What it Takes to Win the Complex Sale

by Britton Manasco | Jul 10, 2011 | Sales Messaging

Want to win more deals? Maybe it’s time to invest in new marketing and sales messages. 

Smart messaging should position your sales people as trusted authorities in the eyes of their prospects. Messaging assets -- whether they are oriented to demand generation or sales enablement -- should be designed to vividly identify problems, clarify consequences, and articulate business value. They should set the stage for and enable sales people to guide buyers through a complex and demanding decision. They should facilitate a credible and compelling business conversation.   Conversations that win

But messaging often falls short. 

Too often, companies create messages that are inward-looking or introspective in nature. In their white papers or sales presentations, they talk about themselves, their products, their features and functions. Sellers often aren’t locking on to the fact that their buyers really want to hear about themselves and others like them. They want to know, first off, that the seller really understands the problems and challenges that they face.             

So, marketing and sales messages should vividly reflect the pain and problems the prospective buyer is presently experiencing  -- or will experience in the absence of an appropriate solution. That’s how you engage them. Otherwise, they won't see you as a trusted authority. They won’t be provoked or enticed to meet with you in the first place.

But, when they do, it’s critical to continue being provocative. Sales conversations must generate unexpected insights if they are to build credibility with executive decision makers –- and drive an opportunity to the next stage. 

In their powerful new book Conversations that Win the Complex Sale, Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer argue that “you must be willing to challenge your customers’ current situation if you are going to get them to something different... if you don’t do it someone else will.” 

The authors (who I’ve had the good fortune to work with) argue there are several actions you must take to propel customer conversations forward: 

  • You must be willing to push your prospect out of her comfort zone.
  • You need to help your prospect to see her competitive challenges in a new light.
  • You have to highlight specific painful situations and make them unmistakably urgent. 
  • You need the guts to create constructive tension and use it to your advantage. 

As this suggests, you’ll have to challenge or provoke your prospects in order to drive change and win more deals. But your people will need to be prepared. They’ll need messages -- and associated assets or tools -- that help them engage in conversations that are truly compelling.