Choosing a sales methodology is one of the most important decisions a company and sales leadership can make, to execute a successful go-to-market. 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 winning sales culture.
Every company should have a documented sales methodology that’s understood by every customer facing employee, part of training/onboarding, and reinforced by front-line managers and leaders. We believe all sales methodologies are created equally and they are all great. Pick one (Selling Through Curiosity, Target Account Selling, MEDDIC, The Challenger Sale, Value Selling, SPIN Selling, SNAP Selling, Miller Heiman, etc) and make it your own. Some leaders take a bit of each sales methodology and create their own. That’s a winning strategy too.
Here’s what people don’t say about choosing a sales methodology. It doesn’t really matter which sales methodology you choose for your business. You need to just pick 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.
The foundation of a sales methodology is the sales stages to follow and the sales process questions to answer at each stage of the sales process. Everything flows from the stages and process. A typical set of stages for a technology company selling business-to-business (B2B) software is:
- Step 1: Qualification
- Step 2: Discovery
- Step 3: Demo/Trial
- Step 4: Mutual Plan
- Step 5: Proposal
Some companies add a couple more steps and other companies shorten some steps. The name of the stages should map to your business. You]ll find that most methodologies have a set of steps and questions. Review them and make sure they map to your values and culture. Here are five operational tips to consider when selecting a sales methodology?
How detailed are the coaching and input questions?
The sales methodology should have a list of questions that are a guide for a salesperson to answer during their sales pursuits. The questions should map to the company’s go-to-market and take into consideration the buyer’s journey.
Here are a few sales coaching questions that are thoughts provoking and great for running constructive deal conversations:
1. How was the compelling event validated with top executives?
2. How was value quantified and documented?
3. How did we build relationships with our champion, executive sponsor and influencers?
4. What was known about the decision making process?
5. How were mutual plan expectations communicated and executed?
The aim of these questions is to give you and your team a framework to have a constructive sales coaching conversation in 1:1s and team huddles. Here is another blog on top deal questions – click to read.
How does the methodology work with sales automation system?
A methodology should come to life in a sales system like Salesforce CRM or Microsoft Dynamics. There are many different sales system in the market. Choose one that maps to your business and will grow with you as you scale up your team.
What do the reporting & forecasting processes look like?
The sales methodology should be reinforced by managers and leaders. Weekly reporting, one-on-ones, and business reviews should be informed by the data in the system. The conversations that happen should be based on the data that is being presented in the reports and forecast.
How effective are the sales tools at building scale?
Create tools that reinforce the sales methodology. Educate product managers and product marketers about your sales methodology so they can create tools that are relevant and aligned with the sales methodology.
What reinforcement training and onboarding is provided?
Create training that reinforces best practices and sales methodology learning outcomes. The training should be action-oriented and include a dialogue about real deals. It’s a great best practice to introduce the sales methodology early in the onboarding journey of new hires. Include deal win stories that map to how your teams successfully executed the methodology.
There is a lot to do to choose, create, and execute a sales methodology. I’ll say it again an again. Choose one. Then, customize it to your business to deliver the results you need to grow your business in a scalable and repeatable fashion.