Skip to main content

What is a Sales Methodology?

Outbound sales

a professional man standing at a whiteboard determining what sales methodology is right for his team.


Share on LinkedInShare on TwitterShare on Facebook

What is a Sales Methodology?

A sales methodology is defined as:

A systematic approach to the process of selling products or services. It outlines the steps, techniques, and strategies used by sales professionals to identify, qualify, and close deals. A sales methodology is designed to help salespeople achieve their goals and increase their effectiveness in closing deals.

There are many different types of sales methodologies practiced today. Choosing the right methodology for your sales team requires an understanding of the available options and a careful examination of your customer's buying needs.

In this article, we'll go over the different kinds of sales methodologies, the good and bad things about each one, and tips for putting a new sales methodology into practice.

Different Types of Sales Methodologies

There are many different sales methodologies, each with its own unique approach to the sales process.

Some of the most common methodologies include:

  • Agile Selling
  • Solution Selling
  • Consultative Selling
  • Value-Based Selling
  • Inbound Selling
  • Target Account Selling
  • Gap Selling

Agile Selling

Agile selling is a method that equips sellers with the skills to recognise and adjust to frequent changes in the sales pursuit. An agile sales methodology is an iterative approach to selling. This means that the seller is constantly revising their approach in the moment as the buyers needs change. This cycle consists of three parts: prepare, engage, and advance. When executed in the right order these actions result in a burst of activity that accelerates the customer conversation resulting in a “mini close.”

Solution Selling

Solution selling is a customer-focused approach that focuses on helping the customer solve their problems. It involves a thorough understanding of the customer's needs, goals, and challenges, and then presenting a solution that addresses those needs. This approach is effective because it helps the salesperson build a relationship with the customer and earn their trust.

Consultative Selling

Consultative selling is a relationship-driven approach that focuses on building trust and rapport with the customer. This approach involves taking the time to understand the customer's needs, goals, and challenges, and then presenting a solution that addresses those needs. This approach is effective because it helps the salesperson build a long-term relationship with the customer and increases the likelihood of repeat business.

Value-Based Selling

Value-based selling is an approach that focuses on the value that the product or service provides to the customer. This approach involves identifying the customer's needs and then presenting a solution that delivers the greatest value for the customer. This approach is effective because it helps the salesperson differentiate their product or service from the competition and increase the perceived value of their offering.

Inbound Selling

Inbound selling is a sales approach that focuses on attracting, engaging, and delighting potential customers through helpful and informative content, instead of using traditional sales tactics such as cold calling or hard selling. It involves creating valuable content and resources that address the needs and pain points of the target audience and using those resources to attract and nurture leads through various stages of the sales funnel. Inbound selling is often associated with inbound marketing, which is a methodology that involves using content marketing, social media, and other digital marketing strategies to attract potential customers and build trust and credibility.

Target Account Selling

Target Account Selling is a strategic sales approach that focuses on identifying and targeting high-value accounts or customers. This approach involves understanding the unique needs and challenges of each targeted account, developing customised solutions to meet those needs, and building strong relationships with decision-makers and stakeholders within the organisation. Target account selling is often used by companies that sell complex products or services to large organisations.

Gap Selling

Gap Selling is a sales methodology that focuses on identifying and understanding the "gap" between a customer's current state and their desired state. The approach involves asking probing questions to uncover the customer's pain points and challenges, and then positioning the product or service as the solution to close the gap and achieve the desired outcome. The goal of Gap Selling is to help customers recognise the gap between their current situation and their desired future state, and then provide them with a clear and compelling reason to act. The approach involves three key steps: discovering the gap, simplifying the gap, and bridging the gap.

Command of the Sale

The Command of the Sale sales methodology is a customer-focused approach that involves understanding the customer's needs and building a relationship based on trust and rapport. This approach is focused on helping the customer decide by providing them with the information and support they need to confidently move forward with a purchase. The Command of the Sale methodology involves several key steps: discovering customer needs, building rapport and trust, creating a sense of urgency, and providing solutions and support.

Pros and Cons of Different Sales Methodologies

Each sales methodology has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, consultative selling can help you really understand the customer, but it can also take longer to close a deal. Gap selling can be great for selling into a customer's white space, but it might ignore other opportunities for partnership.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to sales, but the best sales methodology for your business is the one that's tailored to your specific needs and helps you get more leads, close more deals, and make more money.

Learn more why sales methodologies fail in our blog: The Trouble with Sales Methodologies

Choosing the Best Sales Methodology for Your Team

To find the right sales methodology for your team, you need to start by figuring out who your target market is. That means understanding what they need, what they're interested in, and what their problems are. You can use surveys, customer research, and feedback to get a better idea of what your target audience is looking for.

Once you know who your audience is, you can work on developing a value proposition that explains how your product or service can help solve their problems and stand out from the competition. This is really important because it sets the tone for all your selling efforts.

Next, you need to evaluate your sales process to figure out what's working and what needs to be improved. You can do this by looking at your sales metrics and getting feedback from customers.

The better a sales manager understands their customer, the better prepared they will be to choose the right sales methodology.

Any of these choices will need to be adapted to the specifics of the sales organisation. Making any of these work also means having the right sales technology in place to support the adoption of the methodology and the right measurement strategy in place to gauge success.

Tips for Implementing a Sales Methodology

To put a sales methodology into practice, you need to make sure your sales team knows how to use it effectively.

That means giving them the training they need to understand the sales process and the specific strategies you've developed. You can do this through in-person sessions, online courses, or workshops, and by using role-playing exercises and other interactive activities.

It's also important to have a plan for keeping your team's skills up to date and making sure they're using the new methodology effectively. Some good ways to do this include ongoing coaching, using tools to support sales activities, and providing ongoing training and skill review.

Finally, you need to keep track of how well the new methodology is working and be ready to make changes as opportunities for further optimisation arise.

Share on LinkedInShare on TwitterShare on Facebook
agile sales training

White Paper: The Future of Selling is Agile: Introducing Sprint Selling

Learn about a new sales methodology that defines critical actions and skills needed to win deals.


Resources You Might Be Interested In

man climbing a ship tower to represent the risk of pursuing opportunities that don't have a strong chance of resulting in a closed deal

Article: Reduce Risk with Stronger Opportunity Qualification

In our article, "Reduce Risk with Stronger Opportunity Qualification," we explain how sellers can develop a repeatable strategy for determining the viability of an opportunity.


Cargo train rolls through the desert symbolizing how sales enablement speeds up productivity

Article: How to Make Sales Enablement a Force Multiplier of Productivity

In our article, "How to Make Sales Enablement a Force Multiplier of Productivity," we explain three ways to drive productivity with better sales enablement.


Mars rover on planet symbolizing the complexity of sales accounts

Article: A Better Way to Sell to Complex Accounts

In our article, "A Better Way to Sell to Complex Accounts," we teach sellers how to gauge a pursuit's status and gain a high level of trust.

Brief, Article

Solutions You Might Be Interested In