Selling to the Big Guys

Great post over at Will Price’s blog. I’ve excerpted my favorite section here for future reference:

In order to sell against giants, Jamie laid out the following suggestions:

He joked that selling against incumbents is more like jetskiing with whales than like swimming with sharks

  • Focus on competing with bloated products that are overly complex to install, overly complex to price, and where the cost of sale requires very large deal sizes
  • Sell into a market frustrated, scarred, and damaged by the incumbent vendors – lots of shelfware and history of failed implementations
  • Pick markets where the incumbents illustrate a history of incompetence evidenced by frequent CEO changes, failed mega acquisitions, failed customer projects, etc
  • Don’t bloody your nose – sell where they cannot afford to compete (mid market or via delivery models they cannot afford to mimic). Don’t take them head on – nip at their heels
  • Sell deal sizes their sales teams, cost of sales, and quota models cannot support
  • Leverage start-ups strengths: Speed, agility, service
  • Executive sponsorship
  • Pricing flexibility
  • Attention and support
  • Fight FUD and vendor viability attacks: Sell your business fundamentals when they question your viability and staying power, Walk the customer through the clear demand for the product, customer references and case studies, profitability or revenue run rate, and quality of the team

I’m also reading Mike Southon’s "Sales on a Beermat", which is good reading for both novices and seasoned sales professionals.

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