This article comes from a debate, ‘The Sales Methodology Debate: How to Select the Right One for Your Organization’, held at our October 2022 Sales Enablement Festival, check out the full unedited discussion here.

Implementing an effective sales methodology is crucial for organizations looking to scale their sales processes and achieve sustainable growth. But with so many options on the market, how do sales leaders know which methodology is right for their business?

In a recent panel discussion, sales enablement experts: 

  • Teri Long, VP of Global Revenue Enablement at Mindtickle
  • Tom Cheryian, Director of Revenue Enablement & Operations at Rattle
  • Carly Lehner, Senior Director, RevOps and Enablement at Andela,  

Gathered together and shared their insights on selecting, rolling out, and optimizing sales methodologies based on their diverse experiences.

Here are some of the key takeaways from their lively debate on this complex but critical topic … 👇

  • To methodology or not
  • Comparing methodologies
  • Adapting methodologies for SaaS vs. non-SaaS
  • Enlisting marketing as a methodology partner
  • Right-sizing your methodology
  • Sales methodologies for emerging industries
  • Rolling out methodologies for maximum buy-in
  • Final thoughts 

To methodology or not

One of the first questions sales leaders wrestle with is whether they even need a defined sales methodology. According to our experts, the answer depends largely on the company's stage of growth.

As Carly Lehner explained, Andela is currently a Series B business that uses BANT (budget, authority, need, timing) for opportunity qualification but doesn't leverage it well. The lack of a solid methodology hasn't hindered Andela's success so far though. 

However, implementing BANT more rigorously could likely optimize sales conversions. In Carly's view, methodologies can be effective if implemented properly, but may not be an absolute necessity in early growth stages.

Tom Cheryian also emphasized that an effective methodology promotes communication alignment across sales, marketing, customer success and other departments. 

For OwnBackup's (in Tom’s previous role) complex technology, having a shared framework enabled by the Winning by Design methodology has been invaluable in getting all teams on the same wavelength.

Teri Long advised looking for signals like increased focus on sales metrics and deal velocity. Formalizing the sales process via an established methodology can provide structure, repeatability and improved conversion rates. 

According to Teri, methodologies become more important once companies start closely tracking and trying to optimize their sales funnel metrics.

💡The key takeaway:

Methodologies aren't absolutely necessary from the start, but can drive major benefits once organizations reach sufficient scale and complexity. 

As Tom put it, having a methodology makes things better, but you can still get business done without one early on. Proceed with eyes wide open.

Comparing methodologies

With so many sales methodology frameworks to choose from, the trick lies in finding one that fits your tech, team and customers.

OwnBackup went through an extensive RFP process and ultimately selected Winning by Design (WBD). 

Tom cited WBD's suitability for SaaS businesses, open source content model and holistic approach spanning the entire customer journey. 

The methodology also aligned with recommendations from OwnBackup's investors.

Andela currently uses BANT for its simplicity in qualifying opportunities. However, Carly shared that most Andela deals end with "losing to nobody" rather than losing to competitors. 

To tackle this indecision challenge, Andela is layering in concepts from Dixon and Adamson's new book, Jolt.

Teri advocated taking a hybrid approach based on the sales team's specific needs. Her current company employs MEDDIC for opportunity qualification while integrating Sandler Training's sales psychology. 

They continually refine the methodology mix as buying challenges shift.

According to Teri, you've got to be aware and cautious about what will work best for your situation.

💡 The key takeaway:

Rather than defaulting to the latest trendy methodology, carefully evaluate your company's unique requirements and tailor accordingly. One size does not fit all.

Adapting methodologies for SaaS vs. non-SaaS

Sales methodologies must align with the nature of the sale, which differs significantly between SaaS and non-SaaS businesses.

For SaaS companies, Teri finds methodologies like MEDDIC better suited for technical, complex sales, while Sandler Training excels for simpler, transactional sales. 

The complexity of the technical requirements is a key factor.

Meanwhile, Carly's past roles in staff augmentation required less technical selling where straightforward frameworks like BANT provide helpful guardrails without overcomplicating things.

Tom emphasized that regardless of industry, the methodology should unite marketing, sales, services and beyond through a shared framework and vocabulary that enables alignment.

💡 The key takeaway:

Industry and sales complexity should drive your methodology evaluation. Define your must-haves before pursuing an option.