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Marketers should never assume their clients or prospects are aware of all the products and services that fall under their corporate umbrella — even with those clients for which there are long-term, established relationships. By developing marketing and sales strategies that incorporate opportunities for clients to learn more about a company’s offerings, marketers can ensure that their company will never miss the chance to build stronger relationships.

This idea was recently brought home to us during an event we organized for a client of ours, a financial institution. The event convened 75 visionary CEOs to share perspectives on the challenges and opportunities they face as leaders of innovative companies.

Interestingly, we found that many of their clients, some of which they were in business with for years, were largely unaware of all the services the bank offered. Their clients had developed a certain way of thinking about the company, and this event acted as more than just a brand-building initiative—it became an informal forum where clients could familiarize themselves with the other offerings of a company they already have positive associations with.

This leads us to a new MO when it comes to cross selling and marketing–Don’t Assume. It’s critical to remember that cross selling isn’t just up-selling – it’s finding out what your client knows about your company, and filling in the gaps.  Even after significant investments in ad campaigns, websites, social media and other integrated marketing activities, clients (and prospects) may still not understand the full breadth of your business. And in today’s highly specialized world where everyone is an “expert” in niche areas, it’s hard for clients to place themselves in a mindset where one company does more than one thing really well.  However, brand perception research can help smart marketers overcome this challenge. Companies that endeavor to understand what their clients know about their business offerings and pursue marketing and sales activities that consistently aim to fill those knowledge gaps can rest easy knowing that no new business opportunity is left on the table simply because clients weren’t in the know.