Given my recent finish of SPIN Selling, sales qualification/ discovery processes weigh heavy on my mind. So, it’s no surprise then, that when I run into a new acronym that I wonder what it’s about – and how it’s different.
Here are a few sales qualification acronyms:
  • BANT– this is a real popular one that was the foundation for many sales processes. It stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing.
  • ANUM– evolution from BANT and heavily promoted by InsideSales.com for years, this stands for Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money.
  • SPIN– this is more about the process rather than qualification criteria. However, this comes from Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling – Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need pay-off.
  • MEDDIC– this is a new one for me after hearing about this from a sales leader recently. This stands for Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain point, and Champion. This one is more comprehensive than the others. It aims to understand the buyingprocess.

I’m sure there are hundreds more sales qualification processes and acronyms. The former two are all about qualifying opportunities. The latter two are more aligned to leading a prospect through the buying process/ understanding the buying process, especially in MEDDIC.

What are some sales strategies and acronyms you’ve used to advance sales? Which were not helpful, and why?
Angus Lynch of CrazyEgg.com posted an article about buying modalities titled, “35% of Web Visitors Are ‘Spontaneous’ Buyers. Are You Alienating Them?”. He describes the four buying modalities:
  • Competitive (5-10% of web visitors) – buyer makes smart, quick decisions. These buyers are all about speed and quality to gain an advantage. They want to be the best… oftentimes, the first (advantage).
  • Methodical (45%) – buyers are very logic-oriented. They want to understand everything about buying a product or service including advantages and disadvantages of competitive options.
  • Humanistic (10-15%) – buyers believe in emotional/ altruistic purchases. They are looking for validation among consensuses.
  • Spontaneous (25-35%) – these buyers make purchase decisions based on feelings and gut. That is, they make quick decisions.

The four buying modalities help to understand the type of prospect you are engaged with, and what their preferred buying process looks like. Lynch’s article touches, specifically, on website visitors. The buying modalities will determine the layout, copy, and images to leverage on websites.
For example, to attract competitive buyers, it’s important to have copy reflecting the “best” aspects of choosing a product or service. Competitive buyers need to feel they are buying an advantage over anyone else. Testimonials must reflect the “best” or “largest” institutions.
Depending on the market you are selling to and attracting to your website, it’s likely the above website proportions of visitors is very different. Understand your ideal customer profile (ICP). Know who the personas are involved in the buying decision (consensus sales!). Make sure your website, sales collateral, conversations, and the like address the prospect’s buying modality.
I read an interesting article on LinkedIn the other day titled, “The New Normal in Sales: Customer Dysfunction” by Nick Toman, a sales effectiveness professional. The gist is buying processes are increasing at an alarming rate, and it is the dysfunctionat the customer that drives this and “poor” sales outcomes.
I thought about this for a while, and related it to my post, “We Appreciate Everyone Except Our Vendors, and It’s Killing Sales”. Toman’s article provides a perspective at the customer and the ailments killing sales.
A few take-aways from Toman’s article that I’ve noticed over the last year in modern B2B sales:
  • 2.5 years ago, the buyer group consisted of 5.4 stakeholders. Today, that number is 6.8 from 3.4 different functional areas. When you add heads into the buying process, there’s an expectation of a need to get consensus which, ironically, is the result of indecision due to more heads.
  • Customers citing high amounts of dysfunction are 60% less likely to make an ambitious purchase (vs. lower dysfunction companies). This leads to customers buying very simple, bare minimum purchases to assuage the consensus.
  • The average purchase decision takes 4.9 months while the average “no purchase” decision takes 4.7. There’s so much dysfunction that getting any type agreement (go or no-go) is virtually the same. No wonder prospects go radio silent before any feedback.

A few keys then arise from these thoughts. First, be prepared for the long haul and the difficulty of today’s sales. Second, nail the value prop as quick as possible with a very specific target group. Third, reduce the consensus. Get the sale. Expand later.

Remember, all it takes is one opponent (negative feedback) to derail a whole sale.
What are your thoughts? What have you noticed in today’s sales? How would you address the challenges?