Missed a sale due to lack of information? That’s exactly why you must create the right sales acceleration strategy. Check out this post to get started with sales acceleration and enable your sales reps to close more deals than ever.
Research and experience tell me that sales methodology is different from a sales process.
Your sales process is the one you build and implement step-by-step to guide prospects and convert them into customers. At the same time, your methodology is the approach and activities you carry out within each stage of your sales process.
You must choose a sales methodology based on the complexity and price of your product. Additionally, you must consider how your customer prefers buying your product.
In short, your sales methodology must have a win-win outcome. It should serve your customers and sales reps.
Today, I will tell you about sales methodology (not process!). By the end of this post, you’ll know in detail what it is, why you need a method, and the best sales methodology.
What is a Sales Methodology?
A sales methodology is a framework that guides sales reps on how they should approach prospects in each phase of the sales process.
As mentioned, a sales process maps the stages required for making a sale. In comparison, a methodology outlines the approach through systematic principles and best practices that help sales reps to take action.
In other words, a sales methodology explains the ‘how’ of the process. Let’s look at a quick sales methodology example here. A sales methodology communicates with sellers about;
− how to prepare for a sales call;
− how to evaluate an opportunity; or
− how to upsell a large account
A sales methodology connects the sales process to your customer needs. It provides the salespeople with a roadmap to help them navigate each stage of the sales process.
Why Do You Need a Sales Methodology?
Sales methodology is essential. Period.
With business trends changing at lightning speed, functioning without a sales methodology can result in your sales team lagging. A process is necessary to keep up with the rapidly-happening changes.
A sales methodology can help your sales reps cope with changing trends by providing them with the following:
- Best practices to successfully close deals
- Essential tools to analyze roadblocks and find the best solutions
- Common approaches and activities for sales reps to help them move together towards the same set of sales goals
- Practical strategies for adjusting to the new environment and achieving the best results.
- Effective ways for sales managers and executives to train and guide sales reps may lead to their performance improvement by an average of 20%.
- Identification of the top performers who can encourage, motivate, and guide other sales reps to perform better
The 12 Best Sales Methodology You Should Consider in 2022
There are several sales methodologies you can choose from. Here, I have covered the top 12 sales methodologies in detail. Check them out and choose the one that’s perfect for your business.
1. Challenger sales
The Challenger Sales methodology focuses on the sales reps educating the prospects and getting them a tailor-made solution. This methodology enables sales reps to take over the conversation.
In current times, prospects do a lot of research before they connect with a sales rep. Hence, sales reps must be better prepared to address the prospect’s concerns and correct their misconceptions, if any.
The Challenger sales methodology digs deep into the client’s pain points and industry. This allows your sales reps to serve as trustworthy advisors for the prospects, delivering quality solutions.
Based on this sales methodology, sales reps are categorized into five personas:
- The Hard worker – Self-motivated, persistent, and interested in self-development
- The Problem Solver – Responsive, detail-oriented, and aims at solving problems
- The Lone Wolf – Follows own instincts, delivers results, tough to manage
- The Relationship Builder – Builds relationships with prospects
- The Challenger – Strong understanding of business, challenges prospect’s views and has unique perspectives
Research says that 40% of the top-performing salespeople use the Challenger sales methodology.
Best use – Challenger Sales is used in a complex B2B selling environment where sales reps can take control of the lead conversation and convey their organizational strengths.
Benefit – It is an effective sales methodology focusing on building a relationship based on in-depth knowledge about the client. It enables sales reps to offer tailored solutions, differentiating their product from competitors.
2. SPIN Selling
SPIN selling sales methodology is question-based. What I mean is that this approach helps your sales reps to ask the right questions. These questions help sales reps understand how to serve the prospect better and ultimately convert them.
SPIN is four types of questions that sales reps must ask the prospects.
The Situation questions allow sales reps to understand the client and their current business processes. Example – How does your current lead management process work?
The Problem questions enable sales reps to identify the key pain points. It provides the opportunity to solve the prospect’s issue and fill in the gaps in their business system. Example – Do you find assigning the right prospects to the right sales reps challenging?
The Implication questions are to make the prospect think about the consequences of not resolving the issue. Example – If your sales rep misses out on a big lead, how will it affect the business functions?
The Need-payoff questions make the prospect think about the situation after solving the problems. In addition, it provides the opportunity to explain your product to the prospect emphasizing how it can solve their problems. Example – Would it significantly impact your organization if you were given a solution to auto-assign leads based on your predetermined criteria?
Best use – This approach is best used when the prospect has not yet identified their problems or may not understand the consequences or implications.
Benefit – The SPIN sales methodology allows sales reps to build client relationships. As a result, it allows the sales reps to sell effectively and efficiently. Also, it enables them to add value to the prospect.
3. Sandler Selling System
The Sandler selling system is one of the most popular sales methodologies that serve as a practical framework even in current times.
The sales methodology focuses on relationship building and customer qualification. In addition, the method aims to position the sales reps as trusted advisors.
The basic steps of this sales methodology are:
- Build a relationship with the prospect
- Qualify the opportunity (understanding if the solution addresses the prospect’s problem)
- Close the sale (after qualification)
Using this methodology, the sales reps focus on listening to the prospect’s issues and asking the right questions to understand the pain points, who the decision-makers are, and their budget.
The information helps the sales reps to evaluate the opportunity quality and make a mutually beneficial decision.
Best use – The Sandler methodology is effective and can integrate well with different selling environments.
Benefit – The methodology ensures a strong client-salesperson relationship. In addition, it increases the chances of lead conversion.
4. SNAP Selling
The SNAP selling methodology is ideal for the fast-selling environment. The approach addresses the issue of too much info and too little time for the prospects to decide. Hence, the sales methodology gets right into the heart of the prospect’s problems.
There are four principles of SNAP that you must follow to implement the methodology.
- Keep it Simple – Make the decision-making process simple and easy for the prospect to make a quick decision.
- Be iNvaluable – Highlight the value your product brings to stand out
- Always Align – Keep your solution and conversation aligned with the prospect’s goals to be relevant
- Raise Priorities – Explain why the prospect should prioritize the issue surrounding your solution.
Best use – The sales methodology is best used when you need to reach busy prospects and make it easy for them to make purchase decisions.
Benefit – The comprehensive sales methodology helps the sales reps understand the prospect’s selling environment. In addition, it ensures addressing the buyer’s needs directly.
The MEDDIC sales methodology is for B2B organizations. This methodology is focused on customer qualification.
The main idea of this approach is to better the customer qualification so that it can lead to higher sales. The MEDDIC approach has several versions as well. To know, check out this blog.
MEDDIC is an acronym for:
- Metrics – What is the measurable impact of the solution?
- Economic buyer – Who is the final decision-maker?
- Decision criteria – What are the requirements for decision-making?
- Decision process- What is the decision-making process of the company?
- Identify pain – What is the primary issue and the cost of not resolving it?
- Champion – Who can influence the decision-making process?
Best use – The methodology best suits the complex B2B selling environments where it is necessary to identify the right people to drive sales.
Benefits – This sales methodology helps you identify the ideal prospects for selling your solution. You are more likely to seal deals when you approach the right leads.
6. N.E.A.T Selling
N.E.A.T is a sales methodology that focuses on asking the right qualifying questions. The methodology serves as a flexible guide to ensure that the sales reps ask the right questions through their conversation that can qualify the prospect.
N.E.A.T stands for:
- Needs – What are the primary needs of the prospect?
- Economic Impact – What is the economic impact of the prospect’s needs?
- Access to authority – Who can provide you the access to the key decision-makers?
- Timeline – How long does it take to make a decision? Is there a deadline or event to trigger the decision-making?
Best use – N.E.A.T is best used to prioritize and address the prospect’s issues to develop custom solutions and build authentic relationships.
Benefit – This sales methodology can be applied to simple and complex sales cycles.
7. Gap Selling
Gap selling focuses on filling the ‘gap’ between prospects and where they want to be. In other words, it is about bridging the space between the buyer’s current and desired situation.
This sales methodology is problem-centric. It addresses the buyer’s problem instead of aggressively selling the product. This approach puts the buyer’s problem first and determines if your solution/product can help.
Best use – The approach is best used when your sales reps have the time to dig deeper into the prospect’s current situation by asking the right questions to get to the root of the issue.
Benefit – Gap selling puts the prospect’s problem first rather than the product. It helps build a strong rapport with the prospects by winning their trust.
8. Inbound Selling
The inbound sales approach is all about attracting the prospect to yourself instead of reaching out to them.
Inbound selling salespeople focus on understanding the prospect’s problems and journey. They act as trusted consultants to the prospects, providing the necessary info and tailoring solutions for their unique needs.
Best use – Inbound sales is best used with an inbound marketing strategy. When using this sales methodology, ensure that your teams are aligned toward achieving the same business goals.
Benefits – Inbound sales are cost-effective and less intrusive as it attracts leads who are genuinely interested in your product.
9. Conceptual Selling
Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman developed conceptual selling. A sales methodology focuses on selling a concept rather than a specific product or service.
This methodology encourages sales reps to listen to their prospects and research them to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
The sales reps should attempt to learn about the prospect’s ideal solution (their concept) and their decision-making process. This will help the sales reps to create a better product for the prospect that directly addresses their needs.
Best use – Conceptual selling is best for a complex selling environment with multiple stakeholders. It works well for managing large accounts.
Benefits – Conceptual selling works great for building trust and long-term relationships with customers. The methodology ensures quality customized solutions for customers as it focuses on listening to their needs and problems.
10. Consultative Selling
This sales methodology is about creating value and establishing a relationship between the prospect and the seller before offering them the product/solution.
Consultative selling comprises six stages:
Best use – Consultative selling is the best sales methodology when an organization needs a customer-oriented sales philosophy.
Benefits – Consultative sales methodology is customer-oriented. The methodology prioritizes customer needs and enables sales reps to identify the prospect’s pain points. This, in turn, helps the sales reps to position the solutions more effectively.
11. Solution Selling
Michael Bosworth created the solution selling methodology that works on a simple premise. First, the sales reps identify a specific customer problem and recommend a product or solution to address the issue.
Solution selling is not about pushing the products on customers. Instead, it is about analyzing their unique needs and offering them a tailored solution.
For instance, a sales rep for a product management company can create a customized package for the prospect based on the services they need.
Best use – Solution selling works best for organizations that sell highly customized services or products.
Benefits – The sales methodology acknowledges that today’s prospects are more informed. It allows sales reps to shift the conversation flow to solutions for customers instead of specific products/services. Here, the sales reps can focus less on what the product does and more on how it solves prospects’ problems leading to an effective positioning.
12. CustomerCentric Selling
CustomerCentric Selling focuses on empowering the buyer through the sales cycle. Therefore, the methodology spins around the customer instead of pushing a sales solution.
Using the approach, sales reps position themselves as consultants, prepared to address prospect queries, priorities, and pain points. The sales method focuses on the prospect’s context, empowering them to make a purchase rather than convincing.
Best use – This sales methodology is perfect when you need to build stronger client relationships.
Benefits – The methodology is customer-centric. It enables sales reps to establish strong relationships with prospects, resulting in higher conversions.
How to Choose the Best Sales Methodology?
The best sales methodology is the one that aligns with your sales funnel and your overall business goals comfortably.
It must bring all the three sales elements – the product, the market, and the customer on the same page.
To pick the best among different sales methodologies, identify your needs first. Here are two ‘how to choose a sales methodology’ examples.
Scenario 1: If you do not identify your prospect’s pain points, you may not be able to communicate how your product is a viable solution to the problem. So, here, you may choose a sales methodology that focuses on knowing the prospect’s pain points early.
Scenario 2: If your product is simple and easy to use, converting prospects into customers wouldn’t be hard to crack. Here, you may want to pick a sales methodology that makes it convenient for prospects to buy your product even on a hectic day.
After you have identified your needs, identify the methodologies ideal to solve your problems in the best possible way.
Choose a type of sales methodology that’s consistent. If you have a consistent method, you can ensure that everyone in sales uses the same language as it goes with the deals.
Example: Sandler is a structured sales methodology that establishes control and brings people to a mutual agreement surrounding the meetings and sales cycle goals.
The methodology then shapes a discussion around sales opportunities and customer needs to build a solution.
It is then up to you to convince the prospect that you can deliver the proposed solution. Once everyone agrees, you have a mutual agreement around the criteria for purchase.
Metrics to Measure Effectiveness
While choosing the best sales methodology for your organization, you must also decide on a few metrics to track the methodology’s effectiveness.
Check out a few metrics you must track to ensure your sales methodology works.
The sales cycle is the length of time between when the prospect first contacted the business to close a sale. Measure the buyer’s journey steps to estimate the average time spent on making a sale. Accordingly, you can improve your sales methodologies to reduce the sales cycle.
Opportunity win rate
This metric shows the number of deals you won against the total number of opportunities. If you have a high opportunity win rate, your chosen sales methodology works well!
But, if your opportunity win rate is less, review your entire sales process to look at possible issues across all stages.
Lead to sales qualified ratio
The lead-to-sales-qualified ratio shows how well the sales methodologies have worked to qualify leads and move them through the sales funnel.
A low lead-to-sales-qualified ratio means you do not generate quality leads interested in buying your product or service. Thus, you can tweak the sales methodologies in the initial stage of the sales process to qualify better leads.
How to Implement a Sales Methodology Effectively?
Once you have identified your perfect sales methodology, implementing it becomes easier. You must consider a few things to implement your chosen sales methodology.
1. Map your sales process
As I have mentioned, sales methodologies are used at each stage of the sales process. So, first and foremost, you must know the sales process stages.
- Define each stage of the sales process, understand its goals, and identify the managers and task owners. Also, count the number of sales reps within each team.
- Use process maps to structure the stages of the sales process. It will provide an overview of the process in a visual form, more accessible to interpret and understand.
- Map the current process by interviewing the stakeholders and revealing the sales process stages.
Here’s an example of a process map.
2. Identify your buyer needs
You must identify your buyers’ needs to bridge the gap between your sales message and customer needs.
Use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to understand the buyer pain points your product can address.
The buyer’s needs can be financial, personal, and technical. Identify all of the three needs categories and the buyer motivations like pricing, affinity, fear, etc. as well.
For instance, due to a tight budget, the price may stop the buyer from deciding. But, on the other hand, a buyer may want to work with you because of the personal connection they feel with your brand.
3. Adoption/Implementation of sales methodology
After mapping out each stage of the sales process, you can choose the methodologies for each phase to support them. Of course, the methodology at each step can be different. But they must guide the sales reps on what to do next.
You can choose a popular sales methodology from the top 12 I have explained above or create custom methodologies based on your business type and understanding of customers.
Sales methodologies are flexible. You can choose different ones for different occasions as it seems fit. You can also combine the methods with meeting your buyer’s unique needs.
4. Create and conduct training sessions
The final step is to train the sales reps and provide them with the necessary resources. One of the most vital parts of implementing a sales methodology is giving sales reps the proper training.
You can start by documenting the methodologies you’ll use. Then create a playbook and guides those salespeople can read and understand. Corresponding to these materials, plan regular training sessions to help your reps improve their skills.
Choosing a suitable sales methodology is critical to making your sales process successful. The methodology you choose must be based on what you sell, how complex it is, and how it is priced.
But regardless of the sales methodology, you choose to implement; regular training is a must to ensure running a sales process successfully. Also, you must implement the best practices and have the best tools supporting the business functions.
For higher sales, get the proper sales methodology and the tool to ensure achieving your goals. RevenueHero is one such sales acceleration platform that can help you quality, route, prioritize prospects, and schedule meetings to close more deals.
To know more, visit the platform and reach out to the team!