The sales process and the stages can be tricky enough as it is, add the difficulty of complex sales and you’ve just jumped into another level of complication. However, the process of complex selling is becoming more and more important to understand with the number of new businesses and total number of founders generally going up.
In order to help you better understand the process of complex sales and how you can profit from going about it effectively I’ve created this small guide for you.
Multiple Decision Makers
Think that dealing with just the sole decision maker is hard; try doing it with multiple decision makers that seem to rarely meet all in the same place. Not only is it important for you to remember that you are in fact dealing with more than one person, it’s also important to remember that each and every person has a new and different personality - not to mention different objections that need to be handled.
Multiple decision makers mean you need to be fluid with sales pitches, easily adapt to situational personas and ultimately realize that not everyone is going to agree with you or your product.
Politics And Power
The complex sell is one plagued by company and office politics - you’ll need to deal with power imbalances, hierarchies, and the mindset of a decision maker you may never meet.
While it’s trendy to talk about flat companies, they’re not the norm. Many companies are still traditionally structure and this means you may never end up pitching the actual decision-maker - the man or woman at the top.
This means that a many times you’ll also give the perfect pitch only then to hear, “No, thank you.”
We say to never fall into the trap of assuming a sale is made when dealing with a someone who isn’t a decision-maker. You should never be overly optimistic about any sale when the only interactions you’ve had are with someone who won’t be making the final decision - it’s power and it’s politics.
How to Win the Deal
You need to try to neutralize the power imbalance and understand the office politics when closing a complex sale.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to get yourself an internal advocate or as we like to call them our internal “Champions”. These are the people who’ll promote your product and ensure you’re the first call made when any future problems arise.
Just getting any employee of the company isn’t enough - they need to be someone with the ear of the decision-maker and they need to be someone who also understands how the office functions, and who sides with who in decisions and arguments.
Both A Roadblock And Opportunity
Whenever you’re trying to get in to see a decision-maker or establish an internal champion, you first must pass the gatekeeper; the person who controls access to the others in the company.
Too many salespeople view this person as an obstacle, a pain. That’s a mistake. Because they are used to being treated this way, you can gain a valuable ally and easier access by treating the gatekeeper like a prospect.
The gatekeeper can also become the person that plants the seed of thought and interest in the mind of the decision-maker.
A complex sales is called that for a reason - there are many people and factors that you need to consider. Some of these factors are within your control and others aren’t - you need to focus on controlling what you can.
Ultimately, your ability to close a complex sale depends on you being vigilant and present.
About the Author
Marius Fermi is Director of Online Communications at Tactical Sales Training. He is working towards growing their online presence and increasing revenue, whilst improving the sales processes of multinational brands.