The 7 Most Popular Sales Methods and When to Use Each
You do not have to choose just one of several sales methods. In this article we will talk about how to adapt different techniques to your business process
Talent, skill and passion for selling are important skills for a salesperson , but alone hardly determine the success of a sale.
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Can you tell what is missing?
Sales method – one of them or several combined.
If you are interested in knowing and testing the sales methodologies most used by professionals, this article is a must read!
Here, we comment on the importance and advantages of using sales methods, in addition to detailing the 7 most popular commercial techniques, indicating when and how you can apply them.
What is it and why invest in sales methods?
When starting a business, the entrepreneur does a little bit of everything – from product development to financial control, obviously going through sales. To do so, he:
- knows its solution in depth;
- knows the best way to present it;
- understands the ideal time to ask more specific questions to the client;
- you know what your reaction to objections will be.
After experiencing so many successful and unsuccessful negotiations, it is natural for him to identify what works and what does not, and follow the most assertive tactic.
Now imagine that over time your company grows and the commercial area gains new professionals. Will it be possible to transmit this “more assertive tactic” to those who are arriving?
The answer is yes , as long as this step by step of what and when to do it is a conscious and, if possible, documented process.
This is the challenge for companies that are growing, whether they are small, medium or large corporations.
It is not just about skill, talent or hunch, it is necessary to invest in the transmission of “how to do”, more precisely, of a sales method that can be replicated by the rest of the team.
Reinforcing the idea, the sales method is essential, because it indicates not only what needs to be done, but how the seller should do it.
The sales methodology transforms metrics and indicators into an organized step-by-step, consistent with the salesperson’s reality, which makes the sales process more uniform, consistent and simple to be carried out.
For example, when creating a sales method he turns the metric “close 3 deals until the 15th” into a strategy :
- first it will be necessary to raise responses to objections A and B;
- ask the customer X and Y in the next step;
- then present two successful cases in the same segment;
- demonstrate the product to the field engineer by highlighting the Z functionality;
- reinforce that it will be necessary to schedule a visit to the factory where the tool will be installed, among other actions.
Investing in one of the sales methods still gives the seller a number of related advantages :
- facilitates the work of the seller and the prior identification of problems in the commercial process before this impacts the customer;
- guarantees (as far as possible) the predictability of sales;
- favors the relationship with the client;
- reduces the churn rate;
- provides the generation of new opportunities.
Sales methods: 7 most popular options
Once you understand what it is and how important it is to work with sales methods, you may be wondering which method to apply. If you are, here is the alert that what is successful in a business will not always work there in your company. There is no standard and accurate model that works in all organizations.
There are countless sales methods, all of them with pros and cons that deserve to be studied before you decide which one to invest in.
As much as you are a practical professional, before taking any action, carefully analyze each sales methodology because this will determine the success of the chosen strategy.
# 1 The Sandler Selling System
Developed in 1967 by David Sandler, Sandler Selling System is a sales method that reverses or, better, matches the roles in negotiation. In it, seller and buyer equally invest energy for the success of the closing.
According to Sandler, salespeople should act as a sales consultant focused on lead qualification , relationship building and closing the sale, and can resign from the business at any time if they realize that their product / service does not match the prospect’s need.
The advantage of this sales methodology is working in partnership , without the need to push the product or “spoil” the customer too much to win him over and keep him in his portfolio.
In other words, everyone wins and the balance is balanced.
Another benefit of this sales method is that as there is a great effort to lift obstacles already in the qualification stage, objections such as lack of time and money (which usually appear when the sales team has already invested a lot in the prospect) arise at the beginning of the process, optimizing the work of professionals.
As a counterpoint, this same step requires much more time and effort to analyze the salespeople. Thus, it is necessary for the sales team to define a new specific method to work on the qualification stage (making it more agile and at the same time preserving the quality of the information) and, until that happens, there may be a reduction in evolved business or the need to hire new professionals.
Even for this reason, this sales method is indicated for organizations that work with complex sales, commercializing products and technical services and of high value.
To learn more about all stages of Sandler’s sales method, check out our article “A dive into the universe of complex sales ”.
# 2 The Challenger Sale
One of the most popular sales methodologies, the term Challenger Sale or “Sale of Challenges” was coined when Matthew Dixon of the CEB group classified sales professionals into 5 salesperson profiles :
- Relationship builders
- Hard workers
- Lonely wolves
According to Dixon, challenging salespeople are part of the most successful group. That’s because they are meticulous professionals, who use a deep understanding of what they sell and their customers to take control of the business process .
The strategy works as follows : first, the professional teaches the potential client making him / her see the main problems, as well as the most appropriate solutions and opportunities for his / her case.
Then, the salesperson adapts his communication according to the prospect’s perspective.
Finally, without fear of putting pressure on him, the seller takes control of the negotiation by concentrating on closing the deal .
The great advantage of Selling Challenges is being able to create a consensus when the negotiation involves different decision makers, simply because before any objection, the seller foresees problems and then details how to solve them.
As a disadvantage, the sales methodology is not suitable for all types of companies, being more assertive for the B2B market – especially companies:
- highly technical;
- with great sales teams;
- that work with medium and long cycle commercial processes.
# 3 Customer Centric Selling
As the name implies, this sales method is totally customer oriented.
Customer Centric Selling aims to transform salespeople into true specialists in the customer – consultants who understand their market, business, product and needs, therefore, their best source of information .
It is worth noting that in addition to the study time required for the sales team to become the client’s reference, this sales methodology still requires other efforts on the part of the sales team, such as:
- work according to the client’s schedule;
- direct your actions and communications to different decision makers (technical director, secretary of operations, buyer, chairman of the board, field assistant, among others involved);
- in addition to focusing on solving and preventing customer problems.
Suitable for B2B companies that work with long cycle sales , especially for companies that offer very specific and costly software, services or products, this sales method is more detailed and requires much more time and resources from the sales team. It acts “holding the customer’s hand” so that the customer can pass through all phases of the business process with great security.
This process has a higher customer acquisition cost and getting results here can take longer. These factors can be considered disadvantages for companies that need a quick return to the income statement.
On the other hand, this sales method, in the long run, is highly profitable , mainly due to the high rate of customer loyalty – which still generates new opportunities for the company.
# 4 Conceptual Selling
Created by entrepreneurs and researchers Stephen E. Heiman and Robert B. Miller, the Conceptual Sales methods are guided by the idea that the customer does not buy a product or service, but the concept of solution – what that product or service can do to end his problem.
Therefore, the sales team needs to collect information about:
- the prospect’s pain;
- what he thinks could be useful in resolving such pain;
- if you have already considered any type of product or service;
- what you know about your company and tool, among other ideas.
And do you know what is the best way to understand customer perception? The answer is simple: listen carefully.
Conceptual sales methods are directly linked to active listening and information gathering .
To facilitate this process, Venda Conceitual proposes a script of questions divided into 5 categories whose main function is to lead the lead through three stages : obtaining information, providing information, earning commitment.
- Category 1 – Confirmation questions serve to reaffirm information. Using our segment as an example [it is possible to adapt the questions to your business model], the salesperson can start by reaffirming the information gathered: “I understand that today the sales team works both internally and in the field, right? How do professionals share information about the progress of negotiations? “
- Category 2 – New information questions help the salesperson to understand what the prospect knows about his solution, in addition to reinforcing what are the pains and the desired results. “From what you tell me, due to the large volume of negotiations and professionals involved, information is lost along the way, right? Will investing in the business management tool help you solve this problem? Would that shorten the average time for negotiations? ”
- Category 3 – Attitude questions aim to identify the client’s personal perspectives and values in relation to the project. “How does this problem bother you?” or “What does it mean for you to be able to resolve this issue?”
- Category 4 – Commitment questions aim to gather information after the prospect “embraces” the solution or project. “How important is the Sales Funnel functionality to the sales team?”, “Would it be important to be able to customize the commercial stages according to the needs of your business?”, “What are the main obstacles regarding the implementation of Agendor?”
- Category 5 – To conclude, basic questions facilitate the survey of possible problems. “Do you agree with the monthly fee per user of the Pro Plan?”
The Conceptual Sales method is highly recommended for those who work with complex sales , regardless of the product or service offered.
Among its advantages of this sales methodology, we highlight the fact that, in addition to facilitating the flow for closing the sale , the method also optimizes the time of the seller and improves his ability to listen actively .
This sales method also makes it possible to build a long-term relationship with the customer, that is, the loyal customer and for the longest time in the portfolio will end up covering the investment made to capture it.
As a point of attention, due to the fact that the investigation process is very detailed, any failure in any of the steps (whether due to lack of verification, either due to the rush to speed up the process or any other reason) can cause the time invested, as well as money and work are lost. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to customer feedback .
# 5 SNAP Selling
Simplicity is the watchword in Snap Selling, therefore, this sales method is not the most suitable for those who work with very complex products or services, long cycle sales and different decision makers.
On the other hand, it is efficient when the buyer has authority and can make quick decisions , even when the sales team has an easy solution to be adopted.
If this is the case for you, take note of how to employ this sales method created in 2012 by specialist Jill Konrath .
As Snap aims to accelerate the business process , forget about the presentation of the complete line of products, proposals with more than 10 pages and numerous meetings to demonstrate the tool.
Here, the salesperson is seen by the customer as an expert , who selects only one or two ideal solutions to meet the customer’s needs.
Its commercial proposal is clear, concise and guided mainly by successful cases (demonstration of when and how other companies were successful when investing in the same solution).
The SNAP sales method guidelines are:
Simple: keep it simple, which will also facilitate changes in current habits and the adoption of what you sell.
Invaluable: people do not have time to waste, so to stand out and gain attention, the salesperson needs to be seen as the only specialist capable of proposing solutions.
Align / align: at this point, the sales methodology is very similar to the conceptual sale, as it proposes that the salesperson aligns his positioning (approach, proposal, offer) according to the needs and beliefs presented by potential customers and thereby those most open to closing the deal.
Priority: focus on what your prospect is focused on to close more deals. In other words, there is no point in offering X or Y, if the prospect reports a problem that can be solved by Z. Offer exactly what he needs to remedy the problem, the rest of the benefits will consequently observe over time.
The great advantage of this sales method is that, because it is so simple, it allows the sales team to have almost immediate results of what works or not, which also enables faster reactions to market changes , without significant loss of resources or work.
On the other hand, as a disadvantage also due to this agility in the processes, there may not be so much commitment or loyalty on the part of the customer, so the salesperson needs to be present and demonstrate training, innovation and availability to support him whenever necessary.
# 6 MEDDIC
MEDDIC is a sales method that sets quantitative standards for qualifying leads in very complex B2B sales , especially in high-tech companies . The acronym ensures that important actions are not overlooked by the seller. Check out what each letter means:
(M) etrics / Metrics
First, the seller understands what the prospective company wants to achieve with the solution (tangible benefits), because if he can justify his offer from an economic point of view, the sale will happen more easily. For example:
- increase sales by 30% by December;
- decrease the development time until product delivery from 30 to 15 days;
- cut 15% of the production cost.
(E) conomic Buyer / Economic Buyer
The seller also needs to find out who the “economic buyer” is in the prospect (the one who will give the final ok for the purchase) and, if possible, should talk to him to understand his expectations and limitations.
This will help you to identify whether the sale will really be of interest to both sides and will also facilitate future communications.
(D) ecision Criteria / Decision Criteria
It is still necessary to understand what are the criteria used by the company to make decisions. In other words, what will determine the choice of your solution or that of your competitor. The price X, the technical detail Y, 24-hour support, payment terms Z, among other factors (all tangible). This will be essential for you to adapt your proposal.
(D) ecision Process
Make no mistake, as the decision process is different from the previous item (which indicates only what is taken into consideration). Here, the salesperson understands how the decision is really made – who decides, the schedule on which they operate and what are the necessary steps for approval to go out. Thus, the sales professional is able to carry out follow-up actions on time, without putting too much pressure or letting the negotiation become stagnant.
(I) dentify Pain / Pain Identification
An essential step in qualification, the seller needs to identify the reason (problem) that generated the need to purchase, evaluating how his product / service can solve the issue.
(C) hampion / Champion
Still in the qualification process, it is important that the seller finds someone within the prospect company who is willing to be the ambassador of his solution. This champion will probably be the individual most affected by the problem that the company faces, so personalize the communication, clear all doubts from this contact and be your support. It will be important to have someone inside the client to take your proposal forward!
In order to adopt the MEDDIC sales method, it is necessary to have a technology for commercial management that allows the definition and monitoring of metrics and indicators , as well as the recording of the information collected.
Supported by this system, MEDDIC provides advantages such as:
- better targeting of the sales team;
- monitoring closed and ongoing deals;
- in-depth analysis of lost opportunities and more knowledge about the customer and his business, which strengthens the relationship and reduces the chances of churn.
In contrast, despite the support of the automation tool for the collection and organization of data, the methodology still requires time for analysis of the information.
Check out two of our materials on interpreting indicators and metrics:
- KPI: performance indicators
- Sales and Marketing Indicators
# 7 SPIN Selling
The SPIN Selling sales method has already been addressed several times here on the blog because it is one of the most adaptable models, and can be used by companies of different sizes, segments and with external and / or internal commercial teams.
Created by the British Neil Rackham when he realized that most of the salespeople missed opportunities because they did not know what to ask their customers, Spin is an acronym for (S) action, (P) roblema, (I) mplication and (N) need for solution and each of these words represents a category of questions – questions that make the business process streamlined .
The function of the Spin model is to facilitate the customer’s journey through all stages of the business process, making them more prepared for the acquisition of the solution.
Among its benefits are:
- deep knowledge acquired about the prospect’s segment;
- the strengthening of the relationship between seller and customer;
- reduction in breaches of contract;
- possibility of new business;
- free advertisement made by the satisfied customer.
Still, as this sales method requires an in-depth investigation of the potential customer, if the salesperson doesn’t know how to conduct their inquiries it can overwhelm the prospect and even startle him early on in the process.
To find out more details on how to conduct the questions, what are the steps of the Spin sales methodology and how to adjust it to your business, check out this complete article we did on the topic: SPIN selling : everything you need to know to sell more.