As an Enterprise Relationship Planning (ERP) consultant, you know that your sales timelines are uncertain. The sales you close may take weeks or possibly even months. You also have a pretty good idea on how to sell ERP solutions, but at the same time, you think there are ways to improve your strategy, especially when it comes to getting your foot in the door with a C-Suite executive, then being able to present the most important information relevant to them.
This is good. There is always room for improvement.
According to a study done by Forrester, executives consider less than one-fifth of the meetings they have with salespeople to be valuable. As there are many reasons why these meetings are often unproductive, you will become the outlier. The only way to do that is by learning and practicing.
While trying to land your ERP sales pitch with the right people and closing it is never easy, it isn’t impossible either.
Follow these straightforward strategies below to prepare yourself and your leads with these powerful sales tactics that will gain you access to the most important stakeholder who ultimately wields the final say on technology decision-making, the C-Suite executive.
Now let’s get that contract signed!
How to sell ERP solutions to the correct C-Suite decision-maker
The very first step in this process is simple but underutilized, or just simply underestimated.
1. Do your homework on the organization and their needs from the get-go!
When getting yourself, or your tech pro prepared to pitch to a C-Suite executive, you need to get into the head of who you will be pitching to. You may have a generic high-level overview idea of how your ERP offering will help an organization, but until you really dig deep into what that specific C-Suite executive thinks/knows what the company actually needs, you will never be on the same page by assuming.
Take the time and do your research. Learn about the company and their needs as well as pain points with the current solution and how your solution can address those issues.
Figure out who the lower-level stakeholders in the company are that use your product daily, then reach out and connect with them. From there you can determine with them how your product will affect positive change for them. You should be able to address the following questions after speaking with these stakeholders:
- How can you make the organization more efficient and the lives of the employees within it easier with your product?
- What sets you apart from your competitors?
- What is the return on investment (ROI) with your product?
Once you are armed with the specific insights of the organization you are trying to sell to, you and your tech pro on the inside can work together to convince the C-Suite stakeholder why your ERP solution is the best option for them.
Related: How to Generate ERP Leads
2. Focus on the benefits
The second step of the process is being able to properly communicate the benefits of your solution, or setting up your tech pro to be able to get your message out clearly and concisely to the C-Suite executive.
When selling to C-Suite executives, it’s important that the solutions being offered are communicated in a clear and concise way. These stakeholders are looking for the solutions that can address these four questions:
- How will my business improve if I buy your product?
- How much time is this going to take to fully implement?
- What’s the possibility of this all going wrong, and how will you correct it?
- What is the ROI from this product?
How will my business improve if I buy your product?
“What improvements can be expected for my business, the company, in my department?”
“How significant are the changes and how are those changes implemented?”
“Will this address my current pain points or challenges?
These are some typical questions you’re going to have to be prepared to answer. If you’re not ready or unprepared to answer these business-critical questions, you will not be getting any contracts anytime soon. ERP consultants can get their tech pro ready by sending them content that focuses on metrics for measuring business performance.
These metrics vary from industry and department. Make sure to focus on the metrics which will have the most impact for your decision-maker.
How much time is this going to take to fully implement?
Another factor that’s important during the ERP sales pitch is addressing the length of time it will take to install, implement, train and see ROI results on the software they are buying from you.
As ERP solutions have a massive learning curve during implementations and training, and the data needed to obtain the ROI could take a number of weeks or months, it would be wise for you to send your tech pro the estimates in broken down into increments of information.
These reports can be broken down in weekly, monthly and bi-monthly blocks. Whatever way the C-Suite executive wants in reporting, you should be prepared to provide it.
What’s the possibility of this all going wrong, and how will you correct it?
Typically, with these types of ERP deals, a year-long contract is agreed upon. You can bet that the C-Suite executive you’re dealing with is thinking, “What’s plan B if this product just doesn’t meet the needs and demands we thought we were signing up for?”
It’s important that the quality ERP solution you’re offering also has quality customer support to back it up when needed. ERP consultants or the tech pro they are working with needs to communicate that if the product isn’t going to work, they will be able to provide insurance to give back that value to the client who bought the product.
Good technology companies will work with a client to scale/update the technology they use as a solution if the product doesn’t meet their demands. Other companies will offer an opt-out or money-back guarantee of some sort as well.
The point is: you don’t want an angry customer for 12 months. Clearly communicate what the plan B options are if for whatever reason your product doesn’t meet their expectations.
What is the ROI of this product?
Sometimes as ERP sale consultants, you can get caught up in all the bells and whistles of what your product has to offer. While that is certainly needed in the presentation, the C-Suite executive is more concerned about the ROI numbers.
If you’re able to communicate that your product will save them this amount of money, and/or will increase these hours of productive time in that department, and/or will save them these hours by automating a specific work task, then you will gain the confidence of the stakeholders involved in this type of purchase.
Combining the business-critical data that matters most to C-Suite executives along with the bells and whistles of your ERP solution will help you close these deals more often.
3. Follow up with your C-Suite stakeholder and to stay engaged with them often.
As you know, these ERP sales can take a while to decide upon even if you killed it in your first, second or third presentation. Depending on what solutions they’re picking out of your ERP bucket, it’s a huge time and money commitment that can be daunting for your decision-maker to ultimately pull the trigger on.
Also, let’s not forget that you’re not the center of the universe to this executive. Keep in mind that everyone wants the time and attention from this person.
So, it’s up to the ERP consultant to continue to follow up with both their tech pro and the C-Suite executive in a constructive, non-harassing way.
Continue the relationship by not just sending a phone call and email with the typical sales jargon. Reinforce the ROIs you presented to them earlier with content that directly reminds them of the capabilities of your ERP offerings and how it will improve business operations for them. This content can be shared in the form of infographics, one-pagers, short videos and anything that is concise and gets the point across quickly.
There you have it.
Remember to do your homework on the organization you are selling your ERP offerings to. Make sure you know exactly what their pain points are and how your solution can fix them. Make sure you can to retrieve the ROI numbers that matter most to the C-Suite executive you are selling to. By addressing the concerns that keep them up at night, you will have a strong showing on the usefulness of your product.
Finally, stay in touch with these executives by sending them content that shows how beneficial your product would be to them. Keep highlighting those ROIs in continued communications.
If you are an ERP consultant looking to partner your offerings with a payroll and/or a Human Capital Management platform, please read How InfinityHR can Help You Leverage More ERP Sales.
Related reading for ERP consultants:
The InfinityHR platform offers ERP consultants the scalable solutions they are looking for most such as Payroll and a full Human Capital Management platform.
The HCM includes the following modules:
- Applicant Tracking
- Benefits Management
- Employee Self-Service
- Performance Management
- Time and Attendance
- Time-Off Tracking
- Workflow Management
- EZSign (electronic signature)