Sales Methodology as the Force Multiplier

Taking Salespeople Where They Need to Go

By David Yesford

Over several years, the organization had invested significantly on sales enablement staff and technologies to drive performance and productivity. The sales leader introduced a new sales process with improved CRM functionality and integration, sales process training, and worked to improve coordination between Marketing and Sales—but was frustrated by mixed results.

This sales leader’s experience is hardly unique. CSO Insight’s most recent Sales Enablement Study showed that less than a third of organizations said their sales enablement expectations were exceeded or fully met. More than 60 percent said sales enablement met few or some of their expectations.1

The question becomes: Why do so many sales enablement efforts fail to deliver?

The answer: While they put processes, technologies, and tools in place, they overlook the sales methodology that can take them where they want to go.

Less than one third of organizations said their sales enablement expectations were exceeded or fully met.

Sales Process Versus Sales Methodology

Most salespeople consciously (or unconsciously) follow a sales process to facilitate the buy/sell process. While the degree of formality and number of sales process steps varies, most (if not all) B2B sales organizations have clearly delineated sales process stages and associated activities. The sales process specifies the what, or the road map, of moving a deal from prospecting to the close, and, ideally, to repeat business.

On the other hand, sales methodology is the how of selling. An effective sales methodology paves the way for salespeople to:

  • Establish strong, productive working relationships with customers
  • Discover what matters to customers and why
  • Provide solutions for the customer’s top priorities

And, a sales methodology is even more than that. It reflects who the selling organization is as a business—and who the salesperson is as a business partner.

An effective sales methodology addresses both the skill set and mindset to execute each step of the sales process well. They are interdependent.

Let’s use two lenses to explore sales methodology from the salesperson’s point of view: intention and capability.

Sales methodology is the how of selling.

The Power of Mindset

While people go into sales for different reasons, many see it as a lucrative career with the opportunity for recognition and prestige: “I made President’s Club . . . again!”

While this is justifiably exciting to salespeople, do customers really care about President’s Club?

No! They care about their own business pressures, strategies, and initiatives. A DemandGen study found that nearly two-thirds of customers said that sales teams that demonstrated a strong knowledge of their company and needs was one of their most important selection criteria. Furthermore, a full 62% said that selected vendors provided content that made it easier to build a business case for the purchase.2

The implications for salespeople are obvious. A laser-like focus on what matters most to the customer while offering unique insights about the customer’s industry, business issues, and the selling organization’s experience in addressing similar challenges demonstrates the salesperson’s values and positive intent—their focus on helping the customer succeed. Salespeople with this mindset believe they win only when they help advance the customer’s business so that the customer wins.

That’s where sales methodology comes in. Sales methodology inspires salespeople to truly differentiate both who they are as salespeople and how they work with customers to deliver unique value.

79% of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor.

David Yesford

David Yesford, Senior Vice President of Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. and Managing Director of Wilson Learning APAC, has more than 30 years of experience developing and implementing human performance improvement solutions around the world. He brings valuable experience, strategic direction, and global perspective to his work with clients. Mr. Yesford is an active member of the Wilson Learning Global Executive Board, with current responsibility at a global level. Over the years, he has held strategic roles in our core content areas of sales and leadership, as well as e-learning and strategic consulting. He has also held managing director positions in both China and India.

Mr. Yesford is the contributing author of several books, including Win-Win Selling, Versatile Selling, The Social Styles Handbook, and The Sales Training Book 2. He has also been published in numerous business publications throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Mr. Yesford frequently speaks at international conferences and summits, focusing on issues such as sales and sales strategy, leadership, employee and customer engagement, brand, and strategy implementation.