I was watching an interview with Gary Vaynerchuk the other day, the CEO of close.io was asking him how he closes big deals with big companies, the answer really resonated with me.
Selling to big organisations is important but, for a small software company, is a very big deal. In my years working in sales for different technology-related companies, selling to big companies has been an obsession, especially for growing vendors where a small deal with a big company would often be more celebrated than a larger deal with a smaller one.
So, how do we close big corporate customers then? What skills and tactics can we use?
I would argue that while there are certain sales skills that can be important to have when trying to sell to big corporations (understanding procurement processes, legal, negotiations, and how not starve to death while we are landing the big whale), the real answer is unfortunately that there is no magic formula for selling to big organisations, simply because big organisations can’t buy, it’s the individual people within them who can.
People have different reasons for wanting to do things and, their reasons for doing so are usually not related to the company they work for, on the contrary, they tend to have a selfish nature; save money because they want to start their own business, look good in front of their bosses because they want to be promoted, get a pay rise because they want to send their kids to college, spend more time with their families, etc. You get the picture.
There is nothing wrong with that, we all have specific needs that must be satisfied, we all have families that we need to look after and, in all honesty, there isn’t much we can do to help others if we can’t even help ourselves.
The fact is, it does not actually matter what their reasons are but, in order to sell to big organisations, we first need to uncover the personal value, we must understand what makes the decision maker tick.
Business value is not a good enough reason, there are hundreds of examples of good software solutions that would have solved problems worth millions for a big organisation and still did not sell. Furthermore, technology companies often go bankrupt because their leaders are so proud or naive that they believe that simply because they have a good product that solves problems, then companies should buy it. Business value is never enough reason to buy, we must uncover the personal value in order to sell to the individual who’s making the decision for that big organisation.
Understand what the decision maker wants to achieve, the personal value behind it, what the solution in their mind is. Make a clear connection between your solution and them achieving their objective, and you will sell to big organisations.
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