You solve their problems.
Large enterprise use lots of tools, widgets, and pieces of software in their businesses, but they tend to use the obvious, trusted solutions. They aren’t looking for a cheaper version of Box or a slicker version of Salesforce, for example.
But they are looking for two things, which allows start-ups to break though into big companies before they have brands:
- True innovation in their core processes. Almost all big companies now have innovation departments of some sort, as do many divisions and groups. The general idea is to bring in 1–2 new vendors a year that don’t risk taking the core business down, but could have a material impact on the bottom line. If you truly can change the way they do business, you can often get a meeting. I’ve done this in both my start-ups in the earliest days with 10+ F500 companies in the first 90 days.
- Solving top headaches, being the winning solution. Big companies do have budget to solve their headaches. If your solution solves a procurement or sales or finance or HR or whatever headache, and you hit the buyer at the right time, you can get a meeting. And often a sale.
Is this hard? Yes.
Is it done all the time? Yes.
You have to hustle, have the team to back up the commitments, and be able to sell a long-term relationship.
But if you can, it’s done all the time. Start-ups penetrate and close F500 and G2000 customers in their first 1–12 months all the time.