A guide to the top 12 sales methodologies

The 12 Best Sales Methodologies You Need To Know

Sales reps are constantly monitoring their quota attainment. They know how much they’ve sold for the month and how much more they need to sell in order to reach their target. Where the breakdown occurs is how they should get there.

Sales Methodology bridges the gap between what needs to be done and how to do it.

The best sales methodologies turn goals into actionable steps that can be measured and monitored. There are a variety of sales models that can be utilized. Each sales method usually aligns to your company’s sales process, but not necessarily the entire sales cycle.

The best sales methodologies are relevant to one specific portion of the sales process, like qualification or discovery. Additionally, because each company develops its own sales process unique to their market and vertical, the sales methods that work for one company won’t necessarily work for another.

A sales methodology is put into place to help your company earn customers in B2B environments. The chosen sales model will dictate your sales process. Because there are so many different types of selling, all types of teams can actually implement and use the same sales methodology.

Sales Methodology: an element in the sales process that refers to the framework, philosophy, or general tactic that guides how a salesperson approaches each step within the process.

Table of Contents

1. The Challenger Sale
2. Conceptual Selling
3. Consultative Selling
4. Customer-Centric Selling
5. Inbound Selling
6. MEDDIC
7. NEAT Selling
8. SNAP Selling
9. Solution Selling
10. SPIN Selling
11. Sandler Selling System
12. Value Selling Framework

The 12 Best Sales Methodologies

01 | The Challenger Sale

The 2011 book authored by Matthew Dixon became an overnight sensation that transitioned into one of the most popular and best sales methodologies. It categorized sales reps into 5 profiles:

Sales rep profiles for the challenger sales methodology

As I’m sure you guessed, the book states challenger-type sellers are most successful. Challengers make consumers aware of potentially game-changing challenges and opportunities in their market, then offer effective, tailored solutions. They use the “teach-tailor-take” tactic to close sales.

The Challenger Sale revealed some shocking performance trends:

40% of high sales performers primarily used a Challenger style compared to one of the 4 other sales styles identified
High performers were more than 2x likely to use a Challenger approach than any other
More than 50% of all-star performers fit the Challenger profile in complex sales
Only 7% of top performers took a relationship-building approach, the worst performing profile

02  |  Conceptual Selling

Conceptual selling was developed by Stephen Heiman and Robert Miller. This sales model believes that customer interactions are too important to leave to chance. Their approach is centered on customer-focused interactions to help salespeople better prepare for their time with customers, resulting in purposeful meetings and win-win outcomes.

Conceptual selling as a sales method encourages sales reps to ask smart questions broken down into one of five categories:

1. Confirmation Questions: Reaffirm information
Ex) I understand you’re in the solar installation business and are looking for a product to better manage reps and hold them accountable. Is this correct?

2. New Information Questions: Clarify the prospect’s concept of the product or service while also exploring the desired result
Ex) Can you tell me exactly what problem a field sales app would solve for you? In the big picture, how would solving that problem help your company?

3. Attitude Questions: Seek to understand and relate to prospects on a personal level by discovering their connection to the project
Ex) Why hasn’t it been addressed before? How are you currently doing things?

Commitment Questions: Inquire after a prospect’s investment in the project
Ex) How important to you is getting a product in place? What are your primary roadblocks to implementing our product?

Basic Issue Questions: Raise potential problems
Ex) Are you comfortable with the annual cost and required onboarding and setup fee?

03  |  Consultative Selling

This sales methodology established its roots in solution selling where an experienced salesperson’s expertise, industry knowledge and reputation is leveraged. Instead of telling prospects what theyneed, this investigative approach engages prospects through thought provoking questions, helping them identify their own pains.

Ultimately, prospects guide themselves into making their own decision.

The number one trait of effective consultative selling is the art of asking questions that dig up quality responses. Start by building credibility by demonstrating that you understand what’s going on with their business.

Consultative selling techniques are rooted in the selflessness of the salesperson. It’s not about proving that your product or service is the best, it’s about finding the solution that’s right for the customer.

04  |  Customer-Centric Selling

No shocker here – the focus of this sales model is on the challenge, goals and convenience of the consumer. The objective is to become a knowledgeable, trusted advisor to the client. Customer-Centric Selling (CCS) centers on defining and implementing a buyer-driven sales process that’s repeatable and scalable to achieve success and exceed goals.

The 8 components of this sales model:

1. Converse situationally compared to making presentations
2. Ask relevant questions as opposed to offering opinions
3. Solution-focused instead of relationship-focused
4. Target decision makers instead of users
5. Promote product usage to gain interest instead of the product alone
6. Focus on being the best seller instead of the busiest
7. Close on the buyer’s timeline instead of the seller’s
8. Empower buyers to buy as opposed to convincing them to buy

05  |  Inbound Selling

Inbound sales are sales that come to you. Outbound sales are sales that you went out and closed.

The inbound methodology for sales and marketing

Inbound selling is fairly new as it’s become more popular with internet development. Marketing strategies are tightly intertwined with the processes and goals of sales. Inbound sellers attract consumers by creating messaging opportunities for them to actively engage the seller’s company.

It eliminates pushing “salesy” scripts to prospects by “pulling” them in. Inbound sellers utilize data and analytics to hyper-personalize messages and lead customers toward desired actions.

Note: Compared to inbound selling, outbound selling encompasses many of the traditional selling techniques where sellers initiate the conversation with prospects via cold or warm calls, chat sessions and email outreach.

06  |  MEDDIC

Metrics
Economic Buyer
Decision Criteria
Decision Process
Identify Pain
Champion

MEDDIC Sales Process Flow Chart

This sales method is a highly disciplined, tech-driven and tightly controlled approach the sales process. Through metrics and other relevant data, quantitative standards are established for lead qualification, which requires the search and nurturing for a “champion” in the prospect that advocates for the seller’s brand or solution.

07  |  N.E.A.T. Selling

N.E.A.T Selling is a modern spin on the BANT, ANUM, and AN methodologies.

BANT is a sales qualification process based on a prospect’s Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe. ANUM is based on a prospect’s Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money. And AN is tailored toward Authority and Need.

Using BANT, ANUM, and AN are approaches only good in the past. In today’s world, you will find much more success if you apply the N.E.A.T method to your sales process.

Need
Economic Impact
Access To Authority
Timeline

In this sales methodology created by the Harris Consulting Group and Sales Hacker Inc., sellers are required to do 4 things:

1. Identify “core” needs by probing deep into their customers’ challenges
2. Articulate the value of economic benefit of the solution in terms of ROI
3. Engage contacts who can influence DMs when direct engagement isn’t possible
4. Set a compelling timeline within which a buyer must make a final decision

08  |  SNAP Selling

Simple – Keep it simple by making it easy for prospects to change their current habits and adopt what you’re selling.

INvaluable – Your prospects (buyers) or overwhelmed. You need to be unique experts who stand out and showcase the value of your product.

Align – Make people want to buy from you by aligning your position with their beliefs and needs.

Priority – Focus on what the prospect is focused on to win deals.

Established by Jill Konrath in 2012, SNAP aims to speed up the sales process under the assumption that prospective buyers are busy and distracted. SNAP Selling is one of the best sales methodologies because of how it identifies three critical decisions involved in a sale.

The first is allowing access, second is the choice to move in a different direction away from the status quo, and the third is changing resources. The goal is to use these mini decision milestones in order to more effectively keep deals on the right path.

09  |  Solution Selling

One of the many unique types of selling is solution selling, which drives focus away from the product-centric approach and toward the benefits, impact and relevance of a custom solution.

Made popular in the late 1980s, this approach dives into each customer’s unique situation to accurately identify pain points and establish an agreed upon criteria set for an acceptable resolution. The technique has evolved to adapt to changes in buyer maturity and business landscape.

Solution selling includes supporting processes, tools and critical skill development. It helps salespeople provide higher and differentiating value to buyers by shaping how customer engagement occurs.

10  |  SPIN Selling

Situation:

How do you keep track of what’s happening in your sales pipeline?
How do you maintain an overview of how your individual sales reps are performing?

Problem:

What’s the biggest problem you’re facing so far when tracking/managing your sales reps?

Implication:

If you continue to have issues managing your reps, what does that mean for your business?

Need-Payoff:

If you could see rep activity at a glance, how would that help you achieve your sales targets?

The acronym in this sales model represents the 4 types of questions that sellers should be asking prospects. The questions are aimed at helping sellers do 4 things:

1. Assess their customer’s real situation
2. Isolate the core problem needing to be solved
3. Cite the consequences of not solving the problems
4. Guide buyers into reframing the situation had the problem been solved

11  |  The Sandler Selling System

The Sandler Sales Methodology reframes sellers as trusted advisors who are as invested as customers in their success finding a solution. There is a large emphasis placed on relationship building, lead qualification and deal closing.The Sandler Selling Pain Funnel

The benefit of the Sandler System is that sellers forego continued engagement when the solution doesn’t exactly match the problem, which is determined through accurate analysis of a customer’s situation and an in-depth needs assessment. Alternatively, transactional roles will be upended in an ideal scenario where customers attempt to convince sellers to sell.

12  |  Value Selling Framework

Value selling framework keys in on lead qualification and lead value assessment, enabling salespeople to close faster and engage only leads with significant impact on their portfolio. Sales reps are encouraged to ask the right questions, communicate unique product value and demonstrate flexibility to formulate a mutually beneficial solution.

Which Sales Methodologies Will You Implement in 2018?

Before you choose, evaluate your buyer persona and select a methodology that best suits each target customer.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the customer’s needs are top priority. Implement the methodology that gives you the best chance to demonstrate how your product will address their needs.

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