Which Sales Methodology is Right for You?
Geplaatst op 4 februari 2019 door Ronald Swensson

When we discuss old school selling techniques, we reminisce about heroes such as Zig Ziglar, Jeffrey Gitomer, Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy and our Dutch sales guru Jan L. Wage, who taught us a few fundamental rules of sales, which can be encapsulated primarily by this one statement, which will always be true: People buy from people they like and trust. 

But... the landscape of buying and selling has changed more in recent years than it has in preceding decades. B2B customers are more sophisticated and, thanks to the Internet, are awash in information and research. At the same time, companies are searching for new ways to innovate, compete, and improve their success. Addressing change requires therefore different skills and a sophisticated sales methodology. Read also: ‘In a changing Sales Landscape you need these new skills’. 

One of the primary values of a chosen sales methodology is that it provides a common language throughout the sales organisation. When a sales methodology has been effectively implemented, the sales team(s) and managers understand the definition of a critical selling concept and this helps them communicate better about the business. Some recent research (Vantage Point, Florida State Sales Institute, 2018) pointed out that using a single sales methodology is not very effective. This may be true for an inexperienced young salesman :-) However, experienced sales people with the right competencies are very capable to use a chosen sales methodology dynamically. 

The success of a sales methodology is greatly determined by how well the entire sales organisation is trained on it and by how much the sales methodology is consistently utilized by the sales teams and their sales managers. And this proves true when we look at the data. Organisations that feel that their sales methodology training meet expectations out-perform those organisations who feel that their sales methodology training need improvement, by almost 60%. Of course, just training your sales team(s) (and managers) on your chosen sales methodology will not drive positive results if your sellers choose not to use it. Adoption of a sales methodology is also very important for driving the consistent results you expect. 

Without a thorough understanding of the sales process (or processes) that enables your salespeople to align with buyers and close business, it is not possible to determine the types of competencies required for successful selling and to choose the right sales methodology. Why? Because not all products or services are equal in terms of how you sell them and selling into different levels of an organisation, often requires different types of selling techniques, in order to get their attention. 

Below we summarize our 5 sales methodology training programs: 

1. Proactive Selling or ‘Needs Satisfaction Selling - exactly what it sounds like: selling the advantages or features of a specific product or service in a proactive way. With product or service selling, the questions are predictable from customers, products or services are used in similar ways by customers, prices are typically set, marketing materials are standardized and salespeople typically require a lot of formal training. 

2. Solution Selling or 'Consultative Selling' or 'Value-Added Selling' or 'SPIN Selling' - goes beyond simply selling products or services. Instead, you are trying to focus on a customer’s pain point, and address how your product or service is the best solution to that pain point. And, the bigger the pain point (e.g., can dramatically reduce cost, improve customer service, or open up new revenues streams), the more needed your solution will be. 

3. Insight Selling or ‘The Challenger Sale’ - the pain point is unknown or not manifest to the customer and you are helping the customer to identify and address the problem. You are playing the role of coach and guiding your customer through the process of buying. A perfect sales methodology for a complex or high competitive sales environment. 

4. Key Account Management or ‘Strategic Selling’ - your team will gain the critical skills and knowledge needed to turn account growth opportunity into account growth reality. They’ll learn a proven process for strategic account planning that will allow them to systematically review and grow their accounts. 

5. Dealer Management or ‘Channel Management’ - is designed for sales people involved in developing business partnerships, recruiting and developing resellers, and building (digital) sales channels. With Dealer Management, you learn the channel landscape and the variables that impact success and map out a profitable and effective dealer- or channel plan.  

A sales methodology process and approach is invaluable to grow predictable revenue faster by aligning sales and marketing, training sales professionals, executing deals consistently, and creating a real sales culture. You need to pick one (and we will help you to choose the right one), embrace it, customize it, and execute it. The key is to make it your own. It needs to map to your business values and go-to-market. The customization of a sales methodology is one of the key factors to make it stick and see business results. 

This blog is also published on LinkedIn.