March 4, 2020
Posted By: Sam Holzman
Read Time: 7 minutes
There’s no way around it, modern sales organizations need access to high-quality data in order to identify potential customers and engage with key stakeholders efficiently. And, unfortunately, even the most robust data set may not be as complete as you think.
As the marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, sales professionals will need a more diverse and comprehensive set of data points to work with—including the subject of today’s post: Company hierarchy data.
If you’re not familiar with company hierarchies, keep reading! Today we explain what company hierarchy data is and why B2B sales organizations need this type of data to gain a competitive advantage. Let’s get into it!
What is company hierarchy data?
Company hierarchy data often falls under the category of firmographic data. And, it’s made up of data points related to a company’s relationships to other companies within the market. Think of company hierarchy data as something of a family tree.
This data can show you which companies own or have stock in other companies and, more importantly, how these corporate relationships impact business decisions and operations. Here are a few examples of the important company information a sales rep can glean from company hierarchy data:
A parent company owns a large percentage of stock in other companies and has control over their management and operations. Parent companies run their own business and operations while also managing the subsidiary companies they own stock in.
A subsidiary is a company that is owned and controlled by a parent or holding company. If a subsidiary is 100% owned by a parent company, it is referred to as a “wholly owned subsidiary.” Subsidiaries may only have one parent company or they may have several different owners.
A branch is an outlet of a company that exists in a separate physical location. A company’s branches carry the same name and classifications but report to the company’s headquartered location. A branch typically exists to sell the same products in a different geographical market.
A division refers to a segment of a company that handles a specific area of a business. For example, Google has many divisions including Google Video and its hardware division. A company’s divisions may be centrally located at its headquarters or divided across different geographical branches.
Company hierarchy data can be relatively simple—for example, one parent company runs its own business and has two significant subsidiaries in the same region. But, these company family trees can also be quite complex and multifaceted—say, a company has several branches across the country, while also owning stock in several subsidiary companies, each of which is split into their own branches and divisions.
For this reason, company hierarchy data impacts many different aspects of the B2B sales process. We discuss this next!
4 Reasons Sales Reps Need Access to Company Hierarchy Data
Company hierarchy data is more than just a family tree that offers context about your customers and prospects. Keep reading for four reasons why company hierarchies can help sales reps streamline and improve their entire strategy:
1. Develop deeper insights into your target market.
Successful sales reps don’t just identify and sell to specific customers—they also have a strong understanding of their target market. Company hierarchy data helps sales reps uncover key insights into the structure and relationships of businesses in their target market.
For example, are many of your customers and prospects subsidiaries of larger parent companies? Do they separate their business initiatives across different branches and divisions? Answering these questions will help inform your overall sales strategy, particularly when expanding your outreach to new markets.
2. Identify new prospects.
If you’re like most reps, sales prospecting can be one of the most annoying parts of your job. In fact, 42% of sales reps say that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process (source). Fortunately, company hierarchy data can help you find and connect with qualified prospects faster.
Company hierarchy data allows you to not only learn about a single company, but it also provides insight into the various companies within its corporate family tree. In other words, identifying one qualified prospect can quickly lead you to several other qualified prospects.
This works with current customers as well. If you’ve been working with a company for an extended period of time and you have a great relationship with them, consider taking a look at their company hierarchy data. If you find parts of the company hierarchy that you have yet to sell to, consider asking your customer for a referral.
Let’s look at a quick example. In this hypothetical scenario, your company sells computer systems. One of your buyers happens to be a large hotel in your region. With access to company hierarchy data, you discover that the hotel business owns several smaller local and domestic hotels and properties. You’ve now identified several businesses that may be qualified to buy your product—and you can leverage your relationship with the parent company to facilitate deals with their subsidiaries.
3. Reach key decision-makers to shorten the sales cycle.
A typical B2B purchase involves a number of different decision-makers, which is a big reason the B2B sales cycle is longer than the B2C sales cycle. As we’ve discussed many times on the ZoomInfo blog, sales reps can leverage high-quality contact data in order to reach decision-makers quickly—including company hierarchy data.
For instance, a small tech company you’re selling to may be a subsidiary of a larger parent company. Because the parent company oversees the smaller company’s budget, they ultimately need to sign off on any major purchases.
So, you decide to contact key executives at the parent company that oversees your target buyer’s operations and management. In this example, company hierarchy data helped you remove a time-consuming step in the sales process—waiting for the tech company to discuss the purchase with its parent company—and, as a result, you were able to shorten the sales cycle.
4. Identify cross-selling opportunities.
Cross-selling refers to the practice of selling additional products to an existing customer. While it can help you maximize revenue, cross-selling comes with its risks. The biggest risk is this: Compromising your relationship with an existing customer by continuously pushing additional products on them. But, company hierarchy data helps sales reps take a more strategic approach to cross-selling.
For example, let’s say you want to sell your new mobile analytics application to a company that already buys your most popular product, a marketing automation tool. Using hierarchy data, you discover that this company has a separate division handling the production of in-house mobile tools. You decide to contact this division directly since they are better suited to understand the added value of a mobile app.
Key Takeaways on Company Hierarchy Data
It goes without saying—company hierarchy data is just one of several data types you can leverage for sales success. But, company hierarchies allow you to see a more comprehensive view of the accounts within your target market. And, as a result, company hierarchies allow you to expand your coverage. As data grows more essential to modern sales success, companies with the most data will have a competitive advantage.
Combine your existing database with detailed company hierarchies to understand your customers, prospects, and target market on a much deeper level. You’ll quickly develop new strategies to find and engage with target buyers faster than ever before.
Contact ZoomInfo today to access our comprehensive business database—with new company hierarchy data. We have the tools you need to improve your sales efforts and to ultimately generate more revenue!
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