Top 3 Strategies to Land and Expand with Account Hierarchies

Top 3 Strategies to Land and Expand with Account Hierarchies

If you’re having trouble getting in the door with new logos, it could be time to land and expand with your existing enterprise customers – where the door is already open.

When properly nurtured, customer relationships can turn one deal into a long-standing partnership that benefits both the customer and the seller.

The secret to success using land and expand with enterprise customers? Using account hierarchies to get a bird’s eye view.

What you need to know about landing and expanding with account hierarchies: 

What is land and expand?

“Land and expand” is a selling tactic that starts with landing a small deal with a new account or organization. Through a strong relationship and proven results, that first deal turns into more sales and increased revenue as you continue to sell across the company.

Land and expand works if: 

  • The majority of your customers are enterprise-level with potential whitespace accounts to sell into
  • Your customers include companies with multiple locations or branches
  • You have multiple products available, creating potential for cross-sell and upsell
  • Your company sells subscription-based products that aren’t a “one-and-done” sale

At its core, land and expand is an account-based selling (ABS) strategy.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Account-Based Sales [Guide]

Account-based selling focuses on sales into one or several high-value accounts, as opposed to many. It also involves multiple customer touchpoints across the buyer journey — meaning that it often involves a coordinated effort between sales, marketing, and customer success.

This is where land and expand, in practice, becomes more complex. It demands an understanding of your enterprise customers’ value and growth potential.

Not only do you need a coordinated effort across your company’s departments, but you’ll also need a clear, complete view of the customer to execute properly. And when it comes to your Salesforce org, that’s where account hierarchies come in.

What is an account hierarchy in Salesforce?

An account hierarchy in Salesforce is an organizational structure that creates a connected view of a company.

Account hierarchy example from Traction Complete

Account hierarchies allow users to visualize the subsidiaries of a parent company and create a “family tree” that displays important contacts, opportunities, and other useful information.

They create an understanding of complex enterprise companies by pinpointing which sales rep an account should belong to, which accounts belong to the same corporate entity, and the connection between different accounts.

They even play a huge role in account-based selling and territory management.

Here’s how you can use account hierarchies to land, expand, and sell more effectively.

Three strategies to land and expand into your enterprise accounts

1: Identify high-value accounts and align with rep territories

Start by mapping out your largest customer accounts. Using automated account hierarchies and third-party data, you’ll choose one or several key accounts to penetrate.

Pro tip: Remember – at its core, land and expand starts with smaller deals. Start small and avoid going after big whales from the beginning – you’ll get there in due time.

By mapping out your largest customer accounts, it becomes easier to choose one or several of their smaller subsidiaries to penetrate. This is where automated account hierarchies and a third-party data provider come in.

First, leverage third-party data providers to enrich account info

Revenue teams can rely on tools like Dunn and Bradstreet as a third-party data source that acts as a source of truth. Users can enrich accounts with firmographic data, validate contact information, and consistently keep accounts up-to-date against mergers, acquisitions, and other business changes.

But while third-party data providers can push data into Salesforce, it won’t naturally build connections between companies. You need to have the global ultimate parent in your CRM to get the full picture of an enterprise company and its related accounts.

Connect and automate your enterprise account data

Automated account hierarchies take those enriched accounts and automate the creation and maintenance of corporate family trees.

As a bonus, sales reps and revenue teams can save hours of time that would otherwise be spent manually connecting an account hierarchy, or combining them if a merger and acquisition takes place.

Roll up report across hierarchy and identify key value accounts

With enriched account data and a birds-eye view of an entire company, it’s time to start reporting on your largest enterprise customers. Roll-up reports should include all details of subsidiaries, and having connected, enriched data means you aren’t missing critical account details. 

ideal customer profile account mapping within account hierarchies - image

If you’re looking to refine your ideal customer profile (ICP) and learn more about your customers, you’ll want to identify the top accounts with the most potential for growth.

Carve out territories that facilitate land and expand 

Once you’ve identified these personas, the next step is to carve out “land and expand” friendly territories. 

Are your territories evenly balanced? Are account conflicts a common occurrence? You might need to better align your territories to your land and expand goals. For instance, if you have an SMB rep and an Enterprise rep stepping on each other’s toes and causing poor customer experiences, consider using an account hierarchy for visibility to more accurately carve out territories and make them equitable in the process. 

Now, an entire corporate family tree or the majority of the accounts that belong to the same market or sub-industry is owned by one rep.

Pro tip: Custom account hierarchies can also be used to organize child accounts within an enterprise company that belong to the same market or sub-industry as your target market.

Not only is this easier for the sales rep to sell into, but it also gives them ownership and the ability to build better bridges and relationships with key individuals.

2: Cross-sell and up-sell

With hard work and a little bit of luck, you’ve landed your first deal with a new account.

Congratulations – but there’s still more work to be done.

The first thing to do is to make sure that your customer has a successful onboarding and a great experience with their new product (that’s where your customer success team comes in).

Once they begin to see the benefits of your tools or services and build more trust, you open more opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell across the larger enterprise company.

What is cross-selling and upselling?

Cross-selling is a sales tactic where related products or services are sold based on your customer’s interest or use of an existing product or service.

An up-sell is when your sales team encourages customers to buy a higher quantity or a more profitable product than they had initially intended.


Cross-sell and upsell using products sold within account hierarchies

Let’s look at an example. Acme Co uses an automated account hierarchy tool to visualize which products have or haven’t been sold across different companies within an account hierarchy.

account heirarchy in salesforce - image

By giving your sales team visibility into what’s been sold and what hasn’t, your team can more effectively cross-sell. For example, they can see that they’ve sold only one product to Pixar. Similarly, they can see they’ve sold all products to the parent, The Walt Disney Company, yet Haven’t sold any to the subsidiary Lucas Film Ltd. LLC.

Even with the right tools in place, being able to successfully cross-sell and up-sell doesn’t happen overnight. In addition to building trust, it’s also important to build stronger relationships with the company’s decision-makers.

Map out contacts and the relationships between contacts

Highlight the key stakeholders within a company. When you’re selling multiple products and services, the best person to speak with is often someone working in a different department.

Tips to help foster cross-selling and up-selling: 

  • Ensure that your customers have a great experience from the moment you close the deal
  • Build stronger relationships with decision-makers and influencers
  • Learn more about the company that you’re working with and build a strategic plan
  • Enable those individuals with resources that help both the buyer and seller succeed

Related: 5 Ways to Drive Growth with Super-Targeted Upsells

3: Expand by selling across the account hierarchy

An enterprise-level organization like the Walt Disney Company owns hundreds (if not thousands) of independent companies, all of which sit under that corporate family tree. By using automated account hierarchies, you can find accounts that fit into your target market or are in the same industry as existing customers.

Companies Owned by Walt Disney - image


You could even look for opportunities to sell to different markets and sub-industries under the same parent umbrella.

Identify account whitespace opportunities with propensity to buy

Without clean, connected accounts at the parent level, you’re missing out on potential sales and revenue. Not to mention: 

According to the folks at Gartner, 20% of your existing customers will drive 80% of your organization’s future revenue.

With those stakes, you want to make sure you’re looking around all the corners and connecting all the dots. Native account hierarchies in Salesforce are missing critical account details –  there’s gaps in the hierarchy, missing subsidiary accounts, and on top of it all it’s a very manual process to update. By using automated account hierarchies, you can uncover other accounts that are actually already customers to expand into.  

Use account hierarchies to identify a warm introduction 

We’ve had reps discover that a former coworker now works at an account they’re targeting. By seeing that they are a contact at that organization under that subsidiary, they can reach out to their old colleague and ask for a warm intro. 

If you’ve been able to build trust, create a great experience, and help bring results to your current customer, you’ll have a better chance when selling to any related customers. Start small, build trust, and continue to expand across that account hierarchy.

Here are some different criteria to look for when selling across account hierarchies: 

  • Companies that fit into your target market
  • Product fit
  • Growth potential
  • Cultural fit
  • Geographic alignment
  • Potential growth

Top tools you need to effectively land and expand

Now that you have a strategy in place, it’s time to level up your selling with some best-in-class tools. Here are some you’ll definitely want to consider:

D&B Connect: D&B Connect is a customizable, self-service data management solution. With hundreds of millions of records, users have a single source of truth and can make smarter, risk-free decisions with data they can trust.

6sense: With the power of AI, 6sense helps companies uncover insights along every step of a potential buyer’s journey, prioritize accounts for sales and marketing, and even help nurture leads that aren’t ready to be handed off to sales.

Traction Complete: Not to tout our own horn but if you’re looking for a solution for your lead matching and routing, account hierarchies, or even data cleanup, we’ve got you covered. But don’t take our word for it – learn how our solutions have made a big impact on some of our largest customers.


According to Gartner, 20% of your existing customers will drive 80% of your organization’s future revenue.

Nurturing customer relationships from a small win to a big fish will open the door for a long-lasting return and countless opportunities to land and expand. And using account hierarchies and a best-in-class data provider will make the journey that much easier.

Map your largest corporate entities, build your ideal customer profile, and carve out territories that will set your sales reps up for success.

Start small, build trust, and the sky is the limit – good luck!

Edited by Kendra Fortmeyer @ Sales Hacker 2023

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