Enterprise sales in 2018 is a lot like rush hour on an NYC subway: it's noisy, it's crowded, and when it stalls, no one really knows what's going on. And just as the subways are getting worse, sales is getting harder. New competitors, changing priorities, more decision-makers, and the sheer amount of noise buyers have to sift through in order to find the right solution—all of these factors are making sales teams' jobs harder and harder.
Enterprise sales isn't Tinder. Instead of a series of short-term flings, the name of the game is building long-term relationships. And as Dr. Phil, Oprah, Delilah, and just about every other self-styled relationship guru has told us, doing so requires communication and trust. That takes time and commitment—and that doesn't happen overnight.
Like 50 Cent's legendarily off-target first pitch, a bad sales pitch isn't something you'll live down easily. It's going to close the door on that client for your company for years to come. It's also going to live in the stakeholders' memories well after they move on to other organizations.And if it's bad enough, they're probably going to laugh at you. Sure, a lack of consensus or the inability to navigate procurement effectively can derail a deal—as can any number of other factors—but nothing's quite as critical as nailing that first touchpoint.
When sales cycles drag on, as they often do, it can be a real test of patience. At some point, whether your product is stuck in procurement or the subject of a continuously rescheduled meeting between decision-makers, you want an answer—even if it's negative—to at least put you out of your misery and allow you to move on.
You may think you're wining, dining, and wooing everyone there is to woo, but with as many as seven people involved in B2B buying decisions today, chances are there are other, more influential decision-makers who aren't getting a seat at your table.
Tired of waiting for updates from procurement? We feel you. It's probably the hardest part of the sales process, and you have limited visibility into what's actually happening. But there's a pervasive misconception among sales teams that once a deal reaches the procurement stage, it's out of the salesperson's hands—but that's not the case at all.
At long last, you closed the deal. You fist-bumped your buddy and added it to your quarterly totals. Time to ride off into the sunset and let the accounts team handle the rest. After all, your job is getting ink on paper, right?
Your POC meets you at the elevator. After the standard handshake-and-hello, she guides you to the conference room—in which you find nine people. There were only four on the invitation, and you, of course, researched them thoroughly. So who are these people? What's their stake in what you're selling? And who's really making the buying decision here?
You and your buyer are aligned on the big picture. You know your solution is a perfect fit for their organization—and they agree. But will the technicalities of pricing and discount negotiations sideline a potentially lucrative deal? We've seen it happen. A lot. Fortunately, it doesn't have to.
This April, we selected former Costco SVP of e-Commerce, Ginnie Roeglin, as our Emissary of the Month. As a former marketing executive at one of the hardest and most desirable organizations to sell into, Ginnie has been an invaluable resource in arming our clients with the tools they need to sell successfully.
All your meetings have gone well. Everyone you talked to at your buyer's organization was really engaged. You asked good questions, and they gave great feedback. They really seemed to grasp how your particular solution could help their business.
But you didn't get the deal. There were lingering compatibility questions that your tech team took ages to address, and during that time, another vendor swooped in and won the business. But even if your tech team had moved faster, you wouldn't have won the deal. In fact, you were never going to win the deal for one simple reason: You didn't have an an internal advocate to carry the deal across the goal line.
With more than 15 people, on average, involved in enterprise IT purchases, Iarge and complex B2B buying centers can feel like minefields to salespeople today. Decisions get made by committee. There are an ever-increasing number of people in the room, representing 3.4 different functions on average—and each of them have their own priorities. Is it any wonder, in this context, that "save money"and "avoid risk" would become watchwords?
"Thanks for your time, but I don't think it's a fit for us."
Why would your hottest prospect turn you down so quickly after your first meeting? You crushed it. You killed it. You knocked it out of the park. Your pre-sales research was solid, your deck was on-point, and your delivery was flawless. On top of all that, they seemed really into your solution. So what went wrong?
This is it: your big enterprise sales pitch. You've spent hours crafting the slickest, most polished sales deck the world has ever seen.
You've got your best suit pressed and your shoes shined. Now it's time to present, and you've totally got this. You're a flew slides in, and everything seems to be going well until a senior stakeholder interrupts with a question:"Does it integrate with Oracle?" Your answer, unfortunately, is "no."
"Oh," the stakeholder says. "If it doesn't integrate with Oracle, we can't use it."
All of the time and effort you put in — and all the money your company spent to get you out there — just went down the drain. You lost a major opportunity for good, and all because you didn't do the one most important thing when prepping a pitch: your homework.
Ready to storm into your next IT sales meeting and wow the room with a snazzy deck full of slides showcasing how great your product is? That's perfect—if you want to get laughed out of the room. If, on the other hand, you'd like your prospect to take you seriously and progress down the funnel, you should do exactly the opposite.
In the IT edition of our Ultimate Enterprise Sales Playbook series, we caught up with Emissaries from companies like Merck, Kellogg's, Johnson & Johnson, and CVS to find out what the right approach to sales looks like in 2018. These former IT decision makers all told us one thing: the days of product-pushing are over.
Emissary Founder David Hammer recently told a story about a client who had spent 9 months on a six-figure deal, and couldn’t understand what had gone wrong.
It’s back-to-school time, and you know what that means in the business world: back-to-school metaphors! Guilty as charged. But hear us out.
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Tags: Sales Intelligence
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Tags: Sales Intelligence
Gone are the days of finding the one decision maker needed to close your deal. Today’s enterprise deals require you to identify at least five key players -- and they need to be impressed.
SaaS veteran and Vice President of Customer Success at Contently, Emilia Brad, gives tried and true tips on finding -- and winning over -- every account player in your sales cycle.