At the enterprise level, reps are playing with table stakes. They need to have a handful of relevant skills they can deploy on-demand to win.
Of course, it’s much more than a game-the-system situation. Enterprise sales are typified by lengthy cycles, strategy, relationship-building, negotiation, and more.
The best enterprise sales training programs need to be tailor-made for your ace players. I think the winning ones have these six things in common.
Built Around the Buyer Journey
Most salespeople get to a certain point and find themselves stuck. They go through the sales steps like they’ve been taught, but then opportunity stalls.
That’s because the most common way to organize a sales training program is around the seller’s process — “Here are steps A-Z” — delineating what the rep should do.
But the best reps handle things in a way that supports the individual buyer’s journey. It’s a mindset shift that requires different skills. Reps have to be hyper-observant, excellent listeners, open-minded, discerning, and adaptable.
Training that mix of skills isn’t easy— but it’s the only way to sustain deal velocity.
Excellent sales training teaches reps how to think about the customer first, understanding what the buyer needs to evaluate to make a decision. Then they support that process rather than pushing their own agenda. That’s how you unlock deals that stay in motion.
Offer a Custom Opportunity Assessment
Every opportunity needs to be assessed. A lot of time and money goes into nurturing enterprise deals, and that investment deserves some due diligence.
Ideally, you’ll partner with a sales training organization that helps you create a custom assessment tool. Your organization is unique, as is your offering, and you need clarity so your people spend their time the right way.
You will have to prove the value of an opportunity based on the nature of identified problems, the problem that needs to be solved, critical business issues, and more.
Here are the three big questions to answer:
- Is the opportunity real?
- Can you win?
- Is it worth winning?
If you choose a boilerplate assessment tool, it won’t fit your organization. Why? Because it won’t have the details to assess the opportunity accurately. You need to work with a company or ensure you can customize the opportunity. Weigh and score all criteria based on your context, processes, goals, and more.
Gain Access and Move Upstream by Teaching Enterprise Reps What’s on the Decision Maker’s Whiteboard
In enterprise sales, reps have to work with multiple levels of decision makers. The first hurdle is to gain access, which has all kinds of innate challenges I address at length in my book, unReceptive.
They have to be empowered to move upstream, accessing people at higher levels of an organization.
Once there, they must be able to relate to those people. Going from “concrete to carpet” is a massive shift that requires different communication, and they’ll be successful when they learn to see what’s on a decision maker’s whiteboard.
The “whiteboard” is a term we use to describe what an individual cares about most: what are their defined, clear priorities right now? For instance, if they’re going to get in front of a VP of sales, will they be able to figure out and then discuss what that VP of sales cares about most? It’s different from what other stakeholders have cared about during the course of other sales conversations.
It’s vitally important that salespeople address this in a way that feels authentic and relevant. These are sophisticated sales skills, and the best enterprise sales training programs will have plenty of ways to build reps into capable handlers of these conversations.
Create a Framework for Discovery of Business Needs (vs. Solution Needs)
Enterprise sales reps need to see the bigger picture. Most reps are good at discovering product and solution needs but don’t understand how to have real business conversations.
Good sales training programs for enterprise reps help them develop a framework for business discovery vs. solution discovery.
This isn’t easy. In fact, it’s a skill that most sales training companies don’t even provide because it’s so difficult to deliver.
Ideally, working with a great sales training company specializing in enterprise sales will equip reps with a framework for leading a business discovery meeting. It’s the fast track to seeing what’s on the whiteboard and having a substantial conversation that moves the process forward.
Shape a Win Strategy With the Right Tools
An effective win strategy is purpose-built. A sales training company can provide mechanisms to build one of your own.
Your win strategy should include clear-cut, easy-to-use tools like these:
A way to identify and rank both formal and informal decision drivers — Regardless of how in-depth discovery is, there are both stated and unstated motivations driving a decision. Your reps need to be able to find out what these are and then rank them:
Is “global capabilities” a one or a five?
How about adaptability or customization?
Reps need to ask these questions and get an “out-loud” answer. Otherwise, they won’t know what’s important. Next, they need a tool to rank these answers, evaluating their ability to address those drivers compared to their competitors’ abilities.
A relational map — Enterprise organizations are large, and with size comes complexity. Who are all of the players and stakeholders? Who’s weighing in on this decision, and who pushes which lever? Reps need all that information, and they need to write it down… literally. Otherwise, they simply won’t use it.
Creating tools like these is mission-critical to approaching an enterprise opportunity armed for success.
Teach Sellers the Fundamentals of Teamwork
Enterprise deals aren’t won by a soloist. They require the whole symphony. With so many people involved, enterprise sales reps need to harness the team’s power.
Are reps being coached to work with other sellers, technical support, executives, and more?
Do they know how to work with and get the best out of all team members?
Are they proactive and timely with communication?
Do they have influence and use it well?
Regardless of rank or title, reps need to see themselves as leaders. They need to know how to manage and run a team in a way that everyone is aligned and understands roles and responsibilities.
The Best Enterprise Sales Training Programs Have…
The expectations for performance in enterprise sales are sky high. To set your reps up for success, they need training with a few central traits:
- Built around the buyer journey
- Offers a custom opportunity assessment
- Teaches them to gain access and move upstream by learning what’s on a decision maker’s whiteboard
- Creates a framework for business discovery (not just solution discovery)
- Shapes a winning strategy using the right tools
- Teaches sellers the need and fundamentals of teamwork
That’s a tall order. Fortunately, ASLAN’s enterprise sales training was built with these standards in mind. Check out our process here.