When marketing your business to enterprises there are a number of differences to marketing to SMEs or consumers. We look at some of these differences and techniques that work.
Marketing to enterprises can prove very different to selling to Small to Medium Businesses and different again when compared to selling to individual consumers. You should be prepared for a much longer sales cycle in most instances and be prepared to go the extra mile to secure a sale.
First and foremost, you should determine that there is real value in your going after these potential clients because this value will not exist for all businesses. If you can only sell the same service, for the same value, to an enterprise as you would to a small business then it is likely to prove more profitable to sell to the small business.
What Constitutes An Enterprise?
First and foremost, we should look at what exactly constitutes an enterprise. Different people will have different answers and where some people may say an organisation with 200 or more employees is an enterprise, others may need to see 1,000 global employees or more. Others may want global reach, millions of pounds of revenue, and a board of directs that makes decisions. For the most part, anything over 250 or so employees could constitute an enterprise.
Identifying Decision Makers
When dealing with a small business you will usually find that you deal with the decision maker, who is also the buyer. Marketing your business to enterprises means that you may have to go through a chain of people until you reach the final decision makers. These could be buyers, directors, or the board as a whole.
You may not get to talk to the decision maker straight away and, if you can get the end users on board before you make your final approach to the big decision makers this could prove highly beneficial.
Try to identify budgets by consider revenue and profit levels. Also remember that different companies will have price barriers in place. It may be that a sale of £1,000 can be done through an individual employee while £10,000 needs to be signed off by their manager and £50,000 needs to go to the board. Bear this in mind when creating your price points.
Support And Service Levels
One thing that enterprises will demand more than small businesses is exceptional support. Smaller organisations will get hung up on pricing details and will be happy to deal with moderate response times whereas larger enterprises will demand almost immediate response to their communication. Some may demand phone support as well as email support but if you do only offer email support then be ready next to your mailbox to answer queries, questions, and support tickets quickly.
Search optimisation, Pay Per Click, and social networking will not prove as successful when marketing your business to enterprises as it would when marketing to small businesses. Be prepared to meet executives and directors in person and be prepared to attend seminars, trade shows, and other industry related events. Also be prepared to head to offices for meetings with board members and directors later in the chain.
Online networking can work although it will need to be highly targeted and direct. Online professional networks can give you access to the Inbox of decision makers within these enterprises and this can give you the upper hand when you are attempting to make sales and convince massive organisations to use your service. Again, though, you should expect to conduct some of the sales process off the Internet and in person.
The Extra Mile
Enterprises expect you to go the extra mile and they may well require it before they sign off on a purchase. It may be necessary to field calls and emails from many different levels within the organisation and, rather than a sales cycle lasting a week, you should expect an enterprise sales cycle to last at least a couple of months. The actual time it takes to make a sale will depend on the structure and organisation of the company as well as other factors.
Sliding Scales And Discounts
You may want to consider sliding scales in a bid to help you sell more effectively and profitably to enterprise customers. Whether you sell licenses, individual products, or services, if you can offer a sliding scale discount for those enterprises that purchase more then you have a good chance of selling more and securing a greater number of sales.
Marketing your business to enterprises should be considered very different when compared to marketing to small to medium sized businesses. It will take more effort and more time, and it will usually involve more people in a longer sales cycle and purchasing chain. Be prepared to put the effort in when marketing your business to enterprises if you want to reap the rewards.