One universal truth of enterprise sales is that deals take time to close. Enterprise applications tend to be business-critical, with a lot riding on the success of the deployment. As a result, there are lots of stakeholders, each with unique criteria and success factors. There also tend to be extensive discussions about compatibility, integration, customization, and value, making sure the solution will more than pay for itself.
There are many potential obstacles in the way of any enterprise sale, so removing them to close the deal is the priority. Since enterprise deals take so long, it’s imperative to close the deal before the cost of the sale overshadows the returns.
Understanding Enterprise Sales
Before you can identify ways to close an enterprise deal faster, you have to know what goes into an enterprise sale.
Enterprise sales are usually proactive sales. The sale is based on addressing an ongoing problem or perceived issue rather than reacting to an immediate need. The ROI from an enterprise deal is measured over time with improved processes, greater efficiency, and returns that tend to be measured in months or years.
Enterprise sales are also highly complex. The enterprise infrastructure is complex. The approval process is also complex and usually spans multiple departments and multiple decision makers, which can make financing complicated if the deal spans multiple departmental budgets.
Enterprise solutions tend to be highly customized. That means adapting the solution to meet various stakeholder needs. And there will likely be lengthy discussions about system compatibility and integration and perhaps even a proof of concept before you can close the deal.
You must be able to demonstrate ROI, showing value in the short term as well as over time. As the seller, you want to create a lasting relationship with the customer that yields long-term value.
Closing the Sales Gaps Faster
To remove the friction from enterprise sales, you need to simplify the complexities. Anticipate and remove barriers to help the prospect reach a decision. Here are six ways to close enterprise tech sales faster:
1. Better qualify leads.
Before you start working to close the deal, make sure the prospect is well qualified. You don’t want to waste your time trying to sell to a prospect that is not ready to buy. As part of lead qualification, you want to verify the prospect’s needs. Ascertain if they are ready to buy, have the budget to make a purchase, and that your solution seems to be a good fit. Determine the urgency of their need and if they are ready to buy now—otherwise you may be looking at a longer closing process.
2. Offer the right solution.
In addition to making sure the prospect is ready to buy, you want to be sure you offer the right solution. Do your homework. Be sure that what you’re offering will not only solve the prospect’s immediate issues but will also lay the foundation for the future. Be prepared to demonstrate immediate and lasting value.
3. Work with the stakeholders.
You will have to convince more than one decision maker to close the deal. The best enterprise sales strategy is to enlist someone inside the company as a champion for the project. It also pays to identify all the stakeholders and meet with them early to understand their unique requirements and start removing objections.
4. Customize the solution.
It pays to listen closely to all the objections and identify potential obstacles. Determine which issues are deal breakers, where you can negotiate, and where you can customize the solution to overcome these objections. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or assume you can add capabilities after the deal is done. Enlist expert support from sales engineers or other technical professionals so you can deliver what you promise. Also, be prepared to balance the out-of-the-box solution and the cost of customization; you aren’t delivering a specially commissioned product built from scratch.
5. Offer third-party validation.
To reassure prospects that they are making the right buying decision, get third-party support. Present customer success stories and be ready with customer references. You can also use industry analyst reports and enlist support from independent industry experts. Buyers feel better about making a buying decision when they see that others have already had success.
6. Sweeten the deal.
When you get to the final price, the prospect may say it’s too expensive. If the deal falls apart because of the price, then you have failed to make your case for the value of your solution. A prospect often uses price as an excuse if they can’t see the value. To help close the sale, consider including something extra, such as training, upgrades, or consulting services at no additional cost.
Demonstrating a strong ROI is your best argument to buy. To shorten your time to close, start with the basics:
- Know your customer. Know what they need and how to solve their problem.
- Know your product. Be confident that you have the right solution.
- Assemble the right team. Have the right experts on hand for lead qualification and sales support.
Knowing When to Enlist Help
If you need assistance, you can outsource aspects of enterprise sales. For example, lead qualification is best done by sales and marketing professionals who know how to warm up leads that are ready to close. You also may need outside technical experts to assist with customization and integration.
Enterprise tech sales require a team. If you don’t have the right in-house resources, consider engaging a sales-as-a-service partner such as MarketStar to fill the gaps and shorten the enterprise sales cycle. To learn more, read our e-book, The Full B2B Sales Team: Specialized Sales Roles to Accelerate the Sales Cycle, to learn how you can put together a winning enterprise sales team.