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Three Structural Elements for the Enterprise Sales Organization to Succeed

  1. Accountability and Empowerment 
  2. Eliminate Internal Friction With Other Internal Sales Teams
  3. Reduce The Number of Accounts EAMs Manage

The title for today came from u/more2222’s Reddit post from a few months ago. The post summarizes in a nutshell why organizations struggle to hire, train, and retain Enterprise salespeople.

Take a peek at the post:

Mid-market software rep for 10 years. Mostly marketing and ecomm space. Not interested in managing. Took an Enterprise field role at new company last year. Leader in space. $250 – $280k total. Handful large named accounts. Giving it until end of 2020 but the learning curve, time to build any pipe and 12-24 month sales cycles maybe not as good a match for my personality as I thoughtu/morg2222 Reddit post

P.S. the replies to the post are also worth a read.

The importance of selling to enterprise accounts has increased since the pandemic as they’ve weathered the challenges significantly better than small and mid-market firms. 

Hiring who you think is the right individual, even at a $250,000 – $280,000 compensation package, may not be enough!

I’ve previously authored posts on Enterprise Selling Solutions Keys to Success and Enterprise Account Management Common Mistakes, both of which may have helped u/morg2222 find success sooner.

However, this post’s focus is a few of the structural elements for the Enterprise sales organization to succeed: 

 

Three Structural Elements for the Enterprise Sales Organization to Succeed

1. Accountability and Empowerment

Enterprise Account Managers (EAMs) roles are typically the single-point-of-contact that owns the relationship and customer success. EAMs need to influence more than how a deal gets done.

While most EAMs leverage operational, executive, and sales support teams, it’s common for EAMs to end up structurally walled into a narrow business development role. Enterprise customers see right through this approach and quickly lose confidence in the EAM’s – it becomes clear that the EAM cares only about deals.

2. Eliminate Internal Friction With Other Internal Sales Teams

It’s become trendy to create an EAM role yet allow business unit salespeople to sell to the Enterprise Account independently and without coordination with the EAM. Another version of this approach is to have the EAM only work large strategic deals and leave the rest to the field sales organization.

Both versions of this pseudo-EAM role always encounter quota credit and sales compensation friction with the sales organization. More importantly, it creates confusion as to why the organization made the EAM role in the first place. This confusion builds internal resistance to field-EAM alignment, which inevitably leads to an organization deciding the EAM role does not work “in our company.” 

3. Reduce The Number of Accounts EAMs Manage

The magic number of accounts EAMs can manage ranges between 1 and 5, depending on size, complexity, growth potential, and so forth. More than five accounts are not for an EAM role but rather an account manager role. Account manager roles regularly are bogged down with administrative tasks and spend a minority of their time on strategic discussions or large deals.

There isn’t enough time in the day for an EAM to actively manage more than five accounts. Don’t believe me? Read this post on the number of working hours in a day. A small number of accounts enables the EAM to invest in the challenging work of strengthening the strategic relationship and positioning themselves as the right partner.

There is a bright future for organizations that establish the right Enterprise Sales strategy and structure, business processes, metrics, and rewards and install the culture, coaching, and behaviors. 

To that end, there’s much more to Enterprise sales than giving someone a title, list of accounts, and quota.

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