6 Keys to Winning the Complex Sale

6 P'sI am often asked, “What separates a complex sale from a simple sale?” because working for a firm called – The Complex Sale, Inc. often sparks this line of questioning. The way I define it – a complex sale has multiple decision makers and multiple vendors. It usually is associated with a high price tag and a long, deliberative buying process.

Therefore, to win a complex sale on a consistent basis, we must first understand the organization as a single entity. I recommend we apply the 6 keys at the very beginning to understand what we are getting ourselves into. Consider this your first step in qualification.

  1. Pain:             Why Buy?          Will our solution help forward strategic initiatives?
  2. Prospect:      Why Now?         At what date can they no longer go without help?
  3. Preference:   Why Us?            Do they acknowledge our differentiators?
  4. Process:        Who Cares?        Do we know all the potential stakeholders?
  5. Power:          Who Matters?    Do we know the decision-making process?
  6. Plan:             What’s Next?     Is pursuing this opportunity the best usage of my time?

The best opportunities for us are the ones where we understand how our solution will forward a strategic initiative, which must have a solution, acknowledge our differentiators as important, where we know all the potential stakeholders, and understand the decision-making and approval process.  Anything less becomes more of a judgment call based mainly upon the other opportunities you are working. If you cannot get any of these answered the way you like, it might be better for you to continue prospecting.

The second step to winning a complex sale is to shed the idea that companies buy form us. They do not; individuals by from us. Therefore since we know all the potential stakeholders and the decision-making process, we want to apply the 6 P’s again to every stakeholder.

  1. Pain:             What pain will my product solve for this person specifically?
  2. Prospect:      What personal risk does this person have with this project?
  3. Preference:   Does this person acknowledge our competitive advantage?
  4. Process:        What role do they play in the decision-making process?
  5. Power:          How do they influence the decision?
  6. Plan:             How do we earn the stakeholder’s vote or live without it?

By taking a “Stakeholder Analysis” you get a 360 degree view of all the potential players in your sales process and now you can devise a plan sell to the people in power. Since the process is long, we get a chance to build preference with the decision-makers. Since it is competitive, we get a chance to link our differentiators to solving their pains. Since it has a high price tag, we create a strategy around the risk of making the wrong decision.

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One Response

  1. […] Scott Miller, Principal for The Complex Sale, Inc., is often asked, “What separates a complex sale from a simple sale?” because working for a firm called – The Complex Sale, Inc. often sparks this line of questioning. The way he defines it – a complex sale has multiple decision makers and multiple vendors. It usually is associated with a high price tag and a long, deliberative buying process.Therefore, to win a complex sale on a consistent basis, we must first understand the organization as a single entity. Recommending applying the 6 keys at the very beginning to understand what we are getting ourselves … […]

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