Monday, January 26, 2009

Selling into Larger Companies

One of my fellow BNI members asked me to help him with his sales plan a couple of weeks ago.

Up until recently he had been working mainly re-actively and with smaller companies achieving reasonable success. Now he has been targeted with opening up some of the larger businesses in the area and was finding it difficult.

With smaller companies the organisational chart is pretty flat and you tend to be talking, straight away, to the owner (director) of the business. His buying decision can be almost as if he is taking the money you are asking him to invest straight out of his pocket. His choice is do this or put the money towards the next holiday/new car.

If he is convinced that your proposal is the way forward, then he will 'instruct' everyone else in the business to fall in line and help you get the job done. It's a relatively easy yes-no process.
If you want to break into larger companies you may not be talking to those at director level initially. Getting this, lower level, person sold on your ideas won't automatically secure the sale.

This person may have to sell your idea up the chain of command. Two problems with that:
1: This person probably isn't as capable of selling your concept as you
2: They may not understand fully the agenda of those above and may not pitch correctly

The New Strategic Selling process from Miller Heiman lays out these problems and ways to overcome them.

Typically you need to find 4 key people within the organisation and understand their drivers and requirements
1: Financial Buyer - Probably just looks at the bottom line of a proposal and values against cost saving
2: Technical Buyer - Will this be fit for their purpose and is it significantly better than what they have in place
3: User Buyer - Is this going to be a pain to implement and run with or will it save time and effort
4: Coach - This person is critical to find. They will be sold on your offer and help you understand, and get to see, the other 3.

With those people identified you need to understand if they are open to change or insistent that the current situation is fine. Then you can start tailoring your offer to tap into their problems and requirements.

Working with larger companies can be rewarding as the deal size tends to be larger - but be prepared for some hard work!

The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best Companies

Roy Gough and Alloy CRM help businesses to generate revenue and profit through the Website Profit Program and real world sales processes.

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