No matter what you sell or who you sell to, we’re willing to bet that you’ve got some go-to moves, strategies, or sales techniques that you rely on time and time again. Whether it’s a perfectly-timed question, a tried-and-true approach, or a trusty sales playbook, it’s always good to have something in your back pocket.
But if you want to become an all-around expert who has a tactic for each situation you run into, you’ll need to try your hand at some new tricks.
While the sales world has come a long way (especially in the past couple years), a lot has remained the same. There are a number of sales frameworks (sometimes called sales methodologies) that have been around for decades and continue to be relevant today. In fact, you’ve probably used some of them at one point in time, even if you weren’t aware.
So if you’re looking for new ways to keep deals moving, you’ve come to the right place.
What are sales methodologies?
Sales methodologies are models or guidelines that dictate how to execute your sales process. Unlike your sales process, which outlines the general steps involved in your prospect’s journey, sales methodologies outline the strategy or approach you’ll take in carrying out each of those steps.
Some sales methodologies are tied to specific stages of the sales process, while others guide your overall priorities. While they’re not mandatory by any means – you can certainly execute a sales process without one — sales methodologies are the foundation of a successful sales process.
The right methodology can help you streamline the buyer’s journey, increase efficiency and consistency across your sales organization, and scale. However, the sales methodology you should adopt will depend on a number of factors like your organization’s process, culture, approach, and values, and it is likely to change as you navigate different situations and your company evolves.
The 10 B2B sales methodologies you need to know
Sandler sales methodology
1. Inbound selling
With so much information at their fingertips, buyers are doing more of their own research than ever before, even before they speak to a salesperson. As sales and marketing goals become increasingly intertwined, sales teams can leverage marketing assets to attract and engage with prospects. This is called inbound selling.
Inbound selling skips the scripts and high-pressure sales tactics by letting prospects start the conversation. Once the prospect has made contact, the sales rep uses data and analytics to hyper-personalize messages that aim to build a deeper connection and eventually win the prospect over.
2. Account-based selling
Account-based selling, often called "Target Account Selling," is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of generating as many leads as possible and pursuing each of them, teams focus only on accounts that are highly qualified and likely to convert. By prioritizing quality over quantity, reps can develop long-term relationships that are beneficial for both parties, allowing them to create opportunities for upselling, referrals, and additional recurring revenue.
3. Solution selling
Instead of selling specific products to prospects, this approach involves selling solutions to alleviate pain points. In many cases, those solutions can end up being a combination of multiple products and services or even partnerships with other product/service providers if the seller doesn't have the ability or capacity to offer everything the prospect needs.
Take a marketing agency, for example. If a prospect came to the agency because they weren’t getting enough traffic or engagement, there are a number of products/services the agency could offer – social media marketing, website design, SEO, content marketing, the list goes on. But if the agency takes a solution selling approach, they can package a number of their services together to help the prospect overcome that pain point and achieve even more success than if they had just sold one of their services.
4. Value selling
Like solution selling, value selling centers around the outcomes that the seller can provide. Instead of focusing on products or pain points, the seller places emphasis on the overall value or benefits that their solution can offer. After all, buyers don't buy products, they buy the results that products create. The greater the benefits the buyer receives, the more valuable they perceive the product to be.
5. Challenger selling
This fairly new sales methodology focuses on one of the five B2B sales personalities: the Challenger. “Challenger” sales reps have a unique view on the world and are experts both in their field and in their prospects'. This approach is based on that personality type.
It involves asking questions, debating, and learning from your prospect to gain a deeper understanding of their business, anticipate their needs, and identify opportunities, even before they know about them. By demonstrating your expertise and attention to detail, you position yourself as an authority that has their best interests in mind.
6. Sandler System
The Sandler System sales methodology has been around for a long time, but it's a timeless approach that's still relevant today. This sales methodology involves reframing the seller and the buyer as equals working together to find a solution, rather than traditional methods, which often involve sellers pursuing buyers. By asking questions and learning about the prospects' business, the seller can gauge whether there is a good fit, answer prospects' questions, and help them overcome sales objections.
The approach starts with establishing rapport and building a relationship with the prospect, qualifying them by asking questions about their goals, budget, and other details, then closing the deal – which often happens organically because both the buyer and seller want to work together.
7. SPIN selling
SPIN selling highlights the four types of questions reps should be asking prospects: situation, problem, implication, need-payoff. This sales methodology helps sellers assess their prospects' situation, identify their core pain points, highlight the consequences of not overcoming those pain points, and guides prospects to visualize what that same situation would look like if the problem had been solved.
This non-pushy sales methodology has been around since the 80s and continues to be successful as it helps prospects recognize the value you can provide before you even try to close them.
8. NEAT selling
NEAT is a sales methodology that was developed as a more flexible and adaptable alternative to the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) framework. BANT is a bit outdated, because while it does help reps understand what they need to close a deal, it doesn't help the customer understand their own needs. And if the customer doesn't know what they need, closing is an uphill battle.
In the NEAT approach (Need, Economic Impact, Access to Authority and Timeline), the seller asks a series of questions to reveal the customers needs, highlight the economic impact of those needs, identify decision makers in the buyer's company, and establish a timeline for getting the deal done.
9. SNAP selling
The SNAP sales methodology is built upon the idea that selling is easy when you're easy to buy from. The acronym represents the four pillars of this approach:
Simple – Keep it simple by making it easy for prospects to purchase and adopt what you’re selling.
Invaluable – Position yourself as a trusted expert for your prospect and show them how your solution stands out from the competition
Align – Keep your conversations and solutions aligned with your prospects’ needs and goals.
Priority – Keep important decisions top of mind to create urgency around your solution and demonstrate to your prospect why it should be a priority.
Last but not least: MEDDIC. MEDDIC stands for Metric, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion, and Competition. Through the following questions, this sales methodology helps reps develop a deep knowledge of the prospects’ business and decision making process:
Metric: What is the economic impact of the situation?
Economic Buyer: Who makes the final decision to close the deal?
Decision Criteria: How are vendors evaluated and chosen?
Decision Process: What are the stages and who are the stakeholders behind the selection of the vendor?
Identify Pain: What need or pain has caused this solution to become a priority?
Champion: Within your prospect's company, who is the biggest supporter of your solution?
The sales world is constantly changing, so if you’re not keeping up, your once-renowned tactics might start to lose effectiveness. Sales methodologies are a great way to switch up your approach and rethink your sales process from a new perspective. From the tried and true methods to new twists on old classics, there’s bound to be a sales methodology that fits your organization.