Closing a blockbuster multi-million dollar deal with a Fortune 100 company can be a massive win for a startup.
But don’t get too attached to the idea without knowing what you’re getting into.
Enterprise sales is not a simple switch to make from SMB sales — it’s a completely different beast.
I recently caught up with a founder I talked to last year who didn’t have the time (or desire) to deal with sales and wanted to hire someone to ‘”validate the market” for him. While his product was interesting, I respectfully declined as I could see the danger ahead.
Fast forward to more than a year later and he resurfaced. According to him, the salesperson/leader he hired wasn’t able to validate the market, their product wasn’t going over well with their customers, their churn was high, and it was the mis-hire’s fault.
As I dug deeper, it was clear a lot of the wrong assumptions had been made without an understanding of what enterprise sales is all about.
If he replaces the hire but still has no idea what the market needs, how is that going to stop the bleeding? After all, the marketplace speaks the loudest, and without customers you don’t have a business.
Enterprise sales requires an entirely different level of experience and skillset to be successful. As a startup, you can’t afford to dive into the deep end without knowing how to swim.
It’s a challenging market segment to tackle as you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. But if you do your research, prepare and develop a bulletproof (and repeatable) sales process you can set yourself up for long-term success. The key things here are patience, prioritization and quality engagement to create lasting results that truly scale a business for the long haul.
Make no mistake, it’s not something you just decide to do and the success immediately follows.