Selling to large enterprise customers has unquestionably changed over the years. External forces from competition, both small and large compete with you not only for attention but to also re-establish priorities and capture a larger share of your customers/prospects wallet. Internally, there is a growing push within enterprises to reduce the number of vendors they work with to just a strategic handful.
What’s more, the traditional method of reaching customers solely through cold calling requires considerably more effort to achieve past results. For example, it now takes an average of 8 calls to reach a buyer whereas just 5 years ago the number of calls stood at less than half that number at 3.65.
It’s no surprise that this is the case, both society and work habits are changing. We used to have home telephones, a large percentage of the population subscribed to newspapers and magazines, watched scheduled tv programming for entertainment and went to malls and stores to shop. Nowadays, in this digitally connected world, if you have haven’t already cut the cord it’s not unusual to find that no-one answers that line, instead, they use that line to screen calls or take messages that they never intend to return or even listen to. After all, anyone they want to talk to has their mobile number. If you are smiling right now, it’s because you know you’ve done it!
As consumers, we want what we want when we want it; otherwise, we want to be left alone. We shop online and have it delivered to our doors within days. We are no longer content to wait for the nightly news at 6 and 11 instead we get our news in near real-time online, and we turn to Netflix, Hulu, or Prime Video for entertainment. Within our professional lives, high-performance expectations, combined with an abundance of information to absorb, it’s no wonder that business professionals are applying the same filtering mechanism and habits that they employ at home within work.
Sales professionals need to both recognize and adapt to this paradigm shift by crafting a sales strategy to meet your customers/prospects wherever they may be on the buying spectrum. This information should then be broken down between existing customers and new opportunities by role/job persona.
- What objectives do they care about?
- How is their job success measured?
- What association or groups do they belong to (both online and virtual)?
- Is there a common reporting structure for that role across the industry?
- What do their superiors care about most?
Armed with answers to this information, you can craft a multi-channel pursuit strategy consisting of phone, e-mail and social. Customize your message for each channel, and develop a cadence for mutual touches. Stick to a consistent theme since repetition will help build your reputation. Experiment with different messaging across channels, and once you find a formula that works best, your next task will be to figure out how best to automate and apply this approach at scale.
Sadly, there’s no magic bullet to enterprise sales. However, if you seek to understand your customers and prospects business needs and wants through a multi-channel communication strategy with the proper cadence, I can promise you that you will sell a whole lot more than the sales professional who isn’t making the same investment.