Art & Science

of complex sales

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Where is your prospect in their buying journey?

One of the main reasons why apparently well-qualified sales opportunities fail to close or move forward is that the sales person is so intent on pursuing their sales campaign that they fail to accurately diagnose where their prospect is in their buying journey.

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Are you selling "me-too" or "breakthrough"?

Have you ever wondered why so many apparently promising B2B sales opportunities end with the prospect deciding to either stick with the status quo or choose the cheapest from a set of apparently similar options? Or why even if they do have a preference, the customer is often only willing to pay a very modest premium for what they see as no more than a "slightly better" solution?

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Creating a new axis for SPIN® Selling

Like many people of my generation, I was brought up on SPIN® Selling. It’s a little chastening to reflect on the fact that the book was first published nearly 30 years ago, but it (as Neil Rackham himself pointed out in a recent APS conference) remains a highly relevant element of the complex B2B sales toolkit.

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Solution Selling vs The Challenger Sale

  The Challenger Sale is essential reading for anyone in complex B2B selling and many enterprise sales organizations are embracing the concepts.

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Why your buyers are focusing on the wrong things

It’s a tale as old as time. A sales team is closing in on a deal when, at the last minute, a competitor takes home the win. Being the good salespeople that they are, the team checks in with the customer to find out why they lost the deal, and the answer frustrates them. The buyer made the decision based on utterly meaningless criteria.

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Why having a budget isn’t always a positive qualifier

John Holland of CustomerCentric Selling® makes an interesting point in a blog article. Many sales people who have been brought up on an over-literal interpretation of BANT may believe that the absence of a budget for a project should be a reason to disqualify an opportunity.

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Revisiting the Buyers Journey

I can still remember the powerful inspiration I gained from my first reading of Hugh Macfarlane’s “The Leaky Funnel” – the 2003 book that first drew the B2B sales and marketing community’s attention to the concept of the buyer’s journey.

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Drilling into the need beyond the need

Theodore Levitt was the first to introduce us to the idea that “people don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole” - and this observation has surely now become one of today’s most relevant and widely quoted sales aphorisms.

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Is your prime contact a budget maker, a budget shaper or a budget taker?

Most sales methodologies stress the importance of identifying whether a budget exists, and a naïve interpretation of the BANT qualification framework [Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe] might imply that unless a current and adequate budget exists, it’s not worth trying to sell the prospect anything.