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Sales methodology tips and techniques

Get started with a sales methodology in this expert tip from Liz Roche, salesforce automation expert.

What type of sales methodology do you recommend? Can you give some tips to get started with a standardized methodology for a salesforce?
You should think about what kind of product/service you're selling and what your sales culture dictates. I'll give you a few of my favorite picks, but please don't take this to mean that this sales methodology is necessarily right for your organization. I'd need to understand more about what and how you sell to make that call.

There are plenty of task/activity methodologies out there (e.g., Miller-Heiman, TAS/Target Account Selling), but in my experience, sales reps selling B2B "considered purchases" (e.g., services) as opposed to commodities (e.g., PCs) typically find that understanding and selling the value of their solution (based on several different kinds of needs) requires deep process support. Why? Selling value requires a sales rep to heavily differentiate his/her solution from others (e.g., from competitors). Believe it or not, translating product/service differentiation into customer value is one of the most difficult things sales reps do, so methodologies that help with this float to the top of my list. One of my favorite methodologies out there is ValueSelling from ValueVision Associates. Among other things, ValueSelling teaches sales reps how to have a conversation, including what questions to ask and what answers to listen for based on adapting their differentiation. In the spirit of full disclosure, my firm is certified in ValueSelling sales training.

Another thing sales reps struggle with is preparing for the sales call -- meaning, developing the right amount of subject-matter expertise for the role they are about to speak with. A very effective way to short-cut lots of sales reps doing lots of redundant research activities is to pre-populate domain-specific content for these conversations in some sort of sales-rep accessible tool. An interesting approach is from Blueprint Marketing. Again, full disclosure: we liked this one so much that we're working with these folks as well.

This was last published in January 2007

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