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SPICED sales methodology

The SPICED sales methodology is focused on maintaining customer relationships, not just closing deals. Learn all about it here, or book a demo to learn how Dialpad’s Ai Playbooks help sellers stick to SPICED as they’re having conversations with prospects!


In the fast-paced world of sales, methodologies are the guiding principles that sales teams rely on to navigate the complex landscape of customer interactions. One of these methodologies is called the SPICED sales methodology. Developed by Winning by Design (a sales strategy consulting and coaching firm), SPICED helps B2B teams be more customer centric

SPICED stands for Situation, Pain, Impact, Critical Event, and Decision—a framework designed to diagnose a customer's problem, prescribe a solution, and maintain a relationship that keeps them on board. (And proves particularly effective for enterprise sales cycles.)

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to define SPICED in sales and provide a step-by-step application of the SPICED sales framework. Before delving into the details, let's first understand the key components of the SPICED methodology.

How to define SPICED in sales

S = Situation

The first step in the SPICED methodology is understanding the customer's current situation. This involves gathering information about their business, challenges, and goals. By establishing a clear picture of the customer's current state, sales professionals can tailor their approach to address specific needs.

P = Pain

Identifying pain points is crucial in sales. This step involves delving into the challenges and difficulties the customer is currently facing. Whether it's inefficiencies in their processes or gaps in their current solutions, understanding the pain points allows sales reps to position their product or service as a valuable solution.

I = Impact

Once the pain points are identified, the next step is to highlight the impact of these challenges on the customer's business. This involves demonstrating the consequences of not addressing the identified issues. By showcasing the potential positive outcomes of resolving these challenges, sales reps can create a sense of urgency and importance.

CE = Critical Event

Critical events are pivotal moments that can influence the customer's decision-making process. It could be a major shift in the market, a change in leadership within the customer's org, or other significant developments. Recognizing these critical events allows sales reps to align their offering with the customer's evolving needs.

D = Decision

The final step in the SPICED methodology is guiding the customer towards making a decision. This involves presenting a compelling case for the proposed solution, addressing any remaining concerns, and facilitating the decision-making process. The goal is not just to close a deal but to establish a partnership that extends beyond the initial transaction.

Applying the SPICED sales framework in practice: A step-by-step guide

1. Situation: Craft a comprehensive customer profile

In the Situation phase, your objective is to go beyond surface-level information. Dive deep into the intricacies of your customer's business, industry, and unique challenges. Leverage data analytics, market research, and customer feedback to craft a comprehensive customer profile. This will lay the groundwork for a tailored approach that resonates with the specifics of their situation.

Some questions you could ask are:

  • What is the current state of your business processes?

  • Can you provide insights into your market position and industry trends?

  • What are the key challenges you are currently facing?

For example: "Could you share more about your current workflow and processes within the organization? Understanding these details will help us tailor our approach to align with your specific needs."

2. Pain: Listen actively, communicate empathetically

Identifying pain points is an art that requires active listening and empathetic communication. Engage in meaningful conversations with your customer to uncover not just the obvious challenges but the subtleties that may have been overlooked. By establishing a genuine understanding of their pain points, you position yourself as a problem solver rather than just a seller.

Some questions you could ask are:

  • How are the current challenges impacting your team's productivity?

  • Can you share specific instances where these challenges have caused disruptions?

  • What frustrations do your team members express about the current situation?

For example: "I hear you mention challenges with X and Y. Could you elaborate on how these issues are affecting your team on a day-to-day basis? Understanding the specifics will allow us to address these pain points more effectively."

3. Impact: Paint the picture of positive outcomes

With a clear understanding of the pain points, transition seamlessly into the Impact phase. Here, your goal is to paint a vivid picture of the positive outcomes and benefits that resolving these challenges will bring. Utilize case studies, success stories, and data-driven projections to illustrate the transformative impact your solution can have on their business.

Some questions you could ask are:

  • If these challenges were resolved, what positive changes do you envision?

  • How do you see our solution contributing to the overall success of your business?

  • Can you share any goals or milestones that align with overcoming these challenges?

For example: "Imagine a scenario where the challenges we discussed are successfully addressed. What positive outcomes do you foresee for your team and the organization as a whole? Understanding your vision will help us tailor our solution to meet these goals."

4. Critical Event: Proactively align with market shifts

Critical events are the game-changers that can significantly influence your customer's decision-making process. Stay ahead of the curve by being proactive in identifying market shifts, changes in leadership, or any other events that could impact your customer. Align your offering with these critical events to showcase its relevance and timeliness.

Some questions you could ask are:

  • Are there any upcoming industry events or shifts that could impact your business?

  • How do you see external factors influencing your decision-making process?

  • Have there been recent changes in leadership or strategic direction within your organization?

For example: "In the dynamic landscape of your industry, staying ahead of market shifts is crucial. Are there any upcoming events or changes on the horizon that might influence your priorities or decision-making process?"

5. Decision: Transform information into action

The Decision phase is where the magic happens. It's not just about closing a deal; it's about guiding your customer through the decision-making process. Address any remaining concerns, provide additional information as needed, and foster a collaborative atmosphere. The goal is not a one-time transaction but the initiation of a long-term partnership.

Some questions you could ask are:

  • What additional information or support do you need to make an informed decision?

  • Are there any concerns or hesitations that we can address together?

  • How can we best facilitate the decision-making process for your team?

For example: "As we approach the decision-making phase, I want to ensure that you have all the information you need. Are there specific details or clarifications that would be helpful for your team in making this decision?"

SPICED: A red-hot option for boosting recurring revenue in SaaS sales

The SPICED sales methodology is particularly well-suited for industries with recurring revenue models, such as Software as a Service (SaaS). In SaaS sales, maintaining long-term customer relationships is often more valuable than securing a single transaction. The SPICED framework aligns with the subscription-based nature of SaaS, emphasizing the ongoing value that the product or service provides.

Remember, the SPICED sales methodology is not merely a set of principles; it's a dynamic approach to sales that prioritizes understanding, empathy, and long-term relationships. Each phase is an opportunity to connect authentically with your customer, offering solutions that extend far beyond the transaction.

Not sure if SPICED fits your sales process? Here's some other options

While SPICED is a powerful framework, it's not the only kid on the block. Other frameworks like BANT, SPIN, and MEDDIC offer different approaches to lead qualification.

Automate SPICED with Dialpad’s Ai Playbooks

Contact your Dialpad sales rep to add Ai Playbooks to your Dialpad Ai Sales Center account today! Or, book a demo of Dialpad’s AI-powered sales engagement platform with our team to see how Ai Playbooks can help improve your top-line revenue.