In B2B sales, it’s important to know that there are certain elements that make a business sale complex as opposed to simple or transactional. If you are dealing in complex sales, it’s also important to understand that the approach to this type of sale is very different.
If you’re new to complex inside sales or are hoping to increase your sales numbers in this area, consider the following best practices for complex B2B sales that have proven successful for me as well as for the clients we represent at JMS Elite.
1. Know Your Industry
An experienced business development executive should be able to cold call into any industry and engage a decision maker in a conversation where business pains are revealed and solutions are discussed. However, while a B2B sales call is ultimately about solving business problems, it’s imperative to understand the industry into which you are calling.
Be prepared know industry terms so that you can discuss them at a business level. Understanding enough about the industry so that you can ask the right questions at the outset means you have a better chance at starting a real conversation and having a meaningful interaction that will lead to next steps.
A prospect will recognize a caller as who is knowledgeable, and also willing to listen and identify common ground for complex problems.
If you demonstrate that you have some knowledge of their industry and the challenges they face, they may be more willing to engage in a discussion that could generate a business opportunity.
2. Know Your Audience
If you want to present a compelling argument, and quickly, it’s helpful to know your audience and their role within the company.
For complex sales, your goal should be to reach the highest level of decision maker possible, but that could be different for each industry or area of business that you are targeting.
If you have done the research from step one, then you should know enough about the prospect’s business that you will aim for the right person to call.
Research your decision makers, their titles, and their responsibilities; what might be right for one company or industry may be different for another.
3. Take A Long-Term Approach
Complex sales do not happen in one phone call. At this level, the sales cycle is long, may require multiple decision makers, and possibly involve some setbacks along the way.
A first call should be about establishing trust with your prospect and learning from them by asking open-ended questions and then listening as much as possible instead of rattling off a bunch of “features and benefits” that may be meaningless to the receiving end.
Understanding that a complex sale can require a long-term commitment also allows you to continue learning from a prospect even if, at first, they do not seem interested in your product, solution, or service.
Even if a prospect is not prepared to make a decision right away, it is possible that what you’re offering may be a good fit for them at another time. Hear what they have to say and aim to keep the conversation going in order to uncover other valuable business and marketing intelligence.
Offer to reach out at a later date when they are closer to a decision or their budget allows consideration of new solutions.
This investment in the initial stages of the sales cycle can help you develop long-term relationships with prospects that could end up paying off in the long run.
Quality Interactions Make the Difference
An overarching quality of a complex B2B sale is that it usually involves a serious investment of funds. This means that whoever is making the decision to engage in the sale will be an experienced professional at a high level within the business or organization.
Keep this in mind throughout the entire sales process and make sure to focus on creating a peer-to-peer interaction that is not one dimensional.
Do your research, know where you are calling, to whom you are speaking, and focus on establishing trust and taking a long-term approach.
Not sure if your organization or existing sales team has the bandwidth to effectively handle your complex sales needs? Outsourcing may be a good option.
A highly-qualified team of executive-level business development executives can generate highly qualified sales leads and upsell existing customers on your complex product, service or solution while freeing you up to manage your business.