Selling something is no easy feat. It becomes even more tedious when it comes to selling software solutions to large businesses or enterprises. As a matter of fact, selling enterprise software is a different ball game than selling a Netflix subscription. Some would even consider juggling to be easier than enterprise software selling. Maybe not!
Although there is no rocket science in closing a successful sales deal, things can be pretty complex when the stakes are high. Enterprise software sales are just that case where the selling cycle can take months to finalize. Though it’s not a quick sales process, the benefits it renders for your company are huge.
An enterprise software development company can win a multi-year contract by closing a successful software enterprise sales deal. Moreover, in such a deal it’s not just about providing ordinary software solutions, it involves offering a tailored solution that meets the specific requirements of the client.
I’ve explained various aspects of enterprise software selling, challenges, and the ways to close successful deals in this write-up. Let’s dive into the details for a better understanding.
Enterprise sales involve transactions of high-value products or services. Often these sales also include customizations to satisfy specific customer needs. Hence, many organizations even go for custom software development services to tailor their software.
Just like the enterprise software development is complex, so is the process to sell them. Enterprise software sales usually involve the deal of SaaS solutions or complex business applications.
Ordinary sales deals can be done even in your backyard, enterprise sales require formal meetings and multiple rounds of discussions.
There is no scientific approach or well-defined criteria for selling enterprise software, it is an artistic feat requiring creativity, emotional balance, optimism, and clever response.
Selling to enterprises means earning a long-term contract for your business, so the risk is high. Your sales reps can hop on to the final stage of the sales cycle with a well-thought-out strategy.
The following ways can help you achieve a successful enterprise software sales deal.
1) Identify the Ideal Customers
Finding and identifying the actual buyers wins you half the battle of selling enterprise software. Make your sales reps utilize their time wisely by identifying the customers that are actually interested in your product.
You should also take a moment to determine if you have a product-market fit or you are looking in the wrong market. Once you are assured that the problems your product aims to solve match the needs of the target market, you can consider creating an “Enterprise Persona” to identify your ideal customers.
You can focus on the areas given below to create an Enterprise Persona to single out the real customers from the target market, as outlined by Gartner.
- Consider the basics of organizations like the size, location, and industry they operate in, we can call it Firmographics resembling the Demographics in buyer persona. For example, the buying practices in large organizations are better defined and stricter than startups and SMEs.
- Look for factors that drive demand like competitiveness and change in regulations. They force companies to look for better solutions for their organizations.
- Get an overview of their technological landscape and the vendors that meet their technology needs.
- Explore how decisions are made in the organization. Is there a single authority or multiple authority that makes the decision? For example, their decisions could be based on the consensus of multiple people, or a single higher authority makes all decisions.
2) Look for any Existing Relationship
Having someone who can champion your business or technology in the organization you are trying to deal with is indeed a blessing in disguise. It could be your old flame, chum, or someone you know from college or professional relationships. Such people can help sales reps understand the procurement process of the organization and even take the deal to an advanced stage.
However, the info provided by your known person can be insufficient due to the lack of detailed understanding of the process of acquiring new technology in an organization. Hence, you must take an open approach when considering the advice of such a person.
3) Knock at the Right Door
Instead of knocking at the different doors, you can simply approach the people who actually make decisions in the organization and control funds. It can even save you time by avoiding interactions with people who don’t have a say in the company. Undoubtedly, your contacts can be helpful here to help you reach the right people. You can leverage a sales qualification framework like MEDDIC to find and approach the right person.
4) Hit the Nail on the Head
The decision-makers in the organization you are dealing with must be satisfied with what you are offering to them and convinced that it’s really worth it. When you approach them with a value proposition, the way your product solves their problems and helps their businesses arouses confidence among the decision-makers.
The success of your deal depends on how much the decision-makers are able to interpret the benefits of your product in the context of their business. A deeper understanding of what the enterprise software is, what it does, and how it solves the problems is crucial to a successful deal. Prove your product’s significance with demos and verifiable examples.
5) Help in the Onboarding Process
Once the deal is closed, it doesn’t mean everything is over. Implementing new software solutions in an organization takes time and they need your support to complete the process smoothly. Your client may decide to discontinue the software if they are unable to understand or embrace it. You must ensure smooth onboarding of the client and help them get the software ready for their organization. It will enable you to create a lasting relationship and increase the importance of your company.
Enterprise deals are chaotic and complex subject to individual interpretations. There can be some individuals in the buyer’s organization who favor the deal, and some who oppose the deal. Therefore, enterprise sales deals can have mixed emotions of depression, amusement, and elation.
Buyer organizations can have different procurement practices based on their beliefs, culture, and size. While the procurement processes for small businesses vary deal by deal, enterprises have more clearly stated guidelines on the procurement process. Ultimately the responsibility falls on the shoulders of sales reps to cope with the chaotic buying practices of the organizations they are selling to.
Here are a few challenges they confront in enterprise software selling:
- A longer sales cycle is a real challenge for you. The price and complexity of the software are reasons for longer cycles. Negotiations will take time.
- When buying organizations have multiple decision makers negotiations can be tough especially when each decision maker has a different persona.
- The complexity of the product can also pose a challenge. Today’s software solutions are required to meet diverse business needs, integrate with existing enterprise solutions, and be adaptable to an organization’s needs. Hence, they are complex, and you need a deeper understanding of the product to pinpoint the benefits for an organization.
- Prefer relationship over sales: You should always focus on building a relationship with the client instead of selling the product. Therefore, direct your energy towards achieving that goal.
- Use storytelling to pitch your product: Instead of directly pitching the product, use storytelling with case studies to tell the clients how your product is really beneficial for them.
- A good understanding of the product is a must: Without a detailed understanding of your product, it’s hard to determine how it will solve the problems of customers. Hence, get an in-depth understanding of your product.