By Henry Schuck, CEO and Co-Founder, DiscoverOrg

You know that feeling you have when you’re walking into a company you’ve been doing business with for years, and you stand in their lobby, confidently awaiting your contacts because you know these guys – you know what they need, their technology landscape, and who is responsible for which technologies. More importantly, you know that the solution you’re there to pitch fits perfectly in their environment.

How great would it be to head into every IT sales meeting with that feeling, fuelled by that degree of knowledge? If you are a start-up, wouldn’t it be amazing to start your IT sales cycle from this standpoint?

We all know the IT sales cycle takes significant time. No company is willing to talk to you until you have invested the time to thoroughly understand both their organization and their goals. More specifically, they will be expecting you to know what their open projects are and where your solution would fit in with those projects. This level of insight takes time to develop – but what if it didn’t? When armed with the correct data intelligence solution, even an eager start-up could approach prospect organizations with detailed understanding of the company’s structure.

If you are interested in how your business can fast-forward to the good part where you’re engaging with IT decision makers, you will want to read on for the key tactics on shaving months off your IT sales cycle:

Partner with Good Data
By employing an accurate data intelligence solution with a comprehensive set of sales tools, both small and large companies can enjoy the benefits of a long-standing relationship. Good data allows sales teams to engage with their prospects with total confidence. They can reach out directly to key decision makers within the organisations who have the power to champion your solution.

Traditional and public data sources can give you glimpses of the information you need, but a complete data intelligence solution gives you deep visibility into your target organization, so that you can see reporting structures, responsibilities and have access to complete contact information.

Be the First to Know
A particularly effective sales tactic is engaging with an organization when you have a buying signal – when they have a key leadership change, a new product, or an initiative underway. You should use a data intelligence solution that automatically alerts you of internal changes or new initiatives so that you can get a foot in the door faster.

Keep it Simple
Sales teams perform at the highest level when they are able to spend the lion’s share of their time actually selling. Working with reliable and accurate data, without the burden of keeping data keep and worrying about platform integration, leaves your sales team with more time to focus on what they do best.

A complete data intelligence solution guarantees that sales teams will have actionable, reliable data, that’s constantly refreshed and accessible where they use it. With this pertinent information at hand like this, even the newest player can take the fast-track to success.

But it's not just about the data and intelligence on the target itself, it is equally important to consider cultural aspects as well. Since businesses are continuously growing and considering the vast opportunities that expansion into the European market offers, you should also be considering extra “special ingredients” needed to form a strong foundation with a company that has a different way of thinking.

Managing cultural risk is usually at the top of concerns for many– and it’s so important for a business going into a new region to have a smooth transition by being aware of the culture and norms.

By allowing for the following essential points, you can make sure you develop a strong relationship with your prospect company and avoid any faux-pas:

While in certain situations, arrogance can provide you with a boost of confidence in a competitive business setting; it does not always translate well. Arrogance can keep you from gaining an understanding of crucial cultural issues that are important for success in your target market. If you are not prepared, vital cultural details can escape you. You should learn about your target market and learn from your prospects as you develop your relationship with them.

You can’t be a successful sales person without understanding the value of being intuitive and flexible. And when you’re doing business internationally, an extra dose of that is required. Preparing in advance for an international venture means gaining at least the basic understanding of cultural norms. Understand when and where the cultural norms demand that you do business and come to understand the people with whom who will be doing business.

That ace up your sleeve
In every sales opportunity, it works to your benefit to be as prepared as you possible. When the cultural aspect is involved, the need to prepare is amplified. Gain a highly detailed understanding before engaging with your prospect and it will multiply your opportunities to close a sale. Learn in advance of your first call what open projects the company has, what they need, and what contacts are your likely counterparts.

For a successful sale, whether home or abroad, preparation is key. Come armed with physical data that will help you make the sale as well as the cultural and behavioural knowledge of the organisation and your reward will be the solid relationships you form and the doors that you open.