Dozens of sales models and selling frameworks claim to be the ultimate approach for guiding your sales team to success. These include MEDDIC, NEAT, SNAP, Consultative Selling, SPIN Selling, and Sandler, among others. Each sales methodology has its merits, and none are considered better than the rest. So how do you pick or modify the right one?
Finding the right sales methodology requires the following steps:
- Defining a sales philosophy
- Identifying and defining existing sales pain points
- Revisiting the sales organization structure
Create a Clear Philosophy
Many executives waffle on their sales philosophy, which causes sales reps to feel like chickens with their heads cut off. When times are tough, executives expect their sales team to quickly adapt and find deals they otherwise wouldn’t touch. This is usually a recipe for disaster. The right sales philosophy clearly defines the combined attributes of the right products to sell, the right opportunities to pursue, and the right targets to engage.
Your sales team shouldn’t waste time on an opportunity if it doesn’t support the philosophy. Does your company respond to blind RFPs? What deal size is too small? Are there industries where your product should not be introduced? The philosophy also includes how you engage with your prospects. What should your prospects share (or not share) about current customers? How should your reps engage with a customer? Make sure your sales team clearly understands the sales philosophy and their values align accordingly.
Ultimately, the sales philosophy will drive you to the right methodology. For example, if you’re more willing to walk away from small deals and want your sales team to focus on high impact deals, the MEDDIC or Miller Heiman approach might be a better fit than others.
Identify and Define Pain Points
Where are your sales teams struggling? Map out the current sales process and do a root cause analysis on losses or where prospects are not advancing. Is your team struggling to get buyers to share pain points? Are they unable to get in front of the economic buyer?
One of our service clients implemented the BANT framework for their team (I will call them Proserve to protect their name). Although Proserve followed the BANT framework as prescribed, sales reps missed opportunities because they were the last competitor to the table.
Proserve’s competitors were in early working with prospects to shape the deal and establish the budget and value proposition. At that point, Proserve’s competitors were already trusted advisors. Once the opportunity showed up on Proserve’s radar, the budget was already established and Proserve’s bid became column fodder for their prospects. Proserve was able establish a budget, but they passed on deals where a budget had not been established by the prospect.
Proserv began to examine other methodologies and incorporate techniques from the Challenger Sale Model. The Challenger Model was used to engage customers early and challenge them to think of new ways of improving efficiency. This allowed Proserve sales reps to begin discussions early, become trusted advisors, and turn the tables on competitors.
Define Organization Roles
Your sales philosophy and methodology directly impact how you structure your sales organization. There are endless options, but sales organizations are primarily organized (at the top) by product line, geography, customer type, or internal sales process. Matrix sales organizations are messy—we don’t recommend them. You may find that certain geographies, industry sectors, or product lines require a slightly different sales qualification process. The underlying differences will drive how you organize sales teams.
It’s most important to clearly define sales organization roles in terms of the sales process. For example, what triggers handoffs from inside to outside sales teams? What is marketing’s role in lead qualification? When does a sales opportunity require sales VP engagement? Who approves discounts or price increases? Sending a sales rep with a clearly defined role to engage prospects will keep them focused on the right opportunities. Once roles are defined, the right sales methodology can be applied to allow the sales teams to succeed.
Most successful sales organizations merge the best of a few methodologies since one size rarely fits all. Consolidating steps in a methodology will often give a sales team more flexibility in the sales process. At the same time, fewer steps require less administrative time, which allows the sales team to focus on what it does best. Lastly, don’t forget about talent. Getting the right talent and matching them to the sales methodology is the linchpin for success.