How to Choose and Implement a Sales Methodology with Paul Curto, #174


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With so many sales methodologies available, sales leaders ask themselves how they can pick one and how they can actually implement it and drive adoption among their sales team.

My guest in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast is a sales strategy and methodology enthusiast who has great insights about this topic.

Paul Curto is the Head of Global Sales Methodologies at Juniper Networks. He is focused on accelerating the performance of Juniper Networks’ sellers, both direct and indirect. Paul develops and delivers a holistic framework for consistently improving the experience and capabilities of all of Juniper’s customer-facing roles from onboarding through ongoing development and seller excellence and skills.

Paul has a special passion for sales methodologies as applied in a consistent way to improving sales outcomes, as well as maximizing employee productivity, health, and impact.

Listen to this episode to learn from Paul about implementing a winning sales methodology in your organization.

Aren’t All Methodologies Similar?

The short answer is that they all have similarities but also differences.

Paul was trained in the Miller Heiman methodology, but when he came to Juniper he had to learn the MEDDICC methodology. What he found is that they had many similarities.

“One example of the alignment I found,” Paul says, “was that the economic buyer in both methodologies has exactly the same definition: the ultimate authority to buy in a particular sale.”

Another example is the champion, which is the first C in MEDDICC, and who is basically the same as the coach in Miller Heiman, a person who you have credibility with and who has a lot of influence and control. They can even be the decision-maker that the economic buyer puts in charge of making the decision or the recommendation.

Listen to the whole episode for Paul’s insights about the alignment between these two sales methodologies.

What about the differences?

“One thing I found that Miller Heiman does very well that I don't see really

called out in MEDDICC is the use of the red flags,” Paul says. “Most sales professionals like feeling good about the deal. They prefer to ignore these red flags or just brush them under the carpet. But that is not conducive to strong strategies. We're trying to bring out the real vulnerabilities that we have that could actually kill us in this deal. Let's highlight those and let's come up with very strong actions that help us counter those. But we've got to be open, honest and transparent with ourselves with regard to our true position with the customer.”

The minimization or elimination of a red flag by means of strong smart actions is how you want to play the game of sales to win.

Choosing the Right Sales Methodology

As a sales leader, you might be thinking about picking a sales methodology

for your organization to really focus on. How do you decide which one is the right methodology?

Paul thinks you can make almost any methodology work.

“I think familiarity and leadership support is one of the first keys to selecting the right methodology. And once it's selected, you've got to be able to stick with it and reinforce it at every level.”

When you're selecting a methodology, think about the accountability you need to that process. It’s very important to have a common language and a repeatable sales process in a sales system that you can rely on to improve your odds of winning deals.

“Once it becomes pervasive, once it becomes the common language throughout the sales organization, it really helps us get together and strategize together on how to win important deals and it also becomes the glue between different types of seller personas across the organization.”

Listen to learn how they applied a common language across Juniper Networks for the various seller personas who engage at different stages of the sales cycle.

Implementing the Methodology

What does a successful sales methodology implementation look like?

Paul says it's always a work in progress. “In my experience, it's like you're aiming for perfection, but you'll never really get there.”

A successful implementation occurs when you have widespread adoption, not because you're forcing everyone to be compliant, but because the leadership team believes it leads to better results.

This means that frontline and top leadership are managing the right sales activities that are going to drive the sales outcomes and objectives.

“I think we need to start with the managers,” Paul says. “The managers need to feel confident and capable with any new methodology that you're trying to roll out. They have to see the value in doing it because they don't want to feel like it's a complete waste of their time or it's just paperwork to fill out, like a form.”

Sales managers also need to be better coaches, teaching the methodology to their reps.

“Practice makes perfect. So for better performance, you've got to be practicing all the time. If the sales takes training but their manager is not going to use it for forecasting, for deal inspection, for coaching, then the training just becomes an event and it's unlikely to be used ever again.”

Managers must make sales coaching part of their DNA as an organization,

analyzing deals with data, and walking reps through what they have done well and what they are missing.

For example, one tactic we have implemented at Vengreso to make sure reps implement their training is adding a few required fields to the CRM, as described in our sales tools ROI blog post.

Listen to our conversation to learn how Juniper has implemented their sales methodology so it becomes part of their DNA (hint: it involves their playbooks and a cultural and mindset shift).

Finally, Paul mentions that although they use MEDDICC at Juniper, they are also looking at other methodologies for prospecting, negotiation, virtual selling, and social selling.

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