The Complex Sale

In this blog post I will examine some of the key aspects of what is involved in closing a complex sale. This is targeted more for sales professionals who are in the B2B space as outbound account executives.

I do get into this in some detail in my Fundamental Sales Course I also highly recommend checking out Brian Burns podcasts and programs including his course Closing the Complex Sale at for a really deep dive on this subject.

So what is a Complex Sale? Simply stated it is when there is more than one person involved in the decision to buy. This has become so common in Enterprise procurement that it is almost the norm. There are many reasons for this. Internal collaboration initiatives require multiple departments or groups to sign off particularly on major projects as they all have a stake. On large projects senior executives ask for buy in from counterparts to lessen the potential for blame if things go wrong.

Know your Customer!

This is critical. If this is a new account you must figure out the customer landscape as quickly as possible. Create as many relationships as quickly as possible. These will become vital later in the process. Here are the 3 key things you must learn.

  1. How are purchasing decisions made?
  2. Are there thresholds or limits that change the sign off process?
  3. Who has sign off authority and does it change based on the value?
In a Complex Sale do you really know your customer?

Customer Roles in a Complex Sale

There are many different ways different trainers label the key participants in the sales process. They include the Coach, Influencer, Endorser and Decision Maker(s). Rather than repeat all that here, I wrote about this recently in another blog post at

Why Does This Matter?

It totally matters. If you are not selling to all these players who is? If you are not making the case to buy from you, who is? Too many inexperienced sales people do a great job presenting to the Coach and Inflencers and Endorsers only to find out later they lost the business because the Competition had a strong relationship with the Decision Maker(s) or Signing Authority.

My advice is very simple. For every major opportunity create a separate Buying Center road map. For that specific opportunity build a flow chart that shows who is involved, their role and how you can get in front of them yourself or with help from your Team. Until or unless you complete this, you can never truly access the probability of win or risk of loss.

The Value Proposition

One thing you absolutely control is the quality and completeness of your Value Proposition. The more complex the sale the more important this is. Read about my thoughts on the Value Proposition in a recent blog post at

If you are having trouble with closing the complex sale you have to take the time to learn and grow as a sales professional. This is not going away and is likely to become even more important in the future.

Have a great week but before you go be sure to check out my online courses at

You may also enjoy my Daily 2 Minute Leadership and Sales Thoughts. These are organized into weekly themes. Check them out here at

You may also enjoy my Sales Quickies Uncensored video series. These are very short 1 minute videos to highlight a specific sales tip, technique, quote or cliché. Just because it is short does not mean you cannot learn from it. Find them at

You may also enjoy my Sales Leader Challenges Thoughts. In total there are 25. Check them out at 

Wayne Fredin
Wayne Fredin

With over 40 years of experience as an Army Officer, a Sales Executive in both public and private companies and having been self employed, Wayne is a highly respected Sales Trainer, Coach and Mentor. Having published Sales Leadership: Distinctions With a Difference in 2015 he had now created a series of online sales training courses, tools and resources.