Long sales cycle, involvement of several decision makers and high average ticket are some of the characteristics of complex sales, common in B2B businesses
Complex sales are those that involve more than one decision maker to be closed. Other characteristics are long sales cycles and high average ticket and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). In addition, it is common for this type of sale to be made to other companies (B2B), although this is not a rule.
What are complex sales?
A complex sale is one that requires longer processes to close. It is, in general, the sale of more expensive solutions, which require planning on the part of those who buy. For the company that makes a complex sale, the process is also more costly, as it requires more efforts from the marketing and sales teams.
Although it is not a rule, it is also common that complex sales are made business to business (B2B), because of this, they involve a greater number of decision makers, another reason why they take longer to be completed.
The level of complexity of the sale is related to the product or service that is marketed. The more complex it is, the higher the technical level needed to evaluate the offer, requiring the participation of more decision makers and, consequently, more time to close the deal.
Despite being more costly for the marketing and commercial teams, complex sales, when completed, bring a favorable return for the company, as the average ticket is usually high.
What is the difference between a simple sale and a complex sale?
Understanding the difference between simple and complex selling helps to better understand this concept.
A simple sale is one that is more frequent and of lesser value, presenting low risks and requiring only one decision maker, the final consumer, who chooses or not to close the deal quickly.
Simple sales are common in everyday life. A trip to the supermarket or a clothing store fits here. In this model, the seller—when there is a seller involved—just helps the buyer make a decision quickly.
In complex sales, on the other hand, decision making is long, after all, it is necessary to consider several variables. It is necessary, for example, to create a relationship with the potential customer to lead them to the purchase, as this process can take a long time. Because of this, it is common that in complex sales, salespeople use a consultative approach.
What are the main characteristics of complex sales?
Now that you know what complex sales are and how they differ from simple sales, let’s get to know their main characteristics.
Medium high ticket
The average ticket consists of the average sales value in a given period. In companies that work with complex sales, this value is usually high. This is because the solutions offered are also more complex to develop, whether products or services. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the marketing and sales efforts to win over customers, which also makes the offer more expensive.
Various decision makers
In a complex sale, it is necessary to win the “yes” not only from one person, but from several decision makers. Often, the product or service that will be purchased impacts several areas of the company, in the case of B2B sales, and it is necessary to go through the evaluation and approval of all of them. Depending on the complexity of the solution, more technical analysis from experts may also be required.
Long sales cycle
The sales cycle is the average time it takes for a deal to close, from a person’s first contact with the company until the sale. In the case of complex sales, due to the different decision makers involved, the sales cycle can be long. Hence, it is important to invest in stocks to reduce it.
High Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
The last of the main characteristics of a complex sale is the higher Acquisition Cost (CAC) compared to a simple sale. That’s because, as already mentioned, this sale requires more marketing and sales actions, from publicizing the offer to the relationship that needs to be maintained with the potential customer. All of this increases costs.
How can Inbound Marketing help companies that make complex sales achieve better results?
In general, the more contact your company needs to have with the other company, the more complex the sale and the more expensive your solution tends to be.
In addition, the entire process also influences: the selling company needs to be concerned with before (prospecting and consultative approach), during (negotiation and implementation) and after (after sales and support). This brings us to a third complexity factor: the time between prospecting and closing.
The sum of these three factors – people, process and time – creates some bottlenecks in organizations with complex sales. Below, park view city lahore present three of them below and we bring some examples of how Inbound Marketing, a set of strategies aimed at attracting and converting customers using relevant content, can help to heal them.
Learn more about Inbound Marketing by watching the video below:
Difficulty in market expansion and authority building
Having authority is increasingly important for generating business. Companies with complex sales need to position themselves as a reference to gain the trust of prospects and convince them of the investment. It is not enough to provide a product or service – it is necessary to offer it very well and, if possible, in a personalized way for the customer’s segment.
Another common difficulty is the limitation of the potential market that the company can attack given the complexity of the sales process. Furthermore, more complex solutions tend to apply to more specific segments.
This difficulty for market expansion brings two scenarios for companies. The first one is the maintenance of the current customer base through an upsell or cross-sell. The second point is that public acquisition actions need to be much more assertive. After all, losing an important deal can damage the entire pipeline.
A good Inbound Marketing strategy helps both in building authority and expanding the market. Companies with more complex sales already tend to have a lot of internal knowledge. This internal knowledge can be used in the inbound strategy in the form of content. For this, it is important to engage the entire company in content production.
The organization can build a blog with very specific posts in its area of expertise. In addition to choosing more generic topics, the company can tackle more specific issues that speak of pain common to the segment in which the business operates.
If done well in the writing, keyword choice and content distribution phase, posts start to get positioned for relevant terms, attracting more and more visitors and, therefore, leads. Thus, the company’s reach grows as it builds relevant authority on the web.
CAC too high
As a consequence of what we pointed out, a company that makes complex sales tends to have a much higher cost of customer acquisition (CAC). The closer to field sales, that is, to field sales, the higher the cost, but even in a freemium model, there are built-in costs.
It is not uncommon to find companies that do not account for this expense. What’s the problem with that? High CAC values can significantly erode a business’ margin.
The definition of what goes into this cost can vary from company to company, but, using the definition of Lincoln Murphy, a specialist in Customer Success, we have:
A full CAC covers the cost of advertising, marketing, sales, and support during the free trial, onboarding costs. It even includes the costs associated with attracting prospects (and non-prospects) who have not converted into paying customers.
One of the greatest contributions of Inbound Marketing is the monitoring and improvement of CAC. Inbound is fully measurable – including your execution costs. With a well-executed strategy, it is possible to check the Cost of Acquisition of Customers (and/or Leads) for each attraction channel, allocating more resources to what generates a return (and ceasing or optimizing investments that are not worth it).
Very long funnels
It is common for companies with complex sales to have a longer commercial process due to the time it takes for marketing to generate prospects (in events or campaigns), nutrition and qualification, in sales negotiation time, among others. Therefore, the timing of contact, follow-up and presentation of a business proposal are essential to the process.
One of the most famous terms within the inbound methodology is Marketing Automation. Basically, with the support of the appropriate technology, automation offers an automatic (but personalized) administration of the relationship with Leads and their distribution among the sales team.
An interesting application of automation is lead nurturing for very long funnels. With automation, it is possible that after the first contact, the Lead enters a nutrition flow to receive informative and relevant content, for example. This strategy greatly helps the salesperson explain the benefits and value proposition of the product.
Another possible feature is that, from the Lead’s interaction with the company (opening emails, downloading educational materials, visiting the pricing page, etc.) the sales team is notified (automatically) advising that that Lead is more advanced within nutrition.
This allows for a more precise and personalized approach, as the seller can work with the information collected during the entire relationship period prior to the moment of sale.
Should I give up all the strategies my company does with Outbound?
A common misconception within companies with a complex sales model is to think that Inbound is the enemy of Outbound.
It is possible to have active prospecting and pre-sales teams working in parallel with your Inbound Marketing strategy. Often the two strategies are complementary.
If you already work with outbound stocks, we recommend that you measure, from day zero, the most important sales metrics in both strategies. You’ll notice how they work in different ways (and how the benefit is mutual).
How about putting these tips into practice and selling more with Inbound Marketing? For this, it is important to have a tool that brings together the main resources of Digital Marketing in one place for your operation to be more effective.
A great option is RD Station Marketing, which allows you to make better campaigns, nurture Leads, generate qualified business opportunities and achieve more results.