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What is a Sales Motion?
A sales motion is a company’s standardized approach to selling its product or service to prospects and customers. It’s the combination of activities and strategies used to identify potential customers, attract them, understand their needs, present the company’s solutions, negotiate with them, and close deals successfully.
Every business relies on its sales motion for efficiency and growth. Standardized processes are easier to teach other team members, repeat with new customers, and refine over time.
- Go-to-market sales motion
- Sales process
Components of a Sales Motion
Sales motions comprise two components: the company’s step-by-step sales process and the general methodology that guides those steps.
A company’s sales process is its framework for approaching, nurturing, and moving its prospects and current customers through the sales funnel. It accounts for every step the sales team takes, from first contact to closing deals and onboarding customers.
Generally, there are six steps in the sales process:
- Lead qualification
- Engagement and presentations
- Objection handling
- Closing the deal
Every organization has its own procedures for each step, so the details of a sales process vary. But the goal of each step is always the same: to move prospects closer to becoming customers.
A sales methodology is a set of techniques the sales team uses to guide their interactions with prospects and customers. It describes how salespeople should use their skills, knowledge, and resources throughout the sales process.
Sales methodologies include:
- Challenger Sales Model
- SPIN Selling
- Needs-based selling
- Social selling
- The Sandler System
- Inbound sales
- Target account selling
Sales methodologies include collateral (e.g., call scripts, agendas, and sales playbooks), technical skills (e.g., writing emails and preparing presentations), and communication techniques. Ultimately, the goal is to create a personalized customer experience that helps salespeople close deals quickly and efficiently.
How Sales Motions Increase Conversions
Having a structured sales motion allows companies to create a seamless buying experience for their customers. It gives sales reps the tools and skills to respond professionally to customer inquiries and objections. As a result, they build deeper relationships with their prospects, which leads to a higher conversion rate.
Sales motions help reps maximize their time with leads.
Buyers are roughly 57% to 70% through the buying journey by the time they talk to sales. Considering the fact most buyers consider multiple options before making a purchase decision, reps have about 5% of the entire buying process to spend with potential customers.
In that small fraction of time, sales reps have to quickly understand the buyer’s needs and present solutions that meet those needs. With a structured approach, they know how to respond to different customer segments, tailor solutions to their needs, and avoid common sales mistakes without needing too much back-and-forth.
A well-structured process helps new reps reach productivity quicker.
When companies don’t have a clear sales process, new reps have to be trained on every aspect of the job. Although three months (or 90 days) is the standard ramp time for most reps, the reality is many sales orgs find their reps hit their stride closer to six months after the onboarding process (if they ever do).
Establishing a process everyone can follow makes it easier for them to learn. It also makes it easier for them to find a mentor, who can teach them the same process from their own perspective, rather than a new process altogether they figured out for themselves.
Knowing how to respond to different types of leads improves customer experience.
Every organization targets more than one buyer persona. Just because someone entering the funnel fits the ideal customer profile (ICP) doesn’t mean they should be treated the same.
Especially in larger organizations with emerging, SMB, mid-market, and enterprise segments, reps at different levels use different sales motions when they approach new leads. By anticipating how buyers from different segments think and act, reps and AEs are able to create smoother customer experiences that drive higher conversion rates.
The same is true for outbound versus inbound leads. Outbound leads typically come from cold calls and emails, while inbound leads call themselves to action. Since they’re already somewhat interested and knowledgeable about the product, they require a different buyer engagement strategy.
Repeatable processes reduce sales cycle time.
Sales cycle length is closely tied to conversion rate. The longer it takes to move leads through the pipeline, the less of a chance they have at converting.
Numerous things could happen within the several months reps normally spend with their sales opportunities. An organizational change or budget realignment could cause a prospect to put their purchase on hold. Market conditions might lead them to explore other options. They might forget altogether.
Using a sales motion, selling to new accounts is second nature. They simply adjust the script and timeline to the size and needs of each account. The result is less time wasted on fluff.
Steps in the Sales Motion Process
Outbound sales motions always start with sales prospecting. It’s the stage where sales reps identify and research potential customers.
Most organizations use automated prospecting tools to build lists of leads, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, ZoomInfo, and Outreach.io. These lists are based off criteria like job title, location, position title, and behavioral data.
Sales reps then vet their lists to ensure they’re reaching out to the right people. They look for relevant titles and contacts that match their ICPs in the accounts on their list.
Sales qualification looks a little different depending on whether the rep is dealing with an inbound or outbound lead.
- Inbound leads are already marketing-qualified, so the focus of this stage is to evaluate the lead’s fit within the company. Sellers can jump right into questions about budget, needs, and decision-making authority.
- Outbound leads are almost always either unaware of the product or not currently considering it. Qualifying an outbound lead first requires the seller to get the buyer talking. Through learning about and responding to their needs, they can lead them to book a meeting or divert their time to .
While there are additional challenges with an outbound sales motion, the process after the initial call is the same in both instances. The lead qualification process involves asking questions around the following areas:
- Problems with current solution
- Decision-making authority
- Other influencers in the purchasing process
If a lead successfully moves through the qualification process, they become a sales accepted lead (SAL).
In the research stage, reps dig deep to figure out which product or configuration is the best fit for their lead and how it could actually help them.
Research includes the following:
- Reaching out to other personnel at the prospect’s company across multiple departments to understand the company dynamics holistically
- Considering the problems influencers in the buying process face directly or are aware of
- Looking at both the buyer’s industry and how their process fits into the overall market dynamics
- Assessing competitors the lead is considering
- Making notes for the AE who plans to deliver the demo, if this is a different sales team member
Once they finish their due diligence, reps are ready to engage with the lead. So they schedule a meeting with the prospect’s company.
The engagement stage is where things really kick off in the sales motion. This is where a member of the sales team delivers a sales demo and demonstrates value.
In a larger organization, this is a job for an Account Executive (AE). In smaller organizations, it’s carried out by either a Sales Development Manager or the Sales Development Representative (SDR) themselves.
A sales demo will typically follow these steps:
- Quick introduction where the seller briefly introduces themselves and the product
- A recap to ensure they have the right information and context for the demo
- Short, guided presentation to contextualize the problem and show how the product solves it
- Q&A session to address any questions or objections
- Discussion of next steps
If the research the seller did was effective, the demo they’ve prepared will be off to a good start. Either way, presenters should leave lots of room for on-the-spot changes. That way, the lead can guide the demo and they’re more likely to get value out of it.
After a lead sits through a demo and decides they’re interested in the product, they become a sales qualified lead (SQL).
5. Handling Objections
SQLs are highly qualified, but they still require multiple touchpoints. Sometimes, the internal communication on their end takes weeks to carry out. This is particularly the case in B2B sales, where there are often six or more decision-makers.
It’s rare a sales rep converts an SQL on the spot. 99% of the time, they’ll have at least one objection.
An objection could be:
- “This product is too expensive.”
- “We need more time to make a decision.”
- “Come back to us next quarter.”
- “We aren’t sure we really need this at this moment.”
- “Your product is too complicated for us.”
Objections aren’t necessarily true all the time. In a lot of cases, they’re just stalling techniques. But sales reps must treat every objection as legitimate and have a response prepared.
Sellers handle objections in several different ways, but the two main objectives are:
- Acknowledge and address the concern directly.
- Ask open-ended questions that lead to an understanding of their underlying needs.
Sometimes, the objection is real. Others, the lead just needed more help understanding the product’s value. In either case, activel listening and proper objection handling techniques help build additional rapport.
6. Closing the Deal
If they make it past initial objections, an SQL becomes an opportunity — someone who’s actively in the process of closing the deal. At this point, the deal can either end up as Closed Lost or Closed Won.
To moveit to Closed Won, sales reps need to:
- Create urgency
- Drive home the benefits
- Secure a timeline for when they should expect to see results
- Set up regular check-ins for feedback
- Create an implementation plan that works for everyone
Leads are often wary of entering a long term agreement with someone they’ve just met. Closing a sale means building trust and confidence and showing them the value your solution can bring to their organization.
12 B2B Sales Motion Examples
B2B sales motions are different approaches or strategies that companies use to sell their products or services to other businesses. They vary based on the nature of the product, industry, sales cycle, and several other factors.
Here are 12 common types of sales motions for B2B organizations:
- Direct Sales: This is the traditional approach where sales representatives directly engage with potential clients to sell products or services. It involves building relationships, understanding client needs, and providing tailored solutions.
- Needs-Based Selling: In this approach, sales reps act as consultants, offering expert advice and solutions to address the specific needs and challenges of the client. It requires a deep understanding of the client’s industry and business.
- Solution Selling: Similar to consultative sales, solution selling focuses on providing comprehensive solutions that solve specific problems for the client, rather than just selling individual products.
- Value-Based Selling: Sales reps emphasize the value and benefits that the client will receive from the product or service, focusing on the return on investment (ROI) and long-term impact.
- Inbound Sales: Companies attract potential clients through content marketing, social media, and other online channels. Sales reps then engage with these leads who have shown interest in the company’s offerings.
- Outbound Sales: Sales reps proactively reach out to potential clients through cold calls, emails, and other forms of outreach, often targeting specific industries or segments.
- Account-Based Selling: This strategy involves targeting specific high-value accounts and customizing sales efforts to meet their unique needs, often involving multiple stakeholders within the client organization.
- Channel Sales: Companies sell their products or services through intermediaries, such as distributors, resellers, or partners. This approach is common when targeting a wide geographic area or industry.
- Ecommerce Sales: Businesses sell their products or services online through a digital platform, allowing clients to make purchases directly.
- Subscription Sales: Companies offer subscription-based models where clients pay a recurring fee for ongoing access to products or services.
- Contract Renewals: This motion involves renewing existing contracts or subscriptions, maintaining a strong relationship with the client to ensure ongoing business.
- Partner Sales: Companies collaborate with strategic partners to co-sell or jointly offer solutions to clients.
Remember: Most B2B sales motions combine these approaches, tailored to the specific needs and dynamics of the industry and client base.
Best Practices for Frictionless Sales Motions
An effective sales motion streamlines customer acquisition from start to finish. But that’s only a possibility with the right technology.
Follow these five best practices for a well-executed sales motion:
It’s worth noting that while the sales motion has six steps, the sales process doesn’t end just because the customer signs the dotted line or agrees to make a purchase.
Ideally, the sales team created a roadmap and set realistic expectations for implementation, adoption, and long-term value. But that isn’t enough.
To secure the sale for the long term, the company needs to provide adequate support through customer onboarding. This could include hands-on training, digital onboarding materials, a dedicated customer success manager, or any resource that ensures customers have a positive experience.
Generally, the higher-value customers require more support, as they have greater requirements. For enterprise customers/clients, it’s usually worth offering dedicated support and a hands-on approach. Most sales, however, are well-off with digital onboarding materials and supporting documentation.
Sales Tech Integrations
An integrated sales tech stack enables a fluid sales motion. Even with the right processes in place and the methodology to guide it, there’s really no way to execute it without the right tech.
The most important sales technology includes:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) — CRM software is practically a requirement, and most sales teams already have it. It’s a centralized hub for customer data, sales activities, and sales workflows.
- Sales Engagement Platform — SEPs facilitate communication with prospects, automate outreach and follow-up emails, track response rates, and provide insights into sales performance.
- Chatbot — A chatbot can answer basic questions from website visitors, book sales demos for them, and lead prospects to basic information about the product (e.g., pricing, FAQs, product documentation). It can also solve simple issues for current customers, making it essential for retention.
- Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) — CPQ software helps sales reps easily configure products, generate accurate quotes, and design customer-specific contracts. Sellers also use it to customize products, bundles, and pricing for prospects.
- Sales Enablement — Sales enablement platforms like Highspot and Seismic provide the team with access to sales materials, content, analytics, and insights. It’s an all-in-one solution that streamlines the sales process from start to finish.
It’s a good idea to integrate sales tech with marketing automation systems and the company website as well. That way, it’s easier to understand customer preferences and share buyer enablement content throughout the sales process.
Integrated sales tech is largely an enabler of process automation. Sales and marketing team can use a customer data platform, for example, to create automated triggers for certain customer behaviors and send targeted messages/emails to prospects or alerts to sales reps.
On its own, sales software will run some automation tasks. What it won’t do is automate workflows specific to a company’s sales motion (not right away, at least).
When setting up and integrating sales software, it’s important to create automations that move leads through the pipeline and guide reps through each step of the sales motion.
Training and Coaching
Training starts with sales onboarding, but it really should be an ongoing procedure. As the sales team evolves and the customer journey changes, so too should training and coaching.
Sales reps need to be aware of changes in technology, best practices for customer communication, new product features or offers, industry trends, and changes to the ICP. Develop a comprehensive training program that covers all these topics.
In addition to formal training sessions, it’s a good idea to hold regular one-on-one coaching sessions to review performance and course-correct if needed.
Analytics serve two purposes: personalization and quality assurance.
Optimizing the sales process requires an understanding of customer behavior, current performance, and the impact of sales techniques. That means analyzing data from sales calls, emails, meetings, and other interactions to determine how to improve the overall process.
Buyers also expect personalization, which is possible in real-time with data-driven insights. Knowing in real-time which content prospects engaged with and what offers they responded to makes it easier for sales reps to tailor the conversation and drive better results.
People Also Ask
What is the difference between sales motion and sales process?
The sales process outlines the steps involved in prospecting, qualifying, discovery, and closing deals. A sales motion is the overall framework, which includes both the sales process and philosophy guiding it. It’s an overarching strategy that outlines the steps to move leads through each stage of the process.
What is a product-led sales motion?
A product-led sales motion is a go-to-market sales strategy that relies on current customers using the product to drive revenue through upsells, cross-sells, upgrades, and referrals. It is a key part of the product-led growth (PLG) model, which emphasizes product usage over lead generation. It puts the user experience first and relies heavily on customer feedback to drive improvements and increase engagement.