How can a startup handle enterprise sales?

Answer by Raj Nadar:

In my experience, there are a few ways where enterprise sales requires special treatment:

1) The way to build traction. You can't be happy about a prospect entering your sales pipeline by providing their credentials to download some marketing collateral. By the time this happens, a competitor has already reached them, and they are further down the sales cycle with them and they just started with you or you are among 5 other vendors being 'evaluated'

Buyers here are usually not self motivated but are:

a) asked to find a solution, or
b) reacting to an outbound campaign from a vendor

2) History: Since this is an enterprise, there is a legacy, ways certain things have worked, burned fingers, relationships between people.

There are (is):
a) The person who signs the check
b) Decision maker. Arguably the single largest reason a deal is lost is because one was not able to even identify the decision maker.
c) Influencer. This is everyone who'll be affected by the change your product brings in. Some more influential than others.

3) Reason to buy (this is usually the least important): Usually enterprises have a method they procure. If there is an RFP, it will be listed by what and their associated weight-age. If it's an outbound campaign, you'll generally need to create a business case to get the required budget for this 'project'

4) Trials/ proof of concept: Here you need to find out who is (are) the user (s) and know what would a successful POC look like.

Here's a few options you could take and all of them are right with (some highly) different results:

a) Do it all yourself
b) Hire somebody to do outbound lead generation and sell.
c) Hire one person to do lead generation and another to do sales.
d) Outsource lead generation and selling.
e) Outsource lead generation to company A and selling to company B
f) Keep one inside and outsource the other.

Hope this is helpful

Raj
Founder, Closing Inside Sales Resource on Demand for B2B SaaS Startups.

How can a startup handle enterprise sales?

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