What makes a sale complex, and why is it important to classify it as such?
While there is no specific hard line that delineates a complex sale from a simple one, we consider the following factors to determine if a sale is complex:
- The sales cycle is long
- The risk, impact, and investment are significant
- There are multiple decision makers
A complex sale is on the other end of the spectrum from a purely transactional sale and therefore the sales cycle is a long one. A buyer must consider their unique business pains and needs in order to determine if a particular product or solution will be beneficial in the long run. Complex sales can have cycles that take several months to complete.
A high dollar amount does not automatically make a sale complex, but it is not unusual for the cost to be significant. More importantly, if there is risk involved, or if the investment of time, money, or personnel is considerable, it is not a simple sale.
If the sale has a low impact on a company or organization it will not usually involve a group of people who must agree on the purchase. A complex sale will almost always require the approval of several decision makers, each of whom will come to the table with their own set of questions, concerns, criteria, etc.
If the deal is to go through, it’s important that all of the decision makers are confident in the product or service offered and are invested enough to see the sale through to a close.
Why is it important to know if your product, service, or solution is a complex sale?
How you approach a sale that includes risk, a significant investment, multiple high-level decision makers, and may take months to complete is vastly different from how you would approach a short and simple transaction.
A complex sale needs salespeople with the experience and the business acumen required to not only reach key decision makers within an organization but who can handle the conversation once they’ve made contact.
Executive experience and consistent and proven methodologies are imperative for complex sales and the salespeople who engage in them should be able to:
- Know how to effectively target and reach decision makers within an organization.
- Build trust with a prospect at the outset that will carry through a long sales cycle.
- Have a solid understanding of the industries into which they are calling and the ability to speak knowledgeably about them.
- Know the skills and techniques that encourage a prospect to engage and reveal the business pains they are experiencing.
Identifying the complex B2B sale is the first step to approaching your sales process strategically and effectively. After that, make sure you have a sales team with the experience to converse with decision makers and build the trust needed for this type of deal.