How to Apply SPIN Selling in B2B Software Sales
When your sales team reaches out to their prospects, who’s doing most of the talking? If it’s not the prospects themselves, then your team is probably missing out on some crucial information. Getting prospects to talk about and analyze their own problems is one of the best ways for sales professionals to build up a new relationship with a potential buyer. How can they do this? By asking the right questions in the right order, in a process known as SPIN selling.
What is SPIN Selling?
The acronym sounds like something shady you would do with a reporter in the parking garage of a government office. It turns out to be quite the opposite. It’s one of the most effective ways to make a sale in business to business interactions. It’s also highly respectful of the prospect. Even today, sales has a reputation for being underhanded that’s hard to shake. In the past, it was all about leveraging an informational advantage that the sales professional often had over their prospect. Now, however, the tables have turned, and buyers have access to more information than ever before. SPIN selling recognizes that turn and acknowledges that the sales professional is the one who needs to gather more information.
In 1988, Neil Rackham published the results of a study of 35,000 sales calls. His analysis explained the most successful process he found repeated throughout those calls. This process is all about asking the prospect a series of specific questions. These questions are designed to help both the salesperson and the prospect learn whether a sale can or should be made. They are qualifying questions, and they also lead to a logical conclusion: does it make sense to buy? He called the process SPIN Selling. The word SPIN in this case is an acronym, standing for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff. Let’s take a look at what each one means and how it applies specifically to B2B software sales.
This is pretty straightforward. Where does your prospect stand right now? What kind of software solutions are they currently using to manage a particular problem? Is it what they were expecting? What kinds of pain points are they experiencing? What’s their budget like for upgrades? These questions are all about understanding the present context the prospect finds themselves in. Keep in mind that many situational questions are not necessary. Enormous amounts of general company information are available online, so do your homework! Don’t irritate prospects with stuff that Google and LinkedIn can tell you. Save this moment for more questions that help you understand why things are the way they are.
Here, you’re still asking questions, but these should be framed in such a way as to call their attention to the fact that a problem exists. They may not have even noticed the problem before. Some of these questions may be directly related to pain points identified in the solution phase. Others may have something to do with the connection between their situation and the specific ways your solution could improve it. It’s important to remember here, though, that you’re still asking questions to get them to talk about themselves, not your solution. Questions formatted like “how intuitive is the user interface in the context of training?” and “How satisfied are you with the responsiveness of their tech support?” tend to yield interesting and thought-provoking answers.
Those thoughts allow you to drive the point home. If you’ve helped them identify a problem, now you need to help them see how it plays out further down the road. In other words, what are the implications for your company if that problem remains unaddressed? Think of questions like, “If you didn’t have to spend that much money on monthly subscriptions, how could that help you grow in other areas?” and “How is that lag time impacting agent productivity and career satisfaction? These questions create urgency in the prospect’s mind. There’s a recognition that they need to make an adjustment before they start to fly wildly off course.
This is where it all comes together. If your questioning helped your prospect recognize that their current situation is problematic and needs urgent attention, then you can help them see for themselves the benefits of your solution. This is not where you start listing features. Nor is it a moment for obvious and condescending questions like, “if you could save that money, would that be helpful?” On the contrary, Sales professionals need to be as careful in this step as in any other. They must tie the problems and implications to very specific alternatives. “If, by using Service Y, you could take those $10,000 you’re paying for Solution X each month and redirect more than half of it into your customer service training, how would that help your team establish market leadership?”
Implementing Powerful Sales Strategies, Faster
Boom Demand sales development representatives use SPIN selling and similar techniques in our outreach to our potential clients and their own prospects.
What techniques are you currently using to bring more promising leads through the top of your sales funnel?
To what extent are you finding that your most talented sales professionals are bogged down by the need to focus on cold calling and emailing?
How much more revenue could you be earning if your in-house sales team members were spending 100% of their time building on existing relationships and closing new deals, instead of cold prospecting?
If your sales team had the support of a low-cost, outsourced SDR team that was constantly sending warm prospects to your account executives, how would that help you reduce turnover and improve morale within your sales organization?
See what we did there? Those might not be your exact pain points, but if they’re even close to what you’d like to improve, contact Boom Demand today! We can help smooth out those bumps and boost your sales funnel like nothing you’ve tried before.