No Single Strategy

I’ve recently gotten into answering posted questions on LinkedIn.  Its actually quite interesting to see some of the questions that people ask – many of them able to be answered with a simple Google search, but others are very thought provoking and I generally love to see a lot of insight from different points of view. 

The format on LinkedIn could be better in order to generate better banter back and forth – something more like Disqus comments – but nonetheless, I think generally its a good thing.

The other day there was a question posed about strategy for enterprise sales that I answered, and while I’m not going to re-post everyone’s answers, I thought that many of the answers to the question were thought provoking.

Here was the question:
What is the best way to sell enterprise software?
What do you think are the pros and cons of each of these methods:

1) Promoting Features the client will find advantageous
2) Devising Operational Solutions to solve a business problem
3) Advancing Strategic Enablers to change the way the client does business

Are there appropriate situations for using one method over the others? What alternate approaches might be helpful in facilitating software sales?

I intend to incorporate the answers into an article on my Software Sales Enablement column at http://greggnichols.com/s3blog. Thanks for your help.

This was my answer:

Gregg,

In selling enterprise software, the underlying technique should always be, “what’s in it for them?” By definition, a sales person needs to be nimble and adjust the strategy to the particular customer at hand. What’s their pain? What’s the reason they NEED your software?

Looking for a single strategy isn’t going to work. Selling enterprise software is not like selling widgets. Each prospect must be handled in a way that you understand why they need your software, understand the problem you are solving, and then construct a strategy that makes sense for that prospect.

In my experience, when you approach it as a consultative sale, you ultimately get a deeper relationship that lasts years and repeat sales. The prospect doesn’t feel “sold” and they honestly think that what you are bringing to them is something that is of value – and you aren’t trying to force on them features and products they don’t need.

The reason the customer may buy is often because of ROI, as Flyn suggests – but simply looking at the dollars may not bring in the entire picture. You need to understand the pain that the customer has that you solve. This may be a simplification of processes that bring efficiency to the company but don’t drive bottom line results immediately.

When you do this, you often get a customer for life. When you focus on doing the right thing for the customer and not solely on your quota, you will be amazed how much money will follow it. I have consistently crushed my quota with this method and my teams have consistently crushed quota with this method.

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This is a link to the entire thread:  http://www.linkedin.com/answers/marketing-sales/sales/sales-techniques/MAR_SLS_STC/285564-963883?browseIdx=1&sik=1217507874217&goback=%2Eama

  • I loved your answer, really put quite a lot into perspective for me. Thanks for taking the time to go so in depth, it is greatly appreciated!

  • I loved your answer, really put quite a lot into perspective for me. Thanks for taking the time to go so in depth, it is greatly appreciated!

  • Terrific post. I haven't gotten much out of linked in myself, but I may try again.

  • Terrific post. I haven't gotten much out of linked in myself, but I may try again.

  • John Crews

    great blog and article

  • John Crews

    great blog and article

  • John Crews

    great blog and article