Succeeding in enterprise requires mastery of many complex and constantly moving parts. But as an account executive working on enterprise accounts, you only get to work on a limited number of deals per quarter. You can only look at a small slice of enterprise. That’s why it’s helpful to supplement your on-the-job learning with other sources. With a good reading list, you can access dozens of case studies and data generated by thousands of deals. These sales books offer a full curriculum on enterprise, tackling everything from C-suite lingo to common objections:
1) Selling to Big Companies
by Jill Konrath
Enterprise requires a fundamentally different skill set than transactional. In this comprehensive introduction to enterprise, Konrath explains why no one is responding to your calls, and how to better strategize for a major deal. Topics covered include developing a USP, leveraging your network, and differentiating yourself from other sellers.
2) Beyond the Process: 12 Proven Strategies for a Customer-Driven World
by Steve Andersen and Dave Stein
In today’s post-recession world, executives spend less than 5% of their time actively buying products and services. This means that enterprise sellers must understand the full cycle, not just the actual sale. Andersen and Stein present 12 evidence-based strategies for engaging customers before, during, and after the sale. Case studies from major corporations are included to illustrate how the strategies work in the real world.
3) The New Strategic Selling: The Unique System Proven Successful by the World’s Best Companies
by Robert B. Miller and Stephn E. Heiman with Tad Tujela
Strategic Selling was first published in 1985, introducing salespeople to the concept of a win-win. Now the authors are back with an updated version that shows sellers how the method works today. The book addresses many topics relevant to enterprise sales, such as how to identify the four most important decision-makers at a company and how to deal with someone inside of a target company who is trying to torpedo the sale.
4) Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon that Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges
by Tim Sanders
Closing major deals presents unique sales challenges. These challenges can be addressed through the seven-step Dealstorming process. Sanders advocates that sales leaders make optimal usage of their entire team, including people who normally outside of the sales umbrella. By assembling the dream Dealstorming team, sellers can get past the obstacles to major sales. The book includes real-world examples, templates, and exercises.
5) Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company
by Tom Searcy and Barbara Weaver Smith
According to Searcy and Weaver Smith, making transactional sales is akin to hunting small fish. There’s plentiful supply, so it’s a low-risk strategy. Yet hunting a whale—landing a major sale—is the better strategy for long-term growth. The authors use the metaphor of whale hunting to present a nine-phase strategy for bringing in those big accounts. They take sellers through the process of scouting prospects, hunting whales with the right team, and harvesting new accounts through excellent customer service.
6) The Key to the C-Suite: What You Need to Know to Sell Successfully to Top Executives
by Michael J. Nick
Landing major deals means entering the C-suite, and persuading key decision-makers that they should buy from you. But C-suite executives speak their own language, and it’s best to gain fluency before going in with a sales pitch. Nick offers a guide to the C-suite. He demystifies metrics like return on asset, return on equity, and operating costs. With mastery of the C-suite lingo, sellers can build a convincing business case and persuade executives.
7) The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results
by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner, and Nick Toman
The fundamental challenge of enterprise sales is that a big deal requires a “yes” from multiple stakeholders. Yet many of these stakeholders are risk-adverse. They prefer not to rock the boat by trying something new. The way around this problem is to identify a Challenger customer, who can then influence the rest of the team and facilitate a sale. Drawing from a robust body of B2B sales research, the authors show how to identify the Challenger customer and target them effectively.
8) SPIN Selling: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need, Payoff
by Neil Rackham
SPIN Selling became a classic when it was first published in 1988, and remains an indispensable tool for enterprise sellers. Using research based on thousands of sales calls, Rackham shows that techniques that work for making small sales, like “closing,” just aren’t effective when it comes to larger deals. To succeed in major sales, Rackham proposes the SPIN method, including advice for structuring the initial sales call, preventing objections, and more.
9) 25 Toughest Sales Objections (and How to Overcome Them): Surefire Techniques for Conquering any Resistance and Closing the Deal
by Stephen Schiffman
Making any deal means overcoming objections, and enterprise sellers face even more objections than transactional sellers. Schiffman presents the 25 most perplexing sales objections that sellers might face, including many objections that are unique to enterprise sales. Common objections range from an unwillingness to commit to concerns that the product or service doesn’t fit in with company culture. Schiffman translates common objections so that you can better understand what the seller is really saying. Then, he offers concrete suggestions for how to best address the concern.
10) Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company—and Revolutionized an Industry
by Marc Benioff and Carlyle Adler
Over the past decade, few companies have enjoyed more success in enterprise sales than Salesforce. In this book, Salesforce CEO Benioff offers his complete playbook for how Salesforce became a billion-dollar company. Although there is a lengthy section devoted to sales, Benioff and Adler also cover other relevant topics such as marketing, technology, and building a truly global organization. If you want to have a comprehensive understanding of how enterprise sales fit into the larger company operations, these sections are also must-reads.
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