Think of your sales strategy as a house.
Without the foundation, your house wouldn’t be able to stand, as something crucial is missing.
The same is true for sales. Your sales model is the foundation on which your sales strategy is built. It’s the solid base that holds everything together.
There are a variety of different sales models to choose from, but not all of them are created equal. Depending on your business model, your industry, and your strengths, one may work better than another. It’s crucial for you to pick the model that’ll make the biggest impact on your sales performance.
So, how do you know which one best aligns with you and your organization?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about sales models and how to pick the right one so you can improve your sales performance and grow your business. Once you have your business model chosen and define how it will work within your organization, you can add it as a reference in your sales playbook within TigerLRM so your entire sales team has access to it as a guiding point.
A sales model is a company’s universal approach to selling. Establishing a sales model in your business means laying the groundwork for a strong foundation for your sales team.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all sales model that’ll work for every business. Each business’ approach will be different depending on a few factors like industry, product, revenue model, and sales team composition.
The most common sales models are outbound sales, inbound sales, account-based sales, or self-service sales.
The sales model you choose will either help or hinder your ability to reach peak performance when it comes to finding prospects, converting leads, and building a strong base of repeat customers.
Choosing a sales model rather than just freestyling it is crucial for a number of reasons.
The primary purpose is to help business owners and executives better understand where they need to invest more time, money, and resources to grow the business.
If you want to generate more sales, but you don’t have a set model, then how can you know what areas you should put more effort into?
For example, if you choose to pursue an inbound sales strategy, then you’ll likely organize your sales team much differently than if you pursue an outbound sales strategy. The latter would involve heavy investment into sales, while the former would mean investing in SEO and content marketing.
By choosing a primary sales model, you can ensure you’re laser-focused on a single strategy rather than trying to do everything at once. If you try to do too many things simultaneously, you’ll end up nowhere. This will lead to a sales model that confuses your sales team and your customers and has a low chance of success — simply because you spread your resources too thin.
By narrowing your focus to a specific sales model, you can optimize your strategy, find out what’s working (and what’s not), and double down on your efforts.
There’s no doubt you’ve heard the term “sales process” before. But, things get a little murky when people start interchanging the term with “sales model.” The reality is that these two terms are important and distinct from one another.
Imagine your sales strategy is a gold coin. Your sales model and your sales process are two different sides of that coin.
On the one hand, your sales model helps you understand how you’re going to generate new leads for your company. Our sales process is the steps you take to put that approach into action.
Simply put, your sales model is the path you’re taking to achieve your end result of more sales. Your sales process is the steps you take along the path.
For example, let’s say you choose an outbound sales model as your primary approach. This means you would likely hire salespeople to outreach to potential buyers and generate sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
The question is, how do those sales reps know what steps they need to take to generate SQLs for your business? That’s where your process comes in. Your sales process is really a step-by-step guide your sales team must follow to convert prospects into customers.
There are a variety of different sales models to choose from to generate sales, with some older than others.
While many businesses end up with a hybrid model that combines a few of these models, it’s best to zero in on a single sales model to start then branch out from there. Once you take the time to master one sales model, you can start to consider branching out into a hybrid approach if it makes sense.
The oldest sales method known to humanity is outbound sales. Think of your typical cold-calling salesperson dialing numbers, knocking on doors, and reaching out to prospects with confidence.
The goal of outbound sales is to identify hot leads and make contact with them to gauge and generate interest. This could be done through telemarketing as appointment setters cold-call leads. But, it also could be done by making the right connections online and reaching out via email.
Of course, the oldest form of outbound sales is making connections in person with potential leads. The outbound sales model is a great way of reaching your target audience quickly and directly. It’s a great method to use if your product is easy to understand or you simply want to generate sales quickly to build up a customer base.
Similar to outbound sales, account-based selling (ABS) is an older sales model that has stood the test of time. ABS isn’t a new concept, but it’s recently taken off in sales circles. Like outbound sales, it’s focused on connecting with and building relationships with customers directly by making the first move.
However, unlike outbound sales, which focuses heavily on cold-calling and acquisition, account-based selling is much more relational. It’s a B2B sales model that’s focused primarily on building close relationships with key decision-makers at companies to generate recurring revenue.
Account-based selling focuses on a single target account as a single market. This means sales people following ABS target specific companies, or accounts, rather than a single lead within a company. A sales team will first work to identify target accounts, then sales and marketing teams will work in sync to reach out and offer relevant content to those target accounts.
With ABS, sales teams will work with a handful of accounts and tailor every element of contracts or deals to meet the customer’s demands.
Ultimately, the goal is to nurture these target accounts through the sales funnel until they become a customer.
Account-based selling is best for B2B businesses with a high-priced product that involves recurring sales.
The next sales method, which exploded thanks to the internet age, is inbound sales. This sales model first took off in the early days of the internet, when businesses figured out they could email potential customers. Before spam folders were created, any and every business cold-emailed random email addresses. Internet users became fed up, and regulations began taking place to block spammy emails.
So, digital companies responded with what long-time business legend (who invented commercial email), Seth Godin, calls “permission marketing.”
Simply put, rather than digitally cold-calling prospects non-stop with invasive marketing tactics, you ask permission to sell to your target market.
Inbound sales is all about setting up your online presence to allow customers to initiate and interact with your brand by:
But, inbound selling doesn’t just stop there. And, it doesn’t mean sales teams just sit around all day and wait for customers to act.
Instead, sales teams are focused heavily on content marketing, social media, and SEO to create content that attracts customers and asks them to take action. By building trust, expertise, and authority in the space through a content strategy, you’ll draw your target audience into your sales funnel. Eventually, a percentage of prospects will trickle further down the funnel and become a customer.
Once a prospect turns into a lead, salespeople can be ready to follow up, connect via email and phone calls to turn leads into customers.
The fourth sales model, which is similar to inbound, is self-service sales, otherwise known as product-driven sales, and is a great option for tech companies. Some of the most prominent self-service companies include Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn.
The heart of self-service sales is that customers prefer to help themselves to products they’re interested in rather than speaking with a salesperson or gatekeeper.
In fact, 57% of buyers currently make purchase decisions without speaking with a single salesperson while 87% admitted that they want self-service to be a part of their buying journey.
The primary difference between inbound sales and self-service sales is that with inbound sales, a lot of the action happens outside your website (with the goal of directing people to your site); On the other hand, the self-service sales model is completely focused on your website. The entire model allows customers to journey through the sales process right on your site from education to purchase.
This isn’t to say that self-service businesses don’t use any inbound techniques or content marketing. But, the primary goal is to get sales teams out of the way so prospective customers can get their hands on the product.
At TigerLRM, this is our business model. As a SaaS company, we offer our CRM and sales enablement product free for up to 10 users, and then only $10 per user per month. This is the lowest per seat cost for a CRM — let alone one with sales enablement. As a freemium business model, we also offer premium upgrades to give you a greater arsenal of sales tools in your toolkit like SMS messaging or integrated telephony for even better sales performance.
The self-service sales model works best if you run an intuitive tech product, especially software or SaaS with the potential for vast inbound demand.
Now that you understand the most common sales models, it’s time to figure out which one will work best for your business. Here’s how to pick your sales model to maximize your sales efforts.
First, you need to do a deep-dive into your target audience. Look at your buyer personas. Define them. Your sales model is heavily dependent on who you’re targeting. Is your target customer a consumer or key decision-maker at a Fortune 500 company? Are they after a quick solution online or do they need product education?
If your prospective buyer is a C-suite executive who needs a customized solution, then account-based selling would probably be the right model. On the other hand, if you’re after a middle-class millennial who wants to do their own research, you might want to do inbound. But, if you’re selling software, you could consider a self-service model.
Now is the time to do market research. Don’t be afraid to hop on a call with a few customers or send out a survey to ask them some discovery questions to learn more about them and their needs.
Understanding who your target audience is will help lead you down the right path to picking a sales model to meet them where they’re at.
Next up, map out your entire buyer’s journey. This often means working backwards to look at how your customers ended up as a buyer.
Look at when and where you’re interacting with customers throughout the sales cycle. Once you understand the steps they’re taking in the process, you can better craft a model that aligns with their needs.
Now, it’s time to analyze your sales strategy. Do you have a sales playbook in place?
A sales playbook helps to guide your sales team with sales strategies, tactics, and best practices to ensure your team is successful. With TigerLRM, you get a built-in sales playbook so your team can access your strategy from directly within your CRM.
Plus, it also includes a media center so everyone from sales reps to customer service agents can access content, infographics, videos, blog posts, and more to streamline communications and close more deals.
When analyzing your sales strategy, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Be realistic. If your product is pretty simple and generic in a saturated market, it’s unlikely you’ll find success by crafting a highly tailored ABS approach. On the other hand, you could dive deep into outbound or inbound sales and outshine your competition by working smarter.
Finally, it’s time to choose the right tools to help you with your sales model.
Think about how you can support your buyer's journey. How can you better serve your customers? How can you get more done in less time with your chosen model?
Do you need a CRM? Marketing automation? Sales enablement?
Did you know 82% of businesses use a CRM for automation and sales reporting? Plus, 91% of businesses with 10+ employees use a CRM system.
You should consider the technology you choose as an investment in your business, your sales team, and your customers.
At TigerLRM, we offer a CRM that makes it easy for sales managers and sales reps to streamline their workflows. In addition to our CRM, we also offer sales enablement services to help you build out your sales playbook.Book a demo of TigerLRM today!
To assign a sales enablement user, simply go to Administrator > User Management > Edit User.
Once you are on the user's information, you can select if you want them to be "Non-Admin," "Admin," or part of the "Enablement Team." Save this information, and your desired user will have the right access.You can access your Dashboard here.