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.
When you wake up in the morning and go to work, who do you talk to? That's the question our July Emissary of the Month, Jim Fortner, puts to CIOs looking for an edge. And after 28 years at Procter and Gamble (P&G), including stints as CTO and CIO, he’s built an impressive career by talking—talking to IT, talking to business leaders, and encouraging conversations between them to build the kind of cross-functional cohesion that businesses need to succeed in the digital age.
In March, our own Shaina Shiwarski wrote about the underrepresentation of women in enterprise tech, but the problem of diversity in sales extends far beyond just one industry. According to the last U.S. census, sales was the fourth-least-diverse profession in the country. In fact, 78 percent of salespeople in the U.S. are white.
Tags: Emissary News
In the past, our leading IT-buying Emissaries have told you why you should stop freaking out about pricing, discounts, and trials. But with so much riding on a subject as delicate as pricing, we knew there was more to say. This time around, some of our most sought-after Emissaries tell you how you can set expectations to make these discussions easier and smooth your path to closed-won.
Tags: Emissaries Speak
At Emissary, we believe in people.
It has always been our belief that the value of human knowledge is a powerful resource, and that it is a rarely-mined resource in the marketplace. We have sought to bridge the gap between those who are seeking knowledge and those who possess it. In the words of our founder, David Hammer, “Our mission has always been the same: to connect people with valuable knowledge to the organizations who will benefit from that knowledge.”
Noted sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer once wrote: “There’s no lotion or potion that will make sales faster and easier for you—unless your potion is hard work.” Sure, hard work is important, but we've found something that can make sales both faster and easier
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.
Eric Toda, former global head of social marketing and editorial content at Airbnb, is our Emissary of the Month for May. Eric recently took some time to sit down with us to discuss his work with Emissary, the biggest mistakes he's seen sales teams make, and the secret to success and happiness in both work and life.
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.
Have you ever followed up with a prospect, only to be told that they're passing on your solution based on abstractions like "lack of cultural fit" or "lack of team alignment"? Huh? What gives?
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?