How Startups Can Use Sales Intelligence to Close Enterprise Deals
Entrepreneurs used to hear it all the time: target a smaller business first to get some quick wins; eventually, you’ll take a startup idea far enough to grab and hold the attention of a trillion-dollar market.
Trouble is, selling only to small companies is likely to be more costly in the long run. This might even pose an existential threat to today’s modern business. Why risk getting trapped in a selling dead zone when you can play in the big league of the Fortune 500 companies?
Enterprise-sized businesses with stellar earnings already want to buy from you. The shortcut to this opportunity is powered by sales intelligence—a surefire way to gain visibility, monitor, and act on meaningful prospect data. Winning a large enterprise deal is not just about knowing who the prospect is, but also when and how to reach out to this potential customer in an engaging and thoughtful manner. Through B2B sales intelligence, you’ll immediately gather all the contextual insights and buying signals you need to hone in on your in-market Fortune 500 prospects, pull back the curtain on their interests in real time, and drive the deal forward.
Startups should no longer sell themselves short. The following tips are intended to explain how B2B sales intelligence can help you make selling at the enterprise level possible with remarkable precision.
1. Flip Your Selling Perspective
Product/market fit (PMF) is the holy grail of the startup world.
Eager entrepreneurs know that achieving PMF is a true indicator of selling success. Simply put, when you develop a must-have product or service for a suitable market, you increase your chances of gaining traction in that market.
Once you start mastering the fundamentals of the PMF phase and help your audience understand the value of your product, your odds of generating leads and closing deals increase. Failing to do so makes it more difficult for a carefully-developed product to attract buyers.
This principle holds true in many cases. When it comes to enterprise selling, however, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Think about it: will a Fortune 500 customer adapt to a product that serves an entire market—even if it’s a highly targeted one? Or will that client opt for a tailor-made product that adapts solely to their organization’s needs? The latter is most likely your best bet. That’s why you should invert your selling perspective and treat each prospect as a market of one in order to:
1. Have a comprehensive understanding of your most valuable targets.
2. Build/customize a product to the needs of your specific audience.
But how can you have a compelling understanding of your target audience if you don’t even know who they are? This is where tools like Infotelligent can help you search for your ideal customers based on company size, company revenue, company intent, tech stack, industry, location, job title, department, seniority, and more. In fact, Infotelligent created specially curated lists for Fortune 500 companies to make it simpler for users to prospect them.
Today, you’re not selling to a single prospect. At the enterprise-scale, buying is a group decision. It’s a high-stakes selling scenario. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry—that’s where high-quality B2B data comes in. With up-to-date information about your top-tier accounts, connecting the dots across the entire enterprise takes mere minutes. When coupled with timely intent indicators, this data transforms into a detailed picture of your in-market audiences—from buyer interest to purchasing behavior, all critical data is at your fingertips.
Armed with intent signals and key firmographics, you’re now ready to implement your marketing and sales plan. Be sure to collect as much feedback as possible, iterate your product based on the feedback, and ultimately build a product your customers love and endorse.
2. Timing Is Key, But So Is Building Prosperous Client Relationships
The moment you grab hold of superior B2B data, one thought instinctively springs to mind: it’s time to push the sale forward. It’s natural. At this point, you have a clear vision of your most prized prospects. What’s missing? A strategic direction towards your main goal—developing strong relationships.
Persistence matters in B2B sales, but remember: the best way to seal an enterprise-scale deal is to work backward. Don’t put this indispensable skill to rest; instead, use it to tell your story. The strength of your client relationships rests on mutual understanding. With sales intelligence in your arsenal, you can stay close to what’s happening to the companies (and their industries) of your highly-qualified leads, and know if, how, and when to act on those insights.
Now, it’s their turn. Your potential B2B buyers have to understand what sets you apart from the competition and why your product can open their doors to bigger gains.
Remember: don’t turn into a salesperson—in the competitive world of the Fortune 500, enterprises are swarmed by offers at every corner. Be a problem solver. They don’t need more selling information, but context into how your product can solve a well-articulated issue.
Put the B2B data you gathered to work and craft a compelling message to clearly communicate a value proposition that is tightly tailored to a prospect’s goal.
But also, keep listening—every bit of information matters. Customer interest shifts by the second. As you read this, a corporate decision-maker might stumble across a roadblock only you can solve. Armed with powerful sales intelligence, such cues will not go unnoticed. Tracking up-to-the-minute buying signals, analyzing fine-tuned prospect data, and understanding emerging buyer habits will help you continuously adjust your strategy and go that extra mile to forge deeper B2B relationships.
Sure, it takes time; but ultimately, it will pay off. When all is said and done, your sales process can become shorter and the ROI higher.
3. Dress Up and Show Up: You Have to Be Where Your Audience Is
Every authentic relationship starts with a conversation—one that helps to keep your product top-of-mind and even inspire your next business opportunity.
In-person interactions facilitate this connection. You won’t find many marketing experts who would deny the importance of face-to-face communication in the B2B sales environment. It’s a two-way value exchange that works.
In-person connections are extremely valuable for a few simple reasons. Naturally, people are more open to discussion when they’re interacting in a less formal setting. Attending the B2B events frequented by your target audience is a can’t-miss opportunity for breaking the ice, enriching in-person engagement, and creating stronger bonds with top-of-the-range corporate clients.
Which industry events should you go for, you ask? Search local websites to look for events in your industry. LinkedIn Events and even simple Google searches can also reveal a list of upcoming and annual industry-related meetups. Finally, check your target companies’ websites and social pages to see what events they’re hosting or attending.
Once you discover where your potential customers could be heading, make sure you have a strategy for how to engage them. Enterprise prospects expect you to know who they are and what they’re looking for. Luckily for you, you have access to that information prior to meeting them. But don’t get the wrong idea: you’re not shaking hands on the deal just yet. So be present in the conversation at all times. No matter how much information you have gathered around a specific company, their success story is still being written. For all you know, factors you’d never consider to impact the selling process could help you close more deals.
Make a personal connection with your audience. At the end of the day, knowing as much as possible about your prospect eliminates the need for guesswork, and moves the sale forward.
There is no one right way to approach the Fortune 500 market. There is, however, one element that greatly increases your odds of selling success in the B2B enterprise sector: reaching the right decision-makers.
A successful sale starts before you have a direct dialogue with a prospect. It’s a long way ahead, but sales intelligence will help you get the most value from those upcoming interactions. Actionable prospect insights will guide you every step of the way. From start to finish, your sales journey will rely on groundbreaking, real time information that aims to help you articulate your vision and develop a customized offer that corporate decision-makers can’t refuse.
Enterprise selling is not a far-fetched dream—for many startups, it’s now a reality.