We believe that there is no ONE right way… If there were one right answer, there would be no need for the many different methods that exist for us to choose from. There are dozens of sales methodologies which can be learnt and applied. We believe there is simply what works, and what works is usually achieved through applying techniques learnt from multiple methodologies. Being self-prepared with a toolbox of skills.
Here, we share summaries of 9 popular methodologies. You can choose to research them all further however we recommend choosing to master 3 before trying to master them all. Taking the time to learn how to apply these methods will provide a noticeable increase in your sales performance.
✓ The Challenger
✓ Sandler Submarine
✓ Solution Selling
✓ Inbound Selling
✓ Customer Centric
Neil Rackham SPIN Selling
(SPIN stands for the four kinds of questions successful salespeople ask their customers: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff. works from the theory that relationship selling is customer centric.)
The Harris Consulting Group & Sales Hacker NEAT Selling
(Designed to replace BANT “Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline” & ANUM “Authority, Need, Urgency, Money)
• Needs (core needs)
• Economic Impact (not about ROI, about the economic impact of where they’re heading)
• Authority (access to authority)
Jill Konrath SNAP Selling
(Based on identifying 3 critical decisions: Allowing access, choice to move away from status quo, & Changing resources)
The Challenger Sales Model
(The term “Challenger sales” was coined in 2011 when Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson published the book “The Challenger Sale: How To Take Control of the Customer Conversation”.)
1. Hard Worker
o Always goes the extra mile
o Doesn’t give up easily
o Interested in feedback & development
2. Lone Wolf
o Follows own instincts
3. Relationship Builder
o Builds Strong customer advocates
o Generous in giving time to help others
o Gets along with everyone
4. Problem Solver
o Reliably responsible
o Ensures that all problems are solved
o Detail oriented
o Always has a different view of the world
o Understands the customer’s business
o Loves to debate
o Pushes the customer
Sandler Sales Submarine
(inspired by WW2 movies – to avoid flooding, the crew moved through each compartment, closing the door of the previous compartment behind them.)
• Bonding & Rapport
• Up-front Contract
(This process emphasizes better customer qualification—in other words, determining whether or not you should expend effort getting a customer into your sales funnel.)
• Metrics: What’s the economic impact of the situation?
• Economic buyer: Who controls the appropriate budget?
• Decision criteria: What are the formal evaluation criteria the organization is using to pick a vendor?
• Decision process: How will the organization pick a vendor (i.e. what are the specific stages?)
• Identify pain: What is the trigger event and financial consequence of the problem?
• Champion: Who is selling on your behalf?
Solution Selling Sales Process
“Solution selling” is used broadly these days, but salespeople using this methodology typically follow this sales process:
1. Prospect: Look for a buyer with a problem their product solves
2. Qualify: Understand the decision-making unit (DMU)
3. Discovery: Diagnose the buyer’s needs
4. Add value: Develop a customer champion; gain access to key decision makers
5. Present: Share a custom solution; demonstrate its ROI
6. Close: Come to a mutually beneficial agreement
Solution Selling Questions
To accurately diagnose your prospect’s pain points, you need the right questions. There are three main goals of this stage (typically the discovery call):
1. Identify the causes: Which factors are responsible for the buyer’s pain? How are they ranked in terms of importance and impact?
• How has [problem] gotten to [current state]?
• How significant is [factor]?
• Have you seen [factor they haven’t considered] making any impact on [problem]?
2. Calculate the magnitude: How is this pain affecting your prospect, their team, other departments, and/or the entire company? How many people will benefit from solving the problem?
• How has this problem changed your [daily, weekly] workload and focus?
• How has this problem affected your [coworkers, boss, direct reports]?
• What does [job title] think about this problem?
3. Get buy-in: Gauge the buyer’s interest in life with your product. Are they excited about the solution you can provide?
• In a world where [problem] doesn’t exist, what’s different about [your results, your priorities, the company’s success]?
• We can solve [problem] with [X solution]. What do you think?
Is Solution Sales Dead?
Some believe solution selling isn’t effective anymore. The Challenger Sale authors Brent Adamson, Matt Dixon, and Nicholas Toman argue, “Customers didn’t know how to solve their own problems, even though they often had a good understanding of what their problems were. But now, owing to increasingly sophisticated procurement teams and purchasing consultants armed with troves of data, companies can readily define solutions for themselves.” A CEB (now Gartner) study revealed B2B prospects complete nearly 60% of their buying decision — researching options, ranking them, deciding on purchasing criteria, and comparing prices — before talking to a salesperson. For that reason, Adamson, Dixon, and Toman say a solution sales rep “can be more of an annoyance than an asset.”
(Marketing and sales goals have become increasingly intertwined. Potential buyers interact with content the marketing team creates. They often research products on their own before interacting with sales.)
The inbound sales methodology allows sales professionals to meet prospects where they are — whether that’s on Twitter or their company’s product pricing page. Inbound sales analyzes page views, conversions, and social media interactions to personalize the buying process. By following an inbound approach, sales reps can focus on selling using a flywheel model instead of a traditional sales funnel. As prospects make their way through the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer’s journey, there are four actions that are taken by inbound sales reps:
Inbound sales reps prioritize active buyers, rather than passive ones. Active buyers have visited the company site, started a live chat, filled out a form, or reached out on Twitter.
Inbound reps connect by reaching out to prospects with a personalized message through their blog, social media accounts, or in-person events. This personalization is based on the buyer’s role, interests, industry, or connections you have in common.
In the exploratory phase, reps focus on rapport building and recap previous prospect conversations. This is when reps dive deeper into prospect’s challenges and goals, introduce products or services that might fit these goals, and create plans that fit buyer timelines and budgets.
Finally, reps create and deliver a personalized sales presentation covering what they’ve learned about the prospect’s needs and the value and assistance your product or service can provide.
Customer Centric Selling
(Meaningful conversations with prospects to identify their needs, solution oriented, targeted questions with decision makers to align needs with relevant solutions hinges on eight tenets)
1. Converse situationally instead of making presentations.
Customer Centric selling rests on prioritizing empathy for the customer above all else. That means understanding where they’re coming from and the specific situations they might be dealing with. One-size-fits-all presentations aren’t personal enough. With this methodology, you need to be able to adapt and converse based on the customer’s individual needs and experiences.
2. Ask relevant questions instead of offering opinions.
Again, empathy is the operative concept. You want customers to feel like you’re genuinely concerned with their best interest, and understand you’re thinking about solutions specific to their individual needs. If you’re dominating the conversation with opinions and not considering their perspective, you’re not engaging in Customer Centric selling.
3. Focus on the solution instead of the relationship.
The key is to understand that your priority isn’t selling — it’s solving. The point of the whole process is to understand a specific situation for an individual customer and offer a fitting solution. If you can do that, a solid relationship should follow. But, simply building that relationship can’t be your main priority.
4. Target decision-makers instead of users.
Customer Centric selling is focused on how a product is used and what specific problems it can consistently solve. It’s less about the product’s features and more about what day-to-day use of it looks like. That kind of selling is tailored towards the people that can make vendor selections and free up unbudgeted funds for a full company as opposed to individual users who might be more interested in fancy bells and whistles.
5. Promote product usage to garner interest instead of the product alone.
This point ties into the one above. Revolving around showing how using the product you’re selling will make life easier for your prospect. Instead of discussing a product’s features and assuming your potential customer will figure out how to apply them on their own, show what the product can do and demonstrate how it can solve their specific problems.
6. Strive to be the best seller rather than the busiest.
Quality over quantity — According to this methodology, it’s better to apply your effort toward finding solutions for fewer individual customers than to spread yourself thin and halfway-commit to several.
7. Close on the buyer’s timeline rather than the seller’s.
The whole concept is selling based on your customers best interests and specific dilemmas. Getting there isn’t always going to be easy, quick, or straightforward. Don’t press your customers to stick to your schedule. Ideally, you’ll be able to help your customer come to a resolution on a schedule that works for both of you. But ultimately, it’s their solution. It’s their business. So, it’s going to have to happen on their timeline.
8. Empower buyers to buy instead of convincing them.
The fundamental reason for every instance of CustomerCentric selling is simple — the customer has a problem. Your job, as a salesperson, is to empower them in their effort to solve it. You’re not selling a product so much as you’re selling a solution. Your priority should be to show how your product fits that solution — not how awesome your product happens to be in general. You’re selling to them for them. Be sure to keep that in mind.
In sales, the client is always the priority. Their success should be the focal point of any deal you make no matter which methodology you believe in or what you like. Also being aware that ONE methodology is often insufficient, and these are just a few examples of what is out there. After all, if ONE was the answer, we wouldn’t need all the other one’s that are available? Every sales transaction should enable the buyer to achieve a goal, solve a problem, and satisfy a need. It is all about what works, not about being stuck in the rigidity of using one method.
Contact Invictus Consulting on 702-527-2186 or email info@InvictusLV.com for customized training solutions for your company today! No high-level theory – Learn tried and tested skills and strategies for real world application. Designed to enhance your results!