8 Unique Ideas for Cross-Selling and Adding Value

Everyone, including you and the organizations you serve, is looking to save money these days. Even though the United States hasn’t fallen into the depths of recession, as many observers predicted at the beginning of this year, IT departments and CIOs remain highly sensitive to how much they spend on technology and other overhead. Partners such as yourself are involved in that equation. Sure, doing business requires financial investment. But as inflation, the IT skills shortage, rising interest rates, ongoing supply chain disruptions, and other factors all make life more challenging, channel partners, like everyone else, want to reduce expenses. Trimming customer acquisition cost stands out as a prime opportunity to do just that. And cross-selling and adding value represent two of the most strategic approaches.

But First — Why Focus on Customer Acquisition Cost?

The amount small businesses pay to attract new customers varies. Before we jump into cross-selling and value-add ideas, it’s important to calculate what you spend on customer acquisition cost (the targets are different for every firm). That will help you determine whether you’re on budget and aligned with your market, or under or over.

The formula is simple : 

  1. Decide on a specific period to evaluate — say, the first half of 2023.
  2. Next, take the total marketing spend and total sales spend in that timeframe and add them together.
  3. Then, divide the combined total of marketing and sales spend by the total number of net new customers added in the defined time period.
From there, use one or more of the many benchmarks on the interwebs to compare yourself to peer spending on customer acquisition cost. The benchmarks vary because each partner operates differently, so we can’t provide that assessment in this blog. However, experts generally agree that keeping customer acquisition cost about three times lower than customer lifetime value is ideal. And, with that, let’s get into some pointers for building business with existing buyers, thereby taking a bite out of new customer acquisition cost.

The Difference Between Cross-Selling and Adding Value

Pursuing cross-selling or value-added sales, or both, calls for using the same sales techniques you employed to land the customer in the first place: Trust, understanding needs and goals, provable outcomes, personalized support, etc. From there, the only distinction lies in how you aim to convince customers to put more of their technology investments in your hands.


Offering products or services that complement what a customer has already purchased from you. Looking for ways to help the end user make even more of the existing investment.

Adding Value

Seeking to move a customer to a version or tier of the original product or service you sold that delivers greater productivity, efficiency or other benefits.

Unique Ways to Cross-Sell, Add Value to Reduce Customer Acquisition Cost

Given the rampant sensitivities around technology spending today, you may find it best to start with a cross-selling focus. However, if a customer’s environment seems ripe for proposing ways to add value, go for it.  

In either case, as long as you are looking out for the end user’s best interests, and especially if the organization already turns to you on a frequent basis for guidance, your insight and recommendations should be well received. As such, we’ve come up with some unique ideas to help you reach your cross-selling and value-added selling goals while reducing new customer acquisition cost. Let’s dive in. 

1. Customized Bundles

If you haven’t already crafted individualized packages for customers, now is the time. Especially as a channel partner with access to ACS Cloud Services’ vast range of solutions, you can use your on-the-ground knowledge of each client to propose and provide exclusive bundles. These could even include hardware and/or accessories, depending on how creative you want to get. Then, with the customer’s input, you can deliver the best mix and match of those items to address specific workload needs.

These solutions can feature complementary technologies, reflecting more of a cross-selling technique, and/or upgraded options that would serve as a value-add. Say your customer operates in a very specific vertical and is expanding to a new location. Bundle some platforms proven to help that niche thrive and proceed accordingly. (We like to use our auto dealership division as an example for such an opportunity.)

2. Complementary Services

Speaking of complementary, what services do you deliver that your peers do not?

Maybe that’s assessments of, and recommendations for, telecom, network, or cloud spending, for instance. Maybe you boast an impressive network of IT contacts and can charge to play matchmaker for clients’ job openings amid the relentless skills shortage. Maybe you have deep knowledge of a specific SaaS platform and can deliver targeted training that empowers end users more than watching a generic video might do. 

ACS Cloud Partners have full access to proprietary tools, like the FiberLookup™ and PricingPRO™ which help easily show clients what services are viable and the providers that can offer them in their area. Regardless of what your service expertise might be, put it to use. Include your unique capabilities in any cross-sell/upsell proposal.

3. Create a Sense of Urgency

When an existing customer buys something new from you, tack on a limited-time offer or two around that purchase. This will create a sense of urgency. Positioning the offers around the incentives ACS providers are promoting could lead to a holistic win-win.

4. Referral Programs

Extend incentives or discounts to customers for referrals to your company. Then, create exclusive deals just for those referred customers.

5. Anniversary Packages

A big part of cutting customer acquisition costs means retaining clients. One way to do that could be to acknowledge loyal buyers with a special offer each year on the anniversary they came on board with you. We do suggest including a thoughtful gift at the same time because you’ll essentially be asking the customer to keep spending through your company.

You don’t want to come off as tacky. Rather, combining a thank-you present with an anniversary offer for the coming year shows appreciation, dedication, and longevity.

6. Team Up

The indirect channel has talked about “co-opetition” for a long time. Done right, this partnering approach brings great benefits to your customers and to you. Consider teaming up with another type of channel partner (or two) in your region, one who holds capabilities you do not and vice versa. Then, craft packages that rely on both parties’ expertise. This approach must alleviate customers’ specific technology problems and provide value they would not otherwise easily gain.

We realize partnering is not easily done, especially if you’ve teamed with TSDs who have lost your trust. ACS Cloud Partners, now 21 years old, has stayed steadfast in its commitment to our channel partners. And we want you to know that is not changing, nor will it.

7. Trial Periods

Especially in a value-added selling situation, it can be worthwhile to give customers access to a premium version of a platform. This would, of course, entail you having the licensing wherewithal to act on such an offer, but what more ideal way to convince someone to upgrade than letting them have a trial go? Consider implementing a limited period during which the trial offer is valid, at a discounted rate. Then, if the customer chooses to upgrade, you could apply what they paid for the trial to the full price.

Not only does this show the customer what they’ve been missing, it also cements more loyalty in your favor and boosts your revenue base. Plus, you earn more money to underwrite new customer acquisition costs as you expand your footprint.

8. Upgrade Certificates

Instead of a trial period for an immediate change, this tactic serves as an invitation to upgrade at a later date. This fits into a cross-sell or value-added strategy. Either way, give your customer a “Certificate of Upgrade” for a certain technology enhancement you believe will improve their operations.

Set an expiration date if you feel that works best, though be sure to extend enough time (maybe six or 12 months?) to allow the customer to decide one way or the other without feeling pressured. The goal, of course, is to keep the organization coming back to you.

Conclusion: Don’t Forget ROI

Whether cross-selling or focusing on adding value, be sure to call out the return on investment you expect your customer to reap. Buyers expect this level of insight in the current economy (and that’s unlikely to change even as conditions improve.

Finance execs have become more savvy than ever about the importance of evaluating technology purchases.) As existing buyers lean on you for more solutions, you’ll grow your business while, with any luck, paying less on new customer acquisition costs. Then, as you do add net-new buyers, you’ll establish a whole cross-sell/value-added selling cycle with them, too. It’s the good kind of endless cycle.

As a partner with ACS Cloud Partners, we help you build your business through countless resources like our FiberLookup™ and PricingPRO™ tools and dedicated sales support teams. Our partners also benefit with customized commission structures and marketing techniques to increase revenue. Because of our established relationships with providers, you are able to market the full portfolio of products to your customers.

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