Strategic Human Capital Insights

The Four Pillars of the Complex Selling Process

How do you maximize every sales effort? How do you ensure that every sales activity – starting right now – has rigorous analysis, thought, and planning behind it? The sales function is the growth engine that will make strategic initiatives a reality, or not! Business strategy is determined for the business year. You don’t have the luxury of waiting a month or quarter to start generating sales results. So, what can sales managers do to ensure that every salesperson hits the ground running with the right equipment and the right roadmap? That roadmap is the operating guide to the year ahead, and the basis of that operating guide is The Client Business Plan. Let's review the four pillars of the complex selling process.

The Four Pillars of the Complex Selling Process

Foundational Elements of the Client Business Plan 

Pillar One: The Selling Benchmark

The Value Opportunity

The wallet value assessment of each client determines the time, effort and urgency involved. Clients will fall into high, moderate, and low-value categories. This becomes the mechanism to segment your client base, allowing sales management to determine if the correct activity is being put into the right client accounts. Sounds simple, right? It is amazing how many salespeople plan their time without this information. When all accounts are treated equally, then activity doesn’t have priority. Without priority, how can there be managed urgency? 

Download the Complex Selling eBook.Pillar Two: The Roadmap

Client Relationship Management Assessment - Build, Maintain and Erode

Every client should have an objective assessment of the current state of the sales relationship. This is based on an analysis of the following:

  • Value Opportunity
  • Time Invested
  • People Contacted
  • Results Achieved
  • Sales Targets Relative to the Value Opportunity  

Pillar Three: The Milestones

The Total Client Buying Center (TCBC)

In the complex selling process, the client is a collection of individuals within the buying organization who are either directly or indirectly involved in the buying decision-making process. Each person should have a relationship assessment, and based on that assessment, will have a build, maintain or erode designation. Based on that designation, robust planning activity can begin. 

Pillar Four: The Journey

Priorities, Urgency, and Smart Activity

From the above assessments, salespeople will have an objective assessment of the current state of the overall business relationship. It doesn’t matter if the current state is good, bad, or indifferent. It is now simply the starting point for the journey with a plan that will allow salespeople to prioritize, measure, and maximize every activity.

The Sales Challenge 

I have often heard both managers and salespeople complain that the business planning process takes too much time. Here’s the sales challenge:

  • With so many variables that can derail the complex sale, how can you afford not to develop and then work on a plan?
  • How can you determine if all the time and effort expended by salespeople is just activity, or is it smart, focused, and optimized activity?  
  • Managers, how can you manage and measure activity vs. results without a robust plan as the benchmark?

Planning can take your organization to the next step with the right clients at the right time with the right resources. Revenue growth that happens by method rather than by chance is revenue growth that is scalable, predictable, and forecastable. Now go forth and plan!

We invite you to download our complimentary complex selling eBook to learn how to accelerate the sales process and create a more sustainable business development process at your company.

Download the eBook >>

Topics: Human Asset Management

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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