Back to Parative

8 Ways to Grow Expansion Revenue

December 23, 2022
December 23, 2022
December 23, 2022

Expansion revenue - also known as Customer Expansion, MRR Expansion, or Increasing ARR Growth - is the process of upselling and cross-selling to existing customers. It's one of the most profitable methods for businesses to increase their Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) and Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). 

This post will discuss how companies can create effective strategies to maximize expansion revenue. Utilizing customer data insights from your CRM combined with tools that help you track customer health scores and lifetime value will help you stay ahead of the competition with a well-thought-out expansion strategy.

What is Expansion Revenue?

expansion revenue

Expansion revenue is increasing MRR and ARR by upselling and cross-selling to existing customers. It's a clever way for businesses to drive more revenue from their current customer base without having to acquire new customers. Expansion strategies can include offering additional services, upgrading existing services, or extending contracts for longer periods of time. These strategies utilize customer data insights from your CRM, understanding customer lifetime value and tracking customer health scores. With this knowledge, businesses can create an effective expansion strategy that increases their bottom line.

What Are the Different Types of Expansion Revenue?

Expansion revenue has three main components: upselling, cross-selling, and add-ons. 

SaaS companies can use these strategies to increase both Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), as well as one-time revenue for services and products. 


Upselling increases the value of an existing sale or transaction by encouraging customers to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or additional features. 

These upgrades can include higher-quality services, extended warranties, and other premium features that give customers more value. This strategy works best when businesses deeply understand what their customers need and are willing to pay to maximize their satisfaction with the purchase. 


Cross-selling is a method of selling related products or services alongside an existing product or service to enhance the customer's experience with that product or service. For example, if someone purchases software from you, you could offer training sessions on how to use it effectively as additional value they could receive from working with you. You create other sales opportunities without acquiring new customers by offering complimentary products, services, and your core offering. 


Add-ons are small pieces of functionality that can be sold separately from your core product or service to provide added convenience for customers who need specific features regularly but don't want them bundled into their overall package. 

Suppose someone purchases a web hosting package from you; they will also likely want access control management as an add-on feature so they can manage user permissions easily within their account dashboard without any hassle. 

This add-on item could generate extra revenue at a minimal cost. 

How Do Data Insights Factor Into Expansion Strategies?

Data insights are essential when creating successful expansion revenue strategies. 

Such data gives businesses a better understanding of customer behavior, helping them tailor offers based on each individual's needs and interests. 

When upsell offers are optimized for each individual customer, the likelihood of converting is considerably higher than a "one size fits all" offer.

Product data, combined with customer metrics such as Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Health Scores, give businesses valuable insight into their customers' preferences. Capturing this data and associating it to an account and user level is critical to having a good upsell strategy. 

Free Customer Health Scorecard Template

Why is MRR Expansion So Important for SaaS Companies?

The Expansion MRR rate tells you the percent increase or decrease of monthly recurring revenue from expansion products from one month to the next. To calculate it, take the difference between the Expansion MRR at the end of one month compared to the beginning and divide by what it was at first and multiply that number by 100. 

For example, if your company's Expansion MRR is $3,000 at the start of a certain month and reaches $3,600 at its conclusion, that would mean an Expansion MRR rate of 20%.

Analysis of data from the research conducted by Matrix suggests that high-growth companies generate the most expansion revenue, at 35%, followed by medium-growth companies, at 20%, and low-growth companies, at 3%. This data also allows for a breakdown of upsells in each category; more specifically, it suggests that low upsells (less than 20%) were highest among low-growth companies, whereas high upsells (greater than 40%) were highest in the high-growth category.

In addition, Research by Profitwell shows that at least 30% of a SaaS company's revenue should come from expansions via upsells, cross-sells, and the like. Therefore, a successful sales strategy must focus on customer expansion, not acquisition alone, if the company wants to grow its revenue. 

How to grow your expansion revenue

Growth for software businesses is about more than just acquiring new customers. Although customer acquisition is important, retaining existing customers and growing the revenue from each of them is just as, if not more, critical to the long-term success of a business. 

Growing expansion revenue, whether it's recurring revenue such as MRR expansion or some other type of revenue - is a way businesses can increase their overall recurring revenue (MRR) through upsells and cross-sells. 

Expansion revenue is the money your current customers spend on upgrades, additional features, and other products or services after having already purchased something from you. It's an essential part of any software company's total MRR because it allows you to expand your existing customer relationships and create greater value for those customers (and more significant profits for yourself). 

So how do you go about growing expansion revenue? 

Here are 8 strategies that you can use to start driving more revenue from your existing customer base: 

1. Track (and act on) user intent signals 

Understanding what your users want and need is essential to drive MRR growth through expansion revenue. Look at past user behavior to predict future decisions—such as when they're likely to upgrade their subscription plan or purchase a premium feature—so that you can tailor offers accordingly. 

You should also track intent signals such as website visits, page views, clicks on certain features, etc., to identify opportunities where users may be ready for an upgrade or benefit from an add-on product or service. 

Additionally, consider collecting feedback data from customers directly to understand their needs and preferences better. 

Armed with this information, you can make well-informed decisions about which offers will resonate best with users. 

2. Price around your core value metric 

Your pricing strategy should be centered around the core value proposition of your product or service; what makes it unique and valuable compared to competitors' offerings? 

If convenience is crucial for your customers, consider offering discounted packages with multiple products. 

On the other hand, if customization matters more, try offering customizable plans tailored specifically towards user needs; if speed helps differentiate, tie pricing structures into usage levels so users pay more when they use more resources faster.

Understanding what sets your product apart and leveraging it in pricing will help guide decision-making around setting prices for upgrades/add-ons to maximize expansion revenue potential while still providing value back to users. 

3. Create a product add-on 

Product add-ons are a great way to increase MRR growth through expansion revenue. They allow customers to purchase additional features or products alongside the main product they already own and can create value for customers while generating more revenue. 

When pricing these add-ons, you should consider offering different tiers and discounts depending on how long the customer has had the product and what other products/features they might already have. 

4. Gate features inside the product 

Gating access to certain features is another way of driving expansion revenue from existing customers. For example, you can incentivize users to upgrade their subscription plan to gain access to more powerful features within your product. This tactic works especially well if there is a clear difference between the offered plans. For example, a basic plan could include limited features. A premium plan, on the other hand, would offer access to all features with no restrictions – as it allows users who need those extra functionalities or capabilities an easy and cost-effective way of getting them without having to purchase an entirely new product. 

5. Use tiered pricing to create upsells 

Software companies often use Tiered pricing structures—particularly SaaS businesses—to encourage upgrades and drive expansion revenue. 

With tiered pricing models, users can opt into different levels of products or services depending on their needs. For example, a basic package may come with limited storage space, while higher-tier packages may offer unlimited storage space or additional collaborative tools at an increased price point. 

Tiered pricing also helps ensure that everyone involved gets good value out of the transaction since each user pays based on their individual needs instead of being charged one flat fee regardless of usage.

6. Offer premium feature trials 

Offering free trial periods for premium features is another great way to drive expansion revenue from existing customers. 

By allowing users to try out advanced functionality before committing money, you make it easier for them to decide if they need those extra capabilities for your product better serve their needs. This can ultimately lead people to upgrade their plans to access these additional functionalities when the trial period ends.

Additionally, offering free trials gives people an incentive upgrade immediately, rather than waiting until they actually need the features in the upgraded plan.

7. Build and cross-sell complementary products 

Building complementary products that are related but not directly competitive with your core offerings is another strategy for boosting expansion revenues.

Building and selling these complementary products and services to existing customer is often referred to as cross-selling, and is one of the cornerstones of an expansion revenue strategy. 

These "add-on" products should provide extra value beyond what customers already have; think about analytics dashboards or specialized support plans tailored specifically towards certain customer types that bring added benefits without forcing people to switch platforms altogether. 

Cross-selling such products can be particularly useful because it allows you tap into existing user base rather than relying on net new customer acquisition. 

Plus, if done right, it also provides real value to users - a win/win situation. 

8. Incentivize upgrades

Incentives are always a good idea when trying to boost expansion revenues from current customers because they provide added motivation for decisions around upgrading plans or purchasing additional services/products from you. 

Some incentives to consider are:

  1. Adding special discounts exclusively to current customers for additional products or services
  2. Give early adopters pricing discounts
  3. Experiment with loyalty programs
  4. Reward repeat purchases
  5. Develop referral campaigns
  6. Encourage word mouth
  7. Paid advertising

Ultimately the goal here is the same as any other growth strategy: find ways to drive the action you want to be taken without giving away the house (or entire business).

Expand your revenue with Parative

SaaS businesses are increasingly searching for more meaningful ways to increase their revenue from existing customers.

With Parative's advanced Customer Scoring Engine, SaaS companies can leverage machine learning, data science techniques, and deep insights into customer behavior to identify valuable revenue opportunities. 

Parative makes it easier than ever before to tap into these growth opportunities with upselling and cross-selling activities, which help generate more revenue retention and lower customer churn. 

Parative offers seamless integration with the other tools you already use, ensuring maximum ease of access while receiving accurate and reliable information regarding customers’ behavior patterns. 

With extensive experience in Data Science & Machine Learning coupled with its user-friendly interface, Parative stands out by quickly translating real-time insights into actionable plans. 

Additionally, integrating Parative within an existing tech stack is effortless without any added overhead cost implications for businesses looking into expanding their revenue streams significantly.

By leveraging Parative's powerful insights on customer behavior, SaaS companies can identify unnoticed opportunities they may not have been aware of before – allowing them to capitalize on these chances when they arise, leading to increased expansion revenues over time.

Leveraging Parative for expansion revenue is a no-brainer for companies looking to drive business growth, allowing SaaS companies to quickly get ahead and stay ahead of their competitors in terms of financial performance and market outlook.

Learn more about Parative today.

Get new content delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe
Mark Lerner

Head of Marketing @ Parative, the Customer Behavior Platform. SaaS enthusiast, B2B Marketing Specialist, Startup Survivalist. Dad x2.

Stay up to date with the
best in customer behavior.