If you’re looking to attract and win enterprise customers, you must understand that they behave very differently in their purchasing journey than non-enterprise. The attributes that separate enterprise customers from non-enterprise are more than the fact that enterprise customers are bigger and tend to make bigger purchases. Their priorities are different and so is the manner in which they assess and assign value.
When you break down the path from Epiphany to Purchase, you'll see that enterprise customers go through what I call “The 3 Engagements Path.” Before I get into the details, let me first share a couple of notes and a disclaimer to understand why they follow this path.
- While enterprise companies certainly want to pursue the best solution/option, it’s what’s perceived as the safest choice that most often wins out. While this is true for non-enterprise customers, it is far more acute and more difficult to overcome at the enterprise level. The reason for this is the variety and complexity of larger organizations.
- Enterprise customers are slower at making decisions. The reasons for this are that there are many issues competing for time, attention and money from key people. The complexity associated with every aspect of the business is far greater. (For example, we work with a sales team today that is larger than 95% of companies in the US - the sales team alone is nearly an “enterprise customer.”) With so much competing for attention, it takes longer for areas to get the necessary attention and support.
Urgency also carries far less weight in decision-making at the enterprise level. Most senior executives at these companies realize that even if they bought the “greatest solution ever” today, it’s going to take months/years for it to fully embed throughout the organization; if a change is involved, the disruption that is a natural part of such change must be managed.