Approaching corporations to win new accounts requires setting a budget, having a realistic time frame, and evaluating why the company needs specified services. The value offered to the company must stand out clearly. Understand that securing the opportunity to submit a proposal may take two or three meetings that occur from a one-month to three-month time frame. Following up with companies is necessary to demonstrate staying power for the purpose of building trust and credibility.
Compile a database of companies that have a vendor relations department or an entity in charge of securing competitive bids. Locate the department most likely to need the offered services. Ask fact-finding questions to determine when annual budgets are set and how outside firms may bid.
Network through local chambers of commerce and acquaintances to make strategic contacts. Network with complementary small businesses already working with corporations like small brand identity firms or independent office supply companies. Conduct research using social media to learn what companies "stand for, who their customers are," advises brand consultant Jez Frampton.
Draft a sales letter to introduce a value proposition that is, according to author and consultant Jill Konrath, "A clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services." Prepare a series of letters and other marketing materials to reach the contacts during at least a 12-month period.
Learn the corporations that host trade shows and hold workshops or seminars for the purpose of business procurement. Create a small budget item to cover the cost of traveling to, and attending, the workshops.
Schedule an initial meeting with a corporation's department contact and ask a series of assessment questions to determine budget, needs, and learn the decision makers involved. Thank the contact for the meeting, prepare and send follow-up materials to remind the contact of the value proposition involved, and request a second meeting that includes the decision makers.
Prepare a tangible demo of the service or product offered to the prospective corporate client in the follow-up meeting. Specify, step-by-step, how goals will be achieved and list each deliverable item. Provide applicable industry research to set the context for the proposed work.
Write a proposal that includes background information, the project scope, deliverable items, change management clauses if the project scope expands, and testimonials as an addendum. Include a price range or actual price. Restate in the proposal the benefits the corporate client will receive.
Write an appreciative follow-up letter and succinctly re-state the corporate client’s need, the solution offered, and the value proposition included. State a time frame in which a reply is expected, or politely state when another call to the company will occur.
Prepare a series of follow-up content for email and regular mail whether or not the proposal is accepted. Ask the contact for referrals to similar departments in other companies.
Make contacts with department heads and other executive decision-makers.
Create factual one-sheets to gain credibility.
Give select corporations "members only" access to website sections to communicate customized solutions.
Review the proposal.
Prepare to market for 12 months to 18 months for some corporations.
Know the cost of prospecting for corporate customers to avoid cash flow problems.
Do not try to "sell" a corporation too early.
- Make contacts with department heads and other executive decision-makers.
- Create factual one-sheets to gain credibility.
- Give select corporations "members only" access to website sections to communicate customized solutions.
- Review the proposal.
- Prepare to market for 12 months to 18 months for some corporations.
- Know the cost of prospecting for corporate customers to avoid cash flow problems.
- Do not try to "sell" a corporation too early.
Don Simkovich writes Southern California travel articles and news pieces for business professionals; to date his writing has expanded the online presence of local businesses. Simkovich attended the University of Pittsburgh, has a Master of Arts in communication management from the University of Southern California. His writing has appeared online in WSJ, USA Today and Desert Publications.