B2B solutions, consequently B2B selling is increasingly complex. Layer on top of this the fact that buying is changing profoundly. As a result, there is a potential for a large number of people to be involved in the deal, not just from your customer, your competition, but from within your own organization.
Traditionally, the sales person has been the person that “did the deal.” They qualified the lead, did all the discovery, put together the proposal, presented it, closed it. There may have been some support from within the organization, maybe a technical person to do a presentation or answer some questions, perhaps some help in pricing, but for the majority of the sales cycle it was the sales person’s responsibility to do most of the work.
All of this is changing, the sales person becomes more of a coordinator and manager of resources focused on closing the deal. The sales person must understand the deal, put in place a strategy to win the deal, and gain the support of the resources needed to execute the strategy. It may be technical specialists, marketing people providing specific materials, implementation people, proposal specialists, and others. It becomes a “team sell,” with multiple people fulfilling different roles in executing the strategy. Where the sales person had made 100% of the sales calls, now the sales person may only make a small percentage of the calls.
Getting the right person or resources in front of the customer at the right time, achieving the sales person’s goals in executing the strategy is how new deals get done. The sales person must continually ask, “Who is the right person, what are the right things do do next in moving this deal forward?” The sales person is no longer the default for executing all parts of the deal strategy.
Developing and executing the strategies for these complex deals requires different skills and capabilities. The sales person becomes more of a project manager, identifying the overall goals, and making sure each person is meeting their own goals. The sales person must become a motivator and communicator within the team, making sure each team member understands their role and how to execute it. Often, the sales person has to “sell” within the company to get resources assigned to participate in winning the deal–if the sales person hasn’t build an internal support base and infrastructure, getting those resources can be very difficult.
Finally, the sales person must learn how to share the credit for the win, and take full responsibility if there is a loss. That’s tough for too many of us. We’re thrilled by competing and winning, we want to revel in “our”win, often forgetting to share credit with the people that helped us to win. Likewise, we tend to want to blame someone or something else of we lose—it’s just human nature. In orchestrating a team approach to managing complex B2B sales, the sales person must step out of the limelight, genuinely recognizing that success came from the team, and the team should share in the success.
Are you prepared to shift your role and lead the team in the new world of complex B2b deals?