Sales Methodologies

7 Tried and Tested Popular Sales Methodologies

Published on April 14, 2021
Venkat Sridhar
Content Writer,

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.

What is a sales methodology?

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.

What is Sales Methodology

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.

7 Popular sales methodologies

Here are some of the top sales methodologies used across the globe - 

7 Popular Methodologies

SPIN Selling Methodology 

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:

  1. Situation - Situational questions will help the rep in qualifying leads by knowing about them and their organization. 
  2. Problem - Problem questions will enable the rep to identify the customer's pain points.
  3. Implication - Implication questions will create pain and urge the buyer to find a solution for their problem.
  4. Need Payoff - Need payoff questions will communicate the benefit of your solution. 

The CHALLENGER Sale Methodology

According to this, all B2B sales rep can be fitted into five different personality types - 

  • Hard worker
  • Lone Wolf
  • Challenger
  • Relationship builder
  • Problem solvers

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 Sales Methodology

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 - 

  • Metrics: What economic impact will the solution offer to the buyer?
  • Economic buyer: Who manages the profit and loss of the business?
  • Decision criteria: What criteria does the organization follow to evaluate a vendor?
  • Decision process: What are the processes they undergo to make a decision? 
  • Identify pain points: What are the buyer's primary objectives?
  • Champion: Who is the person who supports and helps you sell from the inside.

Conceptual Selling Methodology

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 - 

  1. Confirmation questions: To reaffirm information found through research.
  2. New information questions: To know more about the prospect's business and discover their future goals.
  3. Attitude questions: To help the rep to understand a prospect on a personal level and to understand what the buyer gains from the solution.
  4. Commitment questions: To understand the level of investment of the prospect
  5. Basic issue questions: To identify the prospect’s pain points.

SNAP Selling Methodology

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: 

  1. Keep it Simple 
  2. Be iNvaluable
  3. Always Align
  4. Raise Priorities

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:  

  1. Allow access 
  2. Move away from the status quo.
  3. Accept a changing resource. 

These decisions will help the sales rep navigate the sales call in the desired way.

NEAT Sales Methodology

The N.E.A.T methodology comprises four crucial elements that a sales rep must ponder before speaking to the buyer:

  1. Need: Will your solution address the buyer's problem?
  2. Economic Impact: What economic impact do the buyers get by using your solution. 
  3. Access to authority: Who is the deciding authority?
  4. Timeline: What deadline will urge the buyer to purchase the solution?

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.

Sandler Sales Methodology

The Sandler sales methodology focuses on building a bond to close a deal. Think of it as a submarine system.

Sandler Sales Methodology

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 - 

How to choose and implement the right methodology for your business?

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 - 

  1. The best way to start is - assessing what you wish to achieve or in other words "what is your end goal". 
  2. Once you have an answer, start crafting a buyer's persona. A buyer’s persona is a sketch of your ideal customer profile capturing their demographics, geography, age, interest, earnings, etc.
  3. The third step is to start thinking about the customer's pain points and how your product or service could be an excellent solution to them.

Based on the answers to these three questions, pick the right sales methodology that matches closely with your requirements. For example, 

  1. Your goal is to expand your customer base to small and medium businesses in Texas.
  2. Your ideal target profile falls under the criteria - 
    1. Gender - Woman
    2. Age between 30-40
    3. Location - Houston
    4. Occupation - Chief Marketing Officer
    5. Need - To understand what moves her customers
  3. Key Challenge - Unable to track the conversation of her sales team (>50 members) due to time constraints.

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.

How to document and analyze sales methodology adoption?

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.

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