When selling to big, brand-named B2B accounts, it helps to have patience. One of the more frustrating aspects of sales for early stage start-ups is the decision-making process and the slow pace of progress that’s inherent with enterprise accounts. A juicy, high-profile deal with one can be a game-changer for any small company, but making that happen can be arduous and time-consuming.
Certainly, the primary objective is to move along the sales process as quickly as practical. But it’s important to understand that most companies simply can’t move at the same speed as a start-up. And big companies can be absolutely glacial. Understand this. (As is often said, acceptance is the first step…)
There are innumerable reasons for the long process, and a wide range of obstacles and issues that come into play, including:
- committees and meetings
- a budget approval process
- the need to build internal consensus
- having to deal with internal politics
- waiting on legal review
- other projects, deals and distractions
- vacations and travel
- potentially competing or conflicting initiatives
- etc., etc., etc.
Simply put, large enterprises are big, slow-moving, inefficient behemoths. And they’re behemoths due to the multitude of complicated internal structures, personalities, and operations.
So when it comes to the progress on your deal, delays and silence don’t (necessarily) mean a lack of interest. But they do require you to have a strategy and a set of tactics to keep things moving.
So have patience. But be prepared.
Be Proactive to Keep Momentum Going
From the outset of your sales effort, you should be thinking about how you can:
- Create reasons to reconnect
- Develop multiple customer contacts, and stay in touch
- Have phone conversations
- Keep prospecting (and include their competitors)
- Visit the company
- Anticipate delays (and manage internal expectations)
There is an almost direct correlation with company size and the pace of decision-making. Selling big brand-name B2B deals can be worth the effort, but go into it with a clear eye, patience and stamina.
Remember, enterprise clients are essentially buying your ability to be quick, nimble and innovative.
So don’t expect it from them. Have patience.