The Next Gen Salesperson: What to Expect in B2B Complex Sales


Imagine a salesperson—what comes to mind? We all likely picture the cliché car salesman who is pushy, "all-knowing", always closing, and solely commission driven. We may even suspect that this is appropriate behavior for a salesperson. Now consider the last time you purchased a car. How much research did you do before interacting with sales? What did you want from that salesperson? Did you care most about the expertise to answer your questions or the willingness to move at your pace?

Although expertise is necessary for a salesperson's success, the strongest next gen salespeople understand where the customer is in the buyer's journey and how to help them continue on that journey. Customers have changed and it is important that your organization keeps up with new buyer needs—whether that means engaging the help of a sales consultant, integrating new sales technologies, or revamping the sales process all together. 

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Adopting the new sales model

The first place to start is in building your sales team. CEOs in engineering-driven companies typically posses a natural skill for consultative sales given their deep knowledge of their technology and knack for problem-solving. Often times, these CEOs discount their own skills, thinking they don't have an ability to sell like a ‘true’ salesperson. They look for the opposite characteristics in individuals to hire for their sales team. Whether you're selling as an OEM, systems manufacturer, or as a medical device company, we tend to fall into old traps when it comes to recruiting and training for sales—always looking for hunters with a personal network and a great pitch.

Customers and their expectations have changed. They have moved beyond features and benefits, and are now better educated about your available solutions, often needing your help to build the business case to for their internal team. In short, they don’t want to be sold to—they want help buying. Your salesperson needs to be able to help and educate buyers along the buying process. The goal is to guide them to the right decision and get a definitive answer—even if that means they decide not to purchase from you.

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Building company value through sales begins with a strong team, alignment with your company values, an ability to learn and understand the product, and more motivation than just a commission check. Whether you are bringing new hires into the sales force or training your current team, there are certain behaviors and characteristics of the salesperson that will succeed in driving value.


Successful salespeople today do:



Dialing for dollars

Delivering on their promises—call back when they say; follow up; provide info

Reliance on personal network

Asking for referrals


Focusing on daily routine

Quota driven sales

KPI driven sales

Art (wooing; overcoming objections)

Science (clear, factual, data-driven)

Reliance on the rolodex

Data-driven decisions


Curious conversations


Successful salespeople today are:

  • Credible—offers technical expertise.
  • Process-driven—A defined sales process creates a roadmap for success and keeps the salesperson focused on the right tasks.
  • Focused on the daily activities.
  • CRM savvy—knows how to make sales and marketing automation work for him or her. Sometimes this requires an outside consultant to get your sales team up to speed.
  • A strong communicator—keeps in touch at the prospect’s pace, before and after the sale. Uses the relationships to create effective case studies for future prospects.
  • Transparent—educates the customer on the buying process.
  • Well-adjusted—focused on the prospect’s needs and the full pipeline, not emotionally invested in winning a particular deal at any cost.

A well-paced, data-driven salesperson wakes up every morning prepared to uphold their part of the bargain to the prospect, is the best fit for building a healthy pipeline for the B2B complex sale. Attempting to utilize outdated sales tactics in our modern buyer's world is like fitting a square peg into a round hole—it just won't work. Effectively implementing these dynamic processes will provide you with greater company value, a longer and more positive relationship with customers, and positive growth for your organization.


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