How to Sell to Enterprises in India?

At Malpani Ventures, we primarily focus on B2B use cases by startups. More often our startups end up selling to enterprises and large organizations

Here are some of our learnings from selling to large companies in India:

Selling to enterprises in India can be a lucrative but challenging endeavor. The market is vast and diverse, and understanding the nuances of Indian business culture is crucial for success.

Selling to Big Companies: What it Takes

Understanding the Long Sales Cycle

In India, enterprise sales often involve long sales cycles. Several factors contribute to this:

  1. Complex Decision-Making Hierarchies: Indian enterprises typically have multi-layered decision-making processes. Approvals are needed at various levels, and multiple stakeholders are involved.
  2. Risk Aversion: Indian businesses tend to be risk-averse and prefer to thoroughly evaluate a product or service before making a commitment.
  3. Bureaucratic Processes: Many Indian enterprises, especially public sector units and large conglomerates, have bureaucratic processes that add to the sales cycle's length.

Strategies for Managing Long Sales Cycles

  • Build Relationships: Invest time in building strong relationships with potential clients. Trust is a significant factor in the Indian market.
  • Provide Value at Each Stage: Offer valuable insights, demos, and pilot projects to keep the prospect engaged.
  • Regular Follow-Ups: Maintain consistent communication to ensure your product remains top-of-mind.

Identifying the Right Champion

Finding the right champion within the target enterprise is crucial. A champion is someone who advocates for your product internally and helps navigate the organization’s decision-making process.

Characteristics of a Good Champion

  • Influence: They should have significant influence within the organization.
  • Understanding: They need a deep understanding of the problem your product solves.
  • Alignment: Their personal goals should align with the benefits your product offers.

How to Identify and Engage Champions

  • Network Extensively: Use professional networks like LinkedIn to identify potential champions.
  • Attend Industry Events: Participate in industry-specific events and conferences to meet key players.
  • Leverage Referrals: Use existing contacts to get introductions to potential champions.

Hedging Your Bets

Given the complexities and uncertainties of B2B sales in India, it's wise to hedge your bets. This means not relying on a single deal or champion but diversifying your efforts.

Why Hedge Your Bets?

  • Mitigate Risk: Reduces the impact if a deal falls through.
  • Increase Opportunities: Enhances the chances of success across multiple prospects.

How to Hedge Your Bets

  • Target Multiple Segments: Don’t limit yourself to one industry; explore various sectors where your product can be valuable.
  • Develop Multiple Leads: Always have multiple prospects in your sales pipeline.
  • Stay Flexible: Be prepared to pivot your approach based on feedback and changing market conditions.

Enterprise Sales

Overcoming Organizational Inertia by Simplifying the Job

Indian enterprises often exhibit organizational inertia, where the existing way of doing things is preferred over new methods. To combat this, you need to make the adoption of your product as seamless and straightforward as possible.

Importance of Simplifying the Job

  • Ease of Adoption: Simplifies the decision-making process and speeds up the sales cycle.
  • Reduced Resistance: Lowers the barriers to change and reduces pushback from employees.
  • Enhanced Productivity: Shows immediate value by improving productivity with minimal disruption.

Strategies to Simplify the Job

  • User-Friendly Design: Ensure your product is easy to use and integrates smoothly with existing systems.
  • Comprehensive Training: Provide thorough training and support to facilitate a smooth transition.
  • Clear ROI: Demonstrate a clear return on investment to justify the change.


Selling to enterprises in India requires a strategic approach that accounts for long sales cycles, the importance of finding the right champions, hedging your bets, and simplifying the job to overcome organizational inertia. By understanding these aspects and implementing the strategies discussed, you can navigate the complexities of the Indian B2B market and achieve success.

Remember, patience and persistence are key. Building trust and relationships over time will pave the way for fruitful partnerships with Indian enterprises.

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