Screenshot of Dialpad Ai suggesting BANT sales playbook tasks for a rep in real time

Sales methodologies

Learn about the most-used sales methodologies today, from modern approaches to tried-and-true frameworks used by top sales teams around the world. Or, book a demo to learn how Dialpad's Ai Playbooks help sellers stick to methodologies like BANT and SPIN as they're having conversations with prospects!


Which sales methodology does your sales team use? There are many different frameworks out there, from simple four-step options to completely open-ended approaches that force sales teams to be flexible and think on their feet.

Each of these sales methodologies has its strengths and weaknesses—and situations where they won’t be your best option. Learn more about some of the most popular methodologies below, and when to use them!

What is a sales methodology?

A sales methodology is a structured and systematic approach or framework that guides reps through a sales process, from prospecting to closing deals. There are different sales methodologies that give salespeople different strategies for engaging with potential customers, understanding their needs, presenting solutions, and ultimately converting those prospects into paying customers.

Choosing a good sales methodology for your team is important because alongside your sales dialer, power dialer, or any other sales software your team uses, it can be a key tool that provides consistency for sales reps, improves efficiency, and increases the likelihood of successful sales outcomes.

11 sales methodologies and when each one may be the right choice for your business

As you’ll see below, many sales methodologies are acronyms—this is often because each letter of the acronym is a reminder of a step the sales rep needs to take, or something they need to find out from the prospect in order to successfully move the deal forward.


BANT is a sales methodology that was created in the 1950s by IBM, and stands for:

  • Budget

  • Authority

  • Need, and

  • Timeline

Unlike MEDDIC, BANT prioritizes only four key considerations in its sales qualification framework, which makes things a little simpler for sellers.


BANT used to be one of the most frequently used sales methodologies, and for good reason. It gives sales reps straightforward qualification criteria so they can quickly evaluate potential opportunities and qualify (and disqualify) prospects efficiently.


The simple nature of BANT is a bit of a double-edged sword—it reduces complexity for sales reps, but it also limits the amount you’ll get about prospects since it requires sales reps to ask fewer questions. If you want to understand prospects’ pain points and motivations, for instance, those won’t be covered under this sales methodology.

BANT is also not particularly adaptable to complex sales scenarios, especially in B2B sales where multiple stakeholders and a more consultative approach are better.

If your reps are using BANT early in the sales process, keep in mind that the accuracy isn’t always great since prospects may not have a clear budget or timeline that soon—things can change quickly, they may be able to increase their budget, and so on. This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but it can make it challenging for sales reps to apply the BANT criteria consistently.

Having that playbook in place is ideal for documenting all of those procedures so that both new and seasoned sales team members will have a reference to turn to if they want to confirm next steps.

And Dialpad's Ai Playbooks feature helps our coaches and supervisors track rep adherence to sales methodologies like BANT, SPIN, and SPICED more easily. Dialpad Ai can automatically suggest questions and phrases that they need to say during a call (for example, asking about budget or purchase timelines), understand whether the behavior was met, and check the task off the list (or notify managers if this isn't being done):

Screenshot of Dialpad Ai suggesting BANT sales playbook tasks for a rep in real time

This is helpful for sales leaders, because they don't have to painstakingly review every single call, and can quickly tell which reps need additional coaching or if any parts of the methodology can be improved upon—all thanks to this unique sales AI feature:

Don’t use BANT if…

If you’re working on a long enterprise sales cycle, BANT may not be the best sales methodology for you because its simplistic approach doesn’t provide enough insight to the customer’s needs and motivations.

The more complicated your product or buying process, the more difficult it’ll be to be successful with BANT. Similarly, in sales calls that require a more consultative approach to understand the customer's pain points and develop tailored solutions, BANT's limited scope may fall short.


SPICED is a relatively new sales methodology that was developed by Winning By Design, a sales consulting and coaching firm. SPICED stands for:

  • Situation

  • Pain

  • Impact

  • Critical Event, and

  • Decision

What’s unique about the SPICED methodology is that Winning By Design encourages the seller to think like a doctor. “Your prescribed solution should help them achieve their desired outcomes—and that prescription requires you to solve the source of their pains, not just the symptoms.”


SPICED is quite unique in that it’s a bit of a mix between the straightforward one-word-answer questions that you see in BANT and SPIN—but it also involves elements that are more open-ended and allow for more varied responses. This is one of the only sales methodologies that allows for this blend, which is an advantage because as you’ll see below, there are some key shortcomings for both types of methodologies.


Because sellers do have to be able to speak to factors like situation and impact, they should be knowledgeable about not only your products or services, but also the industry and their customers’ industries as a whole. SPICED requires them to behave as consultants, so your sales team has to be skilled enough to handle those potentially complicated conversations.

Don’t use SPICED if…

You don’t have the bandwidth or resources to help sellers speak through each of the five elements intelligently. This isn’t really one of those sales methodologies where you can just give your reps the acronym and let them run with it.

You could try this, and they’ll still be able to run through those five elements, but without a solid foundation of training and skill development, they won’t necessarily be able to do it successfully, get the information they need, and convince prospects to see their point of view


SPIN selling is a sales methodology that’s also the name of a book written by Neil Rackham, a researcher and professor.

SPIN stands for:

  • Situation,

  • Problem,

  • Implication, and

  • Need-payoff

It focuses on asking questions to uncover a prospect's pain points and demonstrating how the product or service can address those pain points effectively.


One of the biggest differences you’ll notice with the steps in SPIN’s acronym compared to MEDDIC or BANT is they’re a lot more customer-centric. SPIN selling emphasizes understanding your prospect’s specific needs—not your sales org’s or business’ needs.

You’ll also notice that SPIN selling focuses more on discovering pain points by asking open-ended questions. This customer-centric approach tends to lead to a more free-flowing conversation, and can build trust and credibility with potential buyers.

SPIN is also good for helping sales reps tailor their product or solution to what the prospect needs, specifically by asking need-payoff questions.

Empowering the Prospect: SPIN selling is based on a consultative sales approach, empowering the prospect to discover their pain points and understand the value of the offered solution.


All that being said, truly mastering the SPIN sales methodology requires quite a bit of training and practice. Compared to the more closed questions in MEDDIC and BANT (“Who’s the decision-maker? What’s your budget?”), SPIN’s open-ended questions can be more challenging for new or inexperienced sales reps to leverage, since they’ll have to be good at guiding that conversation, wherever it leads.

Because of this, SPIN selling can also be more time-consuming because it involves a series of probing questions, which can extend the length of sales conversations. And while SPIN selling is great for identifying customer needs, it may not address other critical aspects of the sales process, like building rapport or handling objections.

Not Suitable for All Sales Scenarios: SPIN selling is most effective in solution-based selling scenarios, where the prospect has identified needs that align well with the offering. It may not work as well for transactional or highly price-driven sales.

Don’t use SPIN selling if…

You have a short sales cycle (i.e. more transactional sales). In quick, low ACV (average contract value) transactions, spending time on all those extensive SPIN questions may not be practical—or necessary.


MEDDIC stands for:

  • Metrics

  • Economic buyer

  • Decision criteria

  • Decision process

  • Identify pain, and

  • Champion

MEDDIC helps sales reps qualify opportunities rigorously by focusing on the six key factors above, and there are a few benefits (and disadvantages) of using MEDDIC as your sales methodology.


MEDDIC gives sellers a pretty comprehensive framework that they can use to qualify leads. It’s clear and thorough, which helps reps focus their efforts on the most promising opportunities.

It’s also a very customer-centric approach, because it forces the sales rep to focus on identifying the prospect's pain points, needs, and decision-making process—which ultimately can build trust and credibility with potential buyers.


As you can tell, MEDDIC is pretty rigid, and unlike some of the four-letter acronyms below, it’s also a little more complex with six steps.

In some industries or teams, this added complexity can be a disadvantage (especially in fast-paced or high-volume sales call centers).

And on a related note, a more complicated sales methodology will often take more time and effort when it comes to sales training because sellers may need more time to learn all the steps and be able to execute them reliably.

Don’t use MEDDIC if…

While MEDDIC can be valuable in many sales scenarios, it’s probably not the best fit for transactional sales and short sales cycles, since all those steps are probably unnecessary and could end up slowing down your sales process.

5. Consultative selling

Consultative selling is a sales methodology that emphasizes building a strong relationship with the customer by acting as a consultant to understand their business deeply, identify opportunities, and provide valuable recommendations.

If this sounds a lot like SPIN selling, that’s because it is! In fact, you could consider SPIN selling a type of consultative selling. There are a few differences though. For example, SPIN selling focuses on pain points as one of its core principles, which isn’t always the case in consultative selling.

Whereas SPIN Selling is more of a structured methodology with a set of predefined steps, consultative selling is more of a mindset and broad approach that places its emphasis on building relationships and offering valuable guidance.


Similar to SPIN selling, the main advantage of consultative selling is that you’re being more customer-oriented, which helps you build rapport and trust with your prospect.

Ultimately, that can lead to stronger relationships, increased customer loyalty, and higher customer retention (not to mention more upsell and cross-sell opportunities).

On top of that, sales orgs that are good at consultative selling also tend to be better at handling objections (since they’re likely to go in-depth into their prospects’ many pain points and challenges) and give their businesses a huge competitive advantage because of their stronger relationships with customers over the long term.


One of the biggest weaknesses of consultative selling is that it can be very time-intensive. Conversations can involve multiple interactions with prospects, extensive research, and in-depth analysis. Because of this, they’re not always the best alternative if your company needs to, say, shorten your sales cycle dramatically.

You’ll also need to have pretty seasoned sales reps who can successfully implement consultative selling—it takes experience and skill to handle open-ended questions well and to be a good consultant who’s an expert in your customers’ businesses.

Not all sales teams may have the expertise to execute this effectively.

And with a less experienced sales team trying a consultative approach, it may also result in some prospects resisting or being confused because they’re accustomed to more traditional sales interactions. Building rapport and gaining their trust might take some time.

Don’t use consultative selling if…

You’re selling commoditized products because customers likely won’t see the need for an in-depth consultation, and price will be the primary factor in the decision-making process anyway. Consultative selling also isn’t good for time-sensitive deals or when your prospect already has a thorough understanding of their needs. Because they already know exactly what they want, in these cases a more solution-oriented approach that gets to the point quickly would be better.

6. Conceptual selling

Conceptual selling is another type of consultative sales methodology developed by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman in their book "Conceptual Selling." It focuses on selling the idea, or concept, of a product or service instead of the product or service itself.

It sounds a little fluffy, but it forces the sales rep to get a little creative and do the mental work of putting themselves in their prospects’ shoes. One of the unique guidelines of conceptual selling is that the sale has to be a win-win result for both the customers and the sales rep. If not, the seller should not move forward.


Perhaps the biggest strength of conceptual selling is that it’s extremely customer-centric—arguably even more so than the other consultative sales methodologies mentioned above.

The reason is because conceptual selling doesn’t just ask salespeople to be customer-centric by simply being better listeners—it encourages them to actually engage in collaborative conversations with customers, which fosters a deeper understanding of the customer's business.

The other benefits that come along with this are stronger long-term relationships (since the seller is acting like a consultant and an equal who understands the customer’s business) and more effective value creation, since they’re not just focusing on selling features or functionalities.

The conceptual selling approach is also very versatile, and can be applied to a wide range of industries and products.


Like the other consultative selling methodologies, conceptual selling can make the sales process more time-consuming, especially in situations where multiple stakeholders are involved. And your sales reps need to be seasoned and/or skilled enough to be able to facilitate meaningful discussions with prospects without a clear step-by-step framework.

Some people may also argue that conceptual selling doesn’t place enough emphasis on the closing phase of the sales process, which can lead to longer sales cycles.

Don’t use conceptual selling if…

Time is of the essence, or if your business is in a market where price is the primary factor in the prospect’s decision-making process. If you’re selling a product or service that’s a one-time purchase, it’s probably also not worth investing significant time and effort in building long-term relationships via conceptual selling.


SNAP selling is a sales methodology that was developed by Jill Konrath, a B2B sales expert who’s been around for two decades, in her book "SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today's Frazzled Customers." The methodology is designed to specifically address the challenges of selling to busy and overwhelmed customers by focusing on:

  • Simplicity,

  • being iNvaluable,

  • Aligning with the customer's priorities, and

  • Prioritizing their most critical needs


SNAP selling is a pretty, well, snappy framework for high velocity sales that helps reps work more efficiently by focusing on their prospects’ most critical needs. The result is (hopefully) less wasted time on other less relevant aspects of the sales process.

SNAP selling is also a great way to train your sales team (if you’ve got greener reps) to focus on presenting a clear value proposition. With sales reps coming from a huge variety of backgrounds with varying levels of sales training, getting them to align with the SNAP methodology can be a good way of getting everyone on the same page quickly.


If your sales team are commonly in more complex deal cycles that require deeper relationship building, the quick and focused nature of SNAP selling probably won’t be a good fit. On a related note, the SNAP methodology is also often better suited to shorter sales cycles because it doesn’t guide sellers to go in depth the way consultative methodologies do.

Don’t use SNAP selling if…

You’re selling highly customized solutions or products, which don’t align well with the “speed and simplicity” focus of SNAP selling. You should also avoid forcing reps to follow the SNAP methodology if multiple stakeholders are involved and relationship-building or a more in-depth understanding of the customer's business is required.

8. Challenger selling

Challenger selling is a sales methodology that originated from the book "The Challenger Sale" by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. As you might have guessed from the name, this methodology focuses on guiding salespeople to challenge the customer's assumptions and offer insights that prompt them to think differently about their needs and potential solutions.

The authors did some research on thousands of sales reps and categorized them into five groups—with the Challenger being one of them. What makes Challengers successful isn’t just the fact that they’re challenging prospects’ assumptions about their products or solutions though. It’s the fact that they assume the role of teachers in order to disrupt their prospects’ current way of thinking and see why they should consider a particular product or service.


What should be immediately obvious is that the Challenger sales methodology is quite different in its philosophy from almost all of the other sales methodologies we’ve discussed so far.

By challenging preconceived notions that a prospect might have about your business, industry, and even competitors, you’re creating space for new insights and possibilities. If it’s done well, you could argue that this methodology is the best at positioning your sales team as trusted advisors and true thought leaders—which results in a more resilient sales team in the face of competitive markets because it equips your salespeople to handle objections and pushback more creatively.

Challenger selling also gives you a lot more control over the sales conversation compared to something like SNAP selling or BANT selling, which are more focused on just getting key information out of your prospect.


Challenger selling is not for everyone. Successfully executing it requires skill and training because again, reps can’t just rely on a script to talk through these conversations with prospects.

Some prospects might also be resistant to the challenging approach, especially if they have strong beliefs about their needs and solutions. If your sellers aren’t well trained enough to handle these types of conversations, they risk “over-challenging” prospects, which could lead to adversarial sales interactions and a negative impact on the buyer-seller relationship.

Don’t use Challenger selling if…

You’re selling to prospects who already have clear, well-defined needs—or if you’re in an industry with highly complex technical products or services, because salespeople might need to focus more on detailed product knowledge and customization rather than challenging customers' perspectives.

9. The Sandler Selling System

The Sandler Selling System is a consultative sales methodology that was created by David H. Sandler in the sixties, in collaboration with a clinical psychologist. It consists of seven(!) steps:

  1. Establishing bonding and rapport

  2. Setting an upfront “contract”

  3. Identifying the prospect’s pain

  4. Uncovering the prospect’s budget

  5. Identifying the decision-making process

  6. Presenting your fulfillment of the agreement

  7. Confirming the post-sales process


If nothing else, the Sandler sales methodology is detailed. If you’re looking for a methodology that helps your sales reps build good habits, this is a good place to start.


As you can tell with the number of steps, the Sandler sales methodology is on the complicated side, and because of this will require a bit more time to boot up and train reps to fully integrate all seven steps and see results.

And because it needs reps to explore prospects’ needs so thoroughly, the Sandler System isn’t really compatible with short sales cycles or quick and low-complexity transactions.

Don’t use the Sandler system if…

Your business focuses on highly transactional sales (since a more streamlined approach is often sufficient and the more complex Sandler System may end up not being practical) or if your prospects are looking for quick solutions instead of a long-term sales relationship or process.


CHAMP is a sales qualification framework that’s quite similar to BANT and SNAP, with of course a slightly different acronym. With CHAMP, sellers have to ask about:

  • CHallenges,

  • Authority,

  • Budget, and

  • Priorities


If you need a framework that’s similar to the other “find out these X things from the prospect”-style methodologies, with more of a focus on challenges, then CHAMP is a fine option. It gives sellers a list of clear qualifying / disqualifying criteria, and is easy to learn.


Like other four- or five-step frameworks. CHAMP can be quite rigid and not very adaptable. If you find in your sales calls that there are other key criteria that can qualify or disqualify leads, then this is not going to be the best option for your sales team.

Don’t use CHAMP if…

You’re in an industry that requires a lot of in-depth, complex, and open-ended discussions with decision makers.

11. Solution selling

This approach revolves around understanding the customer's challenges and needs, then presenting a customized solution that directly addresses those specific issues. You’ll notice that this is one of the rare methodologies that don’t have an associated acronym.


Solution selling is a very customer-centric approach that encourages the seller to truly understand the customer's unique challenges and needs before providing targeted and relevant solutions. If your sales rep is good at solution selling, your competitors will be hard-pressed to outsell them, because the rep will likely have presented a strong value proposition and articulated the unique benefits of their solution in a way that resonates with the customer's specific pain points.


Because solution selling isn’t your typical acronym-based sales methodology, it’s also a bit of a double-edged sword. Solution selling is a more complex approach, and does involve in-depth customer research, solution customization, and thorough training and skill development for salespeople in order to be successful.

Because of this, solution selling can also be quite time-intensive and may result in longer sales cycles, which may not align with your sales org if you sell on a more transactional basis.

Don’t use solution selling if…

You have a junior sales team that isn’t well-versed in your products and services, or the industry that you’re selling into (though once they’re trained up, this will be a better option).

What’s the best sales methodology for your team?

There are an infinite number of sales methodologies out there, from very simplistic ones to very complicated ones that have no solid guidelines.

No matter which one you choose for your sales team, consistency is key. The most important thing is to train them effectively and have live coaching during sales conversations to ensure that everyone follows the methodology consistently.

Learn how Dialpad’s Ai Playbooks feature is designed specifically to help sellers adhere to sales methodologies like BANT and SPICED—with minimal intervention from sales managers!

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