How to Partner with Distributors on Up-sell and Cross-Sell Campaigns

May 10, 2013

Vya Staff

Whether you are in the financial services, insurance or manufacturing (e.g. building specialoffer-iStock-000019127111XSmall_thumbproducts) verticals, planning joint campaigns with your distributed sales channels is a great way to generate new up-sell and cross-sell business. Because they already know and likely trust your business, existing customers are a prime audience for additional sales, but they may not be properly informed about the full scope of products or services in your portfolio. You may expect that your distributors are taking initiative to nurture up-sell and cross-sell business from their current customers, but they may need a little push. However, if you provide direction and make it easy for distributors to participate, you can both profit. Here’s how:


Identify trends

Coach your distributors on where to find customer insights. A perfect place to start is by looking for trends in customer purchase data. You can ask your distributors to look at their purchase data and share insights with you, or, if you have a data warehouse, you can review sales by distributor and by order to identify trends in product purchase histories that may indicate patterns in customer purchases. For example, is the purchase of one product typically followed by another product? If so, you can promote the complimentary product to the distributor’s current customers through an up-sell or cross-sell campaign.


Consult customer-facing partners

Talk to any customer-facing distributors, sales agents, and partners who are close to the customer to gather insights on customer buying trends and behaviors. Find out what trends they see in terms of how customers move from one offering to the next, and determine what promotions have worked best in the past with existing customers. If your distributors are currently running any continuity campaigns, find out which offers have been the most successful and garnered the best response rates. Likewise, if your distributor has recently hosted a customer event, find out what they learned from their customers. These are important keys into customer buying insights.


Tip: You’ll know when you’ve spotted a great opportunity when the trends in customer purchase histories and word-of-mouth insights match!


Design your campaign

Once you’ve identified the products or services that are the best candidates for your campaign, identify the customers you want to target and make a target list. Whether you are running a direct mail or email campaign, in the list below, we’ve identified fields you’ll need to consider as a starting point to personalize your message. You may also want to review these 10 tips for creating compelling marketing messages.

Customer Information Needed

  • Customer Last Name
  • Customer City
  • Customer State
  • Customer Zip Code
  • Customer Phone Number
  • Customer Email
  • Customer Purchase History

Simplify distribution

The most effective way to enlist distributor participation in an up-sell or cross-sell campaign is to make participating easy. You may have enough data to create target lists for your distributors and suggest customers for inclusion in the campaign on their behalf, or your distributors may provide the customer target lists. Either way, if you utilize a marketing resource management system to manage campaign execution, you can provide turnkey campaigns that distributors can launch simply by uploading their target list and enrolling customers in the campaign in just a few clicks. QR codes can even be added to direct mail campaigns with a PURL component to personalize the up-sell or cross-sell offer. Finally, as with any campaign, you should measure your results and adjust campaigns accordingly over time.



The old adage states that it’s easier to up-sell and cross-sell than to find new customers. Partnering with distributors on up-sell and cross-sell campaigns is an effective strategy to generate new business from existing customers.

To plan your campaign, consult internal data and customer-facing partners in identifying products and services candidates for up-sell and cross-sell promotions, and use a marketing resource management system to simplify campaign enrollment and distribution. The bottom line: The easier you are to interact with as a company, the more profitable your distributor partnerships will become.


How have you partnered with distributors on up-sell and cross-sell campaigns?

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Tags: Marketing Programs, financial services, insurance, marketing campaign, Distributed Sales Model, Building Products, MRM, marketing resource management, local marketing automation, sales and marketing alignment

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