What makes a buying process complex, as opposed to simplistic? A simple buying process would be one where you have one salesperson selling to one buyer – one person within your customer’s organization. That one seller and buyer can do the deal by themselves; they can come to an agreement and complete the transaction between just the two of them. When more people get involved, a deal becomes complex. When there are multiple people involved in your customer’s buying process, and especially when there are multiple people involved on our side in our sales process, then opportunities become pretty complicated. It’s very important that we seek to understand who these people are and what the roles and responsibilities are of everyone who will be involved in our customer’s buying process. I use some terms that I think represent these roles well:
I spent much of my sales career oversimplifying my customer’s buying process, hoping that the person that I know, or the two guys that I know will get the deal done for me. I have found, as I’m sure you have too, that there is some risk in that. I can look back on almost every single deal that I’ve ever lost and I think to myself: “I just didn’t know enough people.”. If I had just known that that controller had as much sway as he did, or if I had only known that the legal approver was going to get the deal hung up in the legal department for weeks causing me to miss my quota for the month, or if I had just known that the Final Approver didn’t know my company or had never heard of us and didn’t have a comfort level and that they were going to go back to the Recommenders and ask for them to look at some other providers. If I had just known the importance of the roles played by these groups or individuals, I would have won the deal in most cases.
What I would like you to take away from this is to never oversimplify it and don’t take any one person’s word for it. Ask a lot of questions, seek to meet more people and when you meet those additional contacts, ask them who else is involved in the process. Try to find out, if you can, every single person that plays a role.
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