Episode Summary

Do you want to perform at the highest level of enterprise sales? What if you could learn the exact skillset, mind frame, and framework it takes to accomplish your goals right from a podcast episode?

On this episode of the B2B Power Hour, we talk to Ian Koniak. He's the founder of Ian Koniak Sales Coaching Inc. and former strategic account director at Salesforce, where he managed some of its largest enterprise accounts.  

If you're moving into enterprise sales from transactional sales, you're going to need to switch up your tactics: you're playing chess now, not checkers.

You won't be able to treat all of your prospects the same way anymore; B2B enterprise sales requires offering a solution to the organization's problem, working with key decision makers, and really getting to know the company so you can provide them with the most value possible.

Ian has pretty much broken the code for successfully selling to the enterprise. He created a framework to help determine whether a lead is qualified and give you the tools you need to close a big deal — it's called PREDICT. This framework isn't your run-of-the-mill sales methodology; it's based on years of trial and error in enterprise sales and is all about catering your process around your ideal customer.

From finding the lead's biggest problem/pain point to the reason they're looking for change now, plus how to identify and build customer engagement, this framework will help you land more qualified enterprise leads!

In this episode, we go in-depth on what it really takes to be successful in enterprise sales. Topics include the perfect enterprise sales skillet, how to set attainable goals, transactional vs enterprise sales, and how you can leverage your sales position to truly help clients succeed.  

What he does: Founder of Ian Koniak Sales Coaching offering private, group, and online sales coaching for tech sales professionals.

Key quote: "The key to being great in sales is to be really great at having conversations and actually listening and understanding and connecting with people — being a good person and actually trying to help and not being attached to outcomes."

Where to find him: Blog | LinkedIn

B2B Power Plays

Top takeaways from this week’s conversation

💡 Use the PREDICT framework to qualify leads and close deals.

Ian felt most sales methodologies were missing something so he developed a new framework, called PREDICT. Use this to assess whether a lead is qualified, where to budget your time, and determine how to up your success rate.

Most of the time when you use this framework, there are going to be some gaps, but that's to be expected! Then, it's up to you to work through the framework and figure out the next steps.

PREDICT whether or not a deal is going to close by following each step of the framework:

  • P: Problem. Specifically, a problem with pain — a problem's not a problem until there's pain associated with it. Ask why is this really a problem? What is it costing? How is it hurting our organization?
  • R: Reason. This is about the why. Why do you want to change? This could be at the organizational level or at the personal level.
  • E: Engagement. The customer is engaged with you; they're communicating openly, getting back to you quickly, and sharing information. This is a great sign you'll successfully close a deal.
  • D: Decision. This one refers to the decision maker and the decision process. It's almost impossible to close an enterprise deal if you aren't working with the decision maker.  
  • I: Impact. Impact needs to be considered on four different levels: the buyer/individual, the users, the company, and the customer.
  • C: Cost. There are three components of cost: the actual cost they're paying, opportunity cost, and your proposal cost.
  • T: Timeline. Why now? Maybe there's a specific event the company is working towards, or they're looking to achieve this goal by a certain year. This is where you'll establish a comprehensive timeline, including a go-live date.

🔍 Seek out agents of change.

One of the biggest shifts Ian made when he started doing enterprise sales at the highest level was finding agents of change in an organization.

You don't want to pursue or work with someone who's worried about making the changes you're suggesting. It's important to find people in the company who want to instigate change and are ready to fully embrace it.

🔑 Transactional vs enterprise sales: personalization is key.

Transactional sales are a grind, literally. Ian compares them to a coffee grinder: you put all of the coffee beans in, grind them up, and they all come out looking the same.

However, enterprise sales require a much different approach than transactional sales.

If you treat everyone the same way in enterprise sales, your strategy will be short-sighted and you could end up burning bridges.

The main difference between transactional and enterprise is that less is more when it comes to enterprise. Fewer, but better, prospects are best for enterprise. This gives you the time to devote proper attention to each individual account on a much higher level than you might be used to.

While you'll technically have fewer sales opportunities, you'll have the ability to make larger, stronger sales. Enterprise sales are no longer just about grinding, working hard, and setting as many appointments as possible.

Episode Highlights

Inflection points from the show

[4:34] Learn by doing: When you're new to sales, it's important to learn by doing (and probably failing). Some people think they can learn by simply absorbing information through reading books or listening to podcasts, but that's simply not enough. Ian gives advice on how to fail fast and focus on the process, not the prize.

[13:57] Transactional vs. enterprise sales: The hustle and grind of small business and mid-market sales don't carry over to enterprise. Ian learned this the hard way.

[18:05] Being a problem solver: With enterprise sales, you have to dig deep into your key accounts to find challenges you can help them solve and show them exactly how what you're selling delivers on that promise.

[21:55] The enterprise skill set: There's a reason the pay for enterprise sales is so high — it commands a high-caliber set of skills. You have to leverage your team, have good executive connections, and utilize strong communication, leadership, and selling skills.

[28:40] After the sale: One part of enterprise sales Ian doesn't see people talking about enough is ensuring the client has the support they need even after the sale — especially if you're in the B2B software space.

[30:49] Common sales mistakes: Ian explains the most common issues sellers make when moving from small deals to enterprise sales, especially when it comes to maintaining your reputation.

[34:06] Start small: Pushing for an all-in, full-price sale isn't always the best move when it comes to enterprise clients. Ian describes why you don’t want to take an all-or-nothing approach.

[39:02] PREDICT framework: Ian breaks down his framework for qualifying enterprise prospects and helping you close that huge deal. (Seriously, you're going to want to hear this!).