Working with complex b2b sales is really about change management. You are helping people make the improvements needed to move their business in a positive direction. However, in order to improve, they will need to change how they do things and you are interrupting their status quo. The more risky and cumbersome they perceive this change to be, the more complex the deal becomes.
They already know what they have, but there is uncertainty about how your products and services will affect the future. If you’re selling something they have purchased earlier, which did not live up to their expectations, they have an additional negative experience on their risk radar.
Some sales development experts are voicing their thoughts on this topic. Sharon Drew Morgen comes to mind and the Prosales Institute has also done a great job in laying out the importance of better understanding the buyer before rushing in to close the sale. Sharon Drew points out the importance of getting buy-in as early as possible from all people who will be affected by your solution’s change to their daily routines. Prosales highlights the importance of understanding different buying cultures shining a light on the fact that some buying teams focus on people, whereas others look at hard facts. In addition, buying teams differ in the longevity of their decisions (short-term/tactical vs. long-term/strategic).
Unfortunately many selling organizations still rush in to give their ”standard pitch” and end up presenting their solution to the wrong people at the wrong time. This is very evident in the software industry, where fairly junior sales people quickly jump to a demonstration of their product’s fabulous features and functions and spend the next weeks wondering why the deal is stalling. Why aren’t the stakeholders answering when they call to ”touch base” (and hope that the person on the other end was so impressed by the demo that they will place an order)?
What happens is usually that sales people:
Change is hard. You need to make sure your sales process help sales people determine how receptive the buyer is to change and how they make decisions. Understand who will be affected by the change and get their buy-in as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to discuss potential risks with the buyer - they will be thinking about them sooner or later anyway – it’s better to be proactive. Be ready to walk away from potential buyers where change is unlikely and the odds are stacked against you.
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.
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