Sales Methodologies refer to the frameworks, philosophies, and approaches to your sales process. It is what guides you through a series of tactics and styles when selling. Sales Methodologies bridge 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 utilised. Each sales method usually aligns with 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 its market and vertical, the sales methods that work for one company won’t necessarily work for another. Sales Methodologies are 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 implement and use the same sales methodology. Let’s go through some of the most common Sales Methodologies out there at the moment. Here we have gathered the Top 12 Sales Methodologies used by successful sales teams today.
1. SPIN SELLING
The SPIN selling methodology gives sales professionals a framework for asking the right questions to help them close more deals.
Founder of the Huthwaite Research Group and author of the best-seller SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham, says there are two types of selling. That is, transactional and consultative. With the rise in e-commerce and self customer service, Rackham believes “more than 80 % of transactional sales moved out of face-to-face selling”. And that sales “mostly happen online without the mediation of a salesperson.” This shift means B2B sales teams need to pivot to more “consultative” roles. That means, learning as much as they can about their customers so they can offer the best solution. Asking questions is a crucial way for a salesperson to assess a prospect’s current situation. That is, to identify their needs, and build rapport with them. But sometimes, it’s hard to know the right questions to ask. You want to learn more about the prospective buyer, but you don’t want to come on too strong. The SPIN sales model shows sales professionals how to pick the right questions with the most impact. By using SPIN selling, you’ll be able to discover customer needs. That is, so you can uncover pain points, overcome objections, and experience more sales success.
What are the SPIN selling questions?
- Situation: Establish the buyer’s current situation.
- Problem: Identify problems the buyer faces that your product or service solves.
- Implication: Explore the causes and effects of those problems they present.
- Need-Payoff: Show why your service or product is worth it.
2. GAP SELLING
Why do people buy anything? It is because they are in one state and want to transition to another state. That is, they believe that your product or service will get them there.
Gap Selling is about understanding both the current and desired states. And then positioning your product or service as the bridge to get them from A to B.
THE CURRENT STATE
- Where is the prospect now?
- What is the literal and physical environment of the prospect’s current state?
- Do you know what problems they are struggling with, and how are those problems impacting their organization?
- How is their current state affecting them emotionally?
THE FUTURE STATE
- Where does the prospect want to go?
- What literal and physical environment do they want to create?
- How would this future state affect them emotionally?
- How big is the difference between their current state and their future state?
- Is the gap big enough to even warrant buying your product or service?
- What would the cost be in terms of time, money, and effort?
- Is the cost worth it for them?
The bigger the gap, the greater motivation they have to buy. And therefore, the more engaged they’ll be with you. But also, the higher probability you have of making that sale. As well as, the better your chances also at a long-lasting relationship. And ultimately, the more they will be willing to spend. Fundamentally, approaching the sale by focusing on the gap gives you more influence on the sale.
3. COMMAND OF THE SALE
Command of the Sale and Command of the Message are sales methodologies created by Force Management. That is, to help sales organisations better qualify their pipeline. But also to focus on the right opportunities, identify customer pain points, and guide them through the decision process smoothly. Together, these approaches help salespeople position themselves as trusted advisors. And also to be able to craft value-based solutions that differentiate them from the competition.
These methods of the Command methodologies are easy to adopt and integrate within your current sales system. Additionally, they are best used when working in complex or high-tech B2B sales environments with aggressive growth plans.
4. N.E.A.T. SELLING
N.E.A.T. Selling is an acronym for a sales methodology that focuses on a prospect’s needs and then presents a product or service as the solution. It helps you identify prospects with an improved likelihood of becoming customers. That is, by understanding your target audience.
- Need: highlights how the product or service is important to the customer.
- Economic impact: outlines ways the product or service can bring new changes.
- Access to authority: involves networking with prospects who can connect you to other leads, make large purchases, or promote your brand.
- Timeline: highlights when the prospect needs the product or service.
5. CONCEPTUAL SELLING
Conceptual Selling is a broadly applied selling methodology developed by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman. Instead of dealing specifically with selling a product, it deals with the prospect’s concept of a product or service. And then relates it to the prospect’s issues. It has been the topic of two popular books. The first was Conceptual Selling (1989). And then came The New Conceptual Selling (2005).
This methodology places considerable emphasis on listening. In the old days, salespeople mainly learned to talk, not to listen. That is, it was about that all-important pitch and how well it “got over”. Some may remember this era. Now, in Conceptual Selling, the salesperson begins by listening to the prospect. That is, in order to fully understand the prospect’s challenges. The salesperson then relates the product or service directly to those challenges they heard.
Why is listening such a critical component of Conceptual Selling? Because the prospect’s concept of the issues their company is facing translates to reasons to buy your product or service.
Of course, the salesperson is never going to obtain this information without asking the right questions. Hence Conceptual Selling is designed around asking quality questions. The questions fall into three stages: getting information, giving information, and gaining a commitment. Additionally, the questions fall into five categories:
- Confirmation questions reaffirm information.
- New information questions clarify the prospect’s concept of the product or service and explore what they’d like to achieve.
- Attitude questions seek to understand a prospect on a personal level and discover their connection to the project.
- Commitment questions inquire after a prospect’s investment in the project.
- Basic issue questions raise potential problems.
One vital component emphasised in Conceptual Selling is that the sale must be a win-win. That is, for both the salesperson and the buyer. If it isn’t, the salesperson should walk away.
6. SOLUTION SELLING
Solution selling was developed in 1975 by a man named Frank Watts, who introduced his methodology to the corporate world in the 1980s. In the years since, solution selling has become a mainstay of sales professionals. Solution selling is also another sales approach that focuses on your customers’ needs and pain points. It also provides products and services that address the underlying business problems. Rather than focusing on your product’s features and benefits, solution selling is centered around your prospects’ needs. Consider, what:
- Are your customer’s goals and pain points?
- Problems and challenges are they facing?
- Is the outcome that can solve their needs?
Solution selling means being both empathetic and practical. The seller should start by stepping into the buyer’s shoes to go beyond the surface-level. That is, to really understand the buyer’s industry, pains, and goals.
There’s a cliche that sales is all about building rapport based on small talk. For example, “How’s Matty doing in school?”. Solution selling goes deeper. Rapport is based on knowing your customer. Maybe they’re about to have a merger. Or they’re experiencing challenges with the supply chain. The solution seller’s role is to provide insight that helps customers see a vision of a better future.
7. SNAP SELLING
Here’s another Sales acronym coming your way. SNAP selling was devised by author Jill Konrath in her 2012 book SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers. It stands for:
Keep it Simple
The simpler, the better. That is, simple messages are easy to understand. Basic forms and interactions are less likely to deal with friction. Simple solutions to common problems are easy to pitch. Standard sales approaches make for easier, more frequent final sales.
You’re not a salesperson in the SNAP methodology; you’re more like an advisor. That means you’re a partner and a trusted confidant to your prospects. The more valuable you are to them, the more likely they’ll buy from you.
You have to be specifically relevant to your target customer. And also you need to be seen as being on the same side and on the same page. If you seem like an opposing force, your efforts are going to fall flat.
Your product seems like a good deal. So why isn’t your prospect buying? Usually, it’s due to some combination of apprehension, procrastination, laziness, and undying loyalty to the status quo. If you want to close the sale, you have to raise priorities and establish some degree of urgency.
Next: Part 2 of the Top 13 Sales Methodologies.
Gather the team and we will take care of the rest – learning and laughs included.