Exploring qualification frameworks and structures of the sales process
A few years back, one of the first things I did as a new VP of Sales was take a look at our current sales process and methodology to see where opportunities to improve may be. I learned a lot about the MANY different frameworks, methodologies, process that a sales org can implement and follow. The choices were seemingly ENDLESS.
With weeks and months of research, I came to the conclusion that crowning any particular method or process as the “Chosen One” – was just as polarizing as any political race or sports team fandom in today’s climate. Since we have enough debate on both those topics already, I’ll just present the case for each and let you decide what fits and where.
After all – the consensus I came to is there isn’t a one-size fits all approach. As you grow, you’ll likely have to adapt and even borrow pieces from the past to fit with what you want in the future.
And according to the experts below (and my experience too), the best approach is to customize your own framework to fit your specific size, ACV, sales cycle and internal process. So as you re-evaluate and implement a new approach -its nice to know where you fit in and what else is out there.
Starting with Methodologies seems like a natural place to begin. Check out some of the top qualification frameworks and sales methodologies to see where you can implement or tweak within your sales org.
First developed in the 1990s, MEDDIC (also known as MEDDICC & MEDDPICC) emphasizes better customer qualification and information. I’m seeing heavy use and implementation with Enterprise colleagues adopting this framework.
Advocates of the MEDDIC sales methodology argue that pitching to better-qualified customers results in a higher closing rate, thereby increasing sales success
Think of MEDDIC as a checklist for information you need to know, things you need to do, and people you need to be friends with. It also serves as a great troubleshooting tool to identify gaps or weaknesses in your current deals and in your process.
IBM created the BANT criteria to find promising opportunities. This seems like the most outdated and archaic framework for those of us in SaaS. But if you have to start somewhere quick- I guess start here.
In order for a lead to be qualified, it must meet at least three of the four BANT criteria:
- Budget – Is the product/service within the prospect’s budget?
- Authority – Does the prospect have the authority to make the purchase decision, or will they be able to support the purchase on your behalf?
- Needs – What does the business need?
- Timeline – When will the prospect implement a solution?
The Challenger sales model and methodology is built around a sales process that focuses on teaching, tailoring and taking control of a sales experience.
In their book The Challenger Sale (Highly Recommend), Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson introduced their belief that every sales rep falls into one of five categories:
- The Hard Worker – Self-motivated, happily goes above-and-beyond, interested in feedback that helps them further develop their skills
- The Lone Wolf – Independent, self-assured, trusts their own instincts
- The Relationship Builder – Works very well with others, builds strong customer relationships, able to gain internal support from potential buyers
- The Problem Solver – Very responsive, great at pinpointing problems, dedicated to finding solutions
- The Challenger – Approaches the world with a unique point of view, enjoys debating and questioning the beliefs of others, has a thorough understanding of a customer’s business needs
The Challenger sales methodology aims to convert every sales rep into The Challenger.
Based on 12 years of research and 35,000 sales calls, SPIN selling is a sales strategy that comes from Neil Rackham’s 1988 classic book, Spin Selling. In his book, Rackham argues that, in order to win larger consultative deals, salespeople must abandon traditional sales techniques in order to build value as a trusted advisor.
SPIN stands for the four stages of the questioning sequence:
- S: Situation
- P: Problem
- I: Implication
- N: Need Payoff
GAP Selling is focused on bridging the gap between the buyers current state and their future state by customizing specific questions to identify: Facts, Problems, Impact, Root Causes, Emotion, Future State, Solutions.
By understanding the UNIQUE conditions of each of your prospects’ current environment and future goals, you will be able to develop specific, customized selling strategies for each of the prospects in your pipeline. Keenan – Creator of GAP Selling
Developed by the Harris Consulting Group and Sales Hacker Inc., this methodology was designed to turn BANT (budget, need, access/authority, timing) on its head.
Instead of qualifying customers based on the needs of the salesperson (qualifications for purchase), NEAT selling asks the salesperson to qualify how much they can help the prospect. NEAT Stands for:
- Economic Impact
- Access to Authority
Now let’s talk about Sales Process. A Sales Process to me is more about the behind the scenes work in between calls and meetings with buyers. Your internal process, rules of engagement, team structure and expectations for moving a deal through the funnel. Here’s the what, why and how to structure your own sales process.
Featured this earlier – but one of my favorite reads on sales process and frameworks. Mark Roberge details the top sales leadership lessons from his 10 years at Hubspot.
Today’s empowered buyers dictate the sales process, not salespeople. Develop the buyer journey first and then design a sales process that supports it.
Mostly catered to those in transactional sales (though the concepts apply for all), this book by Scott Leese is an excellent, quick read outlining how we can follow a dedicated process.
I gleaned 9 steps:
- Talk to a Decision Maker
- Find the pain
- Build value
- Create urgency
- Talk about what you do
- Discuss opportunities
- Attempt to close
- Deal w/ objections
- Close or set a follow-up.
Pipedrive explains how to effectively map your sales process steps. By defining our process – mapping it out, and then identifying which methodology best suits our needs – we add value to support our process and stage.
A clear, repeatable sales process enables your reps to understand exactly what they need to do to succeed. It also helps you to plan out a well-defined sales cycles that can generate more revenue with less effort.
We didn’t even cover other sales methodologies like SANDLER, SOLUTION, AGILE, GPCT/CI.
And there’s even more seemingly unlimited process renditions to use as your structure.
But that said – I’m of the mindset there isn’t a one-size fits all approach. As you grow, you’ll likely have to adapt & even borrow pieces from the past to fit with your needs in the future.
Thanks for reading!
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