Enterprise sales are also known as "complex sales" for a reason—it's complicated to create an enterprise sales strategy, find the right team to execute it, and often takes months, if not a year or longer, to implement. It’s both an art and a science. You need team members who can make a sale when necessary, but more importantly have the skills to build relationships with shareholders. This guide outlines the steps on how to build and manage a team that makes your enterprise sales strategy successful.
What Is Enterprise Sales?
Enterprise sales involve selling your product or service to a large company. The prospect may have approached you directly, you may have approached them, or they have asked multiple companies to submit bids for the contract. Enterprise sales typically involve working with a company with over 1,000 employees and more than $1 billion in sales.
Organizations that should consider enterprise sales
If you work for a B2B company that has developed a product or service for larger scale applications that can save large companies money or help them make money, you should consider enterprise sales.
Managing enterprise sales
Creating and managing an enterprise sales strategy requires preparation and planning. Here are the steps to getting it right:
Select the right targets
Create an ideal customer profile (ICP). Make it as descriptive and thorough as possible. Research every aspect of how your product or service can solve a company's problem. Use the ICP when determining if a potential client is a good fit.
Determine key stakeholders
Identify important stakeholders and talk to them frequently. This will help determine their needs, budget, and timeline. You should construct your approach around their schedule—build your enterprise sales strategy around what the client wants, not what you want.
Create the solution that solves the problem
It's not about selling a product, the goal is to provide a solution. Determine the prospect's specific pain points and offer a solution for the problem. In enterprise sales, you rarely sell your service or product "off the shelf." It must evolve to solve your client's problem. Focus on how your company offers value and a return on investment (ROI). Offer testimonials from similar customers who have been happy with the solutions you've developed for them.
Plan each step ahead of time
The enterprise sales journey involves multiple steps. Before you begin the process, identify each step and consider potential roadblocks and opportunities. Then, design your plan to fit your prospect's timeline, ensuring you have planned for each step to keep the deal on track.
Understand that conversation is key
Keep the conversation going with key stakeholders throughout the process. Checking in to see how things are going with your contacts is crucial, as building relationships is a vital component of success. Prospects are more likely to buy your solution if they know and trust you.
Know your customers, your products, and your stories
Find out everything possible about your clients. Use their software, stay in their hotels, and buy their clothing. Know everything about how they operate and how your product can help solve their problems. Give them clear examples of how you've helped clients solve similar problems.
Why Is Enterprise Sales Management Important?
Enterprise sales management is an essential part of establishing success for your enterprise organization. Establishing credibility, executing deals, and nurturing relationships are fundamental to enterprise level success, which is why enterprise sales management is so important. Managing your team, seeking and building new relationships, and following your enterprise sales strategy is no small task. It starts with an effective sales plan. A well crafted sales plan can take you well on your way to success in the increasingly important enterprise sales process.
How to build an enterprise sales team
When assembling your team, follow this principle: Hire for character, train for skills. Look for salespeople who understand both the art and the science of enterprise sales and can maintain relationships with diverse stakeholders over time.
Your team should look like this:
- Sales leader (manager) — Builds and executes your enterprise sales strategy. As the leader of your team, it's important to design an appropriate compensation plan for them.
- Account executive — Maintains client relationships and explores ways to create new relationships with stakeholders.
- Digital advisor — The tech whiz who finds ways to use the latest digital technologies to help build a solution for a customer.
- Solution architect — Demonstrates to the client how to implement your solution in their unique environment.
- Customer success team — Provide excellent customer experiences, maintain existing client relationships, and help with customer issues.
- Business development representative — Searches for new business opportunities through inbound and/or outbound outreach.
The challenges of enterprise sales management
Sales cycles are longer
Enterprise sales don't happen overnight. Trying to rush them can often work against you. It can take months or even as long as a year to close the sale. Your team will need to maintain discipline, motivation, and trust the process.
Organizational behavior is complex
The more stakeholders involved, the more diverse points are in play. You may need to navigate unspoken hierarchies. Make sure to focus on the key influencers—although they don't always make the final decision, they significantly influence how it's made.
Keeping a level head
The enterprise sales process often involves numerous ups and downs. Since so many individuals and variables are involved when crafting an enterprise sales solution, bumps in the road can arise more frequently. It's important not to panic but to keep your eyes on the prize and work with the client to smooth the road.
Make no mistakes
Your enterprise sales team must operate flawlessly. Mistakes of any size can blow up the sale, even after months of hard work. Following your enterprise sales strategy is vital. When everyone knows their role, your team can work seamlessly and avoid errors.
Xactly’s Enterprise Sales Solutions
Xactly offers adaptable products and services for the enterprise, including:
- Incentive compensation management: Xactly Incent automates and streamlines the design and management of any incentive compensation management plan.
- Sales forecasting: Xactly Forecasting uses up to the second data to give you a complete picture of the health of your revenue pipeline and deliver accurate,predictable forecasts.
- Operational efficiency: Xactly Extend leverages custom applications to automate processes related to sales performance management, providing better efficiency, faster execution, and data-driven insights.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help build and execute your enterprise sales strategy.