Significant revenue comes to those who have the patience, courage, and resources to take the risk on a high-value deal.
All sales require patience and some degree of relationship building, but none quite to the extent of enterprise sales.
In this article, we’ll define enterprise sales and look at how it differs from other types of sales by reviewing the main stages of its process.
What is enterprise sales?
Enterprise sales is the transaction of a high-value deal with large organizations.
The enterprise sales cycle can last months, involve a more technical product or service, and require the participation of multiple high-level stakeholders.
Due to the risky nature and the level of commitment it requires, enterprise sales is also called complex sales.
To help define enterprise sales, we need to look at its opposite, the other major sales process in the B2B world: transactional sales.
Otherwise recognized as selling to small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) or mid-market sales, transactional sales is a more straightforward process. It has a shorter sales cycle, less communication, and fewer people to target.
Additionally, transactional sales can in some cases solely ride on the efforts of traditional marketing and sales, rather than the long game of relationship building.
Organizations moving technically sophisticated SaaS products and services are more likely to seek corporations with the budget or need.
Enterprise sales is a natural fit for large-scale solutions that call for a greater degree of customization and research into an organization’s pain points.
This bespoke approach is often time-consuming and comes with a high degree of risk.
Months of conversations and demos can be lost for nothing if a buyer decides they aren’t ready or go with a competitor.
So, why do companies invest in enterprise sales?
Why enterprise sales?
There are several benefits to pursuing a model of enterprise sales, but the most obvious is the increase in revenue.
The larger the company the larger the contract.
You’re more likely to hit your sales goals with fewer deals by landing them with companies that onboard your solution on a larger scale.
Since large enterprises are more prone to longer contracts, you’d have the opportunity to establish and foster a long-term relationship with a client.
Your reputation precedes you.
An enterprise happy with your product could just as well refer you to others. This is a key benefit to relationship building that comes after the contract has been signed.
Credibility comes with enough logos from large, well-known brands.
It’s not rocket science that a buyer is more likely to take a call with a company that has a history of working with reputable enterprises.
Leveraging your public relationship with major companies is another indispensable benefit to enterprise sales.
The 4 stages of an enterprise sale
The fundamentals of enterprise sales can be broken down into four key stages: discovery, diagnosis, design, and delivery.
Given the length and complexity of an enterprise sales cycle, you’ll need to know if a client is worth the time and effort early.
This is why the cycle begins with a discovery stage where you research all you can about a prospective buyer to craft a winning sales strategy and eliminate those who aren’t a good fit.
In the discovery stage, you’ll look to expose a company’s pain points and conduct research on its buying cycle.
To map out your own sales process for each company, you’ll need to ask questions regarding the decision-makers involved, company goals, the timeline for purchase, and any other expectations.
After conducting the initial research on a target account, it’s time to more thoroughly diagnose their problem.
At this stage, you’re addressing every current and future gap in their business to validate the case for your product or service.
This will almost certainly take more research into their specific industry or similar clients you’ve worked with.
The idea is to paint a picture of their pain points and how you specifically will resolve them.
Doing so sets your team up to deliver the most tailored solution possible.
Relationships are living things. They require personal investment and are sustained by open communication.
During the design stage, you’ll be leading the charge in creating a specific and effective proposal, but you can’t deliver on your end without a little back and forth between parties.
You’ll need to periodically update and educate the prospect on the details of how you’re building out the solution to suit their unique needs.
Consultations with the prospect at this stage will help expedite this long and complicated process.
Ultimately, the conversations you have will contribute to a more personalized design.
Finally, once a prospect accepts your proposal, it’s time to keep your word and deliver the bespoke solution outlined in the previous stages.
Implementation of your solution may close the deal, but it’s not the end of your relationship with the customer.
Here, your customer success team will regularly check in and service the needs of your client.
Keep a solid record of performance to measure the value of your efforts and use metrics to demonstrate it to your client.
Once again, you’ll want to be a reliable and knowledgeable partner to preserve your relationship with the client as well as cultivate a reputation for those in the future.
Getting started in enterprise sales is a commitment.
One of the first steps your organization should take is equipping it with the right team of qualified sales reps who’ll lead the charge in identifying the right decision-makers and establishing the foundation of a long-term relationship.
At Sellerate, we support technology leaders with our global account teams who do the hard work of uncovering opportunities and nurturing trust with prospects.
If you’re interested in investing in enterprise sales with your own team of sales experts, drop us a message. We’d love to chat.