Data Analysis And Cross Selling Tips For Accountants

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Cross selling and upselling is one of the most powerful ways you can increase your revenue because it has multiple effects. From increasing revenue to increasing client loyalty through multiple services, upselling and cross selling needs to be an important function of every practitioners marketing plan.


But, what services can you offer to your clients that will add to each engagement?

Do you want to add a variety of services, with one customized for each individual client, thereby being able to charge premium fees, but losing practice efficiency, or do you want to add standardized services, which may increase practice efficiency, but require price concessions? Each has its pro’s and con’s.

To decide, you need data, either collected through rigorous client needs assessments, or through an analytical look at your practice client data.

Once identified and entered into your data analysis system, whether it is as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, or the output of a specialized analysis software, you will be able to create a dynamic and insightful profile of your clients that will allow you to fine tune your marketing message based on observed behavior.

This ability to analyze your client data may help you identify opportunities for your clients to combine services. For example, clients may be splitting their services among multiple providers, such as one provider for accounting and tax preparation, another for payroll services, a third for HR and Benefits administration, and another for specialty audits or examinations of vendors such as freight bills, waste services, or telecom charges. Convincing just 10% of your clients to combine all those services into one provider could increase gross revenue by over 50%.

This ability to analyze your client data may help you identify opportunities for your clients to combine services. Click To Tweet

Because of long standing prejudices, practitioners in general look more at client acquisition as a marketing plan than the easier tasks of cross selling and upselling to existing clients.

Effective cross selling organizations, such as American Express, complement their current P&L perspective with a longer-term, balance-sheet view of their business and a multiyear view of client value.

Focus on discrete customer growth missions. When practitioners set growth goals, they too often pursue overly broad or diffuse objectives, such as “Let’s sell some consulting services to all high-value local retail outlets,” rather than identifying and focusing on the pockets of greatest opportunity.

Defining a high-value client growth mission, by contrast, narrows the aperture to focus on the organization. An example of such a discrete customer mission might be: “Let’s target our high-value payroll clients who are in the market for HR & Benefits administration and are customers of competitor X, which has low loyalty scores.”

Defining customer missions takes work. Practitioners must understand the most profitable client segments, how their behaviors and preferences have changed over time, the services and channels they use, and how they stack up against the competition in each area. And they must calculate the real economic value of these segments, so that they can create targeted strategies that will be profitable.

Just get started. It’s a common misconception that a company must invest in new software or CRM systems before taking action. In fact, organizations can mobilize quickly around internal client data that resides in existing databases, assemble external market data in a few weeks, and often use analytical tools that exist in-house.

Build a repeatable model. The test-and-learn approach allows a practitioner to log some early wins, build new capabilities, and iron out the kinks as the practice learns how to work to a different rhythm. The practitioner can then decide if it makes sense to create a new team dedicated to share-of-wallet growth and possibly to invest in building new capabilities or installing new technologies.

Conditions are right for practitioners to reinvigorate their cross-selling strategies. Now it’s up to them to harness the wealth of customer data, advanced analytic techniques, and the power of digital channels for client growth missions. Practices that outperform in these missions will be able to systematically expand their share of spending among loyal customers.

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Best to you and yours,




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