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The Reasons Why Sales Methodologies Are Not Used: Survey Results


Most sales professionals accept that effective and consistent use of a sales methodology is a predictor of better sales results. However, many (if not most) investments in sales methodology are simply wasted dollars. In fact less than 40% of sales people who have been trained in a sales methodology use it most of the time (Tweet this stat). (Source: Dealmaker Index). This is considerably less than the 66% of folks who use a CRM consistently. It is time for the methodology vendors to look in the mirror and stop criticizing poor adoption of CRM. But that is for another post. I wonder however if it is really understood just how much difference using a sales methodology can make.
Impact of sales methodology on win rate

As you can see from the first chart here – Win Rate can vary by as much as 52% between those organizations where methodology is really embedded in their organizations and those who pay partial attention to the discipline. As mentioned above, Dealmaker Index – a free global sales benchmarking service that is free to all, where you can score your sales effectiveness relative to your peers and gain advice on how to improve – is the source of this data.

So, if methodology is so great – why are people not using it? Well, you can see from the following chart the main culprits; and they are real culprits. Let’s look at the top three reasons.

According to the results from the Dealmaker Index, the main reason why sales people choose not to use the methodology is that Only some people in the company use it. When I have been asked to look at failed methodology implementations I’ve often seen situations where the sales person is asked to use the methodology, but sales management, or sales leadership didn’t even attend the training on the methodology. If management is only focused on the reports from the CRM rather than walking the walk of the methodology then the methodology will definitely die on the vine. This is a recipe for failure.

Why methodology is not used

On to the second reason: What was learned has been forgotten. About two years ago, I wrote a post called What Happens When The Sales Trainer Leaves? The reality unfortunately, is that not much happens at all. Very few sales methodology implementations have sustainment and measurement as part of an on-going program to keep the methodology alive. We believe that the majority of learning comes from on-going application; not from event based training, or even training supported by online learning that can be accessed after the training event. True results are achieved only when the methodology is embedded in to how the sales person works her opportunities. That’s what we try to deliver to our customer with Dealmaker – the sales performance software application, that is integrated into the CRM. And that brings me to the third point. (This might seem a little self-serving – but the data support the hypothesis.)

The third reason that sales people cite for not using their methodology, is that it is Not integrated with the CRM. Methodology – to be most effective – should be delivered in context, at the point of the sale where the sales person needs it. Most of the time that data is in the CRM, and the methodology must, I repeat, must – use the CRM’s data intelligently. If you are forecasting a deal to close in the near term, but you’ve not yet identified the Decision Maker, or have not selected a Competitive Strategy in a competitive deal – the methodology should know that and advise accordingly. My contention is that even though this is the third ranked point – it is actually the most important and, if addressed, will go a long way to resolve the first two. If the methodology is baked into the CRM, then more people will use it, and what has been learned will not be forgotten. Think about it. But, if you are a sales leader who has not yet embedded intelligent methodology software into your CRM, don’t think too long. You’re missing out on one of the most impactful things you can do.

If you disagree (or agree), I’ve love to hear your thoughts.

If you want to figure out how you rank against your peer; participate in the Dealmaker Index benchmark study and see how you score and rank against your peers, and you might get some advice on how you might improve.



About The Author

Donal Daly
Donal Daly
Donal Daly is Executive Chairman of Altify having founded the company in 2005. He is author of numerous books and ebooks including the latest Amazon #1 Bestseller Digital Sales Transformation in a Customer First World (Nov 3, 2017) and his previous Amazon #1 Best-sellers Account Planning in Salesforce and Tomorrow | Today: How AI Impacts How We Work, Live, and Think. Altify is Donal’s fifth global business enterprise.
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4 thoughts on “The Reasons Why Sales Methodologies Are Not Used: Survey Results”

  1. Avatararne-per says:

    Donal, couldn’t agree more! In fact, the reality you illuminate so well it’s the basis of my company- which its too facilitate the real change that has to happen globally for anything to last once the “consultant” leaves (which they are usually in a hurry to do. (But as you say that is entirely separate post)

    In regard to the CRM, agree 100%. they actually in most cases don’t actually build in the necessary steps so that the methodology can actually be used as outlined (what a bizarre place to save money). Then sales management actually complains they are getting their forecasting numbers the way they want.

    Thanks for great material. I will refer to this post often. And, look into the DM index.

  2. Avatarphil m says:


    I’m curious how you define “sales methodology”.

  3. AvatarHeathM says:


    Sales methodology is likely being used to describe the series of steps or the process that each organization (or salesperson) employs in an attempt to produce a predictable result from the sales opportunity. This could be a particular targeted marketing campaign followed by a specific sales process continuing a follow up campaign of scheduled events.

    As indicated in this post, most sales personnel will not take ownership of the methodology unless it is presented to them in a way that can make it simple to adapt (or does most of the tasks or activities for them). It is not uncommon that a good sales process would consist of a combination of emails, letters, phone calls, meetings, presentations, etc. that are arranged in a particular order that has yielded the most success over the course of past sales opportunities. By automating most of this process by setting up the events to automatically trigger based upon the predefined sequence, then letters, thank you cards, emails, scheduled phone calls, etc. can be set to trigger either by date or by the completion of the preceeding activity, task, or event. This is what is referred to as a sales methodology. It is the prescribed process that EVERY single customer should go through (aka the sales funnel) for the particular product or service that is offered by theorganization. Deviation from the “system” or methodology reduces the predictability of success.

    While some still lean on the term CRM (customer relationship management), some are going more toward CEMs (Customer Experience Management). The difference is that the CEM platform is designed to maintain the “methodology” and ensure that every prospect receives (approximately) the same experience. Companies spend a fortune on testing their processes in order to produce a desired result (experience) and that is often much more than just a sale. CEMs are used to ensure that the sales methodology is fully (or at least a closely as possible) into the system that will help the sales force (and fullfillment team) handle each customer just how the company would have them perform.

    Hope this help clarify.

    Heath Medley

  4. AvatarJohn says:

    Thanks for the informative post, Donal. I’ve used the sales methodology before and I still use it now, but not the same way as in the past. I believe that as technologies change and new ways of CRM become available, the sales methodology changes with that as well, adopting new methods and trying to stay on top of the wave.


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