Do You/Should You Have a Complex Sale?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 18, 2011 @ 08:05 AM

complexThe Complex Sale - it's so----complex!

Today we will simplify the complex sale and even ask if you should have a complex sale.

First, what makes a sale complex?

In most cases, a sale is complex when it:

  • is expensive
  • has a technical component
  • has a long sales cycle
  • involves multiple roles and titles from both buyer and seller sides
  • requires that you build and sell value
  • includes selling "why buy at all?", as opposed to "why buy from me?"
  • involves buyer side resistance

While these elements can be more challenging than other sales models, they don't have to be.  Why do companies find it so difficult when faced with a complex sale?  Their salespeople must be able to handle additional challenges, like being able to:

  • use their rolodex to get an audience with a C-Level Decision Maker;
  • get and maintain that executive's attention without being sent down;
  • work with others in the company that have a role in the process;
  • speak the same language as the various executives;
  • build trusted advisor status with the executives;
  • sell consultatively
  • identify issues that are a drain on company resources;
  • identify compelling reasons for the company to buy;
  • build a case for your solution (the unique value proposition);
  • understand the technical nature of the problem and match a potential solution;
  • remain comfortable with the large dollar value of the opportunity;
  • have patience while all of the pieces are fit into place;
  • be strong enough to push back when buyer side thinking runs off the track;
  • leverage company resources only when and where appropriate;
  • negotiate terms of the deal;
  • close.

No single one of the 16 elements is daunting, but what makes it so difficult is that there aren't many salespeople that can effectively execute all 16 criteria.  That is what makes the complex sale so challenging.

On the other side of the argument is this question:  What would happen if you repositioned your offering as a complex sale?  If you apply as many of the above elements as possible, wouldn't you more effectively and consistently outsell your competitors?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Baseline Selling, sales process, sales model, sales management, solution selling, complex sale

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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