How to Sell to Big Companies
A question we get all the time is “How Can I Sell to Big Companies?” or versions of it like… “How can I get large businesses to work with me?”, “What is the best way to sell to a large company?”. It’s a good question and the good news is that the answer is fairly straightforward. What we decided to do is give you that answer and provide a step by step guide on How to Sell to Big Companies. This advice on selling whale size enterprises will work for any industry, but for our examples we’re going to focus on using print to demonstrate exactly how you can land those big accounts.
Determine if Your Company is Prepared to Work With a Big Company
Now it’s time to get real with yourself. You have to ask… “Am I ready to work with a large company?” , “Can my company support doing work for a big business?”. The truth is that not everyone is ready to work with really big companies. And it’s okay if you’re not. The last thing you want is to close a big account only to fall short and ruin a business relationship that could have been amazing if you were better prepared.
Big Business Sales Readiness Checklist
- Does your current team have the bandwidth?
- Can you be competitive against other companies?
- Can you afford longer net terms on getting paid?
- Is your company reliably delivering consistent work on time?
- Can you afford to double or triple your order volume in a short period of time?
If you can meet all or most of these items then you are in a better position to be able to handle doing business with big businesses.
Determine if What a Big Company is for Your Business
Another good point to cover is figuring out what a big business actually is. To some it may be working with a Fortune 500 company while for others it may be servicing businesses that doe $50MM or more and others may only be focused on the order size, so companies that only do $250,000 or more in business with them regardless of how large the actual organization is.
The thing is to have a solid understanding of who your target business is as it relates to the Large, Big or Really Big category of companies for you.
That way people aren’t misled into thinking that you’re only trying to work with Apple, Nike, Starbucks or some other huge brand when you might just be looking to work with companies in the top 40% of revenue generating businesses in your target market or target industries.
You’ll find it’s a lot easier to land bigger businesses knowing exactly who you’re going after and why.
Getting Your Foot in the Door with Large Companies
One of the simplest ways to grow your ability to doing a lot of work with big companies is to simply “Get Your Foot in the Door”. Many companies, especially print companies, hate doing small “one off” jobs, but the truth is that these small steps are trust building engagements which will lead to larger and larger work if you keep at it. Here we break down a few ways to make this happen.
Start Small and Work Your Way Up
Again, doing a small job can get you in the door, set up as an approved vendor, give you the ability to say you’ve worked with that company and get you visibility to other people at the company who could potentially hire you for work.
An example of this would be a print company selling some business cards or a small internal company event flyer.
Target Non-Vendor Approved Projects
This one could take a little social engineering because non-vendor approved projects are things that these companies need done, but aren’t getting bid out through the normal procurement process and are kind of on the side. It will still give you some credit with the organization and allow you to start building relationships to get more business.
How to Market to Big Companies
For this topic we really could go on forever, but to keep it simple you need to market to big companies to land big company deals. This could be as simple as sending emails to decision makers, buyers or influencers at the corporation or get more advanced by running ads targeted, sending direct mail to their offices and sending sample work as a kit to get them inspired or intrigued.
Play the Long Game When it Comes to Selling Into Huge Customers
Another hard fact is that it will take time to close really big businesses. In most cases these companies have existing relationships that have existed for years and to break that up is no small feat. You will have to build that relationship over time.
The things that will take time are…
- Getting visibility with the right people
- Building trust with decision makers
- Closing your first job
- Getting a second and third job
- Signing a bigger project
- Agreeing to a long term contract
This shouldn’t be discouraging, instead you should see this as an opportunity to take advantage of this process that once executed will put you in a position to land those big clients and customers as well as hold on to them.
Develop an Enterprise Level Sales Process
A critical component of selling into huge companies is having a solid sales process that will provide you or your team with the resources needed to get in touch with these companies, continue a conversation with the decision makers at these companies and land those deals.
The components of a sales plan that will get you in front of, stay in front of and close business with big companies are as follows
- Build your target company list
- Assign designated sales people to those companies
- Procure the names and contact information of the company contacts
- Share content and information with those contacts
- Set up meetings to learn more about what the businesses are working on, what their problems are, what they use regularly
- Offer sample or pilot offerings
- Invite the contacts to events, workshops or informational sessions
- Ask about upcoming needs
- Offer a discounted product or service as a first order
- Follow up by phone and email
- Track and store all of this information in a CRM
In many cases you’ll have a number of quotes that never get to a clear close won or closed lost status, but don’t stop reaching out. Even though this part of the sales process can feel like you’re being overly annoying (which you kind of are), it’s still seen as professional to continue the follow up to the end. Ultimately large businesses will respect it. And another point of truth is that many of these big companies take longer to close and something that normally takes 1 or 2 weeks to get to a sales decision could take an enterprise level customer 6 or more weeks.
Stay Consistent and Don’t Give Up
And lastly the most important part of selling to big companies is to never stop trying and keeping consistent in your messaging & outreach. This is age old advice… To never give up, but the truth is that it works. Continue calling, keep on emailing, share content, give, give, give, ask, ask, ask, follow up, stay positive, provide value and close the deal.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a slower period, a lull that feels like nothing is working, but you have to trust the process. By slowing down or pausing things you can ruin the moment that is about to come your way and you could miss out without even knowing it.
So How can you sell to big companies or really big businesses? Simply follow the advice we’ve given you here and it’s a guarantee that you will close new business, big companies, massive enterprises and reach the goals you’ve set for your own company (making you the big business)!