5 Steps to Implement Adaptive Selling into Your Sales Strategy
By Carly Gail
When it comes to selling, having an effective adaptive selling strategy can mean the difference between a deal won and a missed opportunity. Especially today– where there’s never been more options, solutions, and offerings for buyers. With so many options available, buyers can often be overwhelmed and indecisive. Having strong communication at the start can help sellers stand out from the competition, secure a buyer’s interest, and appropriately showcase their product’s value.
To make their strategy more impactful, sellers need to be able to adjust their approach to accommodate buyers with any personality type. A stagnant, generic strategy won’t set reps apart from the crowd– in fact, it might not even land them an initial call or meeting. But by implementing adaptive selling into your organization’s sales strategy, you can ensure that reps are communicating and empathizing with prospects rather than sounding like every other salesperson.
What is adaptive selling?
Adaptive selling is the concept of adapting the way sales teams interact with a lead based on their unique personality and behavioral characteristics. Rather than a generic, one-size-fits-all approach, adaptive selling enables B2B sellers to adjust their sales strategy to better suit the person they are selling to.
For example, while one buyer may appreciate a more subdued approach during prospecting, another buyer might appreciate something more assertive and direct.
This behavior-based approach helps sales reps tailor their message and selling process to meet each buyer's needs and preferences, taking personalization to the next level.
An adaptive selling approach can significantly improve a seller’s performance and ability to connect with buyers. This approach is meant to evolve depending on the sales situation and with different buyers. Being mindful of how individuals are motivated, their behavioral tendencies and their buying process can be especially impactful when navigating the sales stages.
When implemented properly, adaptive selling can greatly benefit both the buyer and seller experience, as well as the overall success of a sales organization. While there are many benefits to this sales strategy, we’ve highlighted some of the most impactful:
Personalized and improved buyer experience
An excellent buyer experience is critical for a sales organization’s success and growth. Because it encourages a consultative approach where sellers communicate empathetically and prioritize building trust, adaptive selling leaves a positive impression on buyers during the selling process.
Improved conversion and win rates
By abandoning a generalized approach and opting for personalization, sales reps are able to form stronger connections and build trust quickly with buyers. In doing so, sellers also ensure that each individual’s needs are being met and their concerns are being addressed– making them more likely to see the value of their solution.
Accelerated communication skills development
An adaptive selling strategy equips sellers with a deeper understanding of effective communication practices; these skills are greatly beneficial for the seller and can aid in an acceleration of their own abilities no matter what sales role they find themselves in. By practicing communicating in this way, reps can improve communication with their customers and team members, which has benefits throughout their careers and life.
Why it works
Today’s oversaturated market presents various challenges for sales professionals. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd, grab the attention of buyers, and build rapport with prospects. The best way to break through the noise is to adapt the way you speak to prospects in a way that resonates with their individual needs and preferences. Ultimately, buyers just want to feel understood and to have their needs acknowledged by sellers, rather than receive the same tired pitch given to everyone else. Understandably, personalization is the key to getting better sales efficiency, improved communication, and more opportunities.
How it works
While a buyer’s personality can be guessed based on the seller’s perception of the buyer, utilizing personality frameworks such as DISC can help predict these characteristics, especially if you’ve never connected with your buyer. With Crystal, sales reps can use DISC to easily put adaptive selling techniques into practice with their prospects and customers.
The DISC framework identifies and classifies personalities into a few categories that we refer to as D (dominant), I (imaginative), S (stabilizing), and C (conscientious). These different personality types are unique in their motivations, behaviors, and communication preferences. By understanding where a prospect or customer falls within the DISC framework, sellers can use that information to tailor their sales approach and implement an adaptive selling strategy.
You can see the breakdown of different DISC personalities on the map below:
As you can see, each personality type is unique from the others. By utilizing this framework, Crystal provides actionable insights and coaching to guide sellers through each stage of the sales process and ensure that they are effectively implementing an adaptive selling approach.
5 Steps for implementing an adaptive selling strategy
Sales organizations that transform into an adaptive selling organizations find much greater success than those using strategies that are too strict or too loose. While implementing a new strategy can be difficult, Crystal offers a 5 step plan to help you transform your sales organization into an adaptive sales organization.
Step 1: Executive buy-in
When switching to an Adaptive Selling model, executive buy-in ensures that everyone is aligned on the change and that the transition is smooth. When championing this change to leadership teams, utilizing strong resources that highlight the effectiveness and benefits of Adaptive Selling is critical.
Step 2: Manager training
Once an organization has received executive buy-in, managers must be trained well on this strategy. A manager who receives adequate training can positively impact an entire sales team’s performance, enable new reps to be more effective through coaching, and better navigate the switch to an Adaptive Selling strategy. Crystal provides many resources to properly educate and prepare managers on the concept before rolling it out to their entire sales force.
Step 3: Process integration
Adaptive selling is not a methodology in itself but a skill set that fits very well into any sales methodology including but not limited to: The Challenger Sales Model, Sandler Selling System, SNAP Selling, and SPIN Selling methodologies. Throughout the sales process, adaptive selling techniques can greatly impact performance. Whether reaching out to a cold lead, scheduling a demo, or pitching pricing, sellers can integrate Adaptive Selling to improve their ability to close a deal.
Step 4: Rep adoption
Adaptive Selling only works if reps learn the techniques and put them into daily practice. Sales managers must prioritize the reinforcement of adaptive selling practices within their team. Although managers are responsible for reinforcing Adaptive Selling, reps should also have access to materials and resources that aid in their understanding and adoption of the new process.
Step 5: Continuous reinforcement
As an organization begins to implement these new practices into its sales model, it is important to keep an eye on key metrics and keep the feedback loop open. As with any process, there is always room for improvement; change can be beneficial for growth, and being flexible with what works and what doesn’t can greatly improve an organization’s ability to refine its processes and optimize towards better outcomes.
To simplify the tracking and analysis of the sales metrics, you can visualize your KPIs in a sales reporting dashboard by following dashboard examples or using templates.
How Crystal helps
Crystal, the software for adaptive selling, gives sales teams a turn-key solution for building an adaptive sales organization. Using the tested personality framework DISC, Crystal identifies the personality of an individual and provides actionable insights and guidance for selling to different personalities. By categorizing an individual into different types: D (dominance), I (influence), S (steadiness), and C (conscientiousness), sellers can more easily understand their buyer’s natural behavior and sell to them accordingly.
Crystal makes the transition from other selling models to an adaptive selling model seamless, efficient, and simple. Through access to various resources and features, Crystal guides users through each stage of the sale and enables them to easily tailor their entire approach to every new buyer.
An adaptive selling strategy takes personalization to the next level by enabling reps to tailor their communication and pitch to each individual buyer’s personality, motivations, and behaviors. Transforming into an adaptive sales organization is key to cultivating growth and success.
While having a strong strategy is instrumental in sales success, it can be challenging to implement across an entire organization successfully. By prioritizing certain steps, sales organizations can ensure that an adaptive selling strategy is implemented properly and is continuously reinforced.
With Crystal, implementing an adaptive selling strategy is made simple and impactful. Crystal offers a variety of resources and features to guide organizations through each step of implementing an adaptive selling strategy and continues to help with adoption and reinforcement long after the initial switch.
Learn how Crystal can help you implement adaptive selling into your sales strategy today.