The ABC's of Successfully Prospecting Enterprise Clients

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Though enterprise sales is more complex than selling to SMBs, it is still very manageable. See how you too can close big businesses.

For salespeople, a single enterprise account can shift the tide from a bad quarter to a really good one.

Consistently closing large clients can set you apart as a sales guru, propel you to another income bracket and solidify your reputation as an expert sales rep. However, big fish are often hard to catch. 

Unlike small and medium-sized businesses, an enterprise client is more complex. More individuals are involved in the process, the sales cycle is longer and there are a greater amount of obstacles hurled your way.

To woo a large corporate customer, you must seek to overdeliver with each interaction. The good news is, it is manageable if you know what is expected. Here are the ABC's of successfully prospecting enterprise clients.

Here are the ABC's of successfully prospecting enterprise clients.

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Amicable

A common misconception with enterprise clients is that salespeople must be unnecessarily professional and, well, dull. Fortunately, that is not the case. While each customer meeting may take place in a building the size of the Pentagon, you are still interfacing with human beings who deal with everyday stress, pressure and responsibilities just like the rest of us. Be friendly, personable and aim to develop a meaningful connection. A stilted email or robotic phone call will turn them off, no matter how big the prospect.

Bulldogged

You do not have to be a pushover to be friendly and personable. To land these accounts takes a spine of steel. Do not be discouraged if a deal takes longer than expected to close or if you need purchase buy-in from an ever-increasing number of stakeholders. Multiple studies have shown 80 percent of sales occur after five or more follow-ups.

Determination and persistence are just as important as any other tactic when you prospect for enterprise clients. You should also realize that sometimes your prospects may simply be too busy to reply to your email or return your phone call. So, do not take it personally. Instead, find opportune times to connect with your buyer when they are more receptive to your sales pitch.

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Creative

Enterprise buyers get bombarded from salespeople constantly. Many times, the same packages, presentations and aftermarket support that smaller clients find satisfactory may not cut it with large accounts. A successful sale hinges on your ability to think creatively and propose a solution that is unique to your buyer’s situation.

In a recent survey of 700 B2B buyers, one of the top attributes the respondents named as a reason for why they did business with a salesperson was "he educated me on new ideas or perspectives." Creativity can set you apart at the beginning and keep their attention all the way through the sales cycle.

Dependable

It boils down to "do what you promise, always." Arrive for meetings on time and prepared, return calls promptly and answer any and all questions thoroughly. Amazingly, this is one of the most vital aspects of building a strong relationship, and it is frequently overlooked because sales is too busy or does not make dependability a priority. Show the prospect they can trust you, and you will be miles ahead of your competition.

Educated

This has nothing to do with a college degree. Get informed about the prospect's business and industry. Avoid a blatant show of disrespect when you arrive at a meeting without prior research in-hand. To make the encounter worth your client’s time, conduct research on what they do, what their industry requires and how their management is structured. A thorough understanding of your customer’s business, needs and pain points can go a long way to help you secure the sale.

Focused

According to Psychology Today, the average person gets distracted every three minutes. Salespeople who woo enterprise clients cannot allow themselves to chase the next bright and shiny object. Create a strategy with the overall goal as the endgame, and follow it through without fail. It is essential to stay in front of the decision makers as well as influencers in the organization and show value. Without focus, the longer sales cycle of the enterprise client is likely to chug unproductively to a halt.

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Guileless

Buyers prefer to do business with people they like, but demand to do business with people they trust. One of the easiest way to permanently damage a relationship is with dishonesty. Commit to the process of forging a connection with your enterprise prospect by being trustworthy. Answer questions honestly, and, as obstacles arise, tackle them truthfully and openly. Sometimes these conversations are not comfortable, but transparency on the front end circumvents big potential problems down the road.

Successfully prospecting enterprise clients is neither fast nor easy. However, the benefits of landing even one of them are well worth the effort of honing your craft and building the connections it takes to reach your goal. By practicing these ABC's consistently and passionately, you will be able to effectively and efficiently guide a larger number of your enterprise buyers through your pipeline to fruition.

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