Any product or service can become a complex sale when its purchase decision must be made by multiple stakeholders. Usually, this is because your offering has broad organizational impact. But it can also occur when the complexity of the problem and level of risk is high. In either case, alignment between stakeholders becomes the driving factor—and also the reason for long sales cycle times.
One of the biggest challenges in a complex sale situation is in creating alignment between the multiple decision makers. Understanding the intricacies of their problem and decision making is crucial. Messages and methods must be tailored to their needs. Expecting your buyers to ferret through your website and marketing materials for what they need to know is simply laziness.
Unfortunately, that’s just what most companies do. They create a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, appealing to as many possible industries that might have an interest in their offering. Their message is convoluted, watered down, or worse, oversaturated with information that has little value to anyone.
Consider the CFO of a semiconductor manufacturing company, for example, visiting a website of a software company. Why would she want to wade through the technical details of the product or watch a video about way some hospital implemented it? If you’re that CFO, wouldn’t you rather prefer an experience that’s tailored to your role and your industry? Wouldn't you rather view testimonials from other manufacturing CFOs and download resources that directly addressed the problem you are experiencing, from a financial perspective?
Firms that are savvy in complex sales situations understand three vital truths about selling the products and services:
They understand that the complex sale is not about one purchase decision but rather a series of incremental and interrelated decisions among a number of buyers. As a consequence, they seek to create and nurture relationships with each of the stakeholders in a decision.
They understand that the complex sale is more consultative than transactional. Their future customers need help discerning the best path and are seeking to be led by competent people they can trust. They are looking for those who not only know the ins and outs of their offering but—more critically so—the customer's business problem and how to address it.
They understand that the complex sale—by virtue of the previous truths—is highly personalized. The more you create an experience matched to the precise needs of each stakeholder, the more quickly your decision-makers move toward a purchase decision.
Clearly, to accelerate the complex sale, your sales team must be more than transactional. They must be able to advance a decision among a variety of stakeholders. They must know the customer’s business situation. And, they must provide the relevant and timely information to the stakeholders when they need it.
Fortunately, the competencies of your sales engagement in each of these areas can be further enhanced with well crafted digital engagement strategies. Targeted nurturing emails and microsites can deliver customized and micro-niche messages. Customer engagement can be monitored, increasing the delivery of critical information and improving sales responsiveness. And, best-practices and other thought leadership resources can be presented and delivered to improve trust and subject matter authority.
Our aim, as a marketing firm specializing exclusively in complex sales, is to complement your selling efforts with the power of digital engagement to accelerate your complex sales even more.