Many salespeople aim to sell to large accounts. However, it takes a lot of specific skills and practice to execute this kind of sale properly. When looking for tips to sell to large accounts, your first step likely wouldn’t be to turn to Inuit techniques for whale hunting. However, Barbara Weaver, interviewed by John Golden, explores how this analogy can be incredibly helpful.
This expert sales interview teaches you how to sell to large accounts by exploring:
- Why whale hunting applies to sales
- The importance of good research
- Creating a strategic approach
- Executing as a unit
The Analogy of the Whale
Weaver is the founder and CEO of The Whale Hunters, a group that specializes in training companies to sell to large accounts. She got the name of her company from Inuit traditions and utilized it as a metaphor for going after large-scale accounts. The Inuit people would hunt for whales annually. They would spend all winter preparing for the hunt, which took place in the spring. When it came time for the actual hunt, each person had a specific role, and they had a formulated plan prepared before seeking out a whale. “It’s ancient wisdom for modern business,” said Weaver.
The first step in preparing for the “hunt” to sell to large-scale accounts is to prepare and do good research. Luckily, it’s quite easy to get information on your target company using the Internet. When trying to understand and conceptualize the hunt, it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture. “Enterprise accounts should be looked at as a market,” said Weaver. “You need to know pretty much everything about them, including their footprint, opportunities of what you could be doing with them, and their cooperate strategy. Have some idea of what they’re trying to accomplish so you can have intelligent conversations with their executives.” You can’t develop an enterprise account and grow that customer unless you have a strategy to do that in the first place.
After you have done your research, you have to have a concrete plan and a strategic approach to be successful. This approach is going to be much different for a more substantial account than it is a traditional size account. “You don’t approach that account in the same way you approach everyone else,” said Weaver. Part of having a strategic plan involves having dedicated resources that can be utilized specifically for large-scale accounts. Sales and marketing have to work very closely together throughout the entire process. A joint effort between these two teams is crucial for ultimate success. An account manager is also necessary. You need to have an account management approach, as well as an initial sales approach. Work with a cross-section of all teams, including leadership, sales, marketing, and operations. Working together as a unit will ensure that once you have located your whale, you can execute your plan and ultimately catch it.
Execute as a Group
If you have done your research and have a strategic plan, it becomes time to execute. However, to do that, all of the teams have to be prepared. They have to be ready for the hunt. “If everyone is not committed, you won’t be successful,” said Weaver. “The whole company has to be in on it. It takes a whole Inuit village to catch a whale, just like it takes a whole company to land an enterprise account.” If you’re not ready to go after the whale, you can go after smaller prey and work your way up to bigger accounts. The more companies you work with and the more deals you close, the more prepared you get to go for the larger companies you’re truly seeking. “By working with other companies, your company can start to understand how bigger companies behave. Your company will get more like them, more systematic, more sophisticated, more rules in place, and eventually become bigger companies themselves,” said Weaver. This kind of training prepares your company to go after enterprise accounts in the future.
About Our Host
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.
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