What is Complex Sale?
Complex Sales, also known as Enterprise Sale, is typically a long sales cycle deal (sometimes longer than 12 months) that includes multiple decision-makers and stakeholders. To close a complex sale, a salesperson must convince at least a majority of the decision-makers, rather than needing to influence just one person. This task is made even harder by the fact that the salesperson usually isn't told just who all the decision-makers are, and may not even get a chance to speak with them.
A consumer (B2C) complex sale:
Complex sales are especially common in large B2B sales environments but are not unknown in smaller sales as well. In consumer sales situations, the decision-makers may include a husband and wife, children, roommates, etc. Usually, there will be one decision-maker who is responsible for making the final decision, while the other decision-makers, who have a stake in the purchase for one reason or another, will try to influence the chief decision-maker.
A B2B complex sale:
In B2B sales the chief decision-maker is usually either the executive who controls the relevant sphere of authority (for example, the CTO for technology sales) or the person in charge of all purchasing operations. Other interested parties might include the chief decision maker's assistant and gatekeeper, the product's intended users, the person or persons who will be responsible for setting up and maintaining the product, members of the company's legal team, and so on.
Complex sales of any type are further complicated by existing politics and power struggles within the decision-making team. For example, if you are selling to a husband and wife who have had an ongoing argument about what type of product to buy, their reactions to your sales pitch might be based on things they've discussed earlier and might be unexpected to you. Similarly, a company vice president engaged in a power struggle with the head of another department might either support or oppose the sale based on factors that have nothing to do with you.