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Top-Down Selling

What is Top-Down Selling?

Top-Down Selling strategy is a sales approach in which a sales team targets company leaders and key decision-makers of a company to sell their products.

In other words, the salespeople will first show the most expensive version of a product first to a paying customer. If the customer is not interested in that version, the sales rep will offer a product version that is less expensive than the last product version. The sales rep will continue to show lower-priced product versions until the client shows interest in a product.

This type of sales method is often targeted at company leaders and key decision makers who have enough autonomy to make a purchase decision. The top-down selling approach is the exact opposite of upselling, where a sales rep showcases to the client what they want and then showcases better product versions to make a larger sale.

Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up: The Difference

Unlike the top-down selling approach, you need to gather as many customers leads as possible in the bottom-up selling model. Then, you invite them to try out your product or service and persuade them to incorporate the product into their companies. This selling method makes use of a one-to-many marketing strategy wherein you connect with a larger group of people.

The Bottom-up selling approach is highly compatible with SaaS companies where you can invite potential clients to use the trial version of your product and then convince them to subscribe to your product.

Benefits of Top-Down Selling

Below are the advantages of the top-down sales model:

  1. Direct communication with key decision-makers

This sales approach deals with the key decision-making executives of the company. Hence, you deal with fewer people in the sales process and forge better relationships with them. This results in faster sales cycles once you have buy-in from a prospective customer.

  1. Contract value and size are larger

The contract value and sizes are generally large because you deal with the executives with the most spending power in the company. You can also pitch products that can help multiple work departments to increase the contract value and size.

  1. Secure contract

Since you are dealing with the key decision makers or executives, you will not have to pitch your product again if your point of contact leaves the company. If another competitor approaches a lower-level employee to pitch his product, you will have the upper hand in this situation since you have an ongoing relationship with the C-suite.

  1. Better implementation of products

If the executive management of a company selects a product for company-wide implementation, it is very likely that the product will be prioritized over other products.

Drawbacks of Top-Down Selling

Below are the disadvantages of the top-down sales model:

  1. Requires a lot of time and effort

This sales strategy requires a lot of time and effort from the sales and marketing departments to develop business relationships with clients.

  1. Requires alignment of sales and marketing department

If the sales department and the marketing department of your company are not aligned well, the top-down approach will be ineffective due to inefficient communication.

  1. The decision-making team might not understand the value of your product

It is possible that the executive team does not comprehend the need for your products and services. This risks you spending a lot of time and effort pitching a product to a client, only for them to reject the offering.

When to use Top-Down Selling

The top-down selling strategy is commonly used when there are various versions of a product available in the market. For instance: If your clients are looking to buy a product, let's assume a mobile phone, you can use this technique by showcasing the best and most priced model of a mobile phone first and then showing the standard mobile phones with lower prices.

This sales strategy is also applicable for products that have a variety of different quality choices. For instance: subscription-based products and services (SaaS) can also be sold using a top-down approach because there is a value-based system and a price-based system involved in it.

How to use Top-Down Selling

You can use the following steps to implement the top-down selling method in the sales process:

  1. Understand the client

The first step is to understand the requirements of your potential customers. You need to note down the features and functionalities required by the client. If time permits, you can also research your clients to understand which features might be most valuable for them. Also, get an idea of the client’s budget to pitch the best products in the price range.

  1. Pitch the best product

After understanding the client's requirements, showcase the best product option to them in the required price range. You need to tell the clients how the product features and specifications meet or exceed their requirements.

  1. Negotiate down

If the client is not interested in the best available product, you can start negotiating with them and slowly move towards the other models with lower price points. You need to eliminate the features that are not useful to the client and adjust the model accordingly.

  1. Make the sale

The final step of this selling technique is to close the deal with the client. If the client is still not sure about the product, you can reiterate the features of the product. You need to show the clients that they will gain value and save money by buying your product.


There are various sales strategies that you can look into to sell your products and services. Each strategy has its own pros and cons. There is no single approach that can help you in all your B2B business initiatives. In the top-down selling strategy, the sales team moves from the best product to lower quality versions of the product while pitching the products to potential customers. The sales rep generally targets the key decision makers of a company for this approach to be effective.