Most business owners have a dream client in mind. And in many cases, the hero of that dream is a blue-chip, deep-pocketed, major corporation. As it happens, executives at big companies are forever on the lookout for new suppliers that can help their businesses run more smoothly, faster, and more efficiently. Procurement professionals spend trillions of dollars a year purchasing products and services -- many of them from small, entrepreneurial companies. Intuit alone depends on some 3,800 suppliers in an average year.

A win-win, right? First, of course, you have to get a foot in the door. And therein lies a great mystery. Procurement executives are inundated with cold calls and buried by stacks of proposals. How do you make sure your call gets returned or that your response to an RFP actually gets read? To help demystify the procurement process, Inc. went directly to the source. We spoke to supply managers at seven big-name corporations -- who buy packaging, marketing expertise, IT services, and more -- and asked them what life looks like from their side of the desk.

How to Sell to Coca-Cola

Be different. And then make sure you prove it to us

How to Sell to UPS

We can spot a fake from a mile away. (In other words, don't oversell yourself)

How to Sell to Intuit

Go above and beyond. You would be suprised at how few of your rivals even bother to try.

How to Sell to The Bama Companies

Companies are buying your reputation, not just your products.

How to Sell to Valero Energy

Do more research than you think you need to.

How to Sell to Northrop Grumman

Be as specific as possible when describing what you can do for us.

How to Sell to Dell

Start locally, think globally.