“Enterprise sales” and “fast” are two terms that don’t often go together.
Once you start selling into the enterprise world, you’re greeted with more complex processes, more decision-makers, and slower-churning gears. But the rewards are substantial, as these large companies — often with $1 billion or more in revenue and thousands of employees — can lead to large annual contract values.
Here’s the good news: There are ways to move enterprise sales along quicker if you focus on areas you can control.
Obstacles to Navigating Enterprise Sales
Sometimes, navigating an enterprise deal is like walking through a thicket. You can run into dozens of decision-makers and influencers on a buying committee, grapple with increased demo demands, and face requests from various departments.
We’ve been there ourselves. Earlier this year, we detailed a multimillion-dollar deal that took us 11 months to complete.
Along the way, our sales rep dealt with obstacles such as dozens of demos, a complicated request for proposal from the buyer, and one call with 67 people on it.
This mountain of obstacles blocks many others who chase big deals. That’s because, on the enterprise prospect’s end, there is a danger of spending too much on the wrong product. There are also compliance and corporate issues that often don’t affect smaller firms, such as diversity policies for vendors and procurement requirements.
“At the enterprise level, the risk of buying into the wrong solution is massive for your buyers,” Amy Volas, CEO at Avenue Talent Partners, wrote on OpenView Venture Partners’ blog. “So they need to make absolutely sure your solution is right for them before they pull the trigger.”
In other words, it takes a lot of time for both sides to vet an enterprise deal.
How to Speed up the Enterprise Sales Cycle
Check out the following tips on how to push forward with enterprise deals with a little extra speed.
1. Adjust Your Internal Approach
A big factor in a deal’s speed is simply the stance a sales team takes.
“You get in life what you tolerate. If you have the attitude that it’s just going to take a long time, then it’s going to take a long time,” sales growth advisor Ryan Staley said on a recent episode of the Sales Leadership Podcast. “If your constant focus is on cutting the time down, then you’re going to start to naturally cut the time down it takes to close the deal.”
For example, dissect the 10 deals that closed the fastest in the prior year and look for patterns that might help you speed up future sales. Was there a common aspect of the tech stack that played in your favor? Did the deals occur after a funding round?
These details offer clues, and data intelligence providers like ZoomInfo can help dig up this kind of helpful B2B information.
2. Take a Multi-Threaded Sales Approach
Discussing an enterprise deal with just one person at the prospect company won’t work. Instead, use multi-threading, which focuses on building rapport with many decision-makers within a target account leading up to a deal.
Sales multithreading draws in various users, managers, and executives across several departments. While it takes time up front for this effort, establishing these relationships can prevent future obstacles from rising up because you already know the players involved.
3. Bring the Right People Into Your Demos Early On
Enterprise accounts are going to have immediate questions about the technical end of your product, such as integrations. They may also need initial information about how you intend to train dozens, maybe even hundreds, of their employees.
For that reason, come to your demos with your own little army. Invite representatives from the engineering team and customer service who can immediately answer related queries, which may save time in the future.
4. Personalize Conversations and Content
Sales is based on relationships, so personalization is a common mantra. It’s even more important in enterprise deals. Those customers demand a personal touch because of their size and revenue. They are heavy hitters.
When it’s time to hold a demo or deliver content, make sure those efforts are full of details and tidbits that illustrate your research about the client. Showing that you’re serious about them will keep the momentum going.
“Enterprise buyers expect personalized service, so a one-size-fits-all presentation isn’t appropriate,” according to CloserIQ, a recruitment data and software firm. “Show up to the presentation having done your homework on the prospect.”
5. Nudge Enterprise Prospects Along with a Gift
You’re probably not going to send something to every decision-maker at an organization. But a well-placed gift to a specific influencer on the buying team, or a champion within an organization, can show how much you want to close a deal.
6. Bring in Your CEO
If your CEO or other executive hasn’t been introduced to an enterprise deal, it makes sense to call in the top dog to help close it.
An ideal time to involve the CEO is when a deal is close but the client needs a push to get the agreement signed.
Here’s an idea: Send a personalized video from the CEO to the buyer, as outlined in this Pipeline Play.
Takeaways About Quicker Enterprise Deals
Discussions with an enterprise client often move slowly. The steps above can help push your deals ahead.
The big areas to focus on:
- Look at aspects that you have control over, such as what your team brings to a demo or how you handle the client.
- Identify bottlenecks that slow down your enterprise sales process and make adjustments.
Shaving a couple of weeks or even a month from an enterprise deal could mean the difference between hitting a big number in a quarter or missing a quota.