One of the main reasons Finlay James exists is to improve IT sales careers, so it seems important to explore the top sales methodologies currently being used by sales professionals around the world. During my 8 years in IT sales recruitment, I have had many discussions with sales professionals about their sales approach and why it works so well for them. There are many ways to approach a deal and I hope by giving a high level overview of what I see as the most popular and effective methodologies, this may help you to tailor your approach when you engage with a prospective clients in the future.
From a leadership perspective, I feel it is important that you are confident that your salespeople have a kit bag full of techniques that they can utilise depending on the sales situation they find themselves in.
Interested? Then read on...
Conceptual Selling – Miller Heiman
The creators of this technique, Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman, suggest that sales professionals should focus on the basics of the client’s buying process and manage the multiple decision makers involved in the process, rather than going straight in with their sales pitch. This methodology requires a great deal of listening to gather information, providing the client with relevant information and attaining multi-level commitment. This approach is best utilised in large account selling with high level/value solutions.
IT companies who have used Miller Heiman include: Easynet and Experian.
This is probably one of the most recognisable sales approaches in the world which I feel is down to its simplicity to learn and the ability to quickly implement into a process. SPIN selling is broken down into 4 stages – Situation, Problem, Implication and Need Pay-off. This approach requires the sales person to ask lots of probing questions with a view to uncover the client’s needs. This in turn creates confidence and is aimed at getting the client to come up with a solution to their problem which is aligned with what you are selling. This approach works best where there is a low number of decision makers and maybe when selling lower level solutions.
IT companies who have used SPIN include: Fujitsu, Microsoft, Motorola, Xerox, IBM.
This approach was borne from the research of thousands of salespeople by founders Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. The research suggests that every sales person slots into one of five personas when selling; Relationship Builders, Hard Workers, Lone Wolves, Reactive Problem Solvers and Challengers. Their research recommended that the most successful sales professionals were Challengers, who aim to approach clients with unique insights into how they can save money and tailor their approach to the customers’ needs and objectives. It’s suggested that this approach is best used when selling complex and large scale B2B solutions.
Target Account Selling (TAS)
The TAS framework is a great approach to utilise when managing a sale through a large and complex organisation. The aim is to breakdown the process into key components and educates the sales person on the best way to evaluate, progress and win the deal. It can be seen as an automated way to manage the sales which aims to be more proactive than reactive.
IT companies who have used TAS include: Autodesk, HP, Unisys.
My aim was to give quite a high level overview of each methodology with the hope to get you thinking about your own approach and the sales approach of your teams, to see whether you can amend and improve to help you close more deals.
By James May, Director of Operations, Finlay James who provide global, world class IT sales recruitment solutions - including software sales recruitment, IT services sales recruitment, ICT sales recruitment and digital sales recruitment.