What is “Enterprise Sales”?

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“What is Enterprise Sales”?

Good question. I get this question more often than you’d think-probably once per week on average. Today was the last time, so I thought I’d address it in an article.

All of my Sales/Sales Engineering methodologies are short, easy to understand and elegant. I use this method as it is easier for non-Sales Engineers to remember. Complicated doesn’t cut it with people under stress with a lot to remember already. So it is fitting that I treat the expression “enterprise” no differently.

Enterprise anything relates to people, places, things, or opportunities that involve strategic management, or management elements, in any company, group, or institution.

To understand this, you have to understand that are only two layers in any prospect:

  • Strategic Management
  • Tactical Management

Strategic Management is often referred to as above the line, and Tactical Management is referred to as below the line. This line is the line that delineates simple sales from complex sales, and relationship selling from selling on a web page.

Below the line, people recommend and implement software, whereas above the line people justify and buy the software.

One analogy I use is the difference between pushing an elephant up the stairs as opposed to pushing it down the stairs.

Most companies I have started at believed that getting in at a low level in a company was the way to grow the business and eventually gain acceptance at the management level where the buying power is. This, of course, is wrong for several reasons; Among them:

  1. Qualification (another article) requires access to the buyer. If you are spending money below the line, you aren’t spending it on moving the sale forward.
  2. Sysadmins love to have vendors buy them lunch. Tactical resources will tell you anything you want to hear in order to get a T-shirt and lunch. They have no buying power, so you are pushing a very heavy, expensive elephant up the stairs.
  3. The software is too expensive. There are such things as buying thresholds for managers. As you go up the managerial food chain, the highest $ amount they can sign off on increases. Enterprise software (software that helps a company be better) is usually way too expensive for a departmental, or even divisional, manager’s sign-off.
  4. You can’t affect standards at the department level. What this means is that you can’t adopt software, process, system, etc. standards at the department level-it has to come from above. When a company wants to instill a complete change that affects the entire organization, it is adopted at the top (CxO), and promulgated down in the form of established policy. THAT is where enterprise sales needs to target-even for the first meeting.I hope this helps clarify things! Good question! Have a question for the Sales Engineer? Let us know!

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