Issues with Sales Methodologies
Many sales methodologies have been developed and put into the market over the years, and they are very effective in bringing clarity and consistency to the sales process. However, there are a few common issues that occur with sales methodologies, which have become quite pervasive across Revenue teams:
- Too many methodologies at once. Companies are employing multiple sales methodologies for different parts of the sales process. For example, BANT (budget, authority, need, timing) became quite popular in the Prospecting stage of the sales cycle in order to qualify leads before they were passed by SDRs to AEs. At the same time, several other methodologies are often used to help give structure later on in the discovery process. Revenue teams have ended up using several methodologies at once, but without being able to integrate these methodologies together. The result is a very inconsistent sales process that causes confusion between the functions of sales, marketing, and customer success, and a less than ideal experience for the customer.
- Solution, consultative, or provocative selling? These are often taught as mutually exclusive, and teams will adopt one of the three based on what they feel is most complementary with the product they sell. A problem arises in actual conversations with customers, where salespeople often need to employ all three of these methodologies in the same conversation --- pitching them on their solution (solution), diagnosing by asking questions (consultative), or provoking them with another viewpoint (provocative). Furthermore, these methodologies provide guidance on what needs to be accomplished, but without providing the step-by-step directions on how salespeople should go about it.
- Methodologies do not integrate. Despite the fact that multiple sales methodologies are often used in the same sales process, Revenue teams end up misaligned across stages because methodologies were not built to integrate with each other. Each one has a slightly different focus, with different terminology, and different guidance on how to execute.
- Helping forecast versus helping to sell. Most methodologies end up being utilized by sales managers in order to help them forecast, far more than they are used by individual salespeople to help them sell.
- Methodologies focus on volume-based performance management. Methodologies tend to focus on helping reps win more deals (a focus on volume), rather than focus on helping reps with what they should do in their customer interactions (a focus on skills). Without that type of guidance, sales reps are forced to figure it out on their own and form their own habits, which may or may not be effective.
Recurring revenue is the result of recurring impact.
The SPICED Framework
By standardizing on customer impact, companies can overcome these challenges and align their teams to become customer-centric.
SPICED (Situation, Pain, Impact, Critical Event, Decision)is a diagnostic framework that provides the guidance for keeping the customer's desired impact as the ultimate goal, at the forefront of all conversations that occur during the sales cycle.
It allows for both a consultative and provocative conversation, where the seller asks questions to understand what the customer wants (consultative), and encourages the customer to think differently or see a different perspective (provocative).
- Situation. Facts or circumstances relevant to the customer that determine whether the customer falls within your ideal customer profile and what is happening in their world. Such as size of company, number of employees, software they use, hiring needs, security needs, or revenue goals.
- Pain. The problems the customer has purchased your product or solution to help solve. This could include the need to conduct training or recruit, support a global team, pass a security audit or stop errors to happen in a process.
- Impact. The results produced by solving pain. These are the outcomes the customer is trying to achieve by purchasing your solution. Impact can be both emotional, for individuals, and rational, for companies.
- Critical Event. Any particular deadline by which to the customer must achieve the desired impact or suffer negative consequences. Critical Events drive the customer’s timeline for a purchase. This is distinctly different from a compelling event, which does not have a specific deadline associated with it.
- Decision. The people involved in the decision, the process they will follow to reach that decision, and the criteria they will use to evaluate the right solution