What’s separating the winners from the losers when it comes to hitting targets in 2023?
Getting back to sales fundamentals. Rigorous deal execution & inspection.
Leaders are investing in MEDDPICC, Challenger, and other proven sales methodologies – because nothing rivals a consistent winning framework on every opportunity. But too often, adoption is low and the investment goes to waste.
That’s why we hosted a masterclass with veteran revenue leaders Andee Harris (CEO at Challenger), Jeff Roy (Head of Sales at BioRender), and Jen Allen-Knuth (Community Growth at Lavender) diving into all things sales methodologies.
- Why revenue leaders are investing in sales methodologies (despite tighter budgets)
- How to leverage proven frameworks to drive sales productivity
- What elite deal strategy looks like in 2023
Check out the masterclass recording and get a recap of the key takeaways below!
What is a sales methodology?
First things first – what is a sales methodology?
Andee defined a sales methodology as a framework that guides how sellers follow a sales process to ensure consistency. Jen and Jeff added that sales methodologies combine the “what” (the process or steps a sales team follows) with the “how / why” (the actual practices and beliefs that guide the execution of those steps).
Examples of common methodologies include the Challenger Sale, SPIN Selling, and MEDDPICC among many others. But the panelists emphasized that no matter which methodology or framework you choose, it’s important to adapt and customize it for your team – there’s no true “one size fits all” solution.
Why are methodologies important?
Methodologies serve as guiding frameworks that steer sales teams towards success. In today’s challenging macro environment, returning to the fundamentals of sales is critical. By ensuring every rep follows a proven framework on every deal, you’ll increase your chances of success and drive consistent excellence across your team.
It’s not enough to simply write down steps to check off – like we mentioned above, your methodology needs to include the “how / why” your team executes. Sales is always evolving, and so are buyers. As more information is available to buyers today (and fewer want to actually talk to salespeople) sellers need to differentiate themselves by deeply understanding their customers’ worlds and problems – positioning themselves as guides, educators, or consultants to help buyers through the decision process. If your methodology includes guidance on doing this successfully throughout the entire process (from account planning to discovery to long-term success) your team will be much stronger sellers.
What effective methodologies have in common
Although every team’s sales methodology and process is unique, there are some common characteristics you should include to drive success.
Consistency. This applies to both your external and internal processes – from your customer-facing sales process to your team’s deal reviews and 1:1s. Consistent execution is key to learning what’s working and what’s not, and ultimately building a winning sales team.
Flexibility / customization. Your methodology should be executed consistently, but leaders should also allow flexibility if something is not working for your team. Don’t feel the need to follow a specific process (like MEDDPICC, etc) exactly if there are changes that would suit your company better.
Every rep has their own strengths, so if there are pieces of your process that one rep changes successfully, let them – as long as it doesn’t deviate from your overall beliefs and best practices as a team. And everry customer’s situation is unique as well, which may call for flexibility in your process at times.
Jeff recommended revolving around your principles as a foundation, and then tailoring the specific steps as needed to each unique buyer’s journey. The more generic a methodology feels, the less elite it tends to be.
(And you’ll have a better chance of success at implementing your methodology if it doesn’t feel totally forced upon buyers or reps!)
Empathy and expertise. Deep empathy and understanding of your buyers is paramount. Your sales process should aim to guide buyers toward an informed decision and serve their needs above all else.
“Elite deal execution is any process that works and gets you and your buyer to an ideal outcome,” said Jeff. “Creating a genuine plan to identify and solve real customer problems.”
Going beyond basic product knowledge, top sellers deeply understand their customers’ businesses, common challenges, industry trends, and more. The ability to engage with customers as strategic partners and act as consultants adds a huge amount of value to the sales process and buyer experience.
Sales should go far beyond order-taking and delivering standard product information, and guide customers to the best choice for their needs. As Andee said: “Be a nutritionist, not a waitress.” (This is harder to do, involving educating and at times pushing back, but 100% essential to sales excellence).
Coaching. Effective coaching by sales leaders should be a key part of any process – especially when you’re rolling out a new process. Great coaching goes beyond individual deal reviews and is embedded into every part of your org, from 1:1s to team meetings and beyond, to help your reps develop their skills, understand the “why” behind your methodology, and achieve their own goals.
How to implement your methodology successfully
A poll we ran during the masterclass indicated that only 21% of participants felt their current methodology was effective. It’s a common problem teams face when rolling out a new process: poor adoption and inconsistent use.
Jen highlighted three key obstacles that organizations often face when implementing a new process or methodology:
- Sales manager buy-in. Managers play a pivotal role in encouraging reps to adopt new processes. Their support is critical in guiding teams toward embracing change.
- Rep buy-in. Convincing sellers to adopt a new process requires more than just introducing it and saying, “This is how we’re doing things now.” Change management is an important aspect, involving ongoing communication, training, and support. Make sure you’re clearly communicating the “why” behind the new process and how it will positively impact the reps themselves.
- Theory vs execution. Understanding the actual process and why you’re implementing it is one thing, but translating it to day-to-day activities can be challenging. Concrete examples and practical guidance is necessary for effective, consistent deal execution.
Shifting behaviors takes time, and consistent reinforcement is required. Driving successful adoption of your sales process requires buy-in at every level of your organization, a clear plan for change management, and ongoing support and reinforcement from leaders.
Beyond the implementation of your sales process, it’s equally important to create an overall environment that fosters the right mindset, a strong team culture, a deep understanding of buyer empathy, and continuous learning and growth. A positive and growth-oriented mindset, where every team member feels heard and responsible for contributing to collective growth, is a huge driver of elite selling.
Enforcing your repeatable sales methodology
Are you looking to implement a new sales process or reinforce your current one? Accord helps B2B sales teams drive repeatable, consistent, 10/10 deal execution – with stakeholder mapping, business cases, next steps, and resources in one shared workspace. Book a demo with our team to explore and get your workspace today.