Published November 04th, 2016 by

Top Customer Pain Points With Complex And Custom Sales

There are a hundred ways to go wrong when selling a complex product or service, and sales teams need near perfect execution to close the deal. If the sales presentation is sloppy, what are buyers going to think about the product or service itself? Will they be willing to stick their necks (and their checkbooks) out to buy it? Doubtful! These are the top customer pain points with complex sales; if your sales team can avoid them, success awaits.


1. No Clear Value Proposition Statement


Sellers frequently get so wrapped up touting the many features of their product/service they forget to put them in a bigger context. Buyers become frustrated listening to lengthy, detailed presentations — unless they can relate the information to important benefits. Without hearing a strong “what’s in it for me” message, buyers eventually tune out and shut down.


2. Mono Messaging


Speaking of details, depending on whom they are talking to, sellers need to vary the emphasis and presentation. Complex, custom items involve multiple decision makers and influencers on the buyer side. Executives will be most interested in big-picture benefits, and less interested in technical specifications; IT and operations personnel may have the opposite interests. If sellers talk the same language to everyone, alienating or confusing at least one group of decision makers/influencers is guaranteed.


3. Lack of Expertise


While buyers don’t expect sales representatives to be technical experts, if their answer to every question is “I don’t know,” buyers quickly get frustrated. Selling personnel must be trained in product/service basics and drilled on customer FAQs and appropriate answers. Sometimes, sales representatives, especially rookies, fall to the temptation of answering with a guess so as not to appear incompetent — but this leads to even worse outcomes than admitting ignorance.


4. Long Lead Time on Proposals


Complex/custom items are usually acquired and implemented on a strict timeline and budget, as substantial human and financial resources are involved. As a result, waiting weeks or months for a proposal is almost sure to upset the timeline — and the buyer along with it.


5. Errors on Proposals


Proposals that contain errors — especially when received after a long wait — can push buyers to the boiling point. Sellers need to pay close attention to every aspect of the proposal before it falls into the prospect’s hands, including:


  • Accuracy — Are the technical details correct?
  • Completeness — Are any details missing?
  • Clarity — Is the information clearly presented?
  • Executive Summary — Can prospects that are so inclined get the gist of the proposal quickly?
  • Next Steps — Does the proposal give prospects a clear understanding of what their next steps should be if they want to move forward?
  • Proofreading — Is the proposal grammatically correct? Is the company name spelled correctly? Oversights like these are greatly magnified in the prospect’s eyes when they occur in a six- or seven-figure proposal!


If sellers make any of these five errors, prospects may well select an inferior product or service from a competitor that did not make them. This is really a tragedy for the seller of the superior offering — as well as for the customer. Bottom line: Hold the sales team to the same high standards of the product or service itself, and more sales will be made.



Chris DiEllo is Sales Director at Autodesk Configure One. DiEllo graduated from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a degree in mechanical engineering and prior to Autodesk Configure One, spent time as an engineering manager for a plastics manufacturing company. 

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