Enterprise sales is a process designed to secure high-value contracts from major customers. Typically this involves long sales cycles.
Target customers are usually large businesses (often OEMs). They often have an annual turnover greater than £50m.
As sales cycles are long and resource-intensive there tends to be a high level of financial risk. If a competitor wins a contract all sales and marketing resources employed to win the contract are wasted.
Some businesses rely on the occasional major contract win as contracts can be high value and multi-year. The enterprise sales process is fundamental to their business. Appropriate marketing support for the enterprise sales process is vital.
Contract Driven Sales
Enterprise sales are often driven by the release of a major contract. For example a piece (or subsystem) of military equipment, a construction project or an industrial process plant.
These contracts will have several major elements, each of which flows down to major sub-contractors. These subcontractors are often the target of the enterprise sales process.
Several major subcontractors will typically bid to secure sub-elements of the main contract. The challenge for the company employing the enterprise sales process is to have a presence in each major subcontractor. If they only have a relationship with contractor ‘A’ but contractor ‘C’ wins the contract, sales worth millions of pounds could be lost.
Tracking Across Project And Prospect
An enterprise sales process must go further than focussing on individual prospects and decision-making teams. It is important to track both the prospect and the contract.
The enterprise sales process must be delivered efficiently across multiple target accounts. This significantly increases the sales and marketing resources required to service the process.
Many CRM systems track prospects and interactions with those prospects. Linking a contract structure into those systems is more complex. It is important to link across main projects, sub-projects, contracts and customers bidding on those contracts to cover all eventualities.
Marketing Support Of Enterprise Sales
Without a close relationship between marketing and sales, any enterprise sales process tracking across project and prospect will almost certainly fail.
Marketing and sales must work together to identify key projects and main contractor to subcontractor relations across those projects. With this in place, marketing can act as the main intelligence gathering party. Monitoring the status of the project, relationships between contractors and timescales.
Marketing should also work to identify competitor strengths and weaknesses in target accounts. While sales should feedback intelligence from the front line.
The challenge is to record all this information, so it is easy to update and recover by both sales and marketing personnel whenever required. This is beyond the capability of many CRM platforms.
With target accounts and prospects identified sales, marketing and key account managers should work together to ensure prospects have the personalised information they need when they need it. Marketing must build the brand and run awareness campaigns to touch those prospects sales find it hard to reach.
Some target accounts will be well covered, while others will not. What is needed is a combination of key account management and Account Based Marketing approach.
Read more about contract-driven sales here. The following posts describe the Account Based Marketing process.
We work with businesses as their contract intelligence and project tracking arm. We also offer Account Based Marketing support. To learn more call on 07747 042320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.