How Ejendals found new customers in europe
Bisnode D&B’s (Dun & Bradstreet) global company information was just what Ejendals needed for its European expansion. With access to unique information on more than 240 million companies, Ejendals managed to gain 44 percent more potential customers in Europe.
Ejendals, Swedish manufacturers of protective gloves and shoes, launched its European expansion initiative a few years ago. They felt the need to organize the initiative by identifying their target group.
Global Reference Solution, (GRS) gives Ejendals access to information on 240 million companies worldwide. Using 200 variables they can home in on their target group and scan the European market.
The first test that was run in GRS produced 44 percent more potential customers. The test was carried out on a specific Swedish region and then compared with Ejendals’ own customer database.
"It would be unwise to chance it when you can get a clear picture of your target group." That was the view of Niklas Hermansson, Sales Operations Manager at Ejendals, when he started working with Global Reference Solution, (GRS).
“It was 2013 and Ejendals had been experiencing significant expansion in Europe for a couple of years. We needed to find a better way of identifying the right customers. Feeling our way or relying on old contacts just wasn’t a sustainable solution, particularly since we needed to make strategic sales decisions on which markets and segments to prioritize.”
Bisnode D&B’s information on 240 million companies worldwide helped them scan Europe’s markets and add to the lists of potential customers. The head office was able to supply sales reps across Europe with organized and coordinated customer databases instead of each sales office managing its own data.
GRS: 44 percent more potential customers
“To test whether it really would make a difference I searched on a Swedish region where we are already well established. I compared the number of hits in GRS with the sales reps’ databases of potential customers. GRS listed 44 percent more.”
To achieve an effective structure in their databases, Ejendals categorised the target group into 20 industry segments. They then created search templates in GRS using the system’s 200 variables such as industry, region and number of employees.
They gained a completely different use for GRS in connection with one of Europe’s major industry trade fairs. A search of the region’s postcodes combined with industries that had a strong position locally enabled them to invite potential customers in the vicinity.
“We got 3,500 hits within a 200 km radius of the industry trade fair in Birmingham. Instead of waiting for companies to come to us, we were able to send out targeted invitations to work environment engineers. The stand was well-attended!”
Around the same time, Ejendals also had a sales meeting with the UK’s largest private company. To prepare for the meeting, they conducted a search in GRS.
“The search revealed that their Swedish subsidiary was already a customer of ours. Having that knowledge gave us a more positive starting point and raised the possibility of signing a framework agreement, for example.”
Unique identification concept at global level
In GRS, all companies are assigned a unique identity, a DUNS Number, which provides information on such things as sales, subsidiaries and individuals in senior positions. It gets round the problem of foreign companies lacking a unique identity in the style of the corporate identity numbers we have in Sweden. Not having an ID number is something that makes it difficult, for example, to keep the directory free of duplicates and track companies’ operations in different countries.
“You gain a clear picture of the market and language barriers are eliminated,” says Paul Geete, Key Account Manager at Bisnode D&B.
“Ejendals’ creative use of GRS also means that they are genuinely gaining benefit from the service.”
The idea is that GRS should open doors without being a costly investment.
“My advice to other companies is to work it out through trial and error,” says Niklas. “The information in GRS can be useful in lots of different contexts. If you’re relatively new to the European market, you have to be proactive and creative to win market share.”
How Bisnode D&B helped Ejendals
Ejendals has been selling protective gloves and shoes for almost seven decades. In 2010 they made a concerted effort to enter the European market. They needed an organised method to coordinate sales activities, identify their target group and learn more about their markets.
Using GRS, Ejendals found the potential customers that were falling through the net. New potential customers were listed by searching in GRS on their target group profile within a specific geographical area.
Companies’ DUNS-numbers in GRS help Ejendals avoid duplicates in the directory. These ID numbers also allow users to find a customer’s subsidiary in other countries and thus coordinate sales efforts. Otherwise foreign companies have no unique identifier; not even their VAT number is unique.
As Ejendals builds up its CRM they retrieve information about the target group in GRS. New areas of use emerge as they get to know the service through trial and error, both in marketing and in the work of developing sales strategies and coaching sales reps.