Are you ready to go big?

At some point, a high-growth company will make the strategic decision to start marketing to the enterprise. This decision can’t, however, be made lightly as marketing to the enterprise can be a whole different animal from marketing to small-to-medium-size businesses (SMBs). At Marketo, enterprise companies are defined as companies that have 3,000+ employees and $500M+ in annual revenue. Learning how to market your product or service to these behemoth companies is important to any company looking to grow, which is why we’ve put together a list of questions to ask yourself if you decide that marketing to the enterprise is something that makes sense for your company.

Here are 9 questions companies must consider (and answer!) in order to effectively market to the enterprise:

1. Who in the organization drives the decision to adopt a new product or service? Or, who is the decision maker?

One of the hardest parts of marketing to the enterprise is that enterprise teams are larger in general. So, determining whether your database has marketable contacts who are decision makers can help determine whether you are adequately prepared in the first place to create opportunities within a large organization.

2. Who has the power to veto this decision?

A lot of enterprise marketing involves executive level campaigns and strategies. Executives can be decision makers, but when it comes to adopting a new product or service, they may delegate that responsibility to someone else who’s closer to the day-to-day business. In this case, you still need to make sure that the executive team are aware of the product or service and know enough about it to capture their interest. This is important because they will likely transfer the responsibility of looking into the product or service to someone else. So make sure you make an impact with a good first impression of the product or service to the executive so that the idea is at least taken into consideration.

3. Who needs to be considered in this decision? Who are the key stakeholders?

Enterprise marketing requires addressing an opportunity from multiple angles. In small SMBs, only a few people are involved in a decision. In large companies, it’s entire departments that have a say. So, how do you influence IT, sales, marketing, or any other department that might have a strong opinion on whether or not they would like to adopt your product or service? You must come up with a plan that presents a strong business case to each of these stakeholders, showing each of them how their work will be fortified (and their lives made easier) by adoption of your product or service.

4. Who else is affected by this decision?

Before a decision is made to adopt the product or service, there needs to be thought put into who in the organization—beyond the executive team and individual departments as a whole—this decision affects. Meaning, how do you train the coordinators, specialists, and managers who now need to learn how to use a brand new piece of software…and well? A change management strategy needs to be carried out in order to make the transition as widely accepted and as smooth as possible, especially for those who are on the front lines. Your marketing strategy should include setting up a plan to help the enterprise facilitate this process, along with implementing education programs. This will make your company stand out from competitors whose product or service may be in consideration, too. Don’t just be a vendor; position yourself as a partner.

5. How can we meet with the decision maker?

You know very well that just because you’ve identified who the decision maker is doesn’t mean you’re able to get face time with them. Enterprise field marketing is about creating opportunities for your salespeople to meet with potential decision makers and hopefully persuade them. As previously mentioned, having a marketable database of these decision makers is important, otherwise you need to figure out how you’re going to build one through executive events and content.

6. Are we able to educate or persuade the decision maker?

Reaching the enterprise is not just about marketing. It is much more about sales. Ask yourself whether your sales team is adequately prepared to sell to the decision maker. This requires your sales team to be properly trained and armed with the right arguments that touch on solutions for potential customer problems.

7. Are we able to help the decision maker educate and persuade other groups in their organization?

At Marketo, we’ve created guides for decision makers to make sound arguments to other stakeholders within their companies. You not only want to have arguments prepared for your sales team, but you also want to have arguments ready to go for your potential customers so that they can make arguments to their internal counterparts and stakeholders. (Side note: This means that they’re helping you to do your job! So make sure you prepare and present those arguments to them in fine form with the exact message you want conveyed).

8. How can we be sure to maintain the customer’s loyalty and advocacy over time?

Once a customer signs on, onboarding them properly and getting them to a point where they are successfully using your product or service is incredibly important to retention and renewal. A lot of companies focus so much on prospecting and obtaining clients that they forget about retaining those customers over a long period of time. Don’t let that happen. As previously mentioned, it’s important to position yourself from the get-go as a long-term partner who’s focused on seeing your customer succeed, not just a vendor who’s focused on selling them something and walking away.

9. Can we guide and support the customer in identifying their organizational needs and how to address them in an operationally efficient and easy way?

Companies purchase a new product or service with the desire to solve an internal problem, but sometimes once they’ve purchased it they also want perspective on how to solve their problem from an organizational and human level—not just on a campaign level.

Now that you’ve gone through these questions, you should be able to think about how you want to structure your teams, which metrics you may want to evaluate them by, as well as what data you need to start collecting or cleaning up to effectively be able to execute marketing campaigns that are successful at penetrating the enterprise market.

Enterprise marketing and sales is a long term game. After going through these questions, are you ready to play it?

Can you think of a tenth question to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!