Selling to an ordinary consumer is not the same thing as selling to folks inside the enterprise. They’re similar tasks, of course, but each one requires a different approach. Sales always involves persuading an individual that a particular action with serve their interests. When it comes to the enterprise, however, you need to show how your solution helps the person in question, as well as how it will help the enterprise (and how it can be sold to higher ups, if applicable).
Accordingly, this post has a few things to keep in mind when selling to people that work for medium- or large-sized organizations.
Their needs might not matter as much as you think
An organization is a strange entity – the best solution is not always one that can get approved. In fact, the more innovative your solution is, the more risky it would be for someone to sign off on using it. For that reason, you need to have your finger on the pulse of whether you are selling to people who are comfortable with doing things the traditional way, or whether they’re ready for a change.
Of course, you may not be able to change your offering to suit both types of organization, but this information will influence your approach.
Understand where you are in the approval process
This point flows from the last one. Are you speaking to someone whose role will be to pass on your recommendations to a decision maker, or are you speaking directly to the decision maker? Those lower in the hierarchy may see promise in practical solutions, but those higher up may be mainly focused on numbers. Be mindful of who you’re speaking to, and think about what they need to know before they’ll take the desired action.
Be ready to explain how you’re going to make everything easy
If you manage to get to the point where a person can see that you solution would work, your next task will be demonstrating that implementation won’t be a nightmare. And that training won’t be a nightmare. And that support will be there.
When it comes to the enterprise, more than with other sales contexts, you need to make people believe that you’re going to make their lives easier. Some people may be willing to invest time and energy to make things work. But unless there’s a big personal win in there, enterprise folks will be less willing to do this.
You’re in it for the long haul
Sales to the enterprise take time. The approvals process can be protracted and complex, can move both backwards and forwards, and can require significant wheel spinning and obstacle bashing. Be prepared to invest a lot into the deal over weeks and months before you see the first dollar of return, and you won’t be disappointed.
The upside is, if you make it through and complete a sale, you’ll be embedded with a deep pocket. This can make your company successful in the long term and be the foundation of your success, in many cases. In addition, where one enterprise has gone, others will soon follow. And with enough of that activity, you can one day be an enterprise, too! The downside is, loads of people will be clamoring to sell to you.
Once you master the sales process, you’ll be closing deals left and right!
Dustin Pesch is a sales professional with extensive knowledge and passion for helping other succeed with sales. You can read more about Dustin Pesch on his personal blog.