Expansion Selling: A Proactive Data-Driven Strategy Framework

February 12 2020 15Comments

As SaaS businesses gain traction and customers begin to adopt their solution at scale, the next step is to drive customer expansion. Since existing customers are usually more willing to buy, companies typically offer additional solutions and features in the form of upsells and cross-sells. This enables the company to deliver additional value to customers while generating more revenue.

However, most companies are at a disadvantage because they use the same sales strategy for both new and existing customers. This approach, however flawed, may produce some results, but it will be far from optimal. From experience, the best method is to interpret and leverage available customer data to develop a different strategy for expansion selling campaigns.

“Most companies are at a disadvantage because they use the same sales strategy for both new and existing customers.”

Formulating sales strategy based on existing customer data delivers better results than ad-hoc methods because it can be proactively tailored to customer needs and business goals. Based on how it is collected, customer data can be grouped into:

  • Qualitative Data; obtained from customer-facing personnel.
  • Quantitative Data; obtained from different systems.

The most appropriate time to leverage customer data to drive new sales opportunities for existing customers is after sales and implementation are successfully completed. This may be after a year when customers have fully adopted the product and your interaction allows for account expansion.



Qualitative Data

Qualitative data is obtained from customer-facing teams and personnel. This includes the support team, customer success team, delivery or service team, and account managers. These teams can serve as listening posts to curate data about the customer’s needs. The data is then transferred to the executive in charge of customer expansion, where it is translated into useful information that frames the up-sell strategy.


Quantitative Data

Quantitative data is often readily available but underutilized for customer expansion campaigns. Support data trends, if properly tracked, can reveal which customers to target for additional training packages. Usage data, survey data, and online community discussions can be used to identify customers with additional business needs or interests in additional services. Sales data may also help to predict which customers need additional services based on the combination of different products they purchased or a lack of certain services in a mix of solutions that are typically purchased together.

Thinking Ahead

Many companies upsell after their customers express a need for additional services. Instead, businesses should be proactive in identifying expansion opportunities through recurring campaigns. This can be done by consistently tracking these three customer data points:

  • Consumption Trends: This is a comparison of customer purchases against solution adoption.
  • Adoption Trends: This is based on the frequency and amount of usage and which solutions customers aren’t actually using.
  • Goals and KPIs: This shows how much value the customer derives from the solutions and if they achieved their business goals with it.

Companies can, therefore, run proactive, targeted, and profitable quarterly campaigns that are solely driven by the customer’s consumption and adoption trends. These recurring campaigns may be run alongside ad hoc campaigns for new products and services.

Businesses should be proactive in identifying expansion opportunities through recurring campaigns

Expansion Selling Strategy Framework

You can utilize this framework to develop an expansion strategy that is proven to generate more results than merely waiting for customer ad hoc requests or CSM suggestions:


  1. Identify Outcomes: Determine which of your customer’s business needs your solutions can address, your customer’s expected business outcomes, and what service levels your customers are accustomed to from other vendors.
  2. Define Offering: Based on the solutions you offer, define appropriate upsell or cross-sell bundles for different sets of customer needs. Document your expansion playbooks in detail for future recurring campaigns.
  3. Find Triggers: Use customer data to identify a list of customers that are likely to have those business needs.
  4. Compile a List: Create a list of customer success qualified leads (CSQL) that the account manager or CSM can contact to validate that the business needs exist.
  5. Launch Campaign: Create a short or ongoing campaign to test the expansion playbooks. Offer a bonus to accelerate the adoption of the new plays. Adjust and improve your campaigns every quarter.


Customer data can be gathered and translated into actionable insights that can be used to define a better and more targeted expansion campaign strategy. This proactive approach delivers better results than using standard sales strategies for existing customers.

Learn more about EXPANSION SELLING

👇 DOWNLOAD the Expansion Selling eBook: https://csmpractice.lpages.co/expansion-selling-ebook/

📃 READ the blog Freshworks wrote about our expansion selling framework: https://www.freshworks.com/saas/uncomplicate-how-to-frame-an-upsell-strategy-blog/

🕶 WATCH this video “Data-Driven Expansion Selling Strategy Framework”: https://youtu.be/oegw4soKw0Q

🕶 WATCH this video “Perry Monaco | LinkedIn | Expansion Selling Campaigns for Customer Success”: https://youtu.be/6d3jn6wMyPI

Learn more about Customer Success

🔔 SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel https://youtube.com/csmpractice

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About Irit Eizips

Irit Eizips is a Customer Success thought leader whose mission is helping startups to Fortune 100 enterprises, establish a proactive and scalable customer success practice. Irit is frequently featured in podcastsbooks, and industry events as a subject matter expert on customer success operations and strategy. In 2014, Irit founded CSM Practice, an international consulting firm providing strategy and technology services. Irit is known for her unique experience and expertise in launching customer success programs at scale based on best practices, automated playbooks, and client data analytics. Connect with Irit Eizips on TwitterLinkedInYouTube or sign up for her weekly Customer Success Newsletter.

About CSM Practice

CSM Practice specializes in the design and implementation of best of breed scalable customer success programs using an optimal combination of research, strategy, playbooks, and technology. CSM Practice is the first to develop accelerated methodologies for customer success programs and is continuously producing thought leadership content for the Customer Success community. The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Additional information can be found at www.csmpractice.com or connect with CSM Practice on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Written By:

Irit Eizips

Irit Eizips brings deep expertise in the area of Customer Success. As an early member of Gainsight's executive team, Irit has been pivotal in shaping Customer Success methodologies and best practices. For the past 3 years, Irit has been voted as a top Customer Success influencer and is frequently featured as a speaker at conferences and Customer Success public events. Irit serves as CEO for CSM Practice, a global Customer Success consultancy firm. The firm specializes in working with customer success leaders to accelerate the creation and implementation of Customer Success strategies, derive extensive value from Customer Success technology solutions as well as certify and train customer facing teams in becoming more proactive and efficient.


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