The book that taught me more than any other about the nuts and bolts of major account selling was Neil Rackham's " Major Account Sales Strategy." While Rackham is better known as the author of the very popular " Spin Selling," this book on major account selling has so much good information between its covers that it might almost be considered to be the tactical primer on the subject in the sales profession.

There are many valuable concepts in the book. The core idea states that buyers have a process that they follow in making a decision on a major account purchase. From a seller's perspective it is important to get in step with this process rather than trying to manipulate buyers into following their own selling (pipeline) process.

The five major consecutive phases of their buying process and a summary of major events in each phase are:

  1. Recognition of needs
    Do we have a problem?
    How big or important is it?
    Does it justify action?
  2. Evaluation of options
    What decision criteria should we use?
    What vendor best meets the criteria?
    What are the pluses and minuses of different options?
  3. Resolution of concerns
    What are the risks in moving forward?
    What can go wrong?
    Can we rely on the vendor of choice?
  4. Decision and implementation
    Does everyone buy off on moving forward?
    Will we get value from this decision?
    How quickly will we see results?
  5. Changes over time
    How can we improve?
    Where do we go from here?

So, the next time you find yourself wondering how you can get the customer to do what you want them to in your sales process, try to understand what they are going through. And get in stride with their buying process. It makes for a more harmonious relationship and consistently more successful sales outcomes.

Try a collaborative selling approach using this " buyer's pipeline" or " funnel." It's a compelling major account sales strategy that has worked for me over and over again.

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