Today’s B2B sales strategy is for the SMB founder, CEO, or biz-dev leader.
You want sales. You need sales. And you know that sales is the lifeblood of your organization. No closed deals, no business.
That’s why I recently wrote about the three C’s of relationship selling: Connect, Care, and Contribute. Connect with your prospects, show that you truly care, and contribute great value to their organization, and you’re golden. You’ll have a steady stream of ever-deepening relationships and opportunities.
But today we’re going to dig a little deeper. We’ll cover how to turn new relationships into big deals over time. So let’s jump right into it.
What does “land and expand” mean?
Land and expand is a colloquial expression that means to land a small deal and expand it into better opportunities and bigger deals across your target organization over time. It’s akin to colonizing a new country. First you take the beachhead, then you slowly expand your territory and presence moving inland. Of course, the analogy isn’t perfect, as our prospects aren’t meant to be “conquered.” Rather, they are for teaming up with and working collaboratively together toward a shared goal. But the idea of incremental gains holds true.
The benefits of land and expand:
- Increased lifetime value (LTV) of account
- Strengthened client relationships
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Reduced sales and marketing costs
- Increased revenue and opportunities
OK let’s break this down into real-world examples.
Let’s say you sell cybersecurity software and hardware. You finally land meetings with a few Fortune 500 decision makers. Big brands. Household names. During these sales meetings, it would make zero sense for you to attempt to overhaul their entire cybersec suite with your software. After all, they don’t really know or trust you yet. Trust takes time. If you shoot your shot with a huge ask, that could be it. You’ll probably find yourself dead in the water, so to speak.
Instead, what if you offered something smaller; a foot-in-the-door type of offer? What if you offered something you know you can deliver and knock out of the park? This is the sweet spot. It allows your client to test the waters with you, your offer, and your company, without putting too much skin in the game (their reputation is on the line, after all).
Or, let’s say you sell consultancy services. Craft your outreach for a select number of big-brand decision makers and really make it count. Approach them with a specific offer that solves a specific pain point. Maybe don’t sell them on the whole package out of the gates … even if you think you can. Remember, this is the very beginning of a long-lasting relationship. Right now it’s time to build trust. Focus on earning their trust and the money will follow.
The ROI of the land and expand approach can be a game-changer when it’s done right. But there’s more to this approach that you’ll want to consider.
The Guiding Philosophy of Land and Expand
Do it for the customer or client. Put their needs first with a customer-centric approach and you will find massive success in sales.
Hubspot nails it on the head when they say:
“Land and expand,” at its core, is a truly customer-centric philosophy. The most important aspect of the tactic is trust. You need your customers to trust you with increasingly significant projects, and more so, you have to deliver on the promises you make and consistently do great work.” (Source)
Is It the Same as “Upselling”?
Yes and no. It’s the same as upselling in that you will upsell the customer or client over time. But it’s a different strategy and philosophy from the outset. With the land and expand strategy, you’re purposefully starting out small to get your foot in the door. Land and expand happens before you ever have the chance to upsell.
Of course, upselling customers or clients is extremely important when the time is right. Here’s what it might look like, in a nutshell.
Let’s say you currently have 20-30 clients. They pay monthly for your high-ticket product or service. Chances are that 10-15% of them are going to churn any day now (it’s the nature of business). 35% are going to churn within the next year or two. 40% will stay with you for the long haul. And 10% are so loyal that they will buy anything you have to sell.
That last 10%, the loyal bunch, are your golden clients. And their loyalty is a direct product of the relationship you’ve built together. You enjoy working with one another — and should either one of you leave the business relationship, both would feel the loss on a deep level. Does this give you license to sell them anything and everything? Not at all. But remember, they are willing to at least entertain anything you have to offer. You owe it to yourself (and you owe it to them) to ask.
Land and expand can be incredibly lucrative. It’s also an ethical way of doing sales. In some ways, it’s similar to “underpromise and overdeliver.” When you show up and perform at a high level on small projects, you better believe your client will want you (or your company) taking on larger projects over time. Let’s be honest — it’s an uphill battle finding people you can trust in this world… and especially in business. So once that trust is forged, the sky truly is the limit.
Until next time…