5 Proven Tactics To Improve Enterprise Sales
You know what sucks about enterprise sales? It’s intimidating, there are several factors that can make or break a deal, and the longer the sales cycle takes (and it can take a looooong time–like 6 to 18 months on average), the less confidence you feel about the deal closing at all
But, despite the snail-paced sales process, making the leap from lean startup to enterprise sales success is attainable– and the huge wins can often outweigh the huge undertaking. It requires a different kind of expertise than small and medium B2B sales, but a few key tactics can set your team on the path to success.
So what are these tactics? Below you’ll find a quick list of some of the best practices when it comes to adopting the prepared and agile mindset of an enterprise sales winner.
Okay: this seems obvious. But seriously: if you want to succeed in enterprise sales, you and your sales team need to know your product backward and forward. Not only do you need to know the basic features and benefits list, but you need to anticipate the unique needs of the accounts you’re targeting.
If they have a huge customer service department, how will your product benefit the end users as well as management? How compatible is your product with the legacy products your target account is currently using?
At enterprise-level sales, you’re not just selling a product, you’re acting as a consultant to an organization on how to best transition from their current solution to yours.
Right now, if you’re with a small startup, your sales team might be–well, you. And the bulk of your sales efforts many happen via a few emails or phone calls made between your dev team meetings and dealing with invoices or customer service issues.
If you plan to go all-in after enterprise contracts, however, you’re going to have to fill out your sales department so it acts as the center of the hub of your business off of which everything else is run.
Before you start chasing down some leads, you’ll need a honed and efficient team of sales professionals. The importance of holding regular trainings and hiring the correct sales managers cannot be overstated.
The second half of this tactic is analyzing the sales procedure regularly. The fact is, only 20% of your sales team will close 80% of the sales. You need to consistently evaluate the performance of each member of your team to see who is delivering and who needs help hitting their numbers. If sales are lagging in your department, survey the people to see what part of the system is breaking down. A good procedure enables a team to be effective in spite of their individual shortfalls.
In the enterprise sales process, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of addressing all potential prospects in the same way. This is fatal. No matter the size of the company, the prospective customer’s experience must be personalized.
In an interview with Salesforce, Tinderbox CEO John Kawaitkowski said it best: “Having strong data can help sales teams prioritize their efforts toward deals in the pipeline with higher probability of closing, and steer them away from deals that might take too much time based on poor engagement.” Being able to prioritize prospects who will statistically be more responsible to your product—and track what works overall—is key to success.
Being prepared for each meeting and demonstration is only part of of the puzzle. You must be able to respond to the prospect’s needs for moving forward.
Prospective companies work just like every other company: Sometimes one section requires information from another section in order to move forward. You will have to be able to change the audience of your sales pitch from day to day. Every your entire sales process itself may need to change. The ability to answer the needs of the prospect in a timely manner will go very far.
Here’s why enterprise sales can be tougher than typical B2B sales: you’re marketing to the busiest people in the company’s roster. While it make sense to do follow-ups regularly in the form of “checking in,” this is NOT the most effective method for enterprise sales.
Here’s what you can do instead:
Before the initial meeting is over, ask the stakeholders at hand how best to get in touch with them, what the next step in the process would be, and who else needs to be involved in the decision-making process. This will not only convey sincerity on your part and your desire to be efficient with their time, but you will also very quickly be able to gauge their level of interest in the product.
Once you know the best way to follow up with them, don’t just “check in:” offer your prospect an invitation to discuss something about your product you think will interest them in particular or if a new update serves their needs.
What have you found to be most effective when dealing with enterprise sales?
Share your insight in the comments!
About the author:
Oleg Campbell, LinkedIn
Having over ten years of experience in software development, comprehensive technical background, and strong sense of business Oleg Campbell is a Founder and CEO at Reply. During his career, Oleg got a broad range of experiences as a developer, manager, and executive working for mid sized companies, large enterprises and startups, including the one he started – Reply.io. Along with Lee Gladish, Co-Founder and VP of Sales at Reply he is transforming technology organization into well running business, and playing a leading role in the ultimate success of the venture.