How often do you use the term “sales methodology” and “sales process” interchangeably? If you’re guilty of this mistake, you’re not alone. The words “methodology” and “process” are pretty similar, and the two concepts themselves have a lot of overlapping elements.
However, sales processes and sales methodologies aren’t exactly the same. They’re two heavily intertwined concepts, crucial to the success of the overall sales cycle, with their own unique elements. Today, we’re going to provide a definition of both terms, to clear the air once and for all.
Here’s your guide to sales methodologies, vs sales processes.
Let’s start with the most basic term: “sales process”. Every company, from every industry has its own distinctive “sales process”. It’s essentially a sequenced selection of sales activities, defining each stage and component of the sales journey.
The exact components of your sales process will depend on a number of factors, from your target personas to the product or service you’re selling. However, most of the time, a sales process will involve at least some of the following steps:
So, what is a sales methodology? In simple terms, a sales methodology is a variety of methods, tactics, and strategies leveraged by a sales professional, to initiate and complete the sales process.
Unlike the sales process, which is often fully defined for each company, a sales methodology is more adaptable. It’s usually a problem-centric approach to selling, which requires sales reps to pivot and adjust their strategies based on the situation.
A sales process and methodology goes hand-in-hand in the sales world. However, while a sales process covers every structured step of the sales journey, a sales methodology focuses on a specific part of the sales process.
These easiest way to understand how sales methods work in the modern world, is to look at some examples of common methodologies. Although sales processes are often specific to each company, sales methodologies are publicly available and widely applicable.
Some common examples of popular sales methodologies include:
Popular with B2B sellers, SPIN selling is one of the oldest and most prominent sales methodologies in the book. The concept revolves around an acronym: SPIN, which stands for:
Often taking part in the early stages of the sales process, the SPIN sales methodology is about guiding prospects into seeing your product or solution as a solution to their pain points.
The concept of NEAT selling, popularized by the Harris Consulting Group’s training, is one of the slightly new sales methodologies in circulation today. It replaced a number of other sales models, such as “BANT” and “ANUM”. Like SPIN, “NEAT” is an acronym for various stages of the sales process:
The NEAT sales methodology is often used for solution selling strategies, focusing on customer-centric lead qualification.
SNAP selling is a conceptual selling strategy which involves finding ways for salespeople to align with customers in a more relatable, meaningful, and value-driven manner. The acronym stands for: Simple, I(n)valuable, Alignment, and Priorities.
Essentially, the idea behind this sales methodology is to make outreach more effective, by ensuring professionals can quickly and clearly outline the benefits of their solutions.
Established by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, the Challenger Sales model splits sales reps into different profiles, to guide sales strategies. These profiles include:
According to the Dixon and Adamson, cultivating the “challenger” profile can make sales professionals more successful in their roles.
The Sandler system methodology includes equal input and participation from both the seller and buyer, to carry a deal forward. It views both stakeholders as having equal responsibilities in ensuring a sale, and takes an interesting approach to selling.
If you follow the Sandler approach with outbound and inbound selling, you don’t waste time trying to convince prospects to purchase your goods or services. Instead, you offer advice and guidance to motivate your buyer to discover the right solution to their problems.
MEDDIC, used in the prospecting and lead qualification stage of the sales process, is a popular methodology that helps to improve return on investment. While following the MEDDIC approach, sales professionals focus on the following:
Ultimately, there’s definitely a connection between the sales process and sales methodologies. However, they’re two different concepts. The sales methodology is essentially a subset of the sales process. Different methodologies are used at each stage of the buying cycle to drive results.
The sales process, on the other hand, governs the entire sales cycle, providing a step-by-step repeatable map for sales professionals to follow. If the sales process defines the “what” of selling, sales methodologies define the “how”.
Additionally, while sales processes generally remain consistent, sales methodologies can be adapted and changed based on the situation. They’re more dynamic and customizable.
Notably, success in sales isn’t about deciding whether to use a sales process or a sales methodology. These two concepts are both tied together around the same common goal – driving sales.
If you want to learn more about how you can enhance both your sales process, and sales methodologies to increase revenue for your business, Hypcccycl has the whitepaper for you. Download the paper for free here for behind-the-scenes tips into revenue coaching for c-levels.
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