Growing Your Business from Your Business: Protect and Expand, Not Sell and Service

growing your business


In their 2013 book, B4B: How Technology and Big Data are Reinventing the Customer-Supplier Relationship (1), The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) correctly predicted the demise of tech ownership.  As illuminated in TSIA's Executive Insight: The State of Expand Selling: 2016 (2), 2015 saw earlier TSIA predictions come to pass: 

  • Maximizing value from technology solutions became more important than paying a premium for tech ownership. This diminished the price and customer perceived value of hardware and software sales.
  • Customers began exploring new technology purchase options. Technology as a Service and managed service offerings saw double-digit growth in 2015. Traditional hardware and software license revenues lessened or remained flat.
  • Financial models continued to shift from selling technology as an asset to technology as service and subscription. This forced tech CFOs to rethink financial models, something most companies would rather avoid doing.
  • Customers wanted help with improving their use of technology, not with its implementation—on upgrading their business process, not in training and support services. This drove demand for new services such as optimizing ongoing operational costs to achieve specific business outcomes. 
The result: Technology companies are forced to develop new employee skills, new business processes and new performance metrics to meet changing customer demands and re-engineered financial models.

Because of this changing business landscape, tech companies struggled to grow product and service revenue. The Cloud cometh, and with it, a new business model emerged. 

In response, TSIA proposed Expand Selling—the upsell of programs and promotions that expand the billings of existing customers instead of putting bigger budgets against capturing much more expensively gained net new sales.

Expand Sell is all about growing and protecting business you already have and finding new revenue within existing customers' current and future needs, not just selling them another new piece of ever-changing, ever-upgrading tech.

If a customer is satisfied, they're predisposed to work with you.

Give your sales staff support and incentive to explore news ways of servicing current accounts—not just to hunt more expensive new opportunities. You'll expand existing business, creating new revenue and profit streams at a much lower cost.

The likelihood of a Sales Renewal Specialist having the time and mineable data to make that analysis—let alone act on it—is rarely as good as the position's intentions.  Instead, configure and optimize your systems to mine the right data and present it so that you're positioned to offer what customers need almost before they know they need it.

Expand Sell is a natural outgrowth of discussions we've posted on the strengths and weaknesses of IT systems relating to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Spreadsheets can be useful in ERP and CRM, but you must be able to capture and interpret customer data to initiate and integrate scalability. Spreadsheets can't do that. They were never meant to interpret human understanding of a business equation, nor are they meant to transition into an intuitive, scalable data source ripe for mining opportunity from within.

Unless you know what to do with it, data is just data. Tracked from a spreadsheet, it's often not even that.

Optimizing robust, effective long-term sales processes takes human dedication and a scalable solution. Data must be seen as growth-oriented insights to expanding services for your existing customer base.

Mining more insightful data gleaned by managing Cloud sales, your sales finger is always on your customers' pulse. Expand Sell becomes easier, more intuitive and more profitable.

Even considering the cost of a net new sale, translating information from spreadsheets to viable leads requires in-between steps few sales teams and Channel Partners have time or incentive to take. Because those selling your product seldom have the time and tools to maximize products and services over time, Expand Sell often falls by the way.

Optimize business process today. Expand your business by determining needs for tomorrow. 

Rather than approach Expand Sales as an after-thought, TSIA sees it as taking the Long View with every new customer. Collect useful information to prompt replacement, upsell improvements and expand services before the customer recognizes the need. Before decisions are made.

In gaming, Craps shooters call it "betting on the come." In business, it's "growing new business from old." Expand Sell. No business model outside Subscription to the Cloud is better positioned to capitalize on it.

Unless it's in your business' DNA, there may be a few gaps in your Expand Sale capabilities.

Expand Sales thrive in a culture of repetitive, renewing data. If you can optimize the up to 12X increase in data subscription Cloud sales bring, turning it into valuable leads, you capitalize on business you already have.

The person making the initial sale may not be the person who realizes the Expand Sale. Incentivizing Expand Sell information by offering a piece of future customer growth could encourage sales people to gather information that helps someone else Expand the Sale.

Another approach is to configure systems to capture the information. In data needed, Expand Sales are not too different from Renew Sales. Refer to our posts on the pros and cons of systems for IT environment Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). These create the context for Expand Sell, as they are the same. 

A Renewal Management Platform (RMP) may be the solution to gathering Expand Sales data. Address business process inefficiencies. You should be able to access renewal best practices. Tap into expertise regarding how your renewals business can maximize efficiencies, reducing manual inputting.

Instead of just software, you should buy a solution including an element of consultancy services. Your software was developed to address a problem. The company which created it is the best place to find how best to cash in on its benefits.

Investing in a scalable data management system now, rather than entering data in spreadsheets, is one way you can start planning for Expand Sales later. Incentivizing Channel Partners and Sales is another way.

The trends are clear. Technology "ownership" no longer serves the needs of your customers.

And if doesn't serve the needs of your customers, it won't serve yours either. helps companies build and optimize profitable Cloud and maintenance renewal programs.  Behind every profitable Cloud and maintenance renewal business is a robust process that minimizes manual inputs, streamlines and automates repetitive tasks, deploying across a network of global Channel Partners.

  1. B4B: How Technology and Big Data are Reinventing the Customer-Supplier Relationship, TSIA, 2013 ©Technology Services Industry Association/
  2. Executive Insight:  Expand Selling, TSIA-02546, February 8, 2016, ©Technology Services Industry Association/

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