Here’s How Your Team Can Manage Complex Sales

complex sales

Has your team lost another sale that should have been a relatively easy win? The world of commerce is changing quickly. If your company sells in the b‑to‑b sector, you may have to manage complex sales in a greater number than you're used to. Complexity can exist throughout a prospect’s organization. So, you’ll need to coach your team on how to succeed in this environment.

Market Disintermediation

When the rules of the game change in a prospect’s industry, their buying process will change as well. They may not be sure that a specific component is necessary to make their product the best it can be. That uncertainty will slow down their buying process. This is because the decision-​makers will have to meet and talk about what to do going forward. 

To stay connected with the prospect, David Komolos and David Benjamin, authors of Cracking Complexity: 'The Breakthrough Formula for Solving Just About Anything Fast,' urge reps to “make navigating the complexity part of your value proposition.” In that way, your reps will stay top of mind. When the prospect sees that your reps are making helpful suggestions about how to reduce internal complications and turf wars, they’ll be more likely to think of them as part of the solution. And, they be more willing to buy from your team. 

Introduce “Requisite Variety” When You Have to Manage Complex Sales

One way to show value is to use the “requisite variety” approach suggested by Komolos and Benjamin. When an organization is considering purchasing solutions, such as a new accounting system, reverberations will be felt in every department. The CFO will want to know about the ROI on the proposed solution. The IT folks will ask about security holes in the new system. And anyone who interacts with the accounting system will have questions about how to transition to the new system.

The concept of “requisite variety” is to gather everyone who will be impacted by a decision into the same place at the same time. At that point, your reps should discuss their proposal and directly address the concerns that each individual brings up. This approach reduces the chances of a last-​minute surprise — when stakeholders at the prospect’s company complain they weren’t consulted and try to kill the deal.

The 2019 Selling to SMBs Survey from SalesFuel found that over 44% of buyers are looking for tips from their sales reps. Specifically, these buyers rank “the ability to provide relevant ideas” as one of the top factors they want in a sales rep. In the case of a complex sale, the prospects will need more than tips from you. They expect your reps to have industry expertise.

The rules of the sales game have changed in many industry verticals. Your sales reps can better manage complex sales with the right sales coaching. Help the reps learn to recognize when they are about to enter a complex situation and what they must do to bring the deal to a successful ending.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.