The 4 phases required to up-sell and cross-sell within a key account are:


  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Preference
  4. Intent


Awareness involves helping the client understand the opportunities they are missing. There are 4 key strategic activities required in awareness:


1. Define what the client is missing


2. Connect the opportunity to the objectives of the business


3. Identify the potential victims


4. Explain the method utilized to determine the opportunity exists


A root cause analysis approach is most effective in these situations.


Within Consideration you must establish with the client the need for external expertise to resolve the problem. This step involves establishing:


  • The complexity of the problem
  • Establishing the complexity of the solution


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In addition, you need to establish the cost the client will incur if they continue down the current path. Utilizing a Venn diagram or Fishbone diagram are common tools to leverage when explaining the evidence to support your hypothesis.


The Preference phase is where the client understands the ramifications to selecting the alternatives to resolving the problem with a solution other than the one you currently provide.


  • Be flawless in your approach by presenting all options the client should consider for solving the problem
  • Explain how each option will be integrated into the current project
  • Show how improvement will be measured and how victims benefit from the solution
  • Develop the communication strategy to support the client’s resolution to the problem


The above is typically handled by leveraging a solution option tool or matrix.


Extending the solution option tool into the Intent phase for key account cross-sell and up-sell enables a process for the client that supports a high value buying decision.


The client needs to uncover:


  • What they are looking for
  • Comprehend the value of the solution
  • Determine the evaluation criteria in order to avoid the “I just don’t get it” response.


Exiting the Intent phase of key account development requires the client to know what to look for in a solution, how to measure value and how to compare the options.



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John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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