy and relationship management at Bird & Bird, DLA Piper, Mills & Reeve and Obelisk
- Reasons to invest in a Key Account Management (KAM) programme
- Top ten tips on referrer management (2016 Birmingham)
- Cross-selling – The Big Questions
- Managing client service in surveying and property partnerships
- Client Experience Management CEM – Lessons from John Lewis and other consumer services (Law Society Law Management Conference 2017)
- Key Account Management (KAM) – Top 10 tips for designing and implementing a KAM programme
- Why Client Experience Management CEM is all the rage…
- Key Account Management KAM – Managing key client meetings
- Elderly, grey, silver, mature or hyperactive?
- Ten tips on cross-selling – Boosting internal networks
- Managing teams and virtual teams – 13 top tips
- New lead generation and intelligence system for targeting high net worth private clients – An overview of NETZ
- Professional selling tips
- Improving referrer management in the professions – research into referrer relationships
- Intercultural working - some insights
- Six insights into managing a surveyors’ practice (2016)
- Client relationship management (CRM) - How many close relationships can you manage?
- 10 tips to increase buy-in: Planning to persuade
- Four themes in referrer management – for lawyers and accountants in the UK and internationally
- Marketing to the elderly – for lawyers and accountants
- Cross-selling and referrer management – The view from marketing and BD
- Referrer and intermediary management – Internal information systems
- Integrated marketing – Joined up sector, KAM and CEM programmes
- Developing a private client practice – 10 insights (July 2017)
- Property marketing case studies – Relationship management at DTZ, GVA, JLL, Knight Frank and Savills
- How do I deal with difficult partners?
- Joined up marketing and selling with value propositions
- Five insights from developing a privately funded family law practice
- Key challenges when developing and sustaining your private client practice
- Four insights from developing a private client practice – Analysis, Objectives, Targeting and Internal Communication (June 2016)
- Referrer management strategies: Plan, target, focus, research, relationship, add value and let go (Manchester, 2016)
- Recruitment and succession of surveyors – Human resources management for property partnerships
- Private client marketing - Competing in the digital era
- Internal communication – Why, how and what?
- What makes a good marketing campaign?
- Book Review – Business Networking: The Survival Guide by Will Kintish
- Where do I start? Business Development for Lawyers (MBL Private Client Training July 2015)
- Private client marketing – Five thoughts from heads of department (2017)
- Accountancy marketing case studies – Strategy and relationship management at BDO, Grant Thornton and RSM International
- Use the 6Rs to generate more referrals - Referrer management
- Reflections on Managing Change and Leadership (with book list)
- Be more T Rex - Client management with dinosaurs
- Marketing is dead, long live selling?
- Six highlights from CLT’s Business Development for Lawyers training course
- Client feedback – Legal and accounting client feedback from Aframe, Argus Media and Santander (October 2015)
- Clown fish? Book review of "Rainmakers and Trailblazers: Business Development for Lawyers" by Charles Christian
- Seven thoughts on private client marketing (June 2015)
- Dear fee-earner, Love from Leeds: Why you should allow your marketing and business development team to help you to develop campaigns
- 10 steps to create a business development campaign
- A personal approach to cross-selling
- The pricing of family law services – An overview
- Client Experience Management (CEM) – Research into the client journey at law firms
- Rainmakers and Trailblazers – Business development for lawyers
- Marketing technology – Vuture tackles social media verification, dynamic content and extranets made easy
- From Jesse J to Einstein - ROI in professional service firm marketing and business development
Category: Accountants, Lawyers, Management Skills, Marketing, Relationship Management, Selling, Social Media, Strategy
Tagged: Accountants, Business Development, Change management, Client care, Client service excellence, Cross-selling, Human Resources, Internal Communication, KAM, Key account management, Lawyers, Sales, Social Media, Surveyors, Training