A Complex Sale is simply defined as one where there is more than one person participating in the purchase decision. This may be a single decision-maker supported by various official and unofficial influencers or many decision-makers. With small business (under 100 employees) and medium-sized business (under 1000 employees), many B2B transactions will involve a complex sale.
Complex sales take longer to close and the chief risk is wasted resource expenditure on unwinnable deals. A formalized sales process mediates risk by answering the ‘fit’ questions before the process can proceed from one stage of the sales cycle to the next. A formal Sales Process is a form of qualification that assures and optimizes revenue generation.
You can develop your own Sales Process but I highly recommend that you adopt or customize proprietary methodologies such as Miller Heiman. Many SFA (Sales Force Automation) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools embody the principles of these Sales Processes.
A critical component of your sales process is modeling the decision-making process of your target customer. Often they will have a semi-formal process for purchase decisions. In this case, you have a ready-made model which the target customer will generally disclose to you.
The Sales Cycle assumes intelligence-gathering at every stage but the initial stage is probably the most important. Your first contact with the target customer is the entry point. Often individuals in organizations are tasked with vetting vendors. In traditional businesses, this individual is called a purchasing agent. In technology companies, it may be a Product Manager. Whatever the title and function, you must identify this individual, engage that individual and persuade sufficiently to allow you to proceed to the next step.
Just as importantly, you must gather the information you need to help you decide if it is worthwhile to proceed to the next step. To the less experienced this may be opposite of what should be done, but it is essential to a winning Sales Process. Think of discarding cards on your way to a winning poker hand.
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About Dayna Cosgrove
Danya is a creative professional specializing in web design and development, with experience in marketing, advertising, and graphic design.