A large complex sales opportunity can be very lucrative and offer great rewards for salespeople who pursue them. With these rewards also come risks because a large investment of our resources over an extended period of time is required for success. This large investment can be in vain if we have not addressed some of the risks associated with large complex deals.
If we do not have a clear idea of who our ideal clients are (referred to as A’s or the 20 percent that bring us 80 percent of our revenues) then we can be spending a lot time prospecting the wrong companies and opportunities. It is often a large effort just to get in the door and if we are knocking on the wrong doors, it can be costly.
Not Managing Pipeline
Being organized with a clear game plan is imperative as there are so many details and variables in a complex sale the deal can easily get side-tracked. By being organized in our sales process and managing our pipeline, we can reduce the chance of losing the deal due to apathy or distraction.
Not Knowing the Buying Process
We need to really understand how the client assesses potential suppliers and what process they use to do so. Too often we push our own agenda at our own demise. Spending time probing, asking questions, and researching is critical in helping us understand the likelihood of landing a deal. It also ensures that we do not miss critical pieces of information and steps that are important to the prospect.
Taking the Wrong Advice
We need to gather information from multiple sources to make sure that our approach is in line with the values of the key decision makers. If someone is blocking your access to the internal network of your client company, and all the information comes from that source, there is a good chance that your proposal will miss the mark. Take advice and gather information from people without personal agendas.
Not Having a Bid Qualification Process
Just because a big company sends you a Request for Proposal (RFP) it does not mean you should apply. Many companies have failed because they won the wrong contract and went bankrupt trying to service a large client and/or one with unique and expensive specifications.
As big complex deal hunters, we need to know what a profitable deal looks like. More importantly, we need to know how we could lose money or burn up time on deals that are a misfit.