The close cousin of the expansion motion, the upsell motion focuses on expanding an existing customer’s usage through the adoption of a wider set of products or features.
Companies with a portfolio of complementary products are the best candidates for an upsell motion. However, for a company with a single product, this likely means upgrading the customer to a higher pricing tier which unlocks additional functionality. For example, SaaS companies often bundle “enterprise” features like SSO or integrations with more expensive platforms into higher pricing tiers targeted towards companies with larger budgets.
Depending on the structure of a company’s pricing and packaging, upsell and expansion may happen in parallel. For example, once a customer exceeds certain usage thresholds, their only option is to upgrade into a higher plan.
The primary difference between upsell and expansion, though, is that the value a customer gets from new products or features is likely different from what drove them to become a customer in the first place. This often requires sellers to re-qualify customers and execute additional discovery.
Both usage-based signals gleaned from product data along with business context obtained through sales engagements can indicate that a customer may benefit from functionality beyond what they currently have access to.
Specifically, upsell opportunities may arise after major milestones or “wins” where the value the customer gets from the product is top-of-mind. Take a classic upsell example for developer tooling companies: a customer purchases a core product when developing a new project. As the project is launched into production, the customer is likely considering complementary products that help them operationalize, scale, and monitor their deployment.
Upsell motions can be fraught as attempting to upsell customers before they have derived meaningful value from their existing purchase will not only fail but may sour the customer’s perception of the company. This is why the upsell motion should be primarily sales-led as automated or 1:many campaigns can fail to consider the customer context and nuance that is required for a successful outcome.