Defining Some of the Complexity of Enterprise Software Sales

We like approaching the topic of enterprise sales by first categorizing this unique process as a complex endeavor. Simply consider the typical first-effort process of an enterprise software sale to a larger business:

  1. First contacts are made to either a referral, or to a contact identified by direct marketing activity.
  2. An initial discussion with this first individual reveals that additional contacts within the prospect business must be contacted to obtain additional information that may be useful to qualify the opportunity (or to proceed further, whatsoever, with the sales campaign).
  3. Subsequent discussions with other identified individuals are held, but the information obtained from these discussions is inconsistent

What we can glean from the above three points is that several different individuals within the same organization need to be contacted, simply as we open a campaign to sell software to a large organization. Further, we glean that (assuming that we had the foresight to include the very same questions in our script for our discussions with each of these individuals) the opinions of these individuals very often differ on key questions that we have included to qualify the value of this opportunity as a sales prospect worth our time. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate to label this activity as a complex series of interactions.

What should be apparent about this complex series of interactions is that it is absolutely vital that we collect as much information as possible through each of these opportunities to interact with prospects. Our sales campaign will very often fail should we approach a large organization with a set of general untested assumptions about an organization, its needs, the benefits that matter, etc. Any general, broad assumptions become meaningless once we begin an information collection process while maintaining an open mind and simply listening to what our contacts are expressing, theorizing, etc.

Therefore, we think that the perfect personality type for at least the typical activities characteristic of the initial phase of sales campaigns for enterprise software is an individual who can make of an initial discussion with an otherwise unknown prospect a comfortable conversation where the prospect is invited to express as much information as possible. These initial conversations need not be approached as surveys, but, in fact, they have much of the same characteristics. The difference ought to be that the individual on the other end of the telephone conversation, or standing in front of your team, should have already been identified as someone worth the time it takes to go over your set of questions, meaning someone who truly will lose sleep some night should something go wrong with the computing systems that you are talking about.

We relish opportunities to work with innovative technology businesses looking to build organizations capable of successfully engaging in complex sales of enterprise software. Please contact Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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