Over the past several years a great deal has been written about the complex sale – the challenging B2B sale involving multiple decision makers and requiring significant investments to solve a problem that the prospect may, in fact, not yet realize that they have. Jeff Thull’s outstanding book ‘Mastering the Complex Sale’ has certainly led the industry in addressing this challenge as has Keith Eades’s ‘The New Solution Selling’ book.
A new addition to this body of knowledge is the excellent ‘Conversations That Win the Complex Sale’ by Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer. Britton Manasco, who runs the ‘Illuminating the Future’ blog, highlighted this book in a recent post – check out ‘What it Takes to Win the Complex Sale. The blog post impressed me enough that I headed off to the local Barnes & Noble the night before a business trip to Asia to purchase a copy.
Written by the team at Corporate Visions, Inc., Conversations addresses the critical and timely issue of messaging from the perspective of the customer which ultimately helps close more deals. The premise is that marketing campaigns and sales teams are frequently delivering a message that prospects just don’t hear. To reach prospects and to create more opportunities both marketers and sellers need to get their attention by first bringing bad news to prospects to provoke them into listening to our story. Why bad news? Because many customer are fine with the status quo and are not actively engaged in a problem solving cycle let alone a buying cycle. Conversations tells us that to get our prospects into a buying cycle we need to provide them with fresh insight on the problems they face, what the implications and cost of those problems are and to provide guidance on how they can do business better.
This book also addresses the issue of delivering and communicating a compelling story that is about and important to the customer, not about our products. All too often, marketing and sales delivers messages that are about themselves and their product rather than the customer’s situation, problems and how the customer can address those problems.
I have just touched on a part of this book – I’ll post more shortly. The bottom line is that if you are in B2B marketing or sales for complex solutions do yourself a favor and read this book!