Navigating Enterprise Sales: Finding a Sponsor

Navigating a large enterprise during a sale is challenging for many reasons: politics, bureaucracy, identifying the right decision makers, selling against internal initiatives, and the list goes on.

There are many ways to make sure your sales process goes well but there is a key piece of advice I wanted to share based on feedback and experience I have had with enterprise sales: find an internal sponsor who will go the distance for you. Sponsors are critical in helping a sale close as they help with navigating an organization, getting you in front of the right people and giving you candid feedback on product, strategy and pricing.

Here are some key considerations for finding and managing an internal sponsor:

Sales stage: You need to make sure that you find a sponsor as early as possible in the sales process. Getting them early will help get you in front of the right people and move the conversations forward at a faster pace.

Fit: Your sponsor needs to be a good fit within the organization. You want to make sure your sponsor has influence, understands the internal politics and most importantly, your product needs to be a fit with his her internal role and strategy.

Whats in it for them: The best sponsor-company relationship is when you can help your sponsor succeed. You need to find a way to make sure that your sponsor has a path to success as well, whether it’s a potential promotion, salary increase or increased influence within their organization.

Trust: You need to make sure that there is a strong level of trust with your sponsor. You need to be able to have candid and open conversations with them that you can’t with others at the organization you are selling to.

Alignment: This goes a long with trust, but you need to make sure you are both strategically aligned and that the sponsor is not using you for information, intelligence or technology.

Procurement: This is only applicable once you are close to closing a deal, but a sponsor can be invaluable in getting you through internal procurement and vendor management. Make sure to lean on your sponsor to help move things forward at this stage.

A sponsor can really help accelerate getting a deal done so always make sure you are on the look out for a strategic sponsor in the early stages of your sales process.

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