As your business ebbs and flows, so will your sales methodology.
You need to be attentive to the methodologies you deploy & ensure that they’re aligned with your:
- Business type & sector
- Sales team composition
- Stage of maturity
Ultimately, mastering one particular methodology isn’t that important of a skill.
What matters more is knowing which sales process to apply to which situation, and how to deploy it successfully across your organization.
But how do you know which methodologies will cause success in your organization? And which ones might cause failure?
Let’s walk through the top 10 sales methodologies to help you figure out which one is best for you.
1. Challenger Sale Methodology
With the Challenger Sale methodology, the rep leads with insight, educating the buyer on a problem they don’t know they have, and changing how the buyer thinks about the problem their product solves.
It consists of six phases:
- The Warmer. Describe the problem, and get them to nod in agreement.
- The Reframe. Deliver insight that forces the buyer to think about the problem in a new way.
- Rational Drowning. Tally the costs associated with the problem; get the buyer to squirm.
- Emotional Impact. Tell a story that illustrates how the problem impacts similar companies to bring that pain closer to home.
- A New Way. Explain how your buyer would have to change to solve the problem.
- Your Solution. Explain how your product can help buyers adopt those new behaviors better than any other approach.
The Challenger Sale method typically works best in new product categories and highly competitive markets. However, since it also requires business acumen and domain knowledge, it’s not a good fit for inexperienced reps.
2. Solution Selling Methodology
Solution Selling is framed as a “nine-box vision process model.” There are three phases, each of which features a series of three questions (hence the nine boxes):
- Open-ended questions
- Pointed questions
- Summary & playback
Each of these questions is asked in sequence, in these three phases:
- Diagnose their critical business problem in a way that favors your solution
- Explore how that business problem impacts their organization
- Visualize what a solution to their problems might look like (guiding them toward your solution)
Solution Selling is a complex, question-heavy skill that’s best suited to more complex deals, and only during those stages of the sales process dedicated to discovery. It’s a bad fit for transactional sales with a standardized, simple solution.
3. SPIN Selling Methodology
SPIN Selling was introduced by Neil Rackham in 1988, when he found that the top salespeople rarely pitch their products or services; instead, they introduce strategic, high-value questions to guide the conversation:
- Situation. Ask questions to qualify the buyer & understand their context.
- Problem. Ask questions that get your buyer talking about their problems and needs.
- Implication. Ask questions that help the buyer realize how serious their problem is, building a sense of urgency.
- Need-Payoff. Ask questions that get the buyer to verbalize solving the problem.
Like Solution Selling, SPIN selling typically only works for discovery-heavy calls, and more complex products.
4. MEDDIC Sales Methodology
The MEDDIC sales methodology is built for complex deals, helping to develop clarity around each of the following areas:
- Economic buyer
- Decision criteria
- Decision process
- Identify pain
The MEDDIC methodology works best if you’re selling to organizations with multiple internal contacts and a more complex buying process. However, for deals that involve three or fewer buyers in the decision-making process, it’s probably overkill.
5. Sandler Sales Methodology
The Sandler Selling System, first developed by David Sandler in 1967, reframes the entire sales process so the buyer thinks that they’re the one pushing the deal forward. It emphasizes control of the process by pushing up-front contracts, so the buyer always agrees to something before they reach the next stage.
The stages of the Sandler Selling Methodology include:
- Bonding and Rapport. Engage your buyer with a sincere desire to help, conduct discovery, and qualify them.
- Up-Front Contracts. Work out an agreement with the buyer to make sure you can move forward in the sales cycle.
- Pain. Assess the buyer’s needs and identify how your solution can meet them.
- Budget. Make sure the buyer can afford your solution.
- Decision. Choose one of three options: qualify, disqualify, or choose to speak to more people.
- Fulfillment. Present a compelling solution that meets the buyer’s needs.
- Post-Sell. Maintain rapport with the buyer and continually add value over time.
6. Inbound Sales Methodology
The Inbound Sales methodology is designed to align with the steps your buyers take as they actively search for solutions to the problems they face:
- Identify buyers who are actively looking for solutions similar to yours.
- Connect with the buyer to help them understand the priority level of solving their problem.
- Explore whether your solution is a good fit for their business.
- Advise the buyer on the solutions available to them, guiding them toward your own.
Inbound sales really only works when you have a substantial inbound marketing operation or highly active buyers.
7. Conceptual Selling Methodology
The goal of Conceptual Selling is to get your buyer to think of your product not as a product per se, but as the concept of a solution. Each of these questions help you gather information that aligns their buying process with your selling process:
- Confirm the facts you already know about the buyer
- Unearth new information about the buyer’s needs and goals
- Gain a better understanding of the buyer’s attitude and how they stand to gain from your solution
- Increase the buyer’s commitment to the project
- Raise potential problems so you can overcome objections
Conceptual Selling works best if you need a lot of information about your buyer’s problem and context, and if they need a lot of information about your solution.
8. SNAP Selling Methodology
In 2010, Jill Konrath introduced the SNAP Selling methodology as a way to work around buyers’ increasingly busy schedules. Here’s how she positioned SNAP:
- It’s hard to change habits, so make that process as simple as possible for your buyers
- Be unique. Demonstrate your expertise. Show why your product is invaluable
- Align your product with buyers’ needs and their core beliefs
- Focus on your buyers’ needs and priorities
The SNAP methodology focuses on three key decisions that buyers make during the sales process:
- Buyer allows you access to their world
- Buyer drops the status quo, agreeing to make a change in their organization
- Buyer agrees to switch resources
SNAP works best for organizations selling in crowded markets or conducting transactional B2B deals.
9. NEAT Sales Methodology
NEAT blends two classic methodologies: AIDA (Attention, Interest, Demand, Action) and BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing), boiling them down to their most important elements:
- Economic Impact
- Access to Authority (the decision makers involved in the process)
NEAT works best if your customers are high-growth, fast-moving SaaS companies.
10. Target Account Selling Methodology
Target Account Selling (TAS) is a B2B sales methodology specifically for large enterprise accounts. It involves gathering a large amount of research and intelligence on the account, including:
- Account intelligence
- Market intelligence
- Competitive intelligence
From there, your buyer develops a selling strategy for each individual account based on the research they conducted.
If you regularly work with massive enterprise sales accounts that have long sales cycles and specific total addressable markets, TAS will probably be a good option. However, it’s less useful for companies with broad markets and more transactional sales cycles.
Conclusion: Deploying Your New Sales Methodology
Once you choose the best sales methodology for your organization, the next step is to actually deploy it. Here are five steps to follow:
- Collect buy-in. You need to get both your C-level leadership, frontline managers, and individual reps bought into the methodology, otherwise it’s not going to go anywhere.
- Train reps on the methodology. It’s usually best practice to bring in a third party organization who are experts at training and launching new sales methodologies so everyone.
- Demonstrate what “good” looks like. Once your sales reps understand the theory behind your new selling process, you need to give tangible, practical examples for them to emulate. Call recording technology that surfaces key insights, like ExecVision, makes this easier.
- Track adoption among your reps. With coaching intelligence technology, you can get a sense of how well your reps are adopting and implementing your methodology, and prioritize coaching for the ones that aren’t. It’s through repeated, consistent effort that reps will fully embrace the new methodology.
- Coach to the methodology. Once everyone is on board with the new methodology, your sales management will prioritize their coaching to match the steps and empower reps to take on the methodology.
If you feel like this is a tall order, it’s probably because you don’t have the right tools to help you train and coach your sales reps.
No matter whether you’re adopting a new methodology or shoring up the one you already use, ExecVision gives you real-time insight into rep performance to inform and shape your coaching conversations.