It can take around 18 calls to connect with a prospective buyer. And when dealing with enterprise sales, that number can quickly become even higher. But what, what is enterprise sales to begin with? And how can you make the most of it? Keep reading to find out.
Even though enterprise-level sales can be very lucrative, it also requires a lot of effort and a specific skill set. Dealing with multiple stakeholders, overcoming internal inefficiencies, and speeding up a crawling sales process—these are just some of the obstacles that enterprise salespeople have to overcome.
But while many companies tend to switch their focus to smaller companies because they feel it’s easier, enterprise sales remain a premium segment. If mastered, can allow a company to prosper with only a fraction of sales compared to SMB sales.
With that in mind, let’s answer the following questions: What is enterprise sales? What’s the big deal about it? And how can you close more enterprise sales for your business?
What Is Enterprise Sales?
Enterprise sales, also known as complex sales, is a sales strategy specifically designed for dealing with large contracts and enterprise-level clients. The main qualities of enterprise sales include longer sales cycles, more stakeholders, bigger contracts, and higher risk, though they might not always be present.
When defining enterprise sales, the easiest way to do that is to look at it in terms of scale. When you’re selling to enterprise companies, you’re dealing with business entities that have hundreds of employees, millions of dollars in revenue, and entire departments that have their own goals, agendas, and ambitions.
This size is what creates the most significant difference when compared to smaller companies.
When you’re selling to small or medium-sized companies, the sales process is much more transactional. You can enjoy shorter sales cycles, fewer touchpoints, and dealing with more packaged solutions that are easier to sell.
Meanwhile, enterprise sales is almost the exact opposite.
You might have to spend many months going back and forth with multiple decision-makers, hashing out the details of the sale, and trying to overcome various objections, some of which might even be conflicting.
Enterprise sales will also involve:
- Having to come up with a more personalized solution
- Taking into account the needs and legacy systems that are in place
- Finding a way for your product to bring real value without causing too big of a disruption to their operations
However, while enterprise sales can seem like a lot of work, the rewards are usually more than worth it.
Sure, you can make more transactional-type sales to SMBs relatively quickly, but the revenue from the sale is probably going to be a fraction of what you could close for a big client.
You may also have to spend around six months trying to get the sale, but it could mean that the deal goes for six or even seven figures, making it well worth it from a financial standpoint.
Enterprise sales may also come with a bigger time commitment, more complexity, and a much higher risk of the deal falling through. But if you know the fundamental aspects of successful enterprise sales, targeting the whales in your industry is the most profitable and cost-effective strategy you could use.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few of the essential enterprise sales tips below.
Essential Tips For Closing More Enterprise Deals
Enterprise sales can bring many challenges, but the high-reward nature of dealing with large companies is usually worth it. At least if you know how to prepare for the sales process and know what to focus on.
Let’s look at some of the essential tips you should consider below.
Know Your Target Customer
The first step of successful enterprise sales doesn’t actually involve any interaction with the prospective buyer. In fact, it’s much more about looking inward than it is about outreach techniques or sales tactics.
To succeed with enterprise sales, you must know who to target. And to know who to target, you need to figure out what enterprise clients can benefit the most from what you have to offer.
After all, you’ll be dealing with multiple stakeholders, trying to showcase the value and adaptability of your product. If the value isn’t there or isn’t strong enough, you won’t have a realistic shot of making the sale. At this level, impulse purchases just don’t happen.
So, to maximize your chances, you must:
- Figure out what enterprise clients fit best with your product.
- Look at what types of companies might meet those requirements.
The second part of the equation is equally important. It will give you real targets to analyze and study, providing many more insights about how to best approach these companies and what they might need to hear to eventually say yes.
Since enterprise sales usually can’t rely on cookie-cutter solutions, you must identify the ways your product can adapt to the unique needs of different companies. You will also need to find common issues and bottlenecks you can work with to offer more effective solutions that maximize your product’s value.
By building out an extensive customer profile, you will make your sales team’s job so much easier. You will be able to enable them to tackle objections immediately, reducing the risk of the sale falling through in situations where your products could have actually made a positive impact.
Focus on Results
Knowing your target audience and your product is essential, but you should also know how to position the value you can deliver correctly in the eyes of the people you are trying to reach.
Behind every enterprise client, there are stakeholders who carry a significant burden of finding the right solution for a large and complex company. When they make a decision, they are putting their own reputation on the line. They could face repercussions if your product doesn’t live up to their expectations or causes significant problems after the purchase.
When dealing with these types of objections, asking prospective buyers to rely on trust is not a viable strategy. With so much on the line, you will need to show why you should be trusted and how your product is a low-risk investment.
The best way to do that? Real, tangible results you can refer to.
By using the extensive audience research and in-depth knowledge of your product, you will need to identify specific ways how your product can deliver value in that situation.
Because of the long sales cycle, you should have enough time to thoroughly analyze the enterprise company’s situation, identify glaring issues, and figure out how your product could fit into the equation.
That way, you can remove a lot of the risk and show exactly what the implementation process would look like, what it would take, and how it could transform the way the company operates.
This will not only appease any doubts for the person you’re dealing with but will also make their job of selling your product to superiors more manageable as well.
Use Account-Based Selling
Account-based selling is a B2B sales strategy that treats each client as an individual, taking a deep dive into the company’s structure, challenges, and engagement opportunities, which helps to come up with a personalized approach that dramatically increases the chances of success.
Account-based selling is an ideal approach for minimizing risks and increasing the likelihood of success when dealing with enterprise clients. It’s a solution that takes the typical enterprise sales cycle and ensures that you, as a seller, can have more opportunities for engaging the company and showcasing value.
But how does it work?
Well, to understand that, we must first look at how enterprise sales are different.
We already established the need for many touchpoints with multiple stakeholders, the increased likelihood of the sale falling through, and the challenges of getting a company to see the numerous use-cases for your product.
With account-based selling, you can address all of these challenges at once.
Instead of using inbound marketing to attract leads and hoping that they have the authority to say “yes” to your offer, you can take a proactive approach, identify the multiple people who are the most likely to make that decision, and prepare a strategy for all of them.
Using this method, you would identify an entire account (or company) that you want to work with, looking for signals that show you it’s in a position to benefit from your product and be willing to listen to what you have to say.
If you go through the research process we discussed earlier, you will have a much better shot at both identifying the right accounts initially and then understanding their core issues and potential use-cases for your product.
At that point, you can create a compelling outreach strategy that not only targets the right people but also comes with specific and relevant pain points that you can address immediately.
Then, you could qualify the lead over the phone, crystalize their main problems, and match a solution accordingly, on as many levels as the situation might require.
Leverage Your Past Successes
Authority and trust play a vital role in enterprise sales. The stakes are usually high, which means that someone with no connections and no track record will have a tough time getting large companies to listen.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t tilt the scales in your favor by leveraging your past successes more effectively. Sure, that takes more effort, but the rewards you can reap will make future sales that much easier as well.
To start, you need to establish an effective process for tracking performance and measuring success for your current clients.
Every implementation of your product is an opportunity to gain solid proof that your product works, so you should keep tabs on the progress from the very first day to the end of the project.
You can then use that information to create case studies that showcase the main use cases for your products, illustrating how the various features can look in real life and helping prospective customers see how the issues they are facing could be solved in different scenarios.
There’s no denying that this process will require you to allocate resources and that some clients might push back against having the results published. But even if you can’t make the case studies public, having them act as proof in sales situations is an invaluable asset that you should try to use as much as possible.
Over time, as you get more success stories, you will find that your sales team has to do much less selling than before, simply because the case studies will paint a much better picture of what results might be expected.
Closing enterprise sales is hard. Sometimes you might work with an account for months only to see the deal fall through during the final stretch of the process.
However, because of how lucrative it is, the effort is almost always worth it. And by using the tips outlined above, you will have a much better chance of success.