What are Sales Methodologies ?

Sales Methodologies are nothing but Strategies used in a Sales Process. We will come to the Sales Methodologies in a bit. Let us first look at the Sales Process.

Sales Process is a series of steps right from the lead stage to the closing stage. It contains steps from lead stage to various sales stages till closure including but not limited to Prospecting, Validating, Needs assessment, Budgeting, Mapping Customers Org Structure, Identifying Decision Makers / Budget holders / Influencers, Demonstrating, Proposing, PoC [Proof of Concept], Closing, Following-up.

But across the Sales Process, you need to use a Methodology – or in other words – methods / rules to run your Sales Process smoothly till closure. What should be your outlook through out your Sales process ? How you will sell your Products / Services ? That is captured by the Sales Methodology.

There may be many Sales Methodologies. The popular ones are:

  1. SPIN Selling : Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff, popularly known as SPIN. This was coined and popularized by Neil Rackham.
    • Situation: Questions to ask to understand the customer’s current situation.
    • Problem: To ask the prospect: What is your problem statement ? What are you trying to solve ?
    • Implication: What will happen if you don’t solve the problem ? What implications will it have on your organization ? On your financial results ?
    • Need-Pay off: What if the problem is solved ? What is the pay-off you get by solving this problem ?
  2. SNAP Selling : Keep it Simple, be iNvaluable, always Align, raise Priorities or SNAP. This was conceptualized and promoted by Jill Konrath in her book SNAP selling.
    • keep it Simple: Prospects are busy and are hard-pressed for time. Hence savvy sellers keep it Simple and make it easy for the Prospects to move forward.
    • be iNvaluable: Prospects now want to work only with Sellers who are knowledgeable. So you can now stand out from the crowd and make a difference. To differentiate yourself and win over frazzled prospects, collaborate with them as if they were already customers.
    • always Align: If you are aligned with the prospects’ goals, objectives and mental make up, then selling is easier. In fact, you don’t sell; you actually help the prospect reach her goals and objectives in the most effective manner.
    • raise Priorities: Your prospects need some outside validation on what you say you can do. Provide them that in the form of conversations with your existing clients, video testimonials etc.
  3. Conceptual Selling : You don’t proceed with a pitch of your product or service. Instead you ask questions to uncover the prospects concept of your product or service. This methodology stresses on Listening. And you focus on Getting Information, Giving Information and Getting Commitment. You ask smart questions to do these three things. And it should be a win-win transaction else you should walk away from the deal.
  4. Consultative Selling : Customers’ needs or pain points forms the focal point of the sale. Your product or service does not. You ask open ended questions and listen. In the process, you learn what is the pain point or needs of the customer and you propose a solution to address that pain point. Sometimes it is also called as Solution Selling.