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Navigating the complex B2B sales cycle—Part 2

Master these techniques to connect with each member of the buying committee

Cathy Schmid
Cathy Schmid
EVP Sales and Client Services / Partner

Complex sales are common in B2B, technology, manufacturing and medtech environments. A complex B2B sale typical occurs when one or more of these factors are in play.

Common drivers of the complex B2B sale

  • A lengthy buying cycle
  • An expensive product
  • A high-degree of customization
  • A sizable perceived risk

As a result, the company creates a buying committee or employs multiple individuals to research, vet and choose the final solution.

For marketing and sales, this creates complexity at every stage of the sales process. It can mean more conversations, additional materials and a greater emphasis on building relationships across the organization.

How to win over different buyers and influencers

As the first article in our series showed, there are five types of buyer roles you may encounter in a complex B2B sale. Once you understand who you’re working with, try these techniques to build rapport and meet each individual’s specific needs.

Gatekeeper

The gatekeeper may not influence the final decision, but they will be instrumental in helping you connect to those who are critical to the buying process.

  • Interested in: Managing access to key individuals and showing value to the organization.\
  • Tips for success: Treat with respect from day one and build a relationship with them as individuals—not as access points. Be judicious in your requests for calls and meetings and have a clear objective and agenda that shows you’ll use the time wisely.

Economic buyer

Whether your economic buyer sits in the procurement department or within a business unit, make sure you’re sharing enough details so they feel confident moving forward.

  • Interested in: Project costs and anticipated ROI, negotiating the best possible fees, understanding and comparing options and protecting the organization from risk.
  • Tips for success: Help them build a business case with real numbers and ROI. Share positive case studies and references from similar engagements.

Technical evaluator

Your IT buyer can be skeptical, especially about more cutting-edge solutions. Win them over by showing how your solution will work with current platforms and help the organization grow.

  • Interested in: Specific platforms, features and functionality. Curious whether your solution will ease or add to workload, and how easy it will be to customize and support.
  • Tips for success: Find out their preferences and pain points early on, then connect them with technical peers at your organization. Facilitate access to the product through demonstrations, documentation and even sandbox environments.

Champion

If there’s one place to invest the majority of your time and effort, it’s with your champion. This individual serves as the primary contact and coordinates the complex B2B sales process.

  • Interested in: Identifying and finalizing a solution that meets the company’s objectives, and streamlining the process with a solid recommendation for the ultimate decision-maker.
  • Tips for success: Help them reiterate your value inside the organization with talk points, materials and business case support. Ask their advice on navigating relationships and understanding the personalities and key priorities of others on the buying committee.

Ultimate decision-maker

The earlier you uncover the final approver and understand their key criteria for decision-making, the stronger your approach can be.

  • Interested in: How your solution supports a key corporate objective and the feedback received from other members of the buying committee. Priorities can include reducing risk, showing results and avoiding the impact of a bad decision.
  • Tips for success: Identify their decision-making criteria as early as possible in the process. Understand who they rely on and their preferred methods for receiving information.

Invest in rigorous qualification, relationships and research

Once you’ve identified the stakeholders and buyers in your complex B2B sales cycle, you can navigate the process more easily.

Early on, we recommend a rigorous qualification process. Complex B2B sales can require intense time and resources from the marketing and sales teams. Asking the right questions, doing your due diligence and making sure the prospect is a good fit for your solution lets you use your in-house team wisely.

As your opportunity progresses through the B2B sales process, it’s important to place a premium on relationships. Get to know each member of the buying committee individually. Your champion can be a tremendous ally in this effort.

When you uncover specific pain points and interests among the B2B buying committee, provide each stakeholder with targeted information. Avoid cookie-cutter proposals and one-size-fits-all answers. The more you can customize your follow-ups, the stronger your deal will be. Nothing beats a personalized experience.

Find the right resources to support your complex sales cycles

Complex B2B sales cycles require more from the in-house team. An outsourced professional call center like Volkart May can reduce your burden and help you focus on the most important aspects of the project, like building relationships and closing deals. We excel at supporting leading brands by qualifying potential prospects, identifying decision-makers and influencers, and setting appointments.

Contact us to learn more about our approach and past successes.

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