In the last few months, I have met enough startups who have not been so successful in selling their product/service to enterprise companies.
Not that their product was bad, but because the sale just didn’t happen. Just didn’t happen.
While the real reasons could vary for each case, here are a few possible things that one should know before making the enterprise sale
Who is the decision maker? Is it really the CIO/CTO? Actually not.
In most of the cases, it’s actually some other guy who is going to ‘recommend’ the service. [Read the next point now]
By your second meeting, you should be able to figure out who this guy is? Marketing manager? Sales head? VP Engineering? Identify that guy,by the second meeting. Typically this will be the guy who will be asking you lots of questions, during the meeting. Focus on that guy – try to spend some time with him/her, do a linkedin profile search to get some common connection to strike some informal conversation in the next meeting.
If you are meeting the same folks again and again, you are simply wasting time. Move on.
Some of the best sales guys I have interacted with tend to figure out the decision maker’s KRA, i.e. KRA = Key Results Area.
Is ‘X’ really his KRA? If yes, then how shall I position my product so that his X becomes 2X (show him that vision!).
Essentially the idea is to figure out the ‘pain’ and ‘joy’ of the decision maker and see how you can use that to your benefit?
Are you Adding to Pain?
In big companies, software infrastructure gets screwed up over the time. Companies tend to buy each and every piece of software and if you are the one who is making an enterprise sale, do find out the last mile solution. Does your solution need extra manpower? [Read: Are you selling Product or Solution? The Last Mile Challenge with Product Selling]
I recently met a startup who wanted big companies to give their content feed to him, so that he can market that and do a rev share with big companies (his product does lot more, but this is the crux of it). Imagine this – the sales/marketing guy in this big company will have to track another channel for revenue/branding! Is it really worth it (given that startup was too small and was projecting smaller revenue numbers in the near future).
Why take so much of pain? The result is that every big company looks into the product demo and says ‘we will get back to you’.
Your Small Size
Answer this – if you have to buy a house, will you buy from a branded developer or somebody who is just starting up?
Your answer will tell you why many startup/enterprise deal fail – enterprise companies are just not comfortable doing business with ‘unknown’ guys who have no backing.
How does one tackle this? Well, no right/wrong answer here, but doing your homework will help [for instance, do you really need this big customer or do you need 4 small customers to get across this one?]
What’s your opinion?
[More on Enterprise sale in the next post. Meanwhile, if you have interesting insights/experience closing enterprise sales deals, please share.]
[The article is sponsored by Sun Startups Essentials.] img credit