In an enterprise sale, where there are lots of moving parts – meaning multiple people on the seller’s side who need to coordinate with multiple people on the buyer’s side – things can get complicated. How do you ensure that all the right dots get connected? Here are four best practices we share with our clients.
Best Practice #1: Meet Them Where They Are
This principle applies in two senses. First, we want to set the right physical or virtual location. We need to decide whether an in-person meeting would create better alignment than a virtual meeting, where more people can be involved. This will vary by case, of course. Whatever we decide on that score, if we are on the selling team, we will want to make sure the people on the buying side feel that they are “at home” for the critical initial meetings. We don’t want to make them come to us. If we are having a virtual meeting, we want to make sure we’re using the buying team’s system and procedures for setting up and running that virtual meeting. If we are having a face-to-face physical meeting, we want to go to their facility.
The second sense in which this idea applies has to do with understanding and adapting to the buying side’s processes. We have a sales process, and they have a buying process. It is in our best interest to meet them where they are in their buying process and then align for the rest of the journey. Bear in mind that today’s buyers may be more educated or further along in the process than we expect. However, they may also need more guidance and consulting for large purchases they have never made before. Our goal is to align both parties’ expectations after a we gain a thorough understanding of exactly where they are.
Best Practice #2: Align on the “Big Three” Questions
Those questions are:
- Pain. Is there a pressing business problem that the buying organization is motivated to solve, and that you can solve? Do both sides agree on what that problem is, and agree that you can solve it?
- Budget. Are there resources available to solve the problem?
- Decision Process. What is the process by which we will decide whether or not to work together on this? Are both sides aware of the decision-making timeline, who is involved, and the criteria needed to make a good decision?
Best Practice #3: Leverage Team Selling
You will want to align the personalities, expertise, and roles of the buying and selling teams to get the right members of your team speaking to the needs of the buyer…and responding to their questions with the relevant credibility and expertise of their roles. This is something that needs to be planned out strategically by the selling side well ahead of time, and it is worth taking the time to get right. Do the people planning up front!
In a team selling situation, you always want to have a salesperson with strong communication skills lead the discussion…but what happens after that is up to you. You may want to have legal talk to legal, accounting talk to accounting, and executives talk to executives, but there may be times when it makes sense to pair people up differently. Align personalities, backgrounds, and areas of expertise for the best fit and the best possible communication.
Best Practice #4: Align on the Key Measurements of Success
Expectation is a critical component of effective selling. How will both parties know if the deal goes well? Get clarity on what the buyer is looking for, and how they are going to know if they receive it. Then set your Quarterly Value Review Meeting up for success by deciding up front what the measurements of success are going to be.
In preparation for that meeting, ask yourself: How can you prove the buyers got a five to ten times return on their investment of time, money, and effort? Once you deliver on that, you can talk about repeat business, referrals, and expanding the account!