You can’t sell an F-35 like a banana. Much of the sales literature today is aimed at “traditional sales”. Traditional because the target companies have pre-established ways to evaluate, select and buy. If you are selling machinery to mines, paper to printers, or cell phones to corporations, the rules of the game are fairly well established and the advice, coaching, and support focus on playing the game better. Like any game, there are infinite ways to improve your game. New tools, technologies, market shifts and so on all create new ways to use the rules to your advantage.

Most of the new products and services in the markets today are being developed and marketed by people who come from traditional backgrounds. Their beliefs about sales are based on corporate sales processes, where the rules of the sell / buy game are well established. However, we observe that many of our clients are creating products and services that no one has ever bought before, and therefore, the rules are unwritten and best practices don’t exist. When they apply traditional sales processes or hire an experienced corporate rep, they are dismayed when their sales efforts fall flat.

One of our clients has developed a compelling new approach to utility surveillance. However, the data capture and data management solution they provide offers much more than simple surveillance. It provides benefits to three of four ‘silos’ within their target segment, making the decision to buy a complex corporate decision that cannot be ‘sold’ in the traditional way.

Complex sales situations can be defined as one or more of the following:

  • The prospect has never bought this kind of thing before.
  •  benefits accrue to multiple departments.
  • Adoption of the product or service would necessitate a change in the business model.
  • The dollar value is large enough that it could destabilize the firm.

If your market strategy is well developed, the good news is that you’re likely trying to sell to similar types of company, which means that their internal processes are going to be somewhat predictable. Examples would include Telecom, Banking, Health, Mining, Manufacturing, and so on. People change jobs but tend to remain in their own vertical and reinforce the practices of that vertical. Therefore, if you have properly selected your verticals, you can craft a unique strategy for each that takes into account its traits and the complex buying path you hope to lead them through.

KCL has developed the Rapid Account Penetration Process (© 2014) –known as RAPP specifically to deal with these complex sales situations. It comprises a series of steps, each of which contains multiple milestone activities with up to 40 or 50 activities in total required to close the deal. The milestones are developed from the point of view of the buying company – what do they have to do, who has to come together to make the purchase decision, how does their thinking have to change in order to buy from you? And how do you influence each one of those turning points?

Having a defined, measurable sales process for complex sales brings clarity, accountability and predictability to what many see as a black art. It provides a solid feedback loop that allows for continual improvement, shortening the sales cycle times and increasing conversion rates. We can help you achieve this.