First and foremost, if your upcoming meeting a Business Discussion or a Product Demo and is it an introduction or a deep-dive? This is essential to know ahead of time as it will help you set internal expectations at your company – like with your supervisor who watches the pipeline like a hawk – and with the core experts that you plan to bring with you to the meeting.
Remember, sharp enterprise sales people always bring smarter people with them to their pitch meetings. These are the subject matter experts who will answer questions without being perceived as sales people.
KNOW who the participants of the meeting will be and what their “roles” are with regard to the company and your sale. Be briefed on known agendas of the participants of your meeting; are there hidden agendas or political issues to be aware of? Be sure to investigate if there are other vendors in the picture? It is unlikely that your contact will tell you who the other vendors are, but you should know if they exist and where they are in that process. Especially if that other vendor(s) have had influence on this topic OR the group of people you will be meeting.
Find out the allies that will be in the room. Do you need to win people over and, if so, why? It is essential to get as prepared as possible for your pitch. It is your one shot and your champion should want you to be success. What is the goal of the meeting – what are you there to accomplish – what does success look like? In other words, what does your CONTACT see as success – DO YOU KNOW THEIR AGENDA (business, professional & personal)?
There is a key point in that last sentence. Enterprise sales executives know that making the sale is as much about the champion as it is the company. In SMB sales, the buyer is emotionally connected to the spend. Not in enterprise. Whether is $10 or $10 mm, the buyer has no emotional connection to the money. They do have a reputation and career that is connected to that commitment and that they hold very dear. As an enterprise sales rep, you have to take that into consideration and lie the ELEPHANT, you would be well served to run towards it rather than avoid it. Investigate the goals and ambitions of your champion. Know their career path and who has helped them along the way. Are any of those people involved in this process? Do you want to promote your champion accordingly to that individual at the right time? Your friendship with the champion can be very valuable to him/her as well if you leverage it the right way. Mutual benefit always outweighs a one-sided deal.
THINK. GOOD sales people are relationship quarterbacks. As the sales person, you do not have product creditability. That is just a give. So bring experts and use theirs. But know that your experts are not sales people, so DON’T LET THEM SELL! Direct and guide your experts towards topical questions and away from sales questions. Prep them ahead of time so that they understand their roles. If they cross the sales boundary, they’ve blown their credibility and their value to you in the meeting.
ACT. Be ready for the meeting and bring the right people.. Be clear and control the meeting. Others should follow your lead. Direct the conversation and flow where you want it to go – ALWAYS ask the client if they are getting what they need and want. If you feel like you’ve lost control, rely on an agenda of questions and expected answers that you have had prepared in advance to reel in it.