Sales… a 101 discussion

Sales skills, for the most part are inherent in a persons personality (my opinion)…  It’s almost impossible to teach someone to be a type A personality and I have read study after study that the best ‘sellers’ are type A personalities.  All of that aside, and by no means do I claim to be “the” expert in sales, or better said Solution Sales, there are specific tasks and steps that must be followed by sales people, no matter the industry or product, that must be followed.  If you miss any of the primary steps in a sales cycle, you CANNOT expect the deal to close.  Basically saying that just because you get a welcoming wave from the security guy or a smile from the EA or secretary, does NOT mean you have a sale!

In the 20+ years I have been in sales, I have had the opportunity to study, learn and practice many different sales techniques from Solution Sales, SPIN Selling, Customer Centric, Consultative Selling, Signature Selling and etc. etc. etc.  They all have their merits and are all very effective if practiced.  I say practice, because that is how we get good at things.  Once you have your methodology down and are executing effectively, the work still isn’t finished…  You have to qualify and track the sale through it’s process.   This tracking or lack thereof by many sellers is the reason for this blog.

My favorite, and I know there are many, methodology for sales tracking is MEDDIC.  MEDDIC was originally introduced to me by a VP of Sales at IBM, a friend and mentor, Kevin Painter.  At the time, Kevin lead worldwide sales for IBM’s Enterprise Content Management brand.  We found this methodology to be an extremely effective way to manage our sales.

A little about MEDDIC and what it means…

M – Metrics – What’s the economic impact of your solution?

E – Economic Buyer is the person who discretionary use of funds

D – Decision Criteria is the formal criteria used to compare vendor’s offerings

D – Decision Process is the process used to decide upon and purchase your solution… The actual PO process.

I – Identify Pain – What is the customers pain, and do they agree that it is a pain?

C – Champion – Who is the key player within the account to help you drive the deal to close?  Sells for you.

As a sales person in the B2B and/or enterprise space, if you cannot effectively answer each and every one of these questions, you do NOT have a sale!  The best part about MEDDIC is that it really isn’t about the reporting…  as Kevin used to tell us regularly, “I’m not trying to just give yet another spreadsheet to fill out!”.  This is a process that helps the sales people better understand their territory, their opportunity, and perhaps most importantly their sales forecast.

For a deeper explanation of the above criteria check out this link.

And for a little fun…  many of us are convinced that Dilbert did in fact work for IBM.