How thought leadership can support the cross-sell

  • Rachel Ainsworth

I bought a new house recently, and the process of having it refurbished has made me a perfect target for cross-selling. The hard floors in the hallway? Fitted by the same firm that provided the carpets in the lounge. The tiling in the bathrooms? Provided by the same guy who carefully fitted new doors throughout. Our new oven? Bought from our go-to department store.

Could I have sourced what I needed more cheaply? No doubt. Would the end result have been as good? I don’t know. For all the decisions above, and many more, it was easy to go with the tried-and-tested option, with people I’d already had a good experience working with. And consulting projects are no different.

However, in making the decision to cross-buy, I did need to know that this other product or service was on offer, and I did need to be confident that the firm was as proficient in this new area as it was in the area of my original purchase. Buyers of consulting services are no different. And most of them are influenced by thought leadership.1 Could your firm be doing more with thought leadership to let previous buyers know what else you have on offer, and to convince them of your expertise in this as yet untested area?

  1. Are teams collaborating in creating thought leadership? Thought leadership is often created by a single service or sector team. Have you explored opportunities to collaborate to create sector-specific content linked to key services, content that would appeal to existing clients in those sectors and demonstrate your expertise on an issue they haven’t engaged with you on?
  2. Are client-facing teams receiving sufficient education about new thought leadership? Our research shows that the personal recommendation is a powerful encouragement to engage with new content. But we also know that people are hesitant to share content they don’t feel knowledgeable about. Education is key.
  3. Are current and previous clients receiving relevant content via email? In our July research2, 97% of buyers of consulting services who used thought leadership had looked at something because of an email from the firm that published it. Efforts to sign up as many people as possible and to tailor what those people receive look like a good investment.


1 For example, in our July research, 73% of buyers of consulting services could think of an example in the past year where thought leadership had influenced their decision to consider or shortlist a firm to provide services to their organisation. White Space subscribers can access the full report here.

2 See link above.