Selling to enterprises is a long and tedious task. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the enterprise is, the longer it takes to close a deal. The main reason is that you need to go through more decision making layers and deal with more internal politics.
There are many important factors one must take into account when selling to enterprises (e.g. identifying who really has the decision making power). However, there is one thing that is common to all enterprises, no matter what you sell or how big the organization is. This common thing is that in order to successfully sell your product, you must be able to explain in a clear and simple way how it will increase the enterprise’s revenues or decrease its costs. And preferably, you should be able to demonstrate both.
The problem is that many products and services don’t have a direct impact of the revenues and/or costs. Therefore, your job is to translate the added value of the product to what the top management cares about. For example, if you’re selling some kind of IT hardware that helps reduce servers’ time-out events, then what the top management usually sees is more expanses rather than revenues growth or reduced operation costs.
So in order to successfully sell your product, you should translate the benefit of less server time-out events to what top management cares about. For example, less time-out events can increase the revenues, since it decreases the number of users who get stuck in the middle of their shopping session and therefore don’t complete the purchasing process. Furthermore, it can reduce operation costs by decreasing the number of IT professionals that the organization needs to employ.
Now if you have some experience in selling to enterprises, you probably know that due to internal politics, you might want to avoid mentioning the reduced cost factor as part of the selling process. The reasoning is that when selling IT hardware, the IT manager is usually part of the decision making team. And from his point of view, the outcome of decreasing the number of IT professional in his team is managing less people and thus a downgrade to his status.
To summarize, you should remember two things when selling to enterprises – always make a clear and simple connection between the product’s benefits to the top and/or bottom line; and beware of internal politics.