How to Sell Your Startup or Small Business Products to Big Companies

Selling to big companies is a challenging task. Every startup or small business would love to be a supplier to a Fortune 500 company. It is a dream come true. Most startups and small businesses will never approach the world’s largest corporations for fear of rejection.

They think and believe there is no way a large corporation would be interested in their product or service and the dream of selling to a big company is unattainable.

  • You built your new technology or service with the objective of getting it widely distributed. Nothing could be better than having a conglomerate as a customer and utilizing your company’s offerings worldwide.
  • You know your product or service is a game changer. Just getting a meeting with the big boys can help you with employee morale, investor confidence, and your mental well-being.

So how do we go about accomplishing the miracle of getting a meeting and selling your companies offerings to some of the world’s largest corporations?

“It is hard to be brave, when you’re only a Very Small Animal”― Winnie the Pooh

Incorporating an Element of IBM’s Sales Strategy

Sales strategies have evolved over the years. Back in the late 60’s, IBM developed a process in determining if a customer lead was real.

The process was called BANT, which is an acronym for Budget, Authority, Need, and Time Frame.

IBM’s management believed their sales team should not pursue sale leads that have yet to be analyzed based on the BANT criteria. They believed this process saved time and resources and ensured that there truly is a potential business opportunity worth pursuing.

  • Budget — Does the customer have a budget for your product?
  • Authority — Does the executive have the purchasing authority?
  • Need — Is there is a business need for your product?
  • Time Frame — What is the time frame for implementation?

Elements of BANT are still the backbone of most corporate sales strategies and in use, especially if you are one conglomerate selling to another conglomerate.

Selling To Big Companies: How Does BANT Help Me As Entrepreneur and Small Business?

As a small businessman, you often have to win over a whole corporation when selling to big companies. That means getting all key executives and departments onboard and trying your product. A very time-consuming process and the possibility exists that any one executive or department could kill the sale.

I have found an element of BANT that works perfectly for startups, small, and medium-sized business. It has helped me many of times in securing meetings and ultimately contracts. The element is the N in B.A.N.T which is NEED. IBM defined need as “What is the prospects business need?”

All Successful Large Corporations are DESPERATE to Stay Current.

How many corporations want to be the next Kodak, Xerox, or Zenith?

  • The successful conglomerates are seeking out the latest disruptive products and services.
  • They are out there looking for new innovative products and services and there looking for you!

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.“ ― Winnie the Pooh

Why Focus on Need When Selling To Big Companies?

Your product or service is their need.

  • They need your latest thinking and technology.
  • They need to stay current, not just to fend off competitors but to remain relevant.
  • They need to be involved with the disruptive technologies coming to market.

Your bookstore is no longer Borders, it is an App. Your written news is curated, in an App, not the printed NY Times. Milk and soda are in recyclable plastic bottles, not glass. What’s next for packaging? Biodegradable bottles are coming.

As a startup, your companies products or services are addressing the future needs of all corporations, including the world’s largest companies.

The successful executives from the huge international companies are visible. They are attending conventions and conferences; they are active on LinkedIn, they respond to suggestions and will even open an unsolicited e-mail if it addresses their companies Pain Points. Their pain is the need to be relevant in today’s marketplace.

If selling to large companies or getting new clients is one of your goals, the above suggestions will give you some confidence to reach out to these big businesses. Disruption in their marketplace has made it easier than ever to get meetings with and sell your offerings to big companies. If you like the blog post and you are looking for more guidance, learn more on how we can help you to identify your company’s hidden revenue opportunities.

Have you ever used NEED as a way to sell to big companies? What are your tips for selling into them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About The Author
Scott Johnson is the Co-Founder of Sozial Monster. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.