Hope Is Not a Strategy: The 6 Keys to Winning the Complex Sale by Rick Page
Guide to how to make complex sales to businesses, this is challenging because of multiple stakeholders involved on the client side, and the complex decision making process. The salesperson needs to have good understanding of the client’s business and needs so you can present your product in a way that looks better than your competitors. The lowest level salespeople focus on their own product’s features, but by doing this, you become viewed as a commodity and must compete on price.
Aim to understand the underlying business problem the client is trying to solve, and link your solutions to their pain points. Moreover, you must sell to individuals for whom the problem is painful, not just treat the organization as a monolithic entity. This requires knowing about the organization of the client’s company and its internal politics, as well as people’s hidden personal agendas that they would not reveal publicly.
Understand the client’s decision making process, such as which people have decision making power; if it’s a vote, whose vote are you missing? Then these people need to be presented with the pain and an urgent need to buy. It’s easier to sell to people with power, although this is not necessarily their position on the organizational chart: many forms of soft power and influence that are not obvious. Executives have the most power, but you’d need to sell them on strategic advantages, don’t talk about technical features.
Your sales strategy will depend on your product relative to your competition: if you are likely to lose in a direct comparison then you can’t afford to take them head-on. Instead, look for ways to influence their decision making process to refocus around your strengths, offer creative win-win deal terms, etc. Once you’ve decided on the strategy, the whole sales team needs to be on board with it so they don’t accidentally sabotage each other.
This was an interesting overview of high-level considerations when doing enterprise sales. For me, someone who’s never worked on sales before, it was hard to personally relate to the advice and examples; I guess it was not written for an absolute beginner.