Jill Konrath, the popular sales strategist once quoted -
“Sales is an outcome, not a goal. It’s a function of doing numerous things right, starting from the moment you target a potential prospect until you finalize the deal.”
He cannot be more right. Sales is indeed an ‘outcome’ - the outcome of your team’s day and night efforts in convincing a prospect to become a paid customer. Without an ounce of doubt, your sales team deserves major credit for your company’s success.
However, you will often notice that not all reps put the same effort to convince a prospect. For a few, things seem to happen in an auto-pilot mode. Convincing clients is a walk in the park for these ‘special reps’.
Now, if you are a sales rep or have seen a salesman convincing a client, you know that sales is anything but a child’s play. So what are these so-called ‘special reps’ doing right?
Simple - They are following a sales methodology - a tried and tested practice that is a crucial determiner of how soon you can move along the path to success.
Now before you ask what is a sales methodology, let us jump right into it.
Most people confuse sales methodology with ‘sales process’. The haziness is quite understandable as it seems almost the same to the naked eye. But when you dive deep, you will realize there is an ocean of differences. Let us demystify the difference between the two -
Sales Process is a set of repeatable steps that your sales team follows while navigating your customers through the sales funnel.
On the other hand,
"Sales methodology is a framework that outlines every step your reps should take while navigating through a sales process."
Here is a simple analogy to explain the difference between the two -
Imagine you are hiking in the woods. A map will give directions towards your destination. But it will not tell you what steps to take to cross a treacherous river that suddenly comes in your way.
A sales process is like a map - It tells you the direction towards your goal. But a sales methodology takes it one step further - It gives you the exact steps to overcome every obstacle in your journey. In the above case, a guide on how to swim across the river.
To summarize, sales methodology is a collection of tried and tested practices that can assist in making the right decisions in a sales process. There is no sales process without a sales methodology.
A sales methodology is undoubtedly the backbone of any company - the stiffer it is, the faster your growth. Without picking the right sales methodology, no business can sustain itself in the long run, be it Microsoft or a tiny startup that sprouted recently.
Here are some of the top sales methodologies used across the globe -
This concept requires the sales rep to be more of a listener than a talker. Instead of talking about the benefits of a product/service, the reps need to make the buyer feel that they have found a solution to their problem, with the help of effective questioning.
The acronym of SPIN highlights four different types of questions:
According to this, all B2B sales rep can be fitted into five different personality types -
The research found that 40% of successful sales reps are challengers and they are one of the most successful types of sales reps. Rather than explaining the benefits of the product or service, a challenger would get into a friendly debate with the buyers on the problems faced by their company and industry as a whole.
A challenger ends up holding complete control over the conversations and will easily navigate the call to the desired goal.
Pro-tip - “To use the challenger methodology, you must have extensive knowledge of the buyer's industry.”
MEDDIC methodology is a qualification process for complex and enterprise-level B2B sales. To ensure that the client is qualified and is the right fit for his/her organization, the reps must ask themselves and their client these six questions -
Conceptual selling is not about selling a product or service. It's all about selling the core concept of a solution. This methodology's process is categorized into three stages: Getting information, Giving Information, and Getting commitment.
Here are the five questions that this methodology suggests the sales reps ask their buyer -
This methodology is for those who wish to pursue buyers who are in a hurry and stressed out. To persuade such buyers, this sales methodology requires the reps to follow four simple rules:
Following these will help the sales rep to reach the prospect with valuable insights and convey the benefits of the solution to make the entire sales process smooth. Through this process, a buyer can make three critical mini-decisions, and they're:
These decisions will help the sales rep navigate the sales call in the desired way.
The N.E.A.T methodology comprises four crucial elements that a sales rep must ponder before speaking to the buyer:
When the seller focuses on the above questions, he/she can easily close a deal. In this type of method, the seller must majorly think about the prospect's needs.
The Sandler sales methodology focuses on building a bond to close a deal. Think of it as a submarine system.
To prevent the water inflow, a submarine crew will lock the door of the previous compartment behind them while stepping out. This is true for sales. The sales rep should carefully wade through each sales compartment one by one to prevent a potential ‘sales disaster’.
Remember - Prospects never buy nor listen to a ‘sales-y rep’ - someone who always pushes a buyer to make the purchase. They only pay heed to someone whom they trust, someone who they think is throwing facts and truths towards them.
According to this sales methodology, the buyer and seller must have a mutual understanding and benefit each other. The reps must not only focus on closing the deal but offer solutions to their different problems even if it is not part of their business.
Those are the 7 common sales methodologies. This leaves us with an important question -
Proven sales methods don’t mean that they will suit every business. To choose a working methodology, the organization must consider the customers' needs and business goals. Here are the three steps to choose the right methodology -
Based on the answers to these three questions, pick the right sales methodology that matches closely with your requirements. For example,
Now that you have the answers to all the questions, it is time to pick the right sales methodology. Looking at the ICP and the challenge, it can be deduced that your target persona is a busy individual who cannot spare a lot of time to your sales rep. But she is in search of a solution. For such customers, the SNAP methodology is the best way forward where your reps can keep their questions simple, be an invaluable business friend, align with her needs, and clearly highlight her priorities.
Most importantly, if the chosen method doesn't work, you can always explore other methodologies.
The next stage is to implement the sales methodology. To do that first build a sales process, then picture your buyer’s need. Once done, adopt the sales methodology for each stage of the sales process. Train your sales rep and give them questions (as per the chosen methodology) to ask at each stage.
Once you have successfully implemented the sales methodology, it is time to document your team’s progress. The importance of documentation cannot be emphasized enough for an activity like this. It is useful especially when things go wrong and you need to retrace your steps back to where you started.
While implementing a sales methodology, document every step you take. Capture the details about the process and the results as it will help you later analyze whether this is the right methodology or not for your business. The analysis can even serve as a guidebook for your new hires to start pitching according to a sales methodology right away.
To bring the best out of your team while adopting a sales methodology, you have to actively look into what they're doing right now (with a tool like Rafiki) and how they are performing at each stage. Dive into every conversation of your sales rep, identify their mistakes, and take corrective measures to ensure a seamless adoption. Rafiki's AI transcription can convert the conversation to easily readable content and segregate the vital areas that need your attention.
Remember - Tracking, examining, and evaluating the performance of your team is your only way to get the most out of the sales methodology you adopted.
To know more about how Rafiki can help your business, contact us today.