5 Must-Have Steps for Selling to Big Companies

Selling to big companies is one of the major focuses of many B2B sales organizations, whether you have an existing major account lead generation effort in place, or whether you’re a smaller B2B company trying to acquire some larger corporate clients. Big companies offer big rewards, just by nature of their size – bigger budgets, more complex (and lucrative) business needs, and bigger opportunities for the long-term growth of your business relationship.

 Unfortunately, many B2B sales people get intimidated by navigating the process of how to sell to big companies. If you want to sell to major enterprises, you need to prepare for a longer-term process of appointment setting, building relationships with multiple stakeholders, and possibly having meetings with decision makers from several departments or levels within the buyer’s organization. 

There are some common obstacles and misconceptions related to selling to big companies, but you don’t have to let the size of the company or the (seeming) complexity of the organization keep you from pursuing the opportunity.

Big Companies

Here are a few tips for how your sales team can close more sales with big companies:

How to sell to big companies – prove that you’re no fly-by-night organization:

One of the biggest objections that big companies have to doing business with smaller organizations is that they’re worried that the smaller companies (or their solutions) won’t be around in a few years. Big companies tend to have longer timelines and need to purchase solutions and services for the long haul. During your sales process in talking with decision makers at big companies, be prepared for this type of objection or skepticism. Look for ways to build trust and show that your company is well established and is determined to be around for a long time to come.

A few good strategies to build credibility include: 

  • Joining a professional association for your industry. 
  • Participating at industry conferences and trade shows. 
  • Getting active in LinkedIn groups that discuss your industry and sharing great content from your company page – show your prospects that you are up-to-speed on the conversations that concern them, and that you are thinking about the problems facing their business. 

If you want to punch above your weight when starting sales conversations with enterprises, you should also consider hiring professional lead generation services. Having additional support from dedicated lead generation companies can often help your firm look more established, and “bigger” than you are, in a good way – and it gives your team more capacity to pursue sales opportunities. 

Show That You Have the Capacity to Sell to a Large Company:

Another concern that big companies usually have when talking with new contractors or solutions providers is: “Is your company big enough to serve our needs?” Big companies don’t want to work with small companies who don’t have enough capacity to deliver what they need. To overcome this objection, show examples of big contracts that your company has handled, and offer references from decision makers at other big companies. Demonstrate that you can handle challenges just like the ones faced by your big corporate clients, and you’ll start closing more deals.

Another way to start off your enterprise sales conversations on the right foot is by using inbound lead qualification services. You’d be surprised how often this happens, but it does: so many small B2B businesses want to sell to big buyers, but are totally unprepared for the moment when an enterprise buyer actually contacts them. When a new big company sales prospect calls you, who answers the phone? What happens to that first call? Does it get routed to your sales team and handled with care, with all the relationship-building, lead nurturing, and advanced lead generation techniques that the customer deserves? Or does the call get mishandled, misdirected, overlooked or ignored? 

Too often, these massively valuable inbound sales leads fall through the cracks. Don’t let this happen to you! That very first sales conversation, especially if the buyer calls you, is often your best chance to show that you have the capacity and bandwidth to manage the relationship the right way – and deliver great results for the buyer’s needs.  

 How to sell to large companies – sell small before you sell big:

Don’t expect a big corporation to buy your full offering of solutions. Chances are, a company of that size already has plenty of existing vendor relationships in place – and will be reluctant to go through all the inconvenience and upheaval that goes with putting a big contract out to bid, unless they have a very compelling reason to do so. 

Instead of pitching a big corporation on a comprehensive package of solutions or services, start small. Do your research, talk with your prospects, and identify a highly focused problem that you can help solve. Ironically, selling to big companies might require you to start small – by selling a smaller subset of your product offering, or accepting a smaller profit margin or lower sales volume. 

But once you can get your foot in the door, you can expand your sales relationship over time – by upselling or cross-selling. Once you can convince your prospect of the value of your service, even if it’s a much smaller contract than you would normally go for, you can build up your credibility, deepen your relationships with other stakeholders and decision-makers, and make bigger sales to other parts of the company in the future.

Talk in terms of benefits:

One of the biggest B2B sales mistakes when figuring out how to sell to large companies is talking about your company and your product in terms of “features” instead of “benefits.” Remember that every prospect is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” And this is especially true at big companies, where time is short, budgets are tight, and decision makers are being bombarded from all directions with too much work, too little time, and too many sales calls interrupting their day. So before you start cold-calling big companies, make sure your sales pitch is sharply focused on specific big company problems and concerns, such as: 

  • How can your solution increase productivity, achieve cost savings, or reduce headcount? 
  • How will your implementation process affect various departments and internal teams at the buyer’s organization? 
  • How can you help your buyer look good to their boss and raise their profile within the organization? 
  • How can you help build consensus within the buyer’s team and larger enterprise? 
  • Does your buyer have a budget that they need to spend before the end of the year, or are they in wait-and-see mode? 
  • Is your buyer dissatisfied with their current vendor? 
  • Do other internal teams/departments see your solution as a threat to their jobs, or as too risky? (If so, look to assuage these concerns and show them why you’re a win-win.) 

Remember – big companies have their own unique cultures and internal politics; the same sales pitch that works for small businesses might need to be adjusted to meet the nuances of selling to big companies. Capture the attention of your prospect by honing in on the biggest problems they want to solve, and show them that you understand their perspectives and that your solution can help drive results for their business goals.

Track your contacts:

Selling to big companies requires a longer-term effort and a more sophisticated way of tracking your outreach. Plan ahead for which sales pitches and value propositions you want to emphasize within the different parts of the company and the different decision makers. Set up a dedicated campaign in your CRM system (or keep track on a spreadsheet) where you keep names, contact information, and detailed notes of every person you’ve talked to at the big company – whether they’re a decision maker, gatekeeper, influencer, or potential ally. Map out an internal org chart for your buyer’s organization – see how the different internal teams and departments intersect and overlap. Send helpful articles or industry news or event invitations, and keep track of which materials you’ve sent to which people – and then keep cycling through your lists of names, following up as needed and building relationships along the way.

Get more qualified leads.