Enterprise Sales

Enterprise sales describes the procurement of large contracts that tend to be characterized by multiple decision-makers, complicated implementation, higher risk levels, or longer sales cycles.

Definition of Enterprise SalesEnterprise Sales refers to the process of selling complex and high-value products or services to large organizations or enterprises. These sales typically involve lengthy sales cycles, multiple decision-makers, and custom-tailored solutions. Enterprise sales teams engage in strategic and consultative selling, focusing on understanding the unique needs and challenges of the enterprise and aligning their offerings to address those specific requirements. The goal of enterprise sales is to establish long-term partnerships with large clients, generate significant revenue, and create mutually beneficial solutions that drive business growth.
Key ConceptsSeveral key concepts define Enterprise Sales:
Consultative SellingEnterprise sales often adopt a consultative selling approach. This involves sales professionals acting as advisors who deeply understand the client’s business, challenges, and goals. They provide tailored solutions and recommendations that align with the enterprise’s strategic objectives. Consultative selling builds trust and fosters long-term relationships.
Sales CycleEnterprise sales typically have longer and more complex sales cycles compared to other sales approaches. Sales teams must navigate various stages, from initial prospecting and lead qualification to negotiations, pilot programs, and contract finalization. Understanding and managing the sales cycle is crucial for success in enterprise sales.
Account-Based SellingAccount-based selling focuses on targeting specific enterprise accounts rather than casting a wide net. Sales and marketing efforts are concentrated on a select group of high-value clients. This approach emphasizes personalized engagement and tailored solutions. Account-based selling requires in-depth research and understanding of the target accounts to deliver value effectively.
Relationship BuildingBuilding strong, trust-based relationships with key stakeholders within the enterprise is fundamental to enterprise sales. These relationships extend beyond the initial sale and involve ongoing engagement, support, and collaboration. Long-term partnerships lead to repeat business, referrals, and additional opportunities within the enterprise.
CharacteristicsEnterprise Sales is characterized by the following attributes:
Complex Sales ProcessesEnterprise sales involve intricate and multi-stage sales processes. Sales professionals must navigate organizational hierarchies, address diverse needs, and align solutions with enterprise-wide strategies. Navigating complexity and coordinating efforts is a core aspect of enterprise sales.
Customization and TailoringSolutions offered in enterprise sales are often highly customized to meet the unique needs of each enterprise. Sales teams work closely with clients to understand their specific challenges and goals and tailor proposals accordingly. This level of customization requires a deep understanding of the enterprise’s operations and objectives.
Multiple Decision-MakersLarge enterprises typically involve multiple decision-makers, including executives, department heads, and technical experts. Successful enterprise sales involve identifying and engaging with these stakeholders, understanding their roles and priorities, and aligning solutions with the needs of all relevant parties.
High-Value ContractsEnterprise sales often lead to high-value contracts and partnerships. These contracts can have a significant impact on a business’s revenue and growth. Securing and managing these high-value deals require strategic planning and strong negotiation skills. The financial stakes are substantial in enterprise sales.
Examples of Enterprise SalesEnterprise sales are common in various industries and scenarios:
Software SolutionsEnterprise software companies engage in enterprise sales to provide tailored software solutions to large organizations. Sales teams work closely with IT departments, executives, and end-users to align software solutions with the enterprise’s business objectives.
Consulting ServicesConsulting firms often employ enterprise sales to offer specialized advisory services to large enterprises. Sales teams build relationships with enterprise decision-makers and propose comprehensive consulting solutions that address specific business challenges and opportunities.
Infrastructure SolutionsProviders of infrastructure and technology solutions engage in enterprise sales to deliver hardware, networking, and cloud services to large organizations. Sales professionals collaborate with IT teams and business leaders to design and implement complex infrastructure solutions tailored to the enterprise’s needs.
Industrial EquipmentManufacturers and suppliers of industrial equipment often engage in enterprise sales to deliver machinery, systems, and solutions to large industrial enterprises. Sales teams work closely with engineering, procurement, and operations teams to ensure that the equipment meets technical specifications and business requirements.
Benefits and ConsiderationsEnterprise Sales offers several benefits and considerations:
High Revenue PotentialSuccessful enterprise sales can result in significant revenue generation, given the high value of contracts and partnerships involved. These deals often represent a substantial portion of a company’s income.
Long-Term PartnershipsEnterprise sales focus on establishing long-term partnerships with large clients. These partnerships can lead to repeat business, ongoing collaborations, and referrals. Building trust and delivering value over time are critical for fostering these relationships.
Complexity and ChallengesEnterprise sales come with complexity and challenges due to lengthy sales cycles, multiple stakeholders, and customization requirements. Managing these complexities requires skilled sales professionals and strategic planning.
Risk ManagementHigh-value enterprise contracts can come with risks, including potential liabilities, service level agreements, and performance expectations. Effective risk management and contractual clarity are essential in enterprise sales to mitigate potential issues and disputes.

Understanding enterprise sales

When it comes to sales, it seems as if the only difference between one role and the next is the product a company is selling.

However, it’s important to point out that sales strategies also differ according to the size of the business.

Enterprises with clients who pay them six-figure sums annually will not follow the same sales process as an SMB that charges $50 per month.

As clients become more complex and their contracts more valuable, the enterprise may discover that the procurement process becomes more complex in turn.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the enterprise sales process is longer and more complicated than any other type. It requires numerous touchpoints, a nuanced strategy, and a great deal of forward-thinking.

Note also that enterprise sales processes should not be employed just because a company believes it has a valuable contract at stake.

Enduring the complexity of the process may be a waste of time if there is not a mature product to sell or a mature company to sell it to.

In general, enterprise sales is most beneficial for clients with more than 1,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue.

Key components of the enterprise sales model

The enterprise sales model is used by companies such as Salesforce and HubSpot which sell expensive and technical products that require training, integration, and customer support.

Irrespective of the company or industry, enterprise sales should only be considered when the product, sales, and support teams (and also monthly revenue) can absorb the intensive demands that will inevitably be placed on them.

This means the company needs to think about the following factors:

  • Security – will company data be fully protected over the duration? Can data access be restricted between teams and individuals?
  • Relationship-building – to close the deal, enterprise sales relies on the company nurturing a relationship that blossoms into a long-term partnership. It requires that sales teams play the long game, so to speak.
  • Proof of concept – other companies should be using the product in question with good results. Proof of return on investment is paramount because enterprise losses tend to be more significant.
  • Onboarding process – can this process be streamlined so that it does not slow the enterprise down?
  • Customer support – will someone be available 24/7 in the event of an emergency?
  • Automation – will the product save the client time or make more for them?
  • Solutioning – enterprise sales also requires that the company possess extensive knowledge of the client’s challenges, industry, and growth strategy. Sales teams that understand these points in great detail become more like consultants and trusted advisors over time, which helps with relationship building.

Case Studies


  • Salesforce is a renowned provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software and cloud computing solutions.
  • They excel in enterprise sales by offering customized CRM solutions tailored to each client’s specific needs.
  • Complex implementations, extensive training, and ongoing support are key components of their enterprise sales strategy.
  • Long-term relationships with clients are nurtured to ensure continued satisfaction and growth.


  • Oracle is a global leader in database management and enterprise software solutions.
  • Their enterprise sales approach involves catering to large organizations with complex IT infrastructure.
  • They offer a wide range of services, including database management, cloud solutions, and consulting services.
  • Oracle’s enterprise sales teams focus on delivering scalable and integrated solutions to meet diverse business needs.


  • IBM is a technology giant specializing in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analytics, and enterprise solutions.
  • They engage in enterprise sales by providing comprehensive services for large corporations and government agencies.
  • IBM’s enterprise sales process emphasizes the development of customized solutions and ongoing support to optimize IT infrastructure.


  • SAP is a leading provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and services.
  • Their enterprise sales strategy revolves around addressing the complex operational needs of large businesses.
  • SAP offers tailored ERP solutions that streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance decision-making.
  • Long-term partnerships with clients are nurtured to ensure successful implementations and ongoing support.


  • Microsoft offers enterprise-level software and cloud services, including Azure, to large organizations.
  • Their enterprise sales approach focuses on providing scalable, secure, and customizable solutions.
  • Microsoft’s extensive support and partnership programs assist clients in optimizing their IT environments.

McKinsey & Company:

  • McKinsey is a global management consulting firm renowned for its strategic advisory services.
  • They engage in enterprise sales by working closely with major corporations to address complex business challenges.
  • McKinsey’s sales process involves building long-term client relationships and delivering tailored solutions to drive growth and innovation.

Amazon Web Services (AWS):

  • AWS is a leading provider of cloud computing services for enterprises.
  • They excel in enterprise sales by helping clients migrate and manage complex IT infrastructure in the cloud.
  • AWS offers a wide range of services, including computing, storage, and data analytics, to support large-scale operations.


  • Cisco specializes in networking solutions for enterprises, including networking hardware and software.
  • Their enterprise sales strategy focuses on providing scalable and secure networking infrastructure.
  • Cisco’s solutions enhance connectivity, security, and collaboration for large organizations.


  • Deloitte offers a comprehensive range of professional services, including audit, consulting, and advisory services.
  • They engage in enterprise sales by providing strategic guidance and expertise to major corporations.
  • Deloitte’s sales process involves delivering customized solutions and innovative approaches to solve complex business problems.


  • Siemens is a technology company offering advanced solutions in various industries, including energy, healthcare, and manufacturing.
  • Their enterprise sales approach centers on providing technology and automation solutions to large corporations.
  • Siemens offers products and services that enhance efficiency, sustainability, and innovation.


  • Accenture is a global consulting and professional services firm specializing in digital transformation and technology services.
  • They engage in enterprise sales by offering digital strategy, technology, and consulting services to major enterprises.
  • Accenture’s sales approach emphasizes driving innovation, growth, and competitiveness for clients.

AT&T Business:

  • AT&T Business provides communication and networking services to large enterprises.
  • Their enterprise sales strategy includes delivering customized solutions for connectivity and communication needs.
  • AT&T offers a wide range of services, from secure networking to unified communications, to support large organizations.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE):

  • HPE offers a wide range of enterprise solutions, including servers, storage, and networking.
  • They excel in enterprise sales by providing businesses with scalable and secure infrastructure solutions.
  • HPE’s approach includes tailoring hardware and software to meet specific enterprise needs and ensuring reliability and performance.

Cisco Meraki:

  • Cisco Meraki specializes in cloud-managed IT solutions, including networking and security.
  • Their enterprise sales strategy focuses on simplifying complex IT infrastructure for large organizations.
  • Cisco Meraki offers cloud-based management and seamless integration to enhance efficiency and security.

Dell Technologies:

  • Dell Technologies provides a comprehensive portfolio of IT solutions, including hardware, software, and services.
  • Their enterprise sales approach centers on delivering end-to-end solutions for businesses of all sizes.
  • Dell Technologies offers customized solutions to meet diverse enterprise requirements.

SAS Institute:

  • SAS Institute offers advanced analytics and data management solutions for enterprises.
  • They engage in enterprise sales by helping organizations harness the power of data to drive decision-making and innovation.
  • SAS Institute’s solutions are tailored to address specific industry challenges and improve business outcomes.


  • Cognizant is a global consulting and technology services company.
  • They specialize in enterprise sales by providing digital transformation and IT consulting services.
  • Cognizant works with large corporations to enhance their technology capabilities and achieve strategic objectives.

Siemens Healthineers:

  • Siemens Healthineers focuses on providing healthcare solutions and medical technology.
  • Their enterprise sales strategy revolves around offering diagnostic and imaging solutions to healthcare institutions.
  • Siemens Healthineers aims to improve patient care and operational efficiency.

SAP Concur:

  • SAP Concur offers travel, expense, and invoice management solutions for enterprises.
  • They excel in enterprise sales by simplifying complex financial processes and enhancing visibility.
  • SAP Concur’s solutions help businesses optimize spending and compliance.


  • ServiceNow provides cloud-based service management and workflow automation solutions.
  • Their enterprise sales approach centers on streamlining IT and business operations for large organizations.
  • ServiceNow offers a unified platform to improve productivity and customer satisfaction.

Booz Allen Hamilton:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton is a consulting firm specializing in management and technology consulting.
  • They engage in enterprise sales by delivering strategic consulting services to government and commercial clients.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton focuses on addressing complex challenges and driving innovation.


  • SalesLoft offers a sales engagement platform for enterprises.
  • Their enterprise sales strategy involves helping sales teams optimize customer interactions and improve conversion rates.
  • SalesLoft’s platform provides tools for personalized outreach and sales performance analytics.

Key takeaways:

  • Enterprise sales describes the procurement of large contracts that tend to be characterized by multiple decision-makers, complicated implementation, higher risk levels, or longer sales cycles.
  • Enterprise sales processes should not be employed just because a company believes it has a valuable contract at stake. The client should have employee and revenue data exceeding that of a small-medium business (SMB) or mid-level company. It’s also important to possess a mature product.
  • The company offering enterprise sales must also be able to absorb the demands associated with long and complex contracts. These demands relate to automation, security, relationship building, customer support, solutioning, and onboarding.

Key Highlights

  • Definition: Enterprise sales refer to the process of securing large contracts characterized by complex implementation, longer sales cycles, higher risk levels, and typically involving multiple decision-makers.
  • Sales Strategy Variations: Sales strategies vary not only based on the product but also on the size of the business. Enterprises dealing with high-value contracts have distinct sales processes compared to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Complexity: Enterprise sales processes tend to be longer and more intricate than other sales types, requiring multiple touchpoints, a nuanced strategy, and forward-thinking.
  • Suitability: Enterprise sales should be pursued when dealing with mature products and clients, typically those with more than 1,000 employees and over $1 billion in revenue.
  • Key Components: Successful enterprise sales involve considerations such as data security, relationship-building for long-term partnerships, proof of concept with other satisfied clients, streamlined onboarding processes, 24/7 customer support, automation benefits for clients, and deep knowledge of the client’s challenges and industry.
  • Relationship Building: Enterprise sales rely heavily on nurturing strong relationships with clients, often requiring sales teams to take a long-term approach and become trusted advisors.
  • Solutioning: Sales teams in enterprise sales act as consultants, possessing extensive knowledge of the client’s challenges, industry, and growth strategy, contributing to relationship building and success.

Other business resources:

Related Business Concepts

Business Development

Business development comprises a set of strategies and actions to grow a business via a mixture of sales, marketing, and distribution. While marketing usually relies on automation to reach a wider audience, and sales typically leverage a one-to-one approach. The business development’s role is that of generating distribution.

Sales vs. Marketing

The more you move from consumers to enterprise clients, the more you’ll need a sales force able to manage complex sales. As a rule of thumb, a more expensive product, in B2B or Enterprise, will require an organizational structure around sales. An inexpensive product to be offered to consumers will leverage on marketing.

Sales Cycle

A sales cycle is the process that your company takes to sell your services and products. In simple words, it’s a series of steps that your sales reps need to go through with prospects that lead up to a closed sale.


RevOps – short for Revenue Operations – is a framework that aims to maximize the revenue potential of an organization. RevOps seeks to align these departments by giving them access to the same data and tools. With shared information, each then understands their role in the sales funnel and can work collaboratively to increase revenue.


In negotiation theory, BATNA stands for “Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement,” and it’s one of the key tenets of negotiation theory. Indeed, it describes the best course of action a party can take if negotiations fail to reach an agreement. This simple strategy can help improve the negotiation as each party is (in theory) willing to take the best course of action, as otherwise, an agreement won’t be reached.


In negotiation, WATNA stands for “worst alternative to a negotiated agreement,” representing one of several alternative options if a resolution cannot be reached. This is a useful technique to help understand what might be a negotiation outcome, that even if negative is still better than a WATNA, making the deal still feasible.


The ZOPA (zone of possible agreement) describes an area in which two negotiation parties may find common ground. Indeed, ZOPA is critical to explore the deals where the parties get a mutually beneficial outcome to prevent the risk of a win-lose, or lose-win scenario. And therefore get to the point of a win-win negotiation outcome.

Revenue Modeling

Revenue modeling is a process of incorporating a sustainable financial model for revenue generation within a business model design. Revenue modeling can help to understand what options make more sense in creating a digital business from scratch; alternatively, it can help in analyzing existing digital businesses and reverse engineer them.

Customer Experience Map

Customer experience maps are visual representations of every encounter a customer has with a brand. On a customer experience map, interactions called touchpoints visually denote each interaction that a business has with its consumers. Typically, these include every interaction from the first contact to marketing, branding, sales, and customer support.

AIDA Model

AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. That is a model that is used in marketing to describe the potential journey a customer might go through before purchasing a product or service. The AIDA model helps organizations focus their efforts when optimizing their marketing activities based on the customers’ journeys.

Social Selling

Social selling is a process of developing trust, rapport, and a relationship with a prospect to enhance the sales cycle. It usually happens through tech platforms (like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more), which enable salespeople to engage with potential prospects before closing the sale, thus becoming more effective.

CHAMP Methodology

The CHAMP methodology is an iteration of the BANT sales process for modern B2B applications. While budget, authority, need, and timing are important aspects of qualifying sales leads, the CHAMP methodology was developed after sales reps questioned the order in which the BANT process is followed.

BANT Sales Process

The BANT process was conceived at IBM in the 1950s as a way to quickly identify prospects most likely to make a purchase. Despite its introduction around 70 years ago, the BANT process remains relevant today and was formally adopted into IBM’s Business Agility Solution Identification Guide.

MEDDIC Sales Process

The MEDDIC sales process was developed in 1996 by Dick Dunkel at software company Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). The MEDDIC sales process is a framework used by B2B sales teams to foster predictable and efficient growth.

STP Marketing

STP marketing simplifies the market segmentation process and is one of the most commonly used approaches in modern marketing. The core focus of STP marketing is commercial effectiveness. Marketers use the approach to select the most valuable segments from a target audience and develop a product positioning strategy and marketing mix for each.

Sales Funnels vs. Flywheels

The sales funnel is a model used in marketing to represent an ideal, potential journey that potential customers go through before becoming actual customers. As a representation, it is also often an approximation, that helps marketing and sales teams structure their processes at scale, thus building repeatable sales and marketing tactics to convert customers.

Pirate Metrics

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.


The general concept of Bootstrapping connects to “a self-starting process that is supposed to proceed without external input.” In business, Bootstrapping means financing the growth of the company from the available cash flows produced by a viable business model. Bootstrapping requires the mastery of the key customers driving growth.

Virtuous Cycles

The virtuous cycle is a positive loop or a set of positive loops that trigger a non-linear growth. Indeed, in the context of digital platforms, virtuous cycles – also defined as flywheel models – help companies capture more market shares by accelerating growth. The classic example is Amazon’s lower prices driving more consumers, driving more sellers, thus improving variety and convenience, thus accelerating growth.

Sales Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Enterprise Sales

Enterprise sales describes the procurement of large contracts that tend to be characterized by multiple decision-makers, complicated implementation, higher risk levels, or longer sales cycles.

Outside Sales

Outside sales occur when a salesperson meets with prospects or customers in the field. This sort of sales function is critical to acquire larger accounts, like enterprise customers, for which the acquisition process is usually longer, more complex and it requires the understanding of the target organization. Thus the outside sales will cut through the noise to acquire a large enterprise account for the organization.


A freeterprise is a combination of free and enterprise where free professional accounts are driven into the funnel through the free product. As the opportunity is identified the company assigns the free account to a salesperson within the organization (inside sales or fields sales) to convert that into a B2B/enterprise account.

Sales Distribution Framework

Zero to One is a book by Peter Thiel. But it also represents a business mindset, more typical of tech, where building something wholly new is the default mode, rather than building something incrementally better. The core premise of Zero to One then is that it’s much more valuable to create a whole new market/product rather than starting from existing markets.

Palantir Acquire, Expand, Scale Framework

Palantir is a software company offering intelligence services from governments and institutions to large commercial organizations. The company’s two main platforms Gotham and Foundry, are integrated at enterprise-level. Its business model follows three phases: Acquire, Expand, and Scale. The company bears the pilot costs in the acquire and expand phases, and it runs at a loss. Where in the scale phase, the customers’ contribution margins become positive.

Consultative Selling

Consultative selling is a sales approach favoring relationship building and open dialogue to adequately meet the needs of a prospective customer. By building trust quickly a consultative selling approach can help the customer better meet her/his expectations and the salesperson hit her/his targets more effectively.

Unique Selling Proposition

A unique selling proposition (USP) enables a business to differentiate itself from its competitors. Importantly, a USP enables a business to stand for something that they, in turn, become known among consumers. A strong and recognizable USP is crucial to operating successfully in competitive markets.

Read: product development frameworks here.

Read Next: SWOT AnalysisPersonal SWOT AnalysisTOWS MatrixPESTEL AnalysisPorter’s Five ForcesTOWS MatrixSOAR Analysis.

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