How technology can enhance customer communication and engagement
CallMiner's VP of Int'l, Frank Sherlock, talks about the value of customer communications ahead of his session at Credit Connect’s Online Collections ...
The Team at CallMiner
July 26, 2022
Sales methods vary nearly as much as individual sales reps’ opinions of them do. There are a vast number of sales methodologies to choose from for enhancing your business’s performance, but not all of them are suitable for every organization or even for every sales team within the same company. Adopting the best strategies from top experts and then tailoring your approach to the interests and needs of your target audience is the most effective way to identify and implement a sales methodology that works for your sales team and your customers.
Choosing the right sales approach comes down to targeting, first, and refining your process for each part of the customer journey, second. Once you view the buying experience through your customers’ eyes and gain insights from sales conversations to identify their needs, you’re ready to dive into the proven sales methodologies brought together in this post.
Gone are the days of a simple sales call being the only tool your reps need in their arsenal. Sales processes are changing, and only time will tell how emerging technology will continue to shift the topology of the landscape. At present, novel initiatives to promote sales practices that leverage social media, automated targeting, and more have taken center stage and are already yielding profitable results for the early adopters willing to perform on the cutting edge of innovation.
Organizations that fail to equip their sales teams with the tools needed to use these and other trending sales methodologies may soon find themselves left behind in a constantly moving market. This is especially urgent in a world where some 35-50% of sales tend to go to the first vendor that contacts a lead, rather than the very best match. Knowing how to stay ahead of the competition can help any organization carve out a share of the market and maintain it for years to come.
To keep your team ahead of the curve, experiment with the creative sales methods and best practices listed below:
1. Leverage conversation analytics to improve sales performance. “Your team doesn’t have the time to manually monitor and review every single inbound and outbound sales conversation that get recorded, even if you have analytics tools and data analysts within your organization. Conversation analytics can help enterprise sales and BDR teams automatically analyze these interactions at scale using artificial intelligence (AI) – in real-time or post-interaction – to help shorten sales cycles and drive more wins.” - The Closer’s Ultimate Guide to Sales Conversation Analytics, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner
2. Treat sales processes distinctly from the way you would treat individual techniques. Processes should guide, techniques should empower. "You could put it like this: a sales process gets you from A to Z, a sales technique is the philosophy you apply to enhance your sales process. [...] A sales technique or selling method is used by a salesperson or sales team to create revenue and help sell more effectively." - Sales techniques: 5 highly effective modern sales methods, Teamleader; Twitter: @teamleader
3. Choose methodologies for key points in the sales process instead of shoehorning the entire process into one method alone. "In sales, finding that sweet spot is a matter of identifying the sales methodology that best suits your business at a specific point in the sales process. [...] In life, there tends to be a sweet spot for just about anything — the perfect recipe for getting the most mileage out of any activity, engagement, or effort." - Emma Brudner,12 Best Sales Methodologies & The Key to Customer-Centric Selling, According to Sales Leaders, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot, @emmajs24
4. Marrying both your sales processes and methodologies can help make the most of them, plus adapting these to the buyer’s journey strengthens an inbound sales approach. "Inbound sales techniques focus on understanding the buyer’s journey to acquiring their product, and suggest building the sales process based on that journey. [...] You need both a sales methodology and a sales process, and the two should work together." - Jacco van der Kooij, Top 14 Sales Methodologies for Your Selling Systems, Sales Hacker; Twitter: @SalesHacker
5. Arming your salespeople with valuable intel and prepping them to handle each of the stakeholders they may face can create great results. "Make sure you’re arming your salespeople with reviews and collateral they can use in the sales process when somebody has an objection, and keep your marketing assets where salespeople can easily access and send out to the masses very quickly. [...] When you’re selling to someone; you’re selling to three elements: 1) the company employee that is going to look like a hero, 2) the product or service that is going to make them look good and fix their issues, and 3) the company and ROI they’re going to achieve." - Megan Ranger, Modern Sales Techniques: 5 best effective sales methods, Nimble; Twitter: @Nimble
6. Measuring effectiveness of contact options and reserving high-investment options for high-value customers can make your sales approach flow more smoothly. "The Sales by Contact Method metric measures which contact methods are the most successful at generating sales, such as email, telephone, or in person. [...] Perhaps consider reserving in person contacts for high value prospects, and rely on email or phone contact for other types of prospects." - Sales by Contact Method | Sales KPI Examples, Klipfolio; Twitter: @klipfolio
7. Prequalifying and building trust with leads creates better business opportunities overall. "It’s the same with your social and email marketing — a good and interesting headline with a link to read the rest of the article (where you can work up to a sales pitch and build reasons they should respond) removes distractions and will outperform a hard sales email or up-front Facebook ad hands-down." - Justin Jacobs, Your Sales Techniques Are Easily Ignored, ACHR News; Twitter: @ACHRNews
8. Use social media to speed up response rates and capture prospects at key moments. "Active engagement with prospects via social media is overlooked as a potential sales tool by far too many businesses because it is perceived as having a negligible impact on actual sales – when in fact this is one of the best ways you can increase brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and sales. [...] Providing fast, honest answers to questions that potential customers have about your offerings is an excellent way to increase sales, as the more attention you are perceived as paying to potential customers, the more likely people are to want to buy from you." - Dan Shewan,25 Ways to Increase Online Sales, WordStream; Twitter: @WordStream
9. Sell to your buyer’s situation rather than their disposition. “People don’t buy from you because of who they are, their demographics, or their job characteristics. They’re more concerned with whether or not their current situation is putting their business goals at risk. The real drivers behind behaviors and behavior change are the challenges within your buyer’s situation, not their professional disposition.” - Tim Riesterer, 10 surprisingly effective sales techniques, backed by research, Corporate Visions; Twitter: @corpv
10. Psychological selling, relationship selling and barrier selling all center on the attempt to understand customers more deeply. "From the 1920s through the 1950s, sales methodology took a number of twists and turns including psychological selling (which promoted the idea that the best salespeople were those who understood how buyers 'tick'), relationship selling (of which Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People approach was the flagship), and barrier selling (which encouraged practitioners to trick the customer into saying 'yes')." - George Brontén, A brief history of modern sales methodologies for sales leaders, Membrain; Twitter: @membrain_com
11. Both customer-centric and consultative sales processes share a common thread of focusing on the prospects needs first and foremost. "Every company with a sales component needs a sales methodology to complement its sales process. [...] In customer-centric selling, sales reps focus entirely on the customer’s needs. [...] Rather than push a sale, consultative selling has the sales rep focus on doing what’s best for the customer." - The 13 Best Sales Methodologies for Your Selling System in 2021 - Selling Revolution, Selling Revolution; Twitter: @landychase
12. Adopt an agile sales methodology. “Having developed a dynamic perspective about the situation, sales must deploy an agile but phased approach to ensure quick and targeted responses. In markets where sales are tumbling, it’s important to identify key customers that sales should focus on and develop a view about where the industry is trending in order to provide insight to customers. If demand is remaining stable or rising, as in some cases, sales must find innovative ways to handle the uptick quickly.” - Phillip Andersen, Stephan Lehrke, Basir Mustaghni, and Kelly Newton, Leading Sales Through the COVID-19 Crisis, BCG; Twitter: @BCG
13. Adopt the Sandler Sales method to flip your sales rationale on its head and win better customers. "Developed by David Sandler, a sales genius, these 'rules' present an intensely intricate, yet easy to understand sales method that plays off traditional sales techniques. [...] Let’s start with comparing a Sandler sales rep from a 'normal' sales rep. Typical Sales Rep = spends time focusing on getting buyer to say 'yes.' Sandler Sales Rep = spends time focusing on QUALIFYING buyers beforehand–so that getting a ‘yes’ is 10x easier once closing begins." - Sam Rubenstein, The Sandler Sales Method - a Comprehensive Overview, WideAngle; Twitter: @wideanglehq
14. For more effective customer personality selling, consider shifting the approach to match different prospects. "Customer personality selling actually encompasses different kinds of sales approaches, depending on the type of buyer you have in front of you. [...] Your background and personality, as well as your clients and offerings, will help determine the different kinds of sales approaches you should be using in any given selling situation." - Claire McConnachie, 5 Different Kinds of Sales Approaches Every Sales Rep Should Know, SalesForce Search
15. Tap into analytics to support signal-based selling. “Signal-based selling works as an always-on X-ray scan of interactions between your reps and the buyers, detecting what best reps do to win, and serving the winning behaviors as rules for reps to act on and improve. It changes the experience of your reps with guidance that is real-time, transparent, and engaging. […] The core of this approach is grounded in truth: using only verified customer intent and leading indicators of success, you focus only on what matters. Made possible by AI, signal-based selling is how sales will be done in the digital age.” - Sujan Patel, The Top 9 Sales Methodologies to Consider for Your Business, Mailshake; Twitter: @mailshakeapp
16. Create value with value-based selling and differentiate your business. “At the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, many organizations adapted by moving sales interactions to videoconference or phone. But the longer-term opportunity is to rethink how to use these platforms to improve, not just sustain, the sales experience — creating value and providing differentiation with prospects and clients to make the whole experience more compelling. To do this, consider new opportunities to help customers recognize issues and identify opportunities they hadn’t considered. With video and phone, it’s easier than ever to involve ‘Subject Matter Experts,’ implementation or customer support staff, and other functions earlier in the sales process to provide deeper expertise and greater insight. Videoconferencing also makes it easier to involve company leaders with customers to address problems and provide higher-level connections and executive sponsorship.” - Scott Edinger, 4 Ways to Reconfigure Your Sales Strategy During the Pandemic, Harvard Business Review; Twitter: @HarvardBiz
17. Make MEDDIC work for your team with metrics first and a guided experience second. "The MEDDIC methodology stands for: Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, and Champion. You’ll start by analyzing the situation, studying the competitive landscape and better understanding your customers. You’ll identify the best possible candidates from a broad pool. You’ll figure out what this prospect needs to make a decision."
“You’ll guide them through the decision making process. You’ll note and overcome their main pain points. And you’ll designate a rep within your team to be a ‘champion’ assigned to this client." - Jayson DeMers, 15 Famous Sales Methodologies You Should Consider (2021), Email Analytics; Twitter: @jaysondemers
18. The CHAMP methodology is meant for more than sales guidance – forecast, manage and more with CHAMP to get the most out of it. "CHAMP is an 'all-in-one' system and not just a methodology or a qualification criteria – it comes with a repeatable and predictable Sales Process, and a Sales Management blueprint that helps apply CHAMP insights to Pipeline Management, Forecasting and other key aspects of leading a sales team that align a Sales Manager to the Sales Rep. Because the original creator of CHAMP is a former Investment Banking Analyst and a growth-equity VC (with an Applied Math background), CHAMP is meant to be a data-driven system for scaling SaaS companies fast – it comes turnkey with a set of Sales Metrics & KPIs to help analytical Sales Leaders to measure and improve execution and results throughout the entire sales funnel." - Chris Orlob, Top 12 Sales Methodologies: How To Pick The Right One, Gong; Twitter: @Gong_io
19. Try consultative selling to get prospects to uncover their own pain points. "This sales methodology established its roots in solution selling where an experienced salesperson’s expertise, industry knowledge and reputation is leveraged. Instead of telling prospects what they need, this investigative approach engages prospects through thought provoking questions, helping them identify their own pains. Ultimately, prospects guide themselves into making their own decision."
“The number one trait of effective consultative selling is the art of asking questions that dig up quality responses. Start by building credibility by demonstrating that you understand what’s going on with their business."
“Consultative selling techniques are rooted in the selflessness of the salesperson. It’s not about proving that your product or service is the best, it’s about finding the solution that’s right for the customer." - The 12 Best Sales Methodologies You Need To Know, Spotio; Twitter: @getspotio
20. Practice sales Aikido by encouraging prospects to sell themselves on your service or product. "The best sales people don't ‘sell’ in the sense that they don't convince or talk somebody into anything. The best sales person helps her prospect close himself. You do this through asking great questions that build customer motivation and restating and re-framing your prospect's responses to help them sell themselves." - David Finkel,The 5 Most Powerful Sales Techniques, Inc.; Twitter: @Inc, @DavidFinkel
21. Amassing customer preferences to probe with tailored questions pairs perfectly with SPIN selling. "SPIN selling requires good communication skills and has proven to be a great technique. It focuses on asking questions based on the customer’s preferences in an effort to expose the needs of their organization. The goal of this is to establish trust and help you align your solutions with the services and product you provide. This is a classic sales methodology best suited for smaller, more transactional sales that don’t have a large number of stakeholders involved in the buying process." - Charles Edge,The Top 10 Sales Methodologies You Should Consider for Your Business, Selling Power; Twitter: @SellingPowerMag
22. The inbound sales methodology offers distinct advantages and can be combined with other sales methodologies. "In the age of information, buyers are much more educated about their options and have often done research before they even talk to a salesperson. This shift in the prospect-sales dynamic has given rise to the inbound selling methodology."
“Inbound sales focuses on bringing prospects to you (rather than conducting targeted outreach). Inbound salespeople focus on understanding their prospects’ pain points and buyer’s journey, educating them and acting as a trusted consultant, and tailoring their solutions to their unique context." - Choosing the right sales methodology for your organization, Lucidchart; Twitter: @Lucidchart
23. Boost customer satisfaction and sales performance with the SNAP methodology. “Created by Jill Konrath in 2012, SNAP Selling is a methodology that helps reps sell to clients who are stressed out and in a hurry. It focuses on streamlining the sales cycle as much as possible. In other words, it’s designed for the modern buyer."
“SNAP stands for keep it Simple, be iNvaluable, always Align, raise Priorities. Each aspect is designed to speak to the types of questions frazzled, rushed customers have in mind:
24. Adopt the premium approach and gift your way to great new customers. “Everyone appreciates a free gift. Your prospective customers are no different. With the premium sales approach, sales professionals offer their prospects a giveaway or promotional item in an effort to build excitement about their product or brand. A key advantage of this selling approach is its ability to attract otherwise hesitant customers.” - 4 Effective Sales Approaches to Incorporate Into Your Sales Process, Lucidchart; Twitter: @Lucidchart
25. Try the Challenger Sales methodology to approach otherwise busy, connected and well-informed leads. “The Challenger Sale steers away from the idea that a good sales approach starts with building a relationship with a prospect. The reason: customers are too busy, too well informed, and have too many options to invest in a relationship."
“The model splits B2B salespeople into 5 personas: relationship builders, hard workers, lone wolves, reactive problem solvers, and challengers. After an in-depth assessment, challengers are by far the most successful. Salespeople can adopt this by using a three-part sales model:teach-tailor-take control." - Sales techniques: 5 highly effective modern sales methods, Teamleader; Twitter: @teamleader