Prepare for complex sales – because most B2B sales are complex

Prepare for complex sales – most B2B Sales are complex

Complex Sales - Multiple Deciders

The majority of sales, where there is a high purchase price, end up being “complex sales” in practice. 

This is purely due to delegated financial authorisation levels in companies of any size.  Most salespeople of medium to high value products will testify to the frustration the feel when they find that their potential customers have to “refer this one up the chain” or “just talk to my boss /FD”.

Why frustrated? Because there is a potential that the second person may say “no”, “not yet” or “we have a cheaper option”.

What the sales people are encountering is the complex sale.  A sale where there are two or more people involved in the purchasing decision.

So, how do you overcome this and prepare for selling in a complex environment?

The 5 E’s of the Complex Sale

In his book Mastering the Complex Sale [1] the author, Jeff Thull, discusses the history of selling techniques, and proposes a 4-step D process for executing complex sales in today’s environment; Discover, Diagnose, Design and Deliver.

Jeff Thull’s process provides a solid basis for people involved in Complex Sales – aimed at focussing the effort of sales personnel toward completing more detailed work at the “front end” of the complex sales cycle in order to ensure they benefit from greater success in closing.

At Launchpad CRM we propose an alternative – which we call the 5-step E process. The key differences are:

Greater emphasis on using the original 4 steps to win complex sales, rather than a process to navigate through them

We believe this makes the 5-steps oriented more towards the “how” than the “what”.

1) Explore – Your Customers’ Needs

To sell, the salesperson has to identify one or more customer needs that must be met. Selling is the process of providing a product or service that fulfils a need in exchange for a financially valuable reimbursement.

The more needs that can be identified and fulfilled, especially those that have the greatest urgency, then not only the larger the sale which can be achieved but also the more likely you will be selected over the competition.

2) Establish – Views from Different Customer Disciplines

The salesperson must canvas a wide range of individuals from different customer disciplines, functions and managerial levels within the organisation. Different individuals in the Buyer’s organisation will have their own view as to what a solution should look like – and very individual needs and requirements.

Whilst some may hold very similar views, it is unusual for them to be identical and these must be fleshed out.

3) Evolve – Your Solution Using Customer Feedback

Your solution must evolve from the feedback obtained from the presented value propositions.

It may take a number of cycles of value proposition refinement to in order to focus down on your solution and you may find that you move back and forth between ‘Establish’ and ‘Evolve’ more than once.

4) Execute – by Addressing Customer Needs

Deliver a proposed solution that directly addresses the customer needs. This is an essential step in successfully prosecuting an opportunity.

5) Extend – by Selling More to the Same Customer

Sell more to that customer. The next easiest customer to sell to is the one you just sold to.

If the customer has just bought exactly what was needed, those involved (at all levels in their organisational hierarchy) will, almost certainly, have achieved all their personal “wins” – and will be pre-disposed towards you the next time they have money to spend.

How does complex sales work with multiple opportunities?

Whilst it sounds like a lot of effort to win a sale, let alone a whole sales funnel of sales, the effort more than pays off if you strike more wins as a result. The key thing is to maximise the efficiency with which you prosecute them.

This is where Launchpad CRM comes in. Launchpad CRM is a Customer Relationship Management service specialising in the difficult issues arising from Complex Sales; guiding you through the Capture and Prosecution processes to maximise your Probability of Win.

Click here to see the features provided by LaunchpadCRM.