Marketing complex products is pretty much the same as selling simple products, but with the added difficulty of:
- the customer not understanding what you’re selling or
- the customer needing to spend lots of time with the sales person learning about the product.
The difference between simple and complex selling lies in the fact that with a complex sale:
- you need to spend a lot of time,
- with a lot of people
- over a long period of time to get those sales.
We present 4 steps to selling complicated industrial products. We should however start this discussion, with some points on identifying if you’re marketing or selling a complicated product.
8 characteristics of a complicated product:
- Your sales reps have a technical qualification of some sort
- You accounts department is unable to know when product A is more suitable to sell than product B
- Your sales cycle is longer than 1month
- You typically have to talk to the customer on multiple occasions.
- Your customer can’t just choose which one to buy from you, your rep needs to spec the product
- High value products, anything that costs more than a new car
- The sales rep and often the customer too, need to be conversant with scientific or engineering concepts
- Customers have to be educated on how the product works
- The product has a high degree of customization.
So if you have ticked off a good number of the characteristics above, we’re on the same page.
The 4 steps to marketing complicated products are:
- Step one: understand the value proposition – everyone thinks they know their value proposition but do you, honestly? According to your customers?
- Step two: understand your ideal persona/target market
- Step three: develop a curriculum to educate your ideal customer, understand what they typically know and where the gap is. You need to teach them how to answer the first set of questions your sales person would typically ask.
- Once you understand what you offer, who you’re offering it to and what they need to understand before they can buy you then need to find a way of making the educational material available that they can find it. Websites and blog posts are a great place to put the information
The secret here is that you’re able to use the website to hold your sales/marketing/educational content. Through using something likeInbound Marketing software with your website you can have the customer walk themselves through the first large portion of the sale… the educational part…. And then your sales reps just swoop in when the customer has done their homework and close the sale.
This post has identified the characteristics of a complicated sale, and it has laid out the steps to approach selling a complex sale. The secret lies in being able to use the educational material as marketing feedstock so that you can get the customer through the long and expensive educational part of the sales process before they tie up your sales rep.
How does your digital marketing agency stack up to marketing complex products? We’ve prepared this checklist: