Written by: Pankaj Raj Pipariya
About the author: Sales Director, ZingHR (Cnergyis Infotech Pvt Ltd)
Cricket is considered a gentleman’s game. Still often it is said that the real game is played off-ground between the two ears. It is required to work on thoughts and feelings, before action on the ground.
Another analogy is the famous bout of Mike Tyson (USA) vs Evander Holyfield (USA) in the year 1996. The match started a year ahead in mind and media, before the bout day. Hence it needed lots of perseverance and persistence to win.
The blend emerging now is a 3-P trio of Patience, Persistence and Perseverance, often triggered by the 3-C trio of CEO, Competition or Customer, to win an enterprise deal. This is achieved by making your brand as an aspiration and proud purchase (keep in mind that, most of the enterprise solutions available are more or less similar in nature from the delivery capability perspective).
Thus, to nurture an aspirational brand of your product and solution, the snob appeal, requires the following action items to be considered:
- Ringfencing the client: Map your target account from all possible touchpoints. Often it is considered that only CXO or Investors make the buy decision, but it’s a fallacy since such decision making is not sustainable and can be derailed by the executing team, who is an important influencer. Each and every touchpoint at the client place counts and need to be ringfenced with the right approach.
To give an example, one leading industrial product company sold rust preventive spray to a client in western India. The proven application was, to use it before and after welding to reduce the effect of unhealthy fumes, sparks and retain the quality of welding. The spray was induced with vanilla essence to camouflage the odour of petroleum, which was replaced with a sweet and pleasant smell. But the welding workers on the shop floor didn’t like it and refused to work. Eventually, the industrial product company need to convince and work with the field level team to save the deal and sustain the business relationship.
- Reach-out to all touchpoints: Who in the world will not feel connected with a personalized handwritten letter and cherish it for a lifetime than electronic communication, be it an email or a phone call. Usual modes of reaching out are; in-person meetings, email and social media. Post Covid-19 world has seen in-person meetings being replaced with an online meeting. Hence other mailers count a lot. The key is sustainable and continuous communication. On should be careful not to do unwarranted public tagging of clients in the social media posts, which are often not read.
To an enterprise client, we sell an aspirational solution than a product. In the consulting world, it is often said that we need to “help the client take a calculated risk” to align with your proposed solution. Hence educating the client in a sustainable manner and gaining top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) is crucial. This required not a hard sale by mailing product brochures and EDM’s, but soft selling by sharing industry research thought leadership, client business impact analysis (it is worth an investment to create them), curated industry news etc.
An important input is to use hard copy print outs of the key reports and studies and share them through the physical post. This content will remain on the desk and shelf of your prospect.
The sole purpose is to secure a “top-of-the-mind recall” from the client as and when required
- Reengineer and Replace by augmenting and supplementing: All enterprises will have some of the other solution and way of getting the work done. Replacing that totally will be an exceptional sell and needs a big and compelling reason to shift. A business plan need not be based on this assumption of replacement, but re-engineer a solution by strategically augmenting and supplementing the exiting process with the proposed solution. Remember slow and steady wins the race and it’s a team that wins an enterprise, not a person.
To close it with a famous dialogue in the iconic Hindi movie Sholay, “Gabbar Singh aka an enterprise deal, koi bakri ka bachcha hai jo daude aur pakad liya”. It needs sustained courtship, nurturing trust across all levels, proven solution and a collaborative approach to win and seal an enterprise deal.