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I'm looking for a term/phrase used in business / business consulting that describes the following situation:

If a successful project has been implemented with customer A, our company is likely to also acquire company B as a customer, e.g. because B is the mother company of A.

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    It sounds like A is a "stepping stone" for you. Apr 22 '14 at 14:25
  • Thank you, that sounds good! However, there's another term on the tip of my tongue. I remember it being used to state that it's a very important customer that many managers have their eyes on.
    – Felix
    Apr 22 '14 at 14:36
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    A few words came to mind. Though I'm sure they're not exactly what you're looking for, I will list them out in case they could help a bit: key customer, key prospect, and pilot project. Apr 22 '14 at 15:13
  • Also, if serving company A is not profitable in itself, but only for the sake of trying to woo company B, you could call it a "loss leader."
    – chapka
    Apr 22 '14 at 15:27
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I can’t think of a single term that captures everything you’ve described.

In the business world, there is a lot of jargon that, beyond being inapplicable outside the realm of business, might not even be understood in a different office or industry. That said, here is a term you might find useful:

“in” (noun)

If you were speaking about company A and specifically referring to the opportunity that a relationship with them presents for landing business with company B (of which they happen to be a subsidiary in your example), you could describe company A as an “in”.

4in noun
chiefly US, informal
a way of becoming involved in something or of influencing someone
Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, definition of “in”

This “in” is usually paired with “with”. Here are two equivalent examples:

We should really try to get Triscuit’s business. They could be the in we need with Kraft.

We should really try to get Triscuit’s business. They could be our in with Kraft.

You could also say that company A would allow you to get your foot in the door with company B.

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They could be referred to as a gateway or a gatekeeper customer: once you have passed their requirements, you now have access to a much broader range of opportunities.

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