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How can I market to non-customer divisions within existing customer accounts?

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Have you ever been embarrassed by a prospecting email that was sent to a client who responds asking why you don't know he or she is a customer? Sadly, I have; and here are some of the ways you can avoid making the same mistake.
  1. When a sale closes, identify whether there is potential for add-on business, and categorize the potential. Account tiers or levels like gold, silver and bronze may suffice.
  2. If add-on business is likely, build out the account hierarchy, identifying which divisions or subsidiaries are covered by the contract.
  3. At the lead or contact level, try to identify which people work for each division. This is a challenge because accurate information about where an individual sits in an organization is rarely available. Data sources such as OneSource and Reachforce can help you piece the puzzle together.
  4. Ask. Your client knows their organization is complex and may be willing to help you navigate.
  5. Err on the side of caution: Review executive profiles. Either suspend them from campaigns or identify them as customers. Executives are seldom users, but they are generally very aware of what the company buys. Treat them like customers.
  6. Alter the message. This may be the most important point. Simply saying “You may or may not be aware XYZ Co. is using our product to accomplish objective A, B and C” goes a long way. If recipients are aware of the product, they may not be aware of how it's being used. If you get a reply saying, “Yes, I am a customer,” you can politely respond that you have corrected the error in the database; most people will appreciate that. You also have the opportunity to ask if they'd like to receive your customer communications.
Ed Thompson is director of demand generation for the Pedowitz Group (www.pedowitzgroup.com), a demand generation agency.
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