Sales methodologies can be tough to pick – kind of like picking a native tongue. You have no say early on, and it can be hard to switch languages later in life. However, just like linguistics, most languages can be mastered as long as you put in the time to learn the structure and vocabulary.
To that end — we’ve decided to make your life simpler. Think of this as the Sales Methodologies Rosetta Stone for sales professionals. We’ll give you what you need to dive in and get fluent in your chosen sales language, or learn a new one!
But wait, do I even NEED a sales methodology? I just make it happen! My method is WINNING.
Well, without realizing it, you’re probably already deploying one or a combination of the selling frameworks below. The types of questions you ask, how you handle discovery, and the language you use to describe steps in the sale of your service or product are all components of a sales methodology.
All sales methodologies offer a common structure and language to describe the sales process and empower buyer communication. Some are more suited to enterprise sales, others to B2C products or services. The breakdown of methodologies below isn’t about helping you find the right one for you and your business — it’s about raising your awareness of what’s out there. (While hopefully inspiring you to learn a new sales language!)
Confident SPIN seller? Check the list to see what those “Challenger” hacks keep raving about. MEDDIC specialist about to join a Sandler shop? We’ll give you the low-down on what you’re walking into. New to sales methodologies altogether? See which one ‘sparks joy’ in your dark, twisted sales heart and let that dictate what your native sales tongue should be.
On second thought — let’s keep this simple. You’re busy! So here’s the Tl;Dr of the 8 Most Common Sales Methodologies.
(For those unfamiliar to internet shorthand — Tl;dr is short for “Too long; didn’t read” and is added to the end of long articles to highlight quippy summaries)
Situation. Problem. Implication. Need. Neil Rackham introduced this delightful acronym in 1988, and despite entering its third decade, it’s as relevant (and popular) as ever due to its simplicity and accessibility for non-sales leaders.
Tl;Dr — You can’t go wrong in a deal if you have SPIN identified, but it rarely covers all the nuance of modern selling.
Jill Konrath turned heads for all the right reasons in 2012 when she introduced SNAP, which gives modern sellers a framework to engage with impossibly busy buyers.
Tl;Dr — Prospects slammed? Keep it Simple, iNvaluable, Aligned, Priority.
The hallmark of a challenger sale is the idea that to succeed as a salesperson, you need to know as much (if not more) about your prospect’s job as they do. Use that knowledge to build rapport, become a trusted advisor, then challenge how they view their world.
Tl;Dr — Does your buyer acknowledge the problem you solve? Do you know your market inside and out? Then Challenger Sale is for you!
The Sandler Selling System is utilized almost everywhere there are salespeople. Its ubiquity is its strength and most resounding endorsement. There is a step, stage, and trick for every situation, but at the core is the idea that you want the buyer convinced they are in control of the deal, not the other way around.
Tl;dr — Provide the illusion of control to the buyer to show them they have a problem, you can help, and they want your help RIGHT NOW.
Love acronyms? Feel like adapting to make one of your own? TRY MEDDIC! This author has seen three versions of MEDDIC implemented, including MEEDDIC, MEDDICCC, and MEDDDIC. Please don’t ask her to remember what they each stood for…it’s lost to time in a post- SKO haze. Especially popular with enterprise selling.
Tl;dr — Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion. You’ve got all that, right? No? FIND IT.
Seriously — ANOTHER acronym? Trust me; it’s worth it! NEAT is the ingenious blend of AIDA (attention, interest, demand, action) and BANT (budget, authority, need, timing) — perfect for software-as-a-service (SaaS) and enterprise sales with lots of decision-makers. If you’re not already following Richard Harris, you should.
Tl;dr — Need, Economic Impact, Access to Authority, Timeline. Also known as the basis of most Sales Development teams processes.
Command of the Message is all about how you pitch and describe your product. It emphasizes articulating value and differentiation and uncovering customer needs. This framework is known for its participation-heavy workshops and ample use of handouts!
Tl;dr — Want to make sure everyone in your company is pitching the same way without being robots? Command of the Message is a great way to go!
If you’ve not heard of Keenan, you’re in for a treat. He’s a man that is so passionate about sales; Tesla has considered trying to bottle his energy for their batteries (not really, but it wouldn’t surprise me). His GAP Selling methodology helps sellers communicate the current state, desired future state, and the GAP in the middle to their prospects.
Tl;dr — Selling focused on solving the problems your prospects face. Know the GAP, love the GAP, mind the GAP.
Methodology matters because you need a way to ensure you’re taking the essential steps necessary and efficiently handling deals in your sales process. Any properly deployed sales methodology will help you focus your time on deals that will close efficiently, avoid surprises, and maximize your sales performance.
Remember — which sales methodology will work varies depending on you, your product, your sales cycle, and your sales process. Never be afraid to keep learning and experimenting — or even better take elements from all of the above! Maybe open with some Challenger rapport-building tactics, deploy a GAP statement or two, close with some Sandler pain levels to clarify your MEDDIC requirements, and then utilize your Command of the message training in your follow up email. It doesn’t matter! The best thing about sales is only one thing matters….Did you get the sale?
But in all seriousness – I can hear the comments rolling in already from sales reps — what did I forget? Which sales methodology has made your career and tripled your sales team’s output? Which sales methodology are you excited to check out next? Share your comments and methodologies with us!