NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
San Francisco, CA, United States, 2006/06/30 - Enterprise sales, is the siren call for visionary, high-growth, entrepreneurial organizations. For Vendor offerings such as IT security, customer relations management (CRM), web-based services enterprise sales is the brass ring - JohnOchinero.com.
I. Profile, Propensity and Position
Enterprise sales “how to” literature is teeming with recommendations for evaluating your current customer base and utilizing this information to develop a profile and prospect list.
Postulate #1-Profiling: The more precise the profile the more accurately targeted the prospects.
A standard criterion is often sighted when discussion of profiling is introduced. Let’s take a look at some standard factors:
· Number of Personnel
· Number and Size of Locations
· Franchise or Company Owned
· Geographical Location(s)
Existing concerns with a minimum of three years of a product or service should be able to draw a reasonably accurate customer profile. Companies moving into new segments should research the customer base of organizations considered key competitors of this new market.
Postulate #2-Research: Enterprise sales executives should have at least three current library cards from major American cities for personal research.
Resources that can typically be accessed, at no charge, either on line or on premise via a library and that the enterprise sales executive should be intimately familiar include:
· Reference USA
Less known but highly valuable resources include:
· *Directory of Top Computer Executives: Provides detailed information on the Chief Technology Officers of leading American corporations.
· The Corporate Directory: A hardcopy resource for the computer challenged.
· *The Corporate Yellow Book: A national corporate yellow pages
· *National eMail and Fax Directory: Contact information including fax and email addresses (Caution: Generic and essentially useless info[.] or sales[.] are generously provided).
The enterprise sales executive should also have easy access to:
NAICS-North America Industrial Classification System;
SIC- Standard Industrial Classification; and soon
NAPCS-North America Product Classification System
Standard criterion aside, far more important factors include those that are often referred to as “pain points” or more precisely, areas of potential liability.
Postulate #3-Propensity: for Action-Areas of potential civil or criminal litigation resulting in corporate resource erosion is a key reason for immediate enterprise action.
Examples of product or service offerings that would be able to tap into this reservoir of ready purchasing power would include:
· *IT security addressing Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) of 1996 and Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
· *Video surveillance technology for commercial property
· Business continuity products and services (e.g. disaster recovery technology)
· *Virus or spam screening products that prevent the loss or exposure of critical data (e.g. financial, legal, health care, etc.).
Whether a vendor’s offerings feature increased productivity or mitigating liability the benefit of lower cost and increased profitability must be communicated.
Postulate #4-Positioning: Vendors pursuing enterprise accounts should have a crystal clear understanding of a minimum of their three key competitors.
Going even further than the sorting fields discussed thus far, I would include: Channel Strategy, Financial Resources, Management Background, Name Recognition, Corporate Culture, Agreement Details, Past Litigation, Recent Competitive Failures, Product Weaknesses, etc.
Many early-stage organizations do not have the internal resources to develop this detailed positioning table. Nonetheless, whether you seek out an outside contractor or divert internal resources for this effort it must be done ASAP.
II. Value Proposition
The value proposition is directly drawn from the positioning exercise described in the first section. The key points to address when developing a comprehensive value proposition statement would include:
· Increase Revenues
· Faster time to market
· Lower Cost
· Increase efficiency
· Increase market share
· Lower Turnover
· Higher customer retention
· Mitigate liability
Postulate #5-Value Proposition Impact: The impact of the vendor’s value proposition is directly proportional to a) The number of points addressed and b) The degree the points made can be quantified (e.g. percentage, dollars, etc.) within the value proposition.
Appealing to the needs of all the “C” level officers is critical to a successful enterprise sales effort. Presenting a supported and quantifiable solution provides the enterprise with a clear path for its decision.
III. Enterprise Access & Facilitating Agreement
Identifying the right contacts within a corporation and facilitating agreement is the bottom line of the enterprise sales effort. Certainly there are solution coordination and account maintenance activities in the post-sale environment and we address those issues in future papers. However, getting the right people within the prospective organization to reach the decision that your solution is the best value is the desired result.
Navigating the maze of enterprise gatekeepers is a skill set that should be well honed by the sales professional at this point. However, there are several well-known lessons that are noteworthy:
A) “Dig the well before you need the water”(From the title of Leadership Guru Harvey Mackay’s book): The professional sales person should make an effort to keep in contact with former clients, associates, etc. Even a holiday card, or congratulations call after a promotion is appreciated. For new “wells” (To continue the metaphor), scan the local business journals for promotions (usually found under such headings as “People on the Move”) and send a note marking the event and include a business card.
B) “You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar” (Attributed to Tom Foremski’s and millions of mothers throughout the world): I have found that words such as “I have never had the pleasure to meet you” when talking or leaving a voicemail to a new key contact within a company or “ I would appreciate your guidance” when speaking to the administrative assistant of “C” level executives.
C) “It Takes a Village” (From the title of a book by former First Lady and current Senator of the State of New York): Plan on having key members of your company (e.g. Financial, technical, customer service, etc.) involved in the sales process. Likewise, it will be critical to address the needs of each the key departments (e.g. IT, support, operations, marketing, human resources) within the prospective enterprise customer.
D) Persistence: Any leading sales professional that has not closed a major account after months of seemingly hopeless effort quit to soon.
E) Bringing Home The Bacon: As indicated earlier, critical to a successful enterprise sale effort is addressing the needs of each key officer of the prospective customer. Think about how your offering:
· Human Resources: Increases employee motivation, reduce turnover, mitigate potential Worker’s Compensation liability, etc.?
· Finance: Reduce costs (and for which departments), increase the speed of reporting, provide additional expense monitoring, etc.
· Market: Increase market share, time to market, increase visibility, etc.
· IT: Protects against IT hazards and provide more timely reports of security breaches, increase the speed of information flow, provide better monitoring, etc.
· Legal: Mitigates potential criminal or civil liability.
Enterprise sales require a comprehensive and thoughtful strategic and tactical effort with the support and cooperation of all key departments of the vendor organization. In kind, the product or service needs to address the concerns of the key departments of the enterprise.