With the potential for long-term relationships and the prestige of trusted names, Fortune 500 companies are attractive prospects. For many sales organizations, landing one of these titans can boost revenue, and having a Fortune 500 logo on your website gets noticed by potential clients. Despite their size, selling to the Fortune 500 is still about building relationships, finding solutions, and providing value for individuals within those organizations. It can, however, present unique challenges. In addition to multiple decision makers, these companies can come with layers of red tape, making the sales cycle a marathon rather than a sprint, and sellers need to relish the small wins they gain along the way before closing the big deal. Here are four winning tips sales professionals should remember when selling to the Fortune 500:
- Identify Your Key Players
As the average Fortune 500 company employs about 60,000 employees, getting in front of the right people can be time consuming and a challenge. With companies this large, many employees have unique or specialized titles that you may not even consider. It is especially important to understand who they are. Use contact directories and LinkedIn to narrow the field based on responsibilities and seniority, and reach out to those who match your criteria. As with all large companies, it’s not uncommon to get passed from person to person before reaching your ideal contact. Use this process to your advantage. Note everyone you meet for future reference, ask questions, and take names.
- Tailor Your Approach
For the Fortune 500, tailoring your message and approach is essential. Fortune 500 companies typically move through the sales process deliberately, and you need to prepare yourself for what may be a lengthy sales cycle. Conduct extensive research into your contacts and get to know them. These companies deal with many vendors. Distinguish yourself by understanding their corporate culture and speak their language. Be flexible to accommodate rounds of presentations with diverse buyer personas.
- Establish Credibility Early
As indicated above, selling to Fortune 500 organizations can come with prolonged sales cycles in which you’ll likely engage with cautious executives and detail-oriented procurement teams. Establish credibility early on and incorporate results into your interactions with them. Rather than waiting until the end of the buying process, provide additional value by using market insights and introducing cost/benefit analysis. Line item any discounting early and along the way. This will make future conversations with procurement easier as they typically ask for discounts and negotiate. By having the details already outlined, you can lean on those details to preserve margins. As the smaller, nimble company, be patient, and show your dedication in quick responses and special attention.
- It’s All About Them
When dealing with a Fortune 500 company, do everything you can to ease the purchasing process. Engage in a thorough discovery process and anticipate their needs before they can become possible objections or challenges down the road. Be transparent about your capabilities and strive to provide turnkey solutions that are custom tailored to their needs. You need to understand the top strategic objectives that drive their purchase decision and anchor your solution into one or more of these strategic objectives.
For many sales professionals, Fortune 500 companies represent the ultimate success. In addition to the monetary potential, landing one of these companies carries tremendous clout and prestige you can incorporate into all your company’s marketing. It signals to prospects that you have been vetted and approved by a member of the upper echelon of their industry. More than anything, it shows clients of all sizes that a Fortune 500 company trusts you, so they can as well.