If you sell to one company within a Group the next easiest new customer is the sister company.
Getting introductions from one company in a group to other companies is a proven, more cost effective way to increase revenue.
Maybe you already do that.
Many companies sell to multiple divisions, business units or subsidiaries within an overall group or collection of companies.
Sometimes these divisions are closely aligned. Other times they are simply a collection of businesses under a broad umbrella.
But if you understand your overall relationship with the Group then you can increase the effectiveness of your key account management.
The way to do this is to use the concept of the Ultimate Parent.
Ultimate Parent Explained
Salesforce provides a standard way of creating a parent – child relationship between Accounts.
This relationship is created by using the Parent Account field on the Account Page.
You can go as broad and as deep as you like to create an extensive organization hierarchy. Use the View Hierarchy link beside the Account Name to view these relationships.
But here’s the problem. Salesforce provides no way of reporting on the Opportunities, Contacts or Activities across the entire collection of companies.
In other words there’s no easy way, for example, of understanding all the Open or Closed Opportunities linked to this group of companies.
And that’s a problem for key account management and the provision of customer Group management information.
This means that it’s hard to strike a group-wide deal. Or marshal internal resources across all the colleagues that might be actively pursuing deals or relationships.
In other words, it makes for sub-optimum account management of this critical client.
The answer to this is Ultimate Parent.
The Ultimate Parent is a custom field that automatically populates the name of the highest level Account into each of the subsidiary linked Accounts.
In the Account hierarchy shown above, all Accounts in the group will have an Ultimate Parent of GLOBAL PROPERTY HOLDINGS.
The Ultimate Parent is populated for each Account by using a small piece of code. If two Accounts are linked via the standard Parent Account field, then the Ultimate Parent will be automatically populated.
View Opportunities by Ultimate Parent
Now we can create a report showing all Opportunities by Ultimate Parent.
This provides a consolidated view of all the revenue in the Pipeline or generated from our Closed Won Opportunities across all companies within the Group.
To take this a step further, we can drill down by the Ultimate Parent to see what Opportunities we have the companies in the Group.
This highlights the potential for new sales and means we can take a more coordinated and effective approach to business development within this Group.
Highlight sister companies where we have no opportunities
We can use the Ultimate Parent to can reveal which companies we can target within the Group for new opportunities. The benefit of this is that we can be referred by an existing customer to a sister company which reduces the pre-sales cost and improve our chance of winning new business.
Cross sell products or services to other companies in the rest of the Group
Naturally, one or more companies within a wider group tend to be in the same or at least a similar industry. It’s also fairly common for these companies to adhere to the same processes that are driven by HQ.
If you’re selling products or services to one company in the Group, chances are that the benefit of these could be realised elsewhere within the Group. This presents a great opportunity to identify new or existing customers within the Group that may also have a need for your products or services that they currently don’t have or are buying from somewhere else.
The Ultimate Parent provides insight into won and potential revenue by consolidating the reporting information across the Group of Accounts.
View Contacts by Ultimate Parent
Now we can create a report showing all Contacts by Ultimate Parent.
The benefit of this is that we can seek introductions from existing Contacts in the Group to build new and stronger relationships elsewhere.
If we find that our Contacts have similar job titles or hold positions at a similar level within their respective company, then we can also use this information to improve our events and other marketing activities that target these influential stakeholders.
View Activities by Ultimate Parent
Now we can create a report showing all Activities by Ultimate Parent.
Everyone knows the top 2 or 3 Accounts, but after that the waters get a bit murky.
It’s murkier still when the combined value of several smaller, related Accounts within a group of companies is more valuable than say a mid-sized stand-alone company.
The benefit of reporting on Activities by Ultimate Parent is that we see the level of activity across a group of companies to ensure that the level of interaction that we have – or don’t have as may be the case – is appropriate to maintain the relationship with the Group.
Ultimate Parent enables us to gain a wider perspective on the relationships with multiple divisions, business units or subsidiaries within an overall group or collection of companies.
These divisions, units, or companies may be loosely aligned or deeply integrated within a corporate structure, but regardless of their relationship, Ultimate Parent enables us to designate the Account that has the most influence or control.
This allows us to monitor these companies collectively and to identify trends in the number of Opportunities and their size, or make decisions about the level of interaction and drive the behaviours of our sales teams.