What does sales methodology means?

Sales methodology is a set of rules for how you sell your products or services to customers. Its based on the way that you believe customer psychology works and offers guidance about what approach reps should take with clients, as well as what they say.

There is no one right way to motivate salespeople. The best motivation for your team will depend on the market you serve and what kind of company culture you have.

If you have a variety of products, your reps may need to act as consultants and help clients find the best solution. However, if you only offer two or three standardized low-cost items then transactional selling is more appropriate.

The Difference Between a Sales Methodology and a Sales Process

A sales process and a methodology go hand in hand.

The process of selling can be a lengthy one. It typically includes seven stages, from prospecting to closing and follow up. The methodology you use for each stage is different depending on the situation.

Depending on the stage of a sale, it may be more appropriate to use different techniques. For example, at first you might want to do some research and then ask questions about what they need; later in the process you can offer an irresistible deal.


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Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

The Top 14 Sales Methodologies for your Selling Systems And How to Select The Right One

There are many different sales models and approaches, and we list the best ones in this section. Most of them have been trademarked by their creators because they wanted to define a signature approach that worked for them. These include SPIN Selling, The Challenger Sale, SNAP Selling, Conceptual Selling and Consultative Sales.

If you’ve ever heard of a sales approach or sales models examples, it is likely that the person giving this advice has an agenda in mind. They are trying to sell their product or service by making themselves seem like they have the best way for everyone else to succeed.

When it comes to sales tactics, you should be wary of trusting what people say about them because there is no one best way.

Sales models are popular because they offer the best of both worlds.

  • The Challenger Sale
  • Command of the Sale
  • Conceptual Selling
  • Consultative Selling
  • Customer-Centric Selling
  • Inbound Selling
  • MEDDIC
  • NEAT Selling
  • SNAP Selling
  • Solution Selling
  • SPIN Selling
  • Target Account Selling
  • The Sandler Selling Method
  • Value Selling

Next, well quickly go over some of the most popular sales models and how you should decide which one is best for your business.

sales methodology

1. The Challenger Sale

The Challenger Sale came about in 2011 when Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson created a five-category system to categorize sales professionals.

  • Relationship builders
  • Hard workers
  • Lone wolves
  • Reactive problem solvers
  • Challengers

A recent book, which was based on Gartner research and said that challenger-type sellers are the most successful group. This sales model is focused around how people buy nowadays because of all the information they can access online. Prospects now spend far more time researching products and talking to peers before contacting a rep.

The book says:

A challenger is really defined by the ability to do three things: teach, tailor, and take control.

In order to be a successful salesperson, it is important not only to provide great customer service but also have good product knowledge. The idea of the expert rep who pushes and challenges a customer can take many forms: from establishing relationships with customers by listening and understanding their needs, giving them information they did not know about what you are selling in an effort to create trust or satisfying any objections that arise.

I found that the challenger sales model is effective when inexperienced customers are able to get information from any source they want and need a rep to help them understand why it’s worth buying.

2. Command of the Sale

Force Managements approach to sales management is a new concept that was developed in order to provide tailored solutions for each company. The idea behind this sales management methodology focuses on tailoring the process based on what already exists within your business.

The best way to be successful in sales is by understanding the customers business, and your own products. You should know:

  • The customer’s goals and objectives
  • The customer’s required capabilities and their approach to the market will dictate how they want to create value for themselves.
  • Its important to consider the salesperson’s needs when it comes to incentives, because there are many different types of motivation.
  • Their delivery is superior to the competition’s.

The rep should know the customer’s metrics and be able to show how their company is going to provide a better service.

Then they will be able to tell you why their product is worth the extra money.

Force Management defines Command of the Message as being audible to your customers, able to understand their problems and be different from other businesses.

3. Conceptual Selling

Stephen Heiman and Robert Miller, the creators of this concept, have written two books about it: Conceptual Selling and The New Conceptual Selling.

This is a new way of thinking about sales that focuses on how the seller can help their client. It involves listening to what they want and then figuring out how you can best meet those needs.

When a salesperson is trying to sell their product, they need to be asking questions and actively listening in order for them to figure out what the customer wants. This way, they can make sure that whatever solution they are selling will help solve those problems.

sales methodology

It suggests asking five questions to get a better understanding of what motivates people.

  • The best way to verify that you comprehend the information is by asking yourself a few questions.
  • One of the most common mistakes that salespeople make is to assume what their prospects need. Sometimes, they dont know how to ask questions about a prospect’s needs and can’t determine if there are any misconceptions.
  • Attitude questions are used to understand the prospect’s goals and challenges.
  • Commitment questions are used to find out how much the prospect is committed to this project.
  • The first thing to do when interviewing a potential salesperson is ask them what they see as the problems with your company. This will give you insight into their work ethic and ability to think critically.

Conceptual selling is a strategy that focuses on the idea of satisfying both client and salesperson. In this model, businesses walk away from any sale which does not provide satisfaction for everyone involved.

Conceptual selling is more effective for businesses that rely on their reputation and make many repeat sales in a small, specialized market where referrals are important.

4. Consultative Selling

Mack Hanan, a veteran seller, popularized this sales technique which has its roots in solution selling. This selling methods use the expertise of an experienced salesman to gain trust from customers and sell them on potential benefits and results.

It involves six stages:

  • When I began hiring salespeople, I would prepare for interviews by learning everything about the client and their business. If they were a manufacturer of cooking utensils, then my knowledge on that product became extensive.
  • Connect with the client by building a strong rapport and making an opening statement that is compelling.
  • When you’re hiring salespeople, it’s important to understand what the client needs and how their interests align with your product.
  • I recommend that companies focus on the other elements of compensation and not just base pay.
  • To show commitment, you need to be able to clearly state what the client can expect from your service.
  • Make sure you follow up with your commitments and stay accountable.

In industries where high levels of repeat business and word of mouth are a necessity, this concept works best because clients need to be able to trust the company.

5. Customer-Centric Selling

This method, which is based on a book by John Holland and Michael Bosworth, looks at the challenges of customers. It takes into account what convenience means to them in order to motivate employees.

The goal of a salesperson is to become an advisor that the client trusts and respects. Click To Tweet

Salespeople are taught to work with the clients schedule, objectives and needs.

Instead of making presentations, reps are able to ask the client about their needs and modify solutions accordingly.

This sales model is similar to consultative selling. It advocates a move away from the hard sell, which often alienates clients who are not in need of your product or service.

6. Inbound Selling

Inbound marketing is a way to get customers interested in your product by using tactics such as email outreach and cold calls. In traditional outbound selling, the customer has to come looking for you; with inbound sales, that’s not always necessary.

Instead of spamming their prospects with sales scripts, inbound sellers attract customers by creating messaging opportunities where the customer can either engage directly or passively.

With so many more people being knowledgeable about products and services, inbound sellers have found that the best way to market their goods is by hyper-personalizing messaging with data analytics.

Inbound sales is a newer approach to selling that focuses on understanding the buyers journey. The strategy centers around in-touch potential customers who are already engaged with your company by visiting its website, following it on social media or chatting with an automated bot for more information.

7. MEDDIC

MEDDIC is a sales process that was created in the 1990s by Parametric Technology Corporation’s Sales Development team. It emphasizes how to determine whether its worth going through with getting a buyer into your funnel and using measurement techniques for this decision.

It stands for:

  • Metrics: Determine what the prospect is looking for in your organization, and then provide it.
  • When you are trying to make a sale, it is important that the salesperson identify who will be making the final decision. Often this person may not be in contact with your initial point of contact and their opinion should still carry weight.
  • Decision Criteria: The prospect’s decision-making process is often based on certain factors that are weighted more heavily than others. Understand what these criteria will be in order to succeed.
  • Understanding the decision process is critical because it allows you to anticipate what sign-offs are required and how long this will take.
  • What is the customer’s pain point? What will happen if they don’t buy your product to solve their problem?
  • A champion is someone who will go to bat for you, and they are typically the person most affected by the companys pain.

MEDDIC is a sales methodology that’s most useful for determining where to spend time on prospects. It focuses less on how you make the sale and more about identifying who your best targets are, which makes it especially helpful in companies with multiple possible customers.

8. NEAT Selling

NEAT selling is as much about finding the right leads and knowing how to best work with them than it is about making a sale.

NEAT stands for:

  • The need is the thing that a prospect needs to solve their problem. What does your customer want and how can you provide it?
  • If we find a solution to the pain that is being caused, what would be the financial impact? What are they going to gain from this problem solving and how much will it cost them in order for us to fix their problems?
  • The role of the salesperson is to find out who has the authority to make a decision, and then reach that person.
  • When is the client’s timeline?

The Harris Consulting Group and Sales Hacker Inc. developed a methodology to combat the BANT structure, which was designed for reps who are not always able to have customer access or knowledge of what they need. The new method is based on understanding how the buyer feels about their own position in order to find out more information that can help close deals.

Instead of a salesperson qualifying the customer based on what they want to buy, NEAT selling has the salesperson determine how much help is needed from them.

9. SNAP Selling

SNAP is a methodology that was created by Jill Konrath in 2012. It has been proven to shorten the sales process and make it more efficient for both customers and reps because of its simplicity. SNAP, which stands for “Sales Needed Achieved Promptly,” assumes that most people are busy when they contact a rep so keeping things simple helps with this.

 

The four principles are:

  • Simplicity is key when you are talking to a busy person. When they have too much on their plate, complex information will not be the thing that motivates them.
  • The value of being a trusted expert for the buyer is not just in your paycheck. It’s something that will stay with you forever.
  • Aligned: Know what the customer needs and how you can be helpful.
  • It is important to keep the most crucial decisions in mind at all times.

The SNAP method is designed for people who are busy, distracted and need something that can be explained simply.

10. Solution Selling

In solution selling, the seller focuses on what a tailored product will do for you instead of just talking about it.

Solution-sellers dive deep into the unique situations of their customers and establish an agreed upon set of criteria that defines what is acceptable to them. Introduced in the late 1980s, solution selling has adapted its techniques over time as buyers matured and environmental factors changed.

Solution selling is a methodology that teaches you to listen and understand your customer’s needs, then offers them not just the product but an answer for their problems.

The solution selling process is very customer-focused and involves finding a customized, complex package to meet the needs of the client. Its likely that it will involve empathy with customers as well.

11. SPIN Selling

SPIN is an older model developed in 1988 by Neil Rackham. SPIN stands for Salesperson’s Problem Identification (SPI) and it tries to help salespeople understand the needs of their customers.

There are four types of questions that salespeople should ask their prospects before the meeting:1. Spin is an acronym for “salary, incentive, non-cash benefits and other.” 2. The first question is to find out about salaryincentive level (SPIN). 3. Find out what motivates them outside of pay (NONCASH BENEFITS) 4. Understand how they make decisions in general; it’s helpful to know if they’re more analytical or intuitive.

  • The situation for the prospect is important to understand because it will help you identify your buyer’s needs and wants.
  • A common pain point for a salesperson is when they don’t feel like their compensation package reflects the amount of work and effort that they put in. This leads to feelings of resentment, lack of motivation, or even apathy.
  • What are the consequences of not fixing this problem? What will happen to your prospect if they dont get what they want, or their desired outcome is delayed? How much more pain and inconvenience will be endured because you didn’t do something about it right away?”
  • Once the problem is solved, what does that look like? The customer should be able to see for themselves how this product will solve their issue.

These questions help sellers identify the core problems that need to be solved and assess what happens if those issues are not resolved.

The effectiveness of SPIN selling is questionable because there are so many avenues for reps to research customers before meeting them face-to-face.

12. Target Account Selling

Target account selling is a process that takes time to execute, but has the potential for greater rewards. This strategy requires reps to work harder researching accounts before approaching them.

Target account selling is about finding the right prospects. This can be done by identifying certain traits and characteristics that make people more likely to buy, like using a CRM (customer relationship management) system. Once these triggers are identified, you can use them in your sales process to increase efficiency.

13. The Sandler Selling System

Sandler Training was founded in 1967 and is well-known for its sales training. It teaches that sellers should be trusted advisors who are as invested in the success of a proposed solution as their customers, which sets it apart from many other methods.

The Sandler System consists of seven steps.

  • Bond and build rapport
  • Define what each person is responsible for and give them an idea of how they will be evaluated.
  • When I first began hiring salespeople, it was hard to determine what motivated my prospects. What they said and how much money mattered were not always the same.
  • If the prospect has a high enough budget, then they will likely invest in themselves and their business. They know that if they fix this problem now, it can save them money down the line.
  • Ask your prospects what they are looking for and how to convince them.
  • If you want to sell your product, make sure that it solves a problem and is what the customer needs.
  • Seal the deal

14. Value Selling Framework

Qualifying and assessing the value of leads before following up is an effective way to close deals faster by only contacting those that will be a significant addition to your portfolio.

Value Selling is a technique that helps sales professionals to find the right questions, articulate how their product will be of value for each customers business, and show flexibility in finding solutions with customers. The goal is always making sure you are adding value at every stage of the process.

How to Select the Right Sales Methodology

Matching the sales process to your product, customer and market is important. Otherwise it will feel unnatural for both you and them.

In the example, if you are selling a product that costs $100,000 per year and it takes 6 months of consulting to get the sale. If your products cost only $10month then there is no need for consultative sales efforts.

This indicates that there are different B2B sales methods, not just one way to get a million dollar deal.

Sales for B2B is not so complicated. There are only five different sales approaches:

Atlassian is a company that has seen tremendous success by using the web to educate customers and help them purchase products without any outside assistance. Atlassian’s DIY Self Service means no sales people, which allows for low-touch selling.

Transactional selling means helping customers make a purchase decision. They often come to the store after researching online and are ready to buy right away.

Customers know what they want and need from a company, so it’s important to have salespeople who can provide this information quickly. In addition, customers typically buy within 3-4 days of speaking with the vendor.

It takes 6-18 months to diagnose the customers needs and provide a solution. Click To Tweet

Provocative selling is when a salesperson identifies the problem before the client does and forces them to take action. This can be used for innovative solutions, which takes between 3-9 months.

Figure 1 shows how different sales processes are used in B2B selling.

The core of this sales framework is understanding how sellers sell and buyers buy. By cutting out all the sensationalized stuff, its easier to focus on what matters: which sales techniques are most effective?

We will focus on the 4 different types of sales in this article, which are Transactional, Solution-based selling, Consultative and Provocative.

sales methodology

Transactional Selling

Transactional sales are reactionary. Customers know what they want and will often forgo certain features if it means a better price.

Clients dont value the role of salespeople, and would rather avoid interacting with them. Sometimes they want to interact through web-based conversations or textchat because it is more convenient for them.

When a salesperson is selling something to someone who does their own research, it’s called “transactional” or “educational” selling.

When should you use transactional selling? Its best used when there is a high volume of inbound leads, each with an ACV less than $1,000. The sales cycle should be under 30 days and the AE must sell more than 20 deals per month.

Solution Selling

A solution sales process is a reactionary one. A customer has usually already identified the problem and have an idea of what they want to buy before reaching out for your help, but not as much as someone who’s just looking at price tags.

When a company’s sales methods in marketing is effective, it can generate an inbound lead which then leads to the “solution selling” stage.

When should you use Solution Selling? Use it when your ACV is about $5,000 and each of your salespeople are cutting 5-10 deals per month. Its a good fit for medium volume high velocity inbound sales.

Consultative Selling

Consultative selling is a technique that revolves around educating the client on what to buy and why. You take time to learn about their needs, show them all of your options, and provide guidance.

In a consultative sale, you might help the client write their own requirements document. Its often done with Proof of Concept at the end to make sure it works as expected and to see if they want more features or different functionality.

If you want to sell more, then try out a consultative approach with your salespeople. It often follows the traditional lead generationdevelopment cycle.

Consultative Selling is most appropriate when you are selling a platform-like solution with many decision makers. This would make sense if, for example, the customer was interested in buying an engagement platform that costs $20-$100k ACV and has a 6-18 month sales cycle where each AE closes about 1 to 3 deals per quarter.

Provocative Selling

When you are presenting an innovative solution that challenges the status quo, it is difficult to rely on traditional consultative methods because most clients do not know there’s a problem lurking. You cannot trust RFPs and RFQs which try to find the lowest price or minimal specifications–these types of bids just flush out competition. Thus, Provocative Selling has gained popularity through Challenger sales methodology.

Figure 5 of the article is only recommended for specific accounts.

Provocative selling is best used when you are presenting an innovative solution to a CEOs top issue. For example, if the company needs ERP software with a 6-9 month sales cycle and only 1 or 2 deals per month for each AE averaging $250k in contract value.

Final Guidelines for Selecting a Sales Methodology

Many people are misled by flashy sales techniques, but they should really focus on what will work for them.

I made the mistake of underestimating how complicated a product could be, and I lost deals because my customer was expecting more help through their shopping process.

When you are using a complex sales methodology, the chances of making more money diminish. When customers become too difficult to acquire they end up costing more than if you had just let them go.

It can be difficult to know how much time is too little or too much, but you should start by noting your average deal size and sales cycle. Given those two pieces of information, you will be able to calculate the cost-per-customer acquisition ratio for your company which helps determine whether it’s worth spending more money on customers that are likely less profitable than others.

If you’re interested in learning more about sales metrics, especially those specific to SaaS, I recommend reading this other article that I wrote.

The SaaS Metrics Blueprint selling is a methodology that helps businesses identify what matters in their organization and use metrics to measure the performance of each metric.


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Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was written by Content at Scale, a solution that uses AI + a team of optimization specialists to publish hundreds of high quality, SEO optimized content straight to your blog. It’s the first and only solution that allows you to truly scale content marketing.