5 Strategies for Managing Enterprise Sales Phone Calls
iovox welcomes guest bloggers to share their expertise. Today, we’re delighted to introduce Peter Banerjea, Co-Founder of SuccessIsWhat Marketing. Peter’s work frequently appears in Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Inc., Lifehacker, Sumo, and more.
Closing an enterprise sales deal is a huge win for your company.
You earn substantial revenue and a long-term customer. Moreover, having a large corporation as a customer is fantastic for your brand reputation.
However, selling to enterprises is complex and requires a very different sales approach than selling to mid-sized or small companies. Therefore, the way you handle phone calls with an enterprise prospect would also have to be quite different.
You can’t just wing it. Enterprise sales phone calls require preparation. What you do before the call will define how successful your calls and your conversions are.
Here are five smart tips for managing enterprise sales calls.
1. Define Processes
“Selling to enterprises involves sales cycles which are far longer than selling to small or mid-sized organizations. Deals usually take a minimum of three months to close and might take up to a year or more, depending on the nature of the industry and your product.
This makes it necessary for you to apply completely different selling processes for your phone calls as well as different benchmarks to determine how well you are doing,” says Steve Benson, Founder and CEO of Badger Maps.
You will have to make multiple calls with several stakeholders across the organization. Each of these calls will have a specific purpose, depending on who you are speaking to and the stage of the sales funnel.
For example, a preliminary call with your first contact in the company will be more of a discovery call to establish a basic understanding of what the company is looking for. On the other hand, a call with their VP of Tech to discuss questions around integration with their existing tools will have a completely different agenda.
Without well-defined processes for handling each of these calls, your sales team will find it difficult to navigate the complex web of enterprise sales. They will end up saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time, and might end up losing the deal.
What’s the solution?
Define processes for your calls with a project management tool like ClickUp. The tool allows you to create templates for projects and tasks. You can map different steps and discussion items that go into each type of call as templates in ClickUp. Each time your salespeople makes a call, they can refer to these templates and checklists to make sure that key agenda items are covered.
Defining these processes is also extremely helpful for training salespeople who have limited experience in closing enterprise deals.
2. Simplify Your Records
“What makes selling to large, complex organizations uniquely challenging is that you must deal with multiple stakeholders, often championing competing or misaligned business goals and then navigate frustratingly opaque procurement practices,” says John D. Elsey, President & CEO at Richardson.
How do you make it simpler to navigate these complexities?
One way is to keep detailed records of your interactions with different stakeholders. Referring to these records will help you understand the company’s decision-making dynamics more easily.
Maintaining records is simpler when you are talking over email, which is integrated with a CRM, but it can be maddeningly tricky over phone calls.
The solution is to use iovox, an app which is like an inbox for your phone calls. iovox will make it super-easy to manage your calls with features like tagging calls with keywords, mark calls as important, set reminders, add notes, collaborate on records and more.
Moreover, since salespeople often take calls on the road, it can be difficult to remember the details of each conversation, or exactly what action had to be taken. That’s why an app dedicated for phone call records can help you stay organized.
Let’s say someone new from the procurement team of a prospect company calls you. You have never spoken to her before, but iovox allows you to take notes after the call to maintain records of the conversation.
You can always refer to these notes later, as well as share them with your sales team, so that they are aware of the particulars of the discussion. After all, enterprise sales opportunities are often handled by teams rather than individual salespeople. You can also import all the data into your CRM.
3. Promote Teamwork
Enterprise sales deals are closed by teams, not individuals.
The purchasing company will have a cross-functional team for evaluating different aspects of your offer. These people would be from the specific function which is the primary customer (such as marketing, sales, operations, HR), as well as stakeholders from technology, finance, senior leadership and more.
Their questions will be diverse and it’s hardly possible for a single salesperson to have all the answers. Moreover, they will want to certainly want to talk to different people in your company such as finance, support, etc. rather than just one sales guy.
Patricia Fripp, President at Fripp and Associates, says that “Everyone on the presentation team must deliver a consistent message and be well rehearsed.” It can create an extremely bad impression if they hear one thing from a salesperson and an entirely different version from a support or implementation team member.
Delivering a consistent message can be complex in a face-face meeting, and over a phone call, it can be quite difficult to maintain. Especially when someone from their team is speaking to an individual in yours, and your other team members aren’t present to clarify gaps.
To do this successfully, your cross-functional team must work very closely to prepare consistent messages. This is where your processes will come in handy. Sharing call details with your team through the iovox app will also help.
However, for this to work, you must promote effective collaboration and teamwork amongst your people. Clarifying roles, rewarding teamwork, having team-based goals are a few measures that you can take to ensure that your people work in sync.
The more closely knit your team is, the better they will be at coordinating and maintaining consistency.
4. Make a Better Impression
Any enterprise sales discussion is a lot more complex than any other kind of sales conversation. Having these discussions over the phone rather than a meeting can be quite complicated. Therefore, you need to go the extra mile to ensure that your prospects understand you as clearly as possible.
For instance, you can use co-browsing to guide prospects through specific parts of your website. You could also do the same with screen sharing, but a prospect in the earlier stages of the funnel might not be comfortable sharing his screen with you. This is common in many large corporations which have strict confidentiality and compliance requirements. Co-browsing is different because it only allows you to see the prospect’s activity on your website, and not anything else on his desktop.
Co-browsing makes it easier for prospects to understand you, reduces call times and always creates a better impression. It’s one of the closest substitutes to an actual face-face meeting!
5. Build Relationships
Demonstrating credibility can be a challenge in enterprise deals if you are a startup or a mid-sized firm, but your prospects are used to buying from other large companies.
One way of establishing more credibility is to build better rapport with your prospects. “Try to build rapport with the decision makers at a personal level. Relationships and credibility go hand in hand,” says Irene Becker, Chief Success Officer at JustCoachIt.
Make sure that you use every single opportunity to build rapport with your prospects. A simple way of doing that is to talk about something personal during every phone call.
It’s not too difficult to bring up personal details and know a bit about your prospect’s hobbies or their family. However, what’s more difficult is remembering those details. Pick up a few quick memory techniques to make it easy for you to recall names, interests, etc. Something as simple as remembering their kids’ names goes a long way towards building rapport.
The best sales teams follow well-oiled processes for their enterprise sales phone calls and are extensively prepared for a wide variety of scenarios. Applying these techniques will make it far easier to for you to close high-ticket deals.
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Peter Banerjea is Co-Founder of SuccessIsWhat Marketing, a content marketing agency for startups and small businesses. His work has appeared in Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Inc, Lifehacker, Sumo, and several other top blogs.