The Top 12 Sales Methodologies: MEDDPICC, ValueSelling and More
When it comes to selling B2B, there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. The entire process can be incredibly complex. The best way to be sure you’re not letting anything slip through the cracks is by using a sales methodology that you can depend on over and over again.
The more you use one the more natural it will feel, and the more streamlined your sales process will become. With so many to choose from, selecting the correct methodology for your team can be challenging. Read on to learn about some common sales methodologies, and *drumroll* which one we think is the best.
What is a sales methodology?
A sales methodology is a framework that guides how to engage current and future prospects. It informs how your sales processes work and gives your team a structured approach for qualifying prospects and closing deals.
Working within a sales methodology gives your team a repeatable, scalable, and predictable way to operate that ensures you check all your boxes. We’ll discuss twelve popular ones here.
Challenger Sales by CEB
The Challenger Sale is a book from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) that tells us the best salespeople are those that don’t give in to customer demands, but instead push back on them. These people are known as Challengers.
This methodology of selling is all about taking control of the conversation. Challengers don’t just respond to their client’s needs – they redefine them. They have an in-depth understanding of their prospect’s business, they bring insight to the conversation, and they may offer products and services the client was unaware of. They know when and how to tactfully push back on a client, and they close more sales as a result.
SPIN Selling is named for Neil Rackham’s classic book, which explains that people who close at high rates tend to ask the same kinds of questions, and in the same order. The categories of questions are as follows:
- Situation - to gather information
- Problem - to identify pains and problems the prospect experiences
- Implication - to highlight why those pains need to be solved
- Need-Payoff - to lead the prospect to draw conclusions on their own (instead of leading with a pitch)
This methodology emphasizes the need to build value as a trusted advisor, and encourages sales representatives to abandon traditional sales techniques.
Following the SPIN framework as you gather information about your prospect and encourage them to come to their own conclusions sets you apart as a guide – someone who can bring them to a solution they truly believe in, because with your help, they were able to discover it.
Sandler Selling System
Sandler Selling, or the Sandler Submarine, is a 7-step system for successful selling. It’s a low-pressure approach that aims to put the salesperson in complete control of the discovery process.
The steps are as follows:
- Bonding & Rapport - develop equal stature and encourage open, honest communication
- Up-Front Contract - establish roles and ground rules early on to create a comfortable environment for all parties
- Pain - uncover problems and their impact to determine the reasons for doing business
- Budget - is your prospect willing and able to invest the required time, money, and resources?
- Decision-Making Process - discover the who, what, when, where, and why of the prospect’s buying process
- Fulfillment - propose your solution to the problem
- Post-Sell - establish next steps and prevent loss of sale
The Sandler Selling System outlines an effective process for gathering the information needed to close a sale. It’s a high-touch, consultative selling approach that focuses on asking the right questions during the qualifying process.
The SPICED™️ Framework by Winning by Design
The SPICED™️ sales methodology is a 5-step framework with another customer-centric approach. It keeps the customer’s desired impact as the focus throughout the entire sales cycle.
Who are you targeting? What is their background? Look for any information that will help to determine whether the prospect is a good fit for your solution.
What specific challenges are they facing? Why are they motivated to consider your solution? Look for the source of the pain, not the symptoms.
What outcome does your prospect hope to achieve by purchasing your solution? How will you solve their pain?
- [C]ritical [E]vent:
What are the important dates that drive your prospect’s ideal timeline to find a solution for their problem?
How will the final purchasing decision be made? You need to know who’s involved and what the criteria are for approval.
The SPICED™️ framework lets you systematically find and organize the information you need to achieve your prospect’s desired outcome. It can be used across all stages of the sales process.
Conceptual by Miller Heiman
The conceptual selling methodology is based on the idea that customers don’t buy a product or service, but the concept behind them. The role of the salesperson in this situation is to first listen and understand the prospect’s concept behind their problem, find any holes in their decision-making process, and relate the product or service directly to their understanding of the concept.
All conversations should be very customer-centric. You’ll want to avoid any mismatch between what the customer wants and what you’re selling.
This methodology encourages the salesperson to ask questions in five categories:
- Confirmation - to reaffirm information already collected
- New information - to clarify the prospect’s concept of your product
- Attitude - to help understand your prospect on a personal level
- Commitment - to determine their investment in the project
- Basic issue - to learn about potential problems in their business
Emphasis should be put on listening rather than talking. The goal is to find a “win-win” scenario that satisfies both the buyer’s and the seller’s motivations and interests.
Miller Heiman is perhaps most well known for the blue, green, and gold sheets he brought to the industry – they’re famous for guiding salespeople through the action planning required to close a sale in a predictable and repeatable process.
- The “Blue Sheet” for Strategic Selling - gives salespeople a user-friendly way to build a strategic approach for pursuing individual opportunities
- The “Green Sheet” for Conceptual Selling - provides a process that helps sellers to effectively manage their sales calls and leverage customer interaction as they move through the sales cycle
- The “Gold Sheet” for Large Account Management - helps salespeople learn to build 1-3 year strategies to build lasting relationships with their largest accounts
Command of the Message by Force Management
Command of the Message focuses on creating a consistent buyer message. It provides a structure that enables salespeople to clearly articulate your value and differentiation, align that value with your customer’s problem, and then deliver on the promise.
The focus is on using a repeatable framework that enables you to guide the conversation – discovering the needs of your prospects and linking those needs to solutions you can offer.
Solution Selling is based on the simple premise of assessing a prospect’s needs, and then recommending a solution that’s tailored to their unique challenges. It requires having an in-depth understanding of their industry, their problems, and their specific circumstances.
Solution Selling requires you to zoom out and look at the whole picture. This methodology is particularly useful for industries that deal with highly-customizable products.
A value-based sales methodology demands that you do your homework. You need to put the needs of your prospect first and to do that, you must understand what their needs are. Your team must go through the process of understanding why your offer is valuable to the prospect. Once that’s ironed out, the entire sales process revolves around reinforcing those points.
Instead of hard selling, the focus is on teaching. Benefits should be clear and easy to understand. Build trust by making it a point to add value each time you engage with your prospect.
Value-based selling is a very customer-centric approach. Using this methodology increases your chances of making the sale, and if done well, increases the price your prospect is willing to pay.
MEDDPICC is a sales qualification methodology that works with your current sales process. It’s an 8-step framework that helps you to determine the information you need to know, which relationships you need to nurture, and what tasks need to be done.
The data that measures your solution’s value to customers. What financial benefit does it offer?
- [E]conomic buyer:
Who is the ultimate decision maker?
- [D]ecision criteria:
How are they judging your solution? What’s going to get them excited about your product?
- [D]ecision process:
The path your buyer will take from the awareness stage into decision-making. What kind of approval process needs to take place?
- [P]aper process:
What needs to be cataloged and followed? How are you keeping the paperwork in order?
- [I]dentify pain:
Pain points you have identified. What does this solution solve? How does it affect their bottom line?
The foremost authority in your customer’s organization. Who has power, influence, and credibility?
Who are the other players in your market competing for the same customers?
This methodology is popular in complex B2B sales because of its impressive results in enterprise sales and its focus on high-value, best-fit targets. MEDDPICC is a detailed methodology that should be used to qualify your leads (in OR out) through every step of the sales process.
It’s a proven, data-driven process that performs even in saturated markets. Use MEDDPICC to shorten your sales cycle, create Mutual Action Plans, and close more high-quality leads.
Another acronym – this framework revolves around 4 core principles.
- Keep it Simple: Make things easy and clear for your customers.
- Be iNvaluable: Be indispensable – someone your customers can’t live without.
- Always Align: Be in sync with their needs.
- Raise Priorities: Keep their most important priorities in focus.
SNAP selling is meant for a specific type of buyer – the modern “frazzled and overwhelmed consumer.” It’s a useful methodology for those who work in the B2B space or who sell a complex or confusing product. It’s a straightforward approach that breaks the decision-making process down into easier-to-handle steps.
In SNAP selling, you need to position yourself as a trusted partner – one who can guide your prospect to see the value in your offer – with a solution to a problem that they’re otherwise too frazzled to solve.
Gap Selling by Keenan
Gap Selling is all about helping your prospects to “close the gap.” The “gap” is the space between where they are now, and where they want to be.
To successfully use this methodology you need to fully understand both states – current and future. Once current problems and the desired future state are identified and defined, you can move on to discussing solutions.
Gap Selling is about zooming in on the core of the problem at hand. The space between their current state and their future state (in which they’ve solved their problem and have their ideal outcome) is the space your solution needs to fill.
We've heard time and time again from leadership...
...that sales methodologies aren't adopted consistently with reps.
A sales methodology is no good if your team doesn’t work within its guidelines – which is why we created Recapped – a platform where your team can collaborate internally on any process you implement.
Each of the sales methodologies outlined here has clear benefits, and one may be better than another for your particular team dynamic and offer. But – here at Recapped, we made it possible to incorporate and reinforce all your favorite methodologies into your sales process easily.