Due to the length of this piece on Sales Methodologies, I have broken it into two parts. I will post part two tomorrow.
I frequently hear the questions about sales methodologies like the following…
“What do you think about SPIN Selling® method?“ Or,
“Do you think Customer Concentric Selling® would be good for my team?”
And I thought it might be valuable for those who have similar questions to have a framework for understanding how to answer those questions for their team.
The first thing you must understand to answer the question is what a sales methodology is.
What are sales methodologies?
Sales methodologies typically address a specific aspect of selling.
For example, SPIN selling addresses “need identification,” or how a salesperson can address and discover a prospect’s needs. Strategic Selling®, however, addresses the management of various decision makers and to some extent, the sales process.
The first thing that should be clear from that is each sales methodology has its own specific value.
Sales methods are not mutually exclusive. In fact, for most sales organizations, you will find valuable and workable best-selling practices in all of them.
In fact, even the sales methodologies that do not directly address your sales issues or needs, may have practices that can be adapted to what you do.
I frequently tell people to read the book “Selling To VITO.” The is an excellent book directed at getting to and presenting the CEO or other Cexecs.
However, even if you don’t sell to the CEO, the book provides excellent instruction on leaving messages and opening doors that are useful in nearly all selling situations.
The Training Obstacle
You should be aware that the biggest obstacle to your success in bringing in any of the sales methodologies has to do with getting from the “theory” to the “sales call.”
Most people find it very difficult to translate theory into action. The selling process increases the difficulty by making practice painful.
If a sales rep tries a new technique on a prospect, they may get in unknown or uncomfortable situations before they have mastered the technique.
This causes many salespeople to revert to the more comfortable behaviors of the past, thus never mastering the technique.
The only answer is to coach the techniques over long periods of time to allow the…
LEARN, APPLY, FEEDBACK, CORRECTION
cycle to repeat itself enough times to do its job.
The Weakness of Sales Methodologies
The first weakness of these methodologies is that they are only a “sliver” of the total process of selling. They don’t address the “entire sales process” but rather a small piece of it.
The second weakness is that they are typically taught on short time cycles making it very difficult for attendees to get competency.
If you cannot effectively follow up with repeated coaching, there is a high probability you will get little if any results. The training typically leaves with the trainer.
Third, and possibly most important, is that they are not part of your sales process. And they frequently won’t align perfectly with your existing sales process.
Sales methodologies are additions your sales process. They must be integrated into how your process is executed to be effective.
Sales methodologies are very important and very valuable. I highly recommend that every sales professional study all of the methods they can.
I would suggest there are great challenges to getting a real ROI from doing such training. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but without real added effort you’ll likely end up with little return for your money.
I recommend that for best results, that you focus training on the sales process itself.
Document your sales process and the selling best practices you know work – then teach and coach them regularly.
If you do bring in a course-based training, integrate it into your process immediately after it’s taught. This eliminates the chasm between the classroom and the sales call.
You may find my sales training system that operates within your own sales process a viable alternative to the standard training model, its main advantage is that it’s permanent and doesn’t have to be repurchased in the future.
See this link for information: Inside Sales Training System
In Part 2 of this article I will share with you ideas on how to choose the right training from the various sales methodologies available.