The fact that the sales and marketing departments of modern companies can’t succeed without using verified, top-quality data for prospect identification, qualification and efficient engagement, doesn’t come as a surprise. But even if you get a huge source of data, it’s quite hard to be used when the robust information is not complete and lacks a structure. The first step to organizing all the information you have about your prospect companies is to follow the company hierarchy scheme and discover more about your future customer step by step.
Continue reading to see why understanding the enterprise’s corporate hierarchy is critical when it comes to B2B sales and marketing.
Company or corporate hierarchy data is firmographic information, somewhat resembling a family tree, that covers two types of knowledge:
1. How a specific company is related to the other companies on the market
2. How is the employees’ hierarchy organised within the company
It shows the whole structure of an organisation, the relationships between the parent companies and their branches, subsidiaries or divisions and those between managers of all levels within one company, subsidiary, division or branch.
Here is what it can look like on the ‘parent-child company’ level:
Not only can you learn about the companies, other entities’ ownerships or holding stock in them, but also understand how these relationships influence business operations and decisions, which is much more critical.
Check out the examples of what company information can sales, and marketing executives get, that could be valuable for them:
Parent companies own a significant share in other enterprises, controlling their management and operations. Besides operating their own business, parent companies manage their subsidiaries’ operations.
Companies that are owned and controlled by a parent company are known as subsidiaries. A subsidiary can be called a “wholly owned” one in case a parent company holds 100% of its stocks. A “partially owned” subsidiary is the one that has a parent company with less than 100% but more than 50% share in it. Subsidiaries can also have multiple owners.
As company outlets, operating in separate physical locations, branches are usually created with a single scope - to sell the same products or services in various geographical markets. The branches' names and classifications are the same as those of the parent company, with the only one, but important difference - they have to report to the company headquarters.
Divisions represent company segments, handling specific business areas. An excellent example of divisions diversity is the hardware, video and other divisions at Google, that cover different business areas. Divisions can be located both at the company’s headquarters or at different geographical branches.
Departments are the lowest-level company units, formed within a single division or a small enterprise based on the area of special expertise or responsibility. Departments usually employ experts in a particular field, like business development, marketing, sales, IT, HR, and other.
The company hierarchy complexity can vary from a simple one, like one parent company operating its own business plus two significant subsidiaries in one city, to a very entangled structure. It can consist of multiple levels, including numerous company branches within a country or a continent as well as shares of different size in several subsidiaries, each of them having their branches, divisions and departments.
This is a very complicated matter, in which verified, up to date and well-structured company hierarchy data could be of great help. And the last but not least important thing is to understand who are supervisors and subordinates in each of the above-mentioned company or holding units, what are their zones of responsibility and who are the decision-makers on all levels.
Corporate hierarchy information is not just about the enterprise structure, providing context on your current and future customers and partners. It is much deeper than that, being able to help facilitate and enhance the whole sales and marketing strategy in several ways.
1. Deep target market insights
Successful sales and marketing efforts are not limited to specific prospect identification and further promotion and sales. The first and foremost thing here is to have a perfect understanding of your target market before the very start. Company hierarchy data is a tool to get business structure insights and uncover the subtleties of relationships between enterprises, e.g.:
Your prospect company affiliation to a bigger parent company and the number of its subsidiaries
Do company branches operate in different business sectors
Top management and departments hierarchy in each of the branches
2. New prospects identification
The research from Hubspot has shown that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process for 42% of sales representatives. This side of the job can be really irritating but inevitable, as it is the first step, allowing to avoid time, money and effort wasting on campaigns targeting people who are not interested in your good or service. Luckily, corporate hierarchy information is an excellent tool to find qualified prospects quicker and establish connections with them smoother.
Corporate hierarchy data gives you the possibility to learn much more than some information about one separate company. You can also acquire knowledge on multiple enterprises as parts of the ‘family tree’ of the company of your interest. This means that, determining a single qualified prospect, you can further reach more of them, following the hierarchy structure and using the data on them that you will find with a company relationships tree in a company intelligence platform.
As for current clients, corporate hierarchy information could serve as a source of good referrals with a high probability of response. In case you have a long-term client, and you are mutually delivering value to each other , take a look at its company structure and leaders. You could also deliver your product to its other branches or daughter companies. You just need to ask for a referral from those who already know you.
For example, you're sales computer software, and one of your clients is a big department store in your city. Following the company hierarchy, you can discover that this business operates a network of small grocery stores and souvenir shops across the region. Thus you’ve discovered a considerable amount of new companies that could become your clients, and now you can contact them through their parent company and smoothen the deal closing process.
3. Sales cycle shortening via contacting the key decision-makers
A marketing campaign, targeting the decision-makers, can save a significant share of your promotion budget. They open the way to a direct contact ‘warming’ the lead and increasing the possibility of a definite answer for those who already know about your company, are aware of what you can offer and were interested in some of your promotions they might have encountered while surfing the web.
A sales cycle gets much shorter, as you are contacting the decision-makers directly, avoiding all sorts of gatekeepers. They can complicate an already long way to the deal in B2B, that involves multiple steps prior to reaching the right decision-makers. Company hierarchy data can help you identify the company employees responsible for the sector of business for which your product/service can be the most useful.
For example, you may be willing to sell to multiple small companies that are subsidiaries of a bigger one, knowing that the latter allocates budgets for all. You have to contact the operational manager of that parent company, who can decide to make a major purchase for the whole branches and subsidiaries group, directly, instead of reaching them one by one separately and waiting while they get the deal confirmation from the parent company.
4. Cross-selling opportunities identification
Cross-selling is about making current clients purchase additional products/services, complementing the main one. This is an efficient but risky way to boost revenue. What is the risk? Consistently offering more than your customers asked can quickly spoil your good relationship, unless you act more strategically, using the corporate hierarchy data.
For example, the parent company and its subsidiaries are already using your accounting software, and you’ve developed a personal salary manager mobile app. Use hierarchy data to identify the division whose employees might be interested in this kind of app and contact its person of interest directly, without annoying the parent company and top managers, who have no problem with their salaries accounting and distribution. The respective division representatives are more likely to understand the added value of the offer you have on tap.
When we speak about a B2B sales cycle, it can take up to 18 months from the moment of your first contact to closing the deal, depending on the industry. Why so long? The buyers perceive B2B sales as those having a high degree of risk because they influence the whole company, and the responsibility is much bigger in this case. This is the reason why the decision-making process involves multiple stakeholders and requires a lot of consideration from each and every one of them.
Add to this the time that has to be spent on marketing from your prospect’s first acquaintance with your product/service to the moment when he/she decides to contact you. Annoyingly long process! That’s why your only chance to shorten it and speed it up is by finding the correct point of entry. Namely, you’d rather have to identify the decision-makers and approach them in the right way at the right moment. This is when company data providers, like Global Database, go on stage.
Global Database provides you with all sorts of corporate hierarchy information, divided into four main parts.
1. Shareholders. Don't limit yourself just to their names. Learn about their number, quantity and type of shares they hold, the price and total value of those shares, as well as full data on turnover, EBITDA, number of employees and many more.
2. Group structure. Get an overall understanding of the corporate ‘family tree’ represented in an intuitive chart, that includes the parent company and all subsidiaries, as well as represents their relationships.
3. Corporate hierarchy knowledge on individuals’ level. Access the decision-makers directly, looking at hierarchy charts and choosing what business areas of a particular company could be interested in your product/service and who are the people who should be contacted in the first place. You can learn more about their job titles and, respectively, responsibilities, hence choose an appropriate approach, based on their department possible needs.
Company hierarchy data is just one of the numerous types of data you can use to boost your B2B sales and marketing efficiency. Financial information, credit risks, digital insights - there is a bottomless ocean of priceless knowledge, that, when properly structured and used, can make a revolution in one’s business. Global Database is a company data provider, offering you access to all the information categories mentioned above and even more. The success of your business depends on informed decisions, the ones based on verified information from reliable data sources.