What a Pair! Elusive Decision Makers and Ambiguous Needs–Welcome to the World of Complex Sales

Sure, it’s very hard to motivate a sales operation without buyers, and even harder when the reasons buyers cannot be found can be attributed to ambiguous needs and ambivalent interest in complex solutions. Nevertheless, sales must be made. Buyers, like birds hidden by shrubs, must be flushed out. Sales people have to shine a light on buyer needs and pique buyer interest. Ultimately, sales must build buyer commitment to purchase complex solutions. Happens every day. But how?

As I’ve written earlier in this blog, telephone prospecting, teleprospecting, provides a very useful foundation for complex sales. For example, prospecting over the telephone provides an excellent method of revealing buyers within enterprise businesses for complex sales. Prospecting over the telephone amounts to engaging with many contacts within a prospect enterprise business in telephone conversations to determine three critical pieces of information:

  1. The level of maturity of the prospect relative to other prospects with regard to the complex product or solution offered for sale
  2. The groups within the prospect business who will use the complex product or solution, who will propose the purchase and, finally, who will approve the purchase
  3. The perceived value of the complex product or solution for the enterprise prospect, and the probable timing of a decision to purchase

A teleprospecting campaign to determine the answers to these three points can take several months or even years to complete, depending upon the product and the size of typical prospects. Nevertheless, if vetted correctly, the quality of information collected from telephone discussions will be high and, therefore, the information will be indispensable to formulating a sales plan for the prospect.

The best approach for soliciting teleprospecting discussions with contacts can be found in an expressed interest in gathering information, much in the manner of a survey. Contacts are much more willing to share an opinion than to entertain a sales presentation. This greater willingness to talk can be used to engage contacts and collect the information required to qualify the enterprise business prospect’s likely interest in purchasing and successfully implementing the product.

Understanding the likelihood that a prospect can successfully implement a complex product or solution should be critically important to correctly determining whether or not a sales campaign makes sense for a prospect. After all, a favorable image of a brand within an enterprise market can only be built on satisfied customers who have successfully implemented a solution and derived the greatest possible value. Embarking on a sales campaign for a prospect that lacks the maturity to successfully implement a complex product or solution is only asking for trouble.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved

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