- Mental Map: The sales process is a mental map of what is happening in the sale. In a well-managed sale, a good sales executive always know where they are in the process.
- Cover Bases: Customers will inevitably skip steps. A good rep knows that when certain key steps are skipped, the likelihood of a successful complex sale goes down. He makes sure the customer covers those steps somehow.
- Target Your Team: By knowing the map of the sale, a good sales executive knows exactly where to target his team. If you don’t; know, you cannot direct resources properly.
In a one-to-one sale, the power of persuasion can move a sales professional along rather nicely. In a large, complex sales environment, persuasion often matters less—a lot less. Intelligent organizations try to rationalize the buying process to ensure that large expenditures are vetted properly. Many have been burned before. That’s why you have complex sales.
For anyone involved in a complex sale, the only way to keep your feet is to understand the process. Customers will have their own processes, to be sure. But you need to have yours. You know what it takes for customers to successfully buy because your company supports those decisions day in and day out all the time. Your customer does do only rarely. Harness your own internal expertise on your product, and guide the customer through a successful process. They may or may not even realize you are doing it, but at the end, everyone will be more satisfied.