The path to successful sales isn't a free-for-all. Your sales reps may have strategies and tactics of their own, but at the end of the day, individualized approaches can only take your business so far. Effective sales teams know the practices that work best for their brand, products, and clients, and their salespeople all operate under the same proven guidelines to maximize results. These guidelines make up your sales methodology.
Your sales methodology is the framework your team members use to guide clients through the SaaS sales funnel. At each stage of the sales cycle, your methodology tells your reps what approaches and action steps they should take to seal the deal. We'll explain why having a strong methodology is so important, then we’ll provide five methodologies that work well for SaaS brands.
Why Do I Need a Sales Methodology?
In a typical sales organization, just 20% of salespeople generate 80% of revenue for the team. This means only a small fraction of sales professionals are using an approach that actually works for their industry and target audience. But when you align your team behind the right sales methodology — one that helps you meet your unique customers' needs — you can set all your team members up for success.
A core selling methodology limits the amount of improvisation that sales reps have to do throughout the sales cycle. It simplifies the decision process by outlining what your team members should say and do, and when. Your framework can make your clients’ needs and responses more predictable, so your salespeople can effectively close more deals.
As you bring new team members on board, you'll have strong guidance in your sales training, so your employees can become high-performing reps faster.
5 Popular Sales Methodologies for SaaS Brands
Different frameworks can help different brands succeed. For example, companies that sell affordable consumer goods (like clothing retailers) thrive with transactional sales methodologies, which aim for fast purchases by emphasizing product features and price. On the flip side, many SaaS businesses benefit when they spend more time on lead qualification and customer engagement. Plenty of frameworks can fit this bill.
To help you find the best sales methodology for your business, we've compiled five popular frameworks for SaaS businesses that you can implement in your sales strategy.
1. SPIN Selling
SPIN selling is a framework that's widely used across industries. Under this methodology, sales reps ask their leads four types of questions — which correspond with the "SPIN" acronym — to identify pain points and help clients realize their own needs.
- Situation questions: Get to know the client's present state, as it relates to your solution. Example: What is your current shipping process?
- Problem questions: Understand the problem with the situation. Example: Are there any bottlenecks in your shipping process?
- Implication questions: Reveal the consequences if the client persists. Example: How do your bottlenecks impact your resources or client satisfaction?
- Need-payoff questions: Showcase the value of your SaaS product by asking what their situation will look like if the problem is resolved. Example: If you could automate your inventory management, how would that help your team?
By asking the right questions, your team members can learn as much information about their leads as possible. And by the time they have one-on-one conversations with potential buyers, they can personalize the entire interaction for better results.
2. Inbound Selling
Inbound selling is all about engaging clients throughout the buying process on the most relevant channels. This method is far less aggressive than traditional sales. Rather, it positions your brand as a problem solver.
Teams that use inbound sales drive clients toward a sale by giving them the information they need to move forward in the decision-making process. For example, your sales team might use SaaS marketing tactics like content marketing to provide useful answers for search engine queries or live video chat to give shoppers real-time support when they need it.
Inbound sellers don't push hesitant shoppers. Instead, they maximize touchpoints for active buyers who need and want a solution like yours. This works best for sales teams that can closely collaborate with a marketing team to create large volumes of content.
3. Sandler Selling System
Created by Sandler Training in the late 1960s, the Sandler Selling System is widely used by B2B brands. Since B2B companies, including those in the SaaS industry, tend to work more closely with their buyers than B2C companies, this framework views the role of sales reps as trusted advisors.
Under the Sandler sales methodology, the selling process should begin with relationship-building. Sales reps spend more time getting to know buyers before qualifying them with questions about their budget and pain points. By the end of the sales cycle, your team members will be able to propose your product as an ideal solution.
This is a great option for brands with more complex and high-end SaaS products. Though more time-intensive, it establishes the trust needed for shoppers to commit to new, less obvious, or less straightforward solutions.
4. Conceptual Selling
Conceptual selling is a methodology created by sales experts Stephen Heiman and Robert Miller that focuses on selling a desired outcome (the "concept"), rather than the product itself. Instead of highlighting your product's features and benefits — which is a practice called solution selling — you'll focus on the client's end goal.
Conceptual sellers practice active listening and ask questions to understand the prospect, their projects, and their ideal end state. As your sales reps draw closer to the end of the sales cycle, they can connect your product to that end state. Buyers will know that your product can create their desired level of satisfaction.
This sales methodology is similar to SPIN selling, but focuses less on the negative (the current problem and its implications) and more on the positive (the need-payoff). Conceptual selling drives commitment.
This can be a highly effective approach for selling SaaS products that take time to implement or create results. For example, customer relationship management software (CRMs) create the most value when fully intertwined with a customer's business operations, which won't occur right away. This framework can keep users engaged throughout the onboarding stage and first month of use.
5. Target Account Selling
The target account selling methodology guides sales reps to focus heavily on lead qualification. It emphasizes the need to work directly with decision-makers, and it uses automation to determine if you're working with the right people.
Once your sales team is aligned on its ideal clients, the early stages of your sales cycle will largely depend on the use of a CRM to organize leads based on relevant characteristics. Once you identify the leads who are most likely to buy, your salespeople jump in to actively engage with buyers, one step at a time. Your sales reps will steadily increase buyer engagement. For example, you may get leads to first sign up for a freemium product, then set up a video call, and ultimately shoot for a purchase.
This sales methodology can help you achieve high-ticket closes without wasting resources on low-quality leads.
Improve Your Sales Process With the Right Sales Methodology
There's no room for lone wolves on your sales team. When your reps are all aligned behind the same proven sales process and tactics, you're better equipped to close deals of any size. Implementing a strong sales methodology can help you create a team of high performers who help you reach and convert more leads.
Whether you're focusing on target account selling, inbound selling, or other SaaS methodologies, getting shoppers on a one-on-one video call can help you turn leads into clients. With ServiceBell, clients can speak to your sales reps in real time just by visiting your site — no appointment needed. Sign up for a free ServiceBell plan to offer greater convenience to clients and boost engagement in key parts of your sales process.