English language Visionary Marketing Podcasts
B2B Complex sales: how to convince buyers in 2021
All B2B sales processes weren’t created equal. In B2B there are complex sales and B2B mass markets. Let us focus here on complex sales and try and understand how B2B buyers have changed and accordingly, how salespersons should work from now on to better perform.
Complex sales: how to convince B2B buyers in 2021
No so long ago, I was exchanging views with some American analysts about complex sales (aka enterprise sales) and B2B buyers. I was asking them questions about the different types of B2B sales. They didn’t seem to understand what I was referring to, which seemed strange to me.
Complex sales are complete different ball-game
I have been involved in this business for more than thirty years (either on the sales side, on the Salestech side in support of sales forces, or in marketing in partnership with salespeople as part of ABM teams), and as someone who is familiar with the nature of B2B sales, I reckon that there are no two similar types of sales in B2B.
As such, complex sales is a very different animal, it requires specific approaches and techniques. Above all, salespersons involved in B2B complex sales should understand how buyers’ needs* have changed and how to address them.
In order to fully understand the challenges of complex sales in the current context, I interviewed Yves Blandiaux from Wave4growth.
*Note: here, the word “buyer” is to be taken in its broadest sense and not as “member of the purchasing department”
Complex or complicated sales?
Let us note right away that “complex” does not mean “complicated”, it is a word derived from Latin (complexus = to embrace, to surround – Mundus omnia complexu suo coercet et continet [“the world brings together and contains everything in its embrace” – Cicero]) and which means that one phenomenon is linked to many others through numerous interactions.
A complex sale involves multiple stakeholders, a longer sales cycle, and a high degree of perceived risk on the part of the buyer — Sales Hacker – George Brontén
In the meantime, to better understand what complex selling is, it must be well-defined. For this, I invited my friend and partner Yves Blandiaux from Wave4growth, an expert in the field, with whom I had the chance to work in partnership with Cisco where he used to be employed. Incidentally, we are currently building together a new training programme revolving around complex sales.
Complex sales seen by one of its highest ranking practitioners
This partnership generated an incremental business of 60 million euros per annum for the service provider of which I was the senior alliance partner at the time. It goes without saying, Yves is a complex selling champion who knows the idiosyncrasies of that job, and his work has been instrumental, particularly in the telecoms and IT sectors.
He now works with SMEs in Belgium, where he resides, and Europe, complex sales aren’t specific to large businesses. Far from it. What makes your sales process complex is the nature of your product or service as well as your clientele, it has nothing to with your size.
With this article, you will learn all about this exciting and forward-looking subject because, as I often say, B2B holds a lot of opportunities for professionals and managers. In these troubled times, it is important to remember that B2B suffers less, in many sub-sectors, and even continues to grow with the crisis.
In these uncertain times,