What's the best way to approach a Fortune 500 company regarding a business development opportunity? What people, process, tips do you recommend?


The best thing to do to start any kind of sales or relationship building process with a Fortune 500 company is to recruit willing champions of you and your company.

The good thing about Fortune 500 companies is that there are *lots* of people who you can potentially recruit. Many of them are active on Twitter and LinkedIn.

I've successfully sold to Fortune 500 companies this way and I'd be happy to share relevant tips with you.

Answered 11 years ago

You can do a little research on LinkedIn or Jigsaw about the right person to speak with. That's pretty easy stuff.

To start -- keep it short. The key to getting the best response is to frame your question so that the other company understands the value in continuing the conversation with you.

BTW, use a tool like Yesware or Boomerang to remind you when you've sent an email that has not received a response yet.


p.s. Lots more to this discussion. But that should get you started.

Answered 11 years ago

To add to what Dan, David & Tom have already said:

1. know the history of the company
2. find out all current news regarding the company
3. identify a current problem they are facing, for which you have the solution.
4. identify the relevant person.

Then you can make your sales call.

Hope this helps


Answered 11 years ago

To obtain a business development opportunity from a Fortune 500 company keep the following tips in mind:
1. Identify your target contacts: According to Stacey Ferreira, Director of Workplace Strategy at Work Jam, finding the right contact is essential to winning big contracts. Unlike working with SMBs, roles at Fortune 500 companies are not always consistent with those at other organizations. The vice president of marketing at one Fortune 500 could have a completely different role than her counterpart at another. Titles may vary as well for identical jobs. To be successful, you can’t think in terms of title — you have to think in terms of function. Use LinkedIn, company bios, and personal websites to determine the best people to connect with based on responsibilities, KPIs, and relative authority. If you end up getting in contact with the wrong person, but they are open to a conversation, use them as a resource and advocate to get connected to the right person. And do not limit yourself to just these initial contacts. Ask them for introductions to the other stakeholders; forging multiple relationships means you are less vulnerable if one of your contacts finds a new job, loses influence, or decides to focus on different priorities.
2. Map out the decision-making process: The larger the company, the more complex their decision-making process usually is. You are likely dealing with a buying committee of three to five people who will need sign-off from the executives, board, Procurement, and/or Legal before the deal officially closes. While this might seem intimidating, it is actually a great opportunity. You can set yourself apart from other salespeople by helping your prospect navigate the buying process. Not only will you earn their trust and gratitude, but eliminating friction means you will get the contract in less time. According to research published in HBR from Nicholas Toman, Brent Adamson, and Cristina Gomez, those who make the buying process easy are 62% likelier to win a high-value deal.
3. Expect a longer sales cycle: Selling into Fortune 500 companies is a long, strenuous process that can last twice as long (or more) than your typical sales process. In an SMB, you often work with just one person or a small team to close a deal. But because the Fortune 500 decision-making process includes more stakeholders, the time it takes to negotiate and close a deal with one will take you much longer. Your ability to navigate and stay focused is that much more important, so forecast extra time for negotiations and for the purchase to be processed. Spend time refining your content nurturing process for brands. Content serves a dual purpose: To educate, and to move prospects down your sales funnel to the point where they are deciding on their own to use your product or service. This is especially important for Fortune 500 companies. Make sure you have reasons to reach out, and double down on providing useful resources.
4. Provide immediate value: Fortune 500 companies are constantly plied with sales pitches, which means giving your standard value proposition and presentation will not be enough. To differentiate yourself, look for creative ways to add value upfront. Your help does not have to be related to your product or service. For example, HubSpot channel sales manager Greg Fung once landed the second-largest deal in HubSpot history by connecting his prospect with a customer who had experience with mergers in the right industry. Because his prospect’s organization had just gone through a huge merge, this introduction was incredibly timely and useful. Does HubSpot’s software have anything to do with mergers? No. Yet this move made Fung into a trusted advisor.
5. Establish your credibility: Although Fortune 500 companies have huge budgets, they tend to be more risk averse. Why? Leaders do not want to do anything that could reflect badly on their department or worse, hurt share values so they stick to the status quo. In addition, big corporations attract less experimental employees. And internal promotions are the norm, which means many of the people at the top have been with the company for a long time and are relatively unwilling to try out new ideas. The net result: To win a Fortune 500 contract, you have to prove you’re a safe bet. Leverage case studies, testimonials, press clips, and references. Show your influencer your product has a record of success. And use risk-reversal language, such as:
a. "It’s easy to cancel if the product isn’t working."
b. "Setup takes just a few hours and is almost painless."
c. "We guarantee X level of service."
d. "If you’re not satisfied, we’ll refund your purchase."
e. "In 20 years of business, only one customer has ever asked for their money back."
Gong’s research shows these disclaimers can increase win rates by 32%.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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