Dealing with the Complexity of an Enterprise Sale w/ Bridget Gleason [Episode 140]

My regular guest on Front Line Friday is Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales for SumoLogic. In today’s episode, I talk with Bridget about the complex enterprise sale.

Bullet Points:

  • How has complex enterprise sales changed in the last 5 to -10 years?
  • Why aren’t complex business sales isolated to large enterprises?
  • How does the perception of risk compare?
  • Why does the percentage of revenue matter?
  • Why is ROI significant when it comes tofor sales tools?
  • Why it is important to identify the other players involved in the decision-making process.

What is a complex enterprise sale?

Complex sales, also known as Enterprise, are sales that procure large contracts for goods and services, where the customer takes control of the sale by issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP). Complex sales involve a longer sales cycle with multiple decision makers.

Have complex enterprise sales changed in the last 5-10 years?

Smaller companies are just as sophisticated as larger ones. At the surface level, Bbigger businesses at the surface seem like they are more complex because they have more stakeholders. However, the technology is just as complex in smaller companies. Back in the day, the decision makers were more discreet. There are more people involved, even at lower price points, for small to mid-sized businesses.

Why aren’t complex enterprise sales isolated to big businesses?

The complexity comes from the product you are selling, rather than the complex nature of dealing with the larger enterprise. It’s the complexity of the product, the complexity of the decision-making process, and the number of people involved. It can be just as difficult and painful to get something through a smaller organization that is highly siloed and does not have a lot of cross-collaboration.

How does the perception of risk compare?

There are many challenges. One of the issues of complexity in selling to small to and mid-sized enterprises, is that their perception of risk is different from the larger ones. The perception of the perceived danger of making that decision contributes to the elongation of the buying process on the part of the customer, because it is harder to pull the trigger for them. In larger companies you are dealing with bigger numbers, greater impact, grander groups, and more prominent visibility across the organization, if a mistake is made. However, at smaller companies it’s not the magnitude, but relatively speaking, they may have the same perception as it being a huge risk. You can’t assume just because it is a smaller company or a smaller deal size, that they don’t view it as risky.

More About Bridget Gleason:

My first job in sales?

Selling and networking products and desktop computers for Xerox.

My most powerful sales tool?

LinkedIn Navigator

One book every sales person should read?

Winner’s Dream by Bill McDermott

Music that psyches me up before an important sales call?

I tend to go quite and focus and role play the call instead of listening to music.