The information gathered during the buyer intelligence research phase is just raw data until it’s put into context. Selling in the enterprise software market is unique; the contracts are larger and are often transacted offline, with a lot of paper documents and extensive legal negotiations. Because buyers invest a significant amount of their time to this process, and because they have more resources and access to information than a standard SMB buyer, the type of questions they ask will be much more intensive. Consequently, prep work for the meeting is more imperative in this space than others.
Three Steps to Prepare for an Enterprise Pitch
Step 1: Competitive Understanding
It’s essential to know ahead of time if a buyer is using a competitor or if they are first-time purchasers of a solution like yours.
If your prospect is using one of your competitors, tailor your pitch to address your competitive advantages. In other words, based on the comprehensive buyer intelligence you’ve developed, spend time identifying why they are or might be considering a change in vendors. Above all, consider what your competitor’s strengths/weaknesses must be from your prospect’s point of view.
Step 2: Experience and Customer Success
In enterprise software, highly relevant experience is a major checkpoint. The deeper you can go into a vertical market – even beyond the industry/vertical level – the better. Understanding your prospect’s needs and concerns at the sub-vertical level (for example, knowing the challenges faced by an apparel retailer within the larger retail vertical) will pay significant dividends in proving your value for an enterprise buyer.
On the other hand, if you are breaking into a new market for the first time, it’s important to know how challenging it can be to penetrate the barriers to entry. For instance, if you are breaking into Enterprise Travel/Hospitality, and you only have Retail experience, your first few accounts will be exceedingly challenging to sign on. Ultimately, the pursuit of these accounts will itself serve as an important learning experience for pitching future prospects.
Fortunately, once you develop a depth of sub-vertical experience, you will have a host of relevant case studies to prove your value proposition. This reduces the risk for the customer and makes your proposal more appealing.
Step 3: Integration and Impact
The most valuable benefit of having highly relevant use cases and experiences in a buyer’s sub-vertical market is that you can prove your flexibility and success with the systems, clients, and partners they are involved with.
To prove your relevant experience, you must know:
- Which systems your solution must integrate with;
- Which business partnerships/integrations you have (e.g. cartridges, APIS);
- Which systems your solution is compatible with;
- If you have current customers who have undergone an integration.
There is no substitute for intelligence when entering the sales process. Approach prospects strategically, and come prepared with more information than anyone else, and the likelihood of success will start to turn in your favor.