A Guide to Enterprise Sales: What Are They and How to Master Them

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    For many companies in the B2B segment, enterprise sales are a white whale of business success. After all, what business owner doesn't want a Fortune 500 company among their clients? Yet, establishing an enterprise sales process can be challenging because there are many potential pitfalls and unknowns.

    In this article, we explain what an enterprise sales model is and how it differs from SMB (small and medium-sized businesses) sales. We also give tips on how to build a robust enterprise sales process.

    What is the Meaning of Enterprise Sales?

    Enterprise sales is the process of selling your products or services to a large enterprise-level company that usually has more than 1,000 employees. What you're selling to those companies is much more substantial and complex than something found on a store shelf. It can be a long-term contract detailing services you provide or a comprehensive project that requires multi-staged implementation and accompanying services.

    An enterprise sale has a higher impact both on the seller and client compared to an SMB deal. It entails critical business buying decisions. Potential clients can often involve decision-makers from various departments before finalizing their choices.

    An SMB company that doesn't need complex, customizable software would want to purchase a prepackaged CRM system without any accompanying implementation services from the SaaS vendor. This SMB customer searches for suitable CRM solutions online, signs up for free trials and demos to test them out, and then chooses one. From the SaaS company's standpoint, the sales process involves a few steps and can be done within weeks.

    When an enterprise company is looking for a CRM solution, it may source options by announcing an open bid and then engage in a months-long vetting and negotiation process. During this time, the stakeholders arrange meetings with SaaS vendors to see the product demo, ask questions about specific functionalities, request additional CRM features unavailable in a standard version, and plan out the implementation and onboarding strategy for the organization. The decision to purchase the CRM solution is made with input from IT, business development, and customer-facing departments.

    This example clearly shows that the sales process for SMBs and enterprise customers differs greatly. Let's explore these differences in detail to see what exactly distinguishes enterprise sales from other types of sales.

    Key Differences Between Enterprise Sales, SMB, and Mid-market Sales

    Here are the key differences between enterprise sales and SMB and mid-market sales:

    Customers’ pain points

    In general, your product is always meant to address customer challenges. However, the magnitude of these challenges is much larger when it comes to enterprise sales.

    An SMB company often aims to meet its immediate needs in a particular area or department. For example, when looking for a CRM solution, the company's request may sound like, "we need to get a comprehensive view of all customer information and enable easy exchange of this information between sales and customer service."

    An enterprise customer focuses on the long-term impact of the deal rather than immediate issues. Their requirements for a CRM system may include adopting one solution for all front-office operations across multiple departments and locations, automating customer engagements on a wide scale, and utilizing business analytics for an overview of the company's health. An enterprise client also prioritizes the ability to implement custom features and extensive onboarding support and training from the vendor.

    Number of decision-makers

    When dealing with SMBs and mid-market companies, you are likely to engage with one or two employees who are authorized to make purchasing decisions. Such deals can often be closed within days or weeks.

    In enterprise sales, the negotiations often concern the entire organization and involve multiple stakeholders from various departments, which need to contribute their questions and requirements. Such a sales process requires more negotiations and meetings and makes closing the deal more challenging.

    Length of a sales cycle

    Considering the number of decision-makers and the size of a typical deal, it's easy to see why enterprise deals have longer sales cycle. Not only do they require a sign-off from multiple stakeholders, but they also usually have more resources invested in them and have a higher impact on the entire organization. Potential clients take more convincing and nurturing to make a purchasing decision.

    Lead generation strategies

    Enterprise sales require better research into the customers and their markets. Vendors need to understand client needs as well as industry trends and competing offers. Conversely, SMB and mid-market sales reps often focus on understanding their prospects' current stage without as much emphasis on broader market trends and developments.

    Moreover, at the enterprise level, sales reps commonly focus on strategic accounts, investing significant time in developing these leads for eventual purchase. The leads are often prioritized not by their "readiness to purchase” but by the impact of the sales.

    In lower-tier sales cycles, however, salespeople primarily discover prospects rather than cultivate them and focus on hot leads that are more likely to buy quickly. The entire customer journey from the awareness stage to the conversion in SMB sales may take a couple of days.

    Sales team composition

    As a rule, there's just one sales rep assigned to an SMB or a mid-tier customer, though they may bring in other sales reps or customer service agents to answer certain questions during the negotiations.

    Enterprise sales teams are much bigger and are often comprised of multiple team members, including:

    • Sales leader: Leads and coordinates sales teams.
    • Account executive: Cultivates existing client relationships while identifying and seizing opportunities for expansion.
    • Solution architect: Demonstrates how solutions align with and can be integrated into the customer's technology infrastructure.
    • Customer success manager: Accompanies customer training and fosters product adoption.
    • Business development representative: Initiates new business opportunities through targeted cold outreach efforts.

    Сustomer acquisition cost

    For companies engaged in enterprise sales, the amount of money they'll make from enterprise deals justifies spending more time and resources to get them. They may assign more sales leaders to see through an enterprise deal, spend time on multiple presentations for the client, and cover travel expenses for in-person meetings.

    With smaller businesses, it's more typical to use automated processes or transactional sales methods because each customer won't bring in as much money over time. For instance, SaaS companies often provide self-service sales to SMB customers, which entails a company buying a business solution directly from a website without needing assistance from a sales representative. This approach requires minimum resources from the seller.

    Why Enterprise Sales Are Important For Your Business?

    One of the main distinct characteristics of enterprise sales is the number of resources you need to put into them. Hence, it's important to understand what value enterprise sales deals bring to justify these resources. Here's why enterprise sales offer invaluable opportunities for your company:

    A positive impact on a company's reputation

    Firstly, signing a contract with a high-profile client can significantly enhance a company's brand awareness and trustworthiness. Securing deals with an esteemed organization not only adds prestige but also helps you win over a particular market. For example, partnering with an established financial institution such as JPMorgan can attract attention from other potential clients in the financial services industry.

    High revenue from few deals

    Enterprise sales deals often involve substantial sums, providing a solid financial foundation upon which to grow. Moreover, securing long-term contracts with clients allows for the possibility of recurring revenue streams. A SaaS company closing a multiyear deal with one of the large corporations can count on consistent income over the contract duration, providing stability and predictability to its revenue stream.

    Long-term relationships with the clients

    Over months or even years of enterprise sales process, sales professionals cultivate a strong rapport with clients. These relationships might lead to upselling additional products or cross-selling complementary offerings. Enterprise companies are often more open to upselling and repeating business since they've already made a high-risk commitment with your company in the past.

    In addition to that, strong relationships with clients can be leveraged for references and sucess studies that bring in more business. Satisfied clients may become advocates for the company's solutions, promoting them within their own professional networks to other large companies.

    How to Build an Enterprise Sales Strategy

    Now that we've established the value of an enterprise sales model let's explore the steps for building an enterprise sales process in your company. This section offers tips on launching an enterprise sales process and highlights how Creatio CRM can help.

    1. Ensure that your offer is ready for enterprise clients

    Before diving into enterprise sales, it's crucial to ensure that your product and business are ready to meet the demands of the enterprise clients.

    For SaaS vendors, it may mean the number of servers and the reliability of the software, but also the professionals needed to customize the solution, run the implementation and provide customer service.

    2. Evaluate prospective enterprise leads

    You can start looking for enterprise sales leads by focusing on a specific vertical in order not to scatter your resources. Conduct comprehensive research of enterprise companies in this industry to understand the requirements and pain points of potential clients, competitors’ offerings, and industry trends.

    Once you've defined your target market, research and analyze prospective enterprise customers to prioritize your sales efforts. Creatio offers powerful enterprise sales software that uses AI and machine learning to evaluate your prospects and score them based on how well they align with your offering and the likelihood of success. Utilizing sales automation can help you save time on meticulous research and make your scoring more accurate by relying on robust data.

    Creatio Sales CRM Lead Management Dashboard

    Creatio's lead management dashboard

    3. Build and train a sales team

    To support your enterprise sales model, assemble a skilled and knowledgeable sales team equipped to handle enterprise-level negotiations and relationships.

    Creatio's sales productivity tools can help you identify the sales representatives with the highest rate of success on your sales team. The collaboration features allow employees from the sales team, marketing, and business development departments to exchange valuable information on potential enterprise clients quickly.

    Creatio Sales CRM Enablement Page for Sales Rep.

    Creatio's sales enablement page for a sales rep

    To ensure your team understands the nuances of enterprise sales, provide comprehensive training and sales enablement activities to support your team.

    4. Prepare a comprehensive sales plan

    Once you have determined your lead, outline each step of the sales process in your enterprise sales model, considering the enterprise's timeline and budget. Your sales process should be built around their needs, not follow a sales strategy you're used to.

    Sales automation software can help you keep track of your communication with the client, forging strong and trustworthy relationships with them. With Sales Creatio, you can automate reminders and follow-ups, organize all your sales materials, and automatically generate proposals for clients based on their requests.

    5. Track enterprise sales metrics

    Analyzing your performance can support your sales enablement efforts by identifying top performers and areas needing improvement. To track these performance metrics, you need a robust sales analytics tool such as Sales Creatio, which utilizes AI to evaluate your performance and pinpoint areas of improvement.

    Creatio's no-code tools allow you to easily create custom dashboards and analytical models to track enterprise sales. Such a dashboard can include your win rate, customer lifetime value, enterprise pipeline velocity and coverage, and customer retention rate.

    Boost Your Enterprise Sales with Creatio

    In this article, we've highlighted how complex and challenging an enterprise sales model can be. Creatio helps you tackle these challenges and save time on data analysis and performance tracking so you can invest it in nurturing relationships with clients, which are the key to enterprise sales’ success. Sign up for Creatio's free trial to see how it can enhance your enterprise sales strategy.

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