In the world of Enterprise Technology Sales it is important to use technology tools that make one more efficient but not at the expense of building strong personal relationships that can only happen when people meet together and talk in a live setting.
Typically, Enterprise Technology Sales have a six or seven figure value. Many people employed by the prospective client get involved in the decision-making process for this size expenditure. A client committee is often formed consisting of a senior management economic buyer(s), a Project Vice President, multiple managers whose departments will utilize the software, IT representatives including a Chief Security Officer, subject matter experts, Finance and Procurement including Legal, business negotiators and contract specialists. The winning vendor in these types of scenarios is usually the one that develops strong personal face-to-face contact with each member of the client’s search committee. The winning vendor resists the temptation to rely too heavily on texting, email, social media and other electronic forms of communication. People still buy from people they like based on personal relationships developed through spending time with key members of the client team both at work and in a social setting such as dinners, drinks, sporting events and activities and parties.
In addition, the vendor that can write well, present well and speak comfortably and meaningfully to all levels at the client has a big leg up. If these skills are in place with vendor personnel, the vendor has the opportunity to understand and address each need at the client, understand the political landscape, understand competition in the eyes of the client, develop a close plan that accurately forecasts revenue dates and values, and brings proper resources to the table to address the concerns of the prospective client.
While the winning vendor is working their strategy face-to-face with high personal touch, many other vendors are missing out on a chance to win as they rely almost exclusively on technology as the only way to communicate – texting, email, social media, video conference, advertising – all the while establishing only a spotty, superficial relationship with the prospective client.
Examples of the benefits of face-to-face communications in Enterprise Technology Sales:
The ET solution purchase is only partially about the ET and services. Buyers want to purchase from individuals they know well and trust and from a company that will back up the messaging from the Sales Team. Face-to-face meetings are far more personal than a web meeting or any other type of virtual communication. By meeting in person with clients, the salesperson shows they value the business by putting in the time and effort to prepare for a meaningful face-to-face meeting. The client will feel like they got to know the salesperson and the company he/she represents which is difficult to do during an on- line meeting.
While technology and virtual meetings can be very efficient, there are constant openings for error. Customers and prospects can miss a key piece of information on a phone call or perhaps have a connection interruption on a web meeting and miss an important piece of information. In a face to face meeting the sales person has the client’s complete attention and can communicate without interruption or distraction on the part of the client.
It is important to strike a balance between personal and professional. In person meetings give the sales person and client a chance to get to know each other. It’s easy to get aligned with a client by looking around his/her office and striking up a conversation around an award, a degree, a picture or painting or any other item of interest. This sets the stage for the client and salesperson to share whatever ideas are on their mind. Before and after the meeting, strike up a light conversation about non-business related topics. This small talk helps make the relationship
Make sure the client and sales person are aligned with what will be discussed and accomplished in a face to face meeting. Be sure action items are understood, agreed upon and documented at the conclusion of each face to face meeting. This is another step in building a stronger relationship between sales person and client.
Face to face meetings allow all parties to observe non-verbal cues and body language. If a person appears tense or distracted the sales person can introduce a more casual tone to help create a more relaxed mood. The sales person can also ask additional questions of the client to regain focus and attention around key pieces of information.
Face to face meetings result in more natural conversation but it can backfire if a client stumps the sales person with a question or objection that was unanticipated. Being adaptive doesn’t come naturally but can be addressed through extensive preparation. Know your material ahead of time and learn all you can about your client. The more time spent on preparation the greater the chances of a mutually beneficial meeting between a sales person and client.
With over 35 years of senior sales management experience Clemens Coaching LLC offers clients the ability to maximize sales effectiveness in Enterprise Technology deals by helping to:
- Identifying key players
- Understand the overall needs of the client
- Map the political landscape
- Identify and knock out the competition
- Forecast revenue dates and values
- Construct pipeline ratios
- Identify risks to the deal and how to address them
- Validate assumptions
- Establish a steps to close plan
- Work contract and pricing negotiations
We will work 1:1 with sales team members to hone face to face skills with all levels within a client organization and build a sales operating plan to maximize close rates on strategic deals, address the Gaps in each Sales Team Member’s skill set and place a heavy emphasis on selling face to face from the C-Suite on down through the client organization.