Selling in the Gig Economy

The gig economy changes almost everything about sales. It has created the opportunity for a sales-as-a-service marketplace like Swarmsales to disrupt the entire industry. A sales-as-a-service marketplace allows companies to find experienced and vetted independent sales professionals with pre-existing relationships at target accounts. It’s different from traditional sales, and embracing that difference will soon be imperative to success in sales. However, some traditional sales tactics remain effective and should be continued as a sales professional migrates to sales on demand.  

Some of the sales methodologies used in traditional sales are Solution Selling, Sandler Selling, SPIN Selling and several others. These methodologies can help companies and salespeople speak the same language while ensuring that deals are efficiently progressed. They can also prevent sales professionals and companies from wasting time on deals that won’t close. One of the methodologies I suggest keeping when you transition into selling in the gig economy is MEDDIC. It’s an effective and simple to use sales method. The definition of the MEDDIC acronym is the following:

M: Define a Metric of success that can help you quantify the benefit of your solution.
E: Economic Buyer is the person that has signing authority to get your deal done.
D: Define the Decision Criteria by which your solution will be evaluated.
D: Understand the Decision Process to get to a purchase order.
I: Identify the customer’s pain.
C: Find a Champion who will be selling when you are not there.

This methodology can be easily applied in our marketplace to measure the success of your deals and keep you on track to a fast close as a freelance sales professional. A sales professional in the gig economy needs to become a skilled forecaster, not just a good closer. In marketplaces that offer milestones as part of the process, you can use MEDDIC to help close each of those milestones. For example, a typical sales cycle on the Swarmsales Marketplace has the following 4 MEDDIC categories:

1. Identification of an opportunity; discovery call or introduction call

In this first step, make sure that both the vendor company that you are representing and the account that you are selling them into are on the same page. In order to get everyone on the same page, an independent sales professional needs to identify the pain. Asking open-ended questions gives your client the opportunity to expound on the pain the company is currently experiencing. Some open-ended questions you can use in the gig economy are:

What happens if you don’t fix this problem now?
How did you develop the budget to solve this problem?
Why is this an important issue to address?

It’s also critical to figure out in the first meeting if you’re talking to an Economic Buyer that has the authority to make your deal happen. You may also have what the MEDDIC Method calls a Champion. This is the person that can you get in front of the right people to build a case for your solution and find the budget to pay for it.

2. Validation of the opportunity and demonstrating the value of your solution

In this stage, make sure that you can quantify the value of your solution. The validation could be dollars saved by your customer, revenue increased, or monitoring compliance with a new law. Know the business metric that an Economic Buyer will agree with. This is the right time to perform a Business Value Assessment if you feel it’s needed. This assessment will reveal the value of your solution to the end customer. It could also include a business case to justify the investment. Whether you perform the assessment or not, submit a pricing proposal as soon as possible. The pricing proposal will solidify your prospect’s budget and authority so that you can move forward with confidence.

3. Qualification of the opportunity and performing a proof of concept (If needed)

Qualification of the opportunity means that you collect definitive Decision Criteria. This step will reveal all of the hurdles that exist even within the freelance economy. Some of the hurdles you may discover are security requirements, legal department reviews, or approved-supplier steps. Knowing all of the challenges ahead gives you the information you need to properly forecast your closing date. It also gives you time to plan out how you will clear all of the hurdles you identify. If required, you’ll have to go through a proof of concept process. If it is necessary to provide a proof of concept, draft a document of understanding in which you clearly establish what the success criteria is for your team. This way, you have a clear objective that you know can be achieved. Each company has their own criteria for how to work with a freelance sales professional. Knowing what that criteria is prevents independent sales professionals from forecasting incorrectly.

4. Winning the Opportunity

A clear understanding of the decision process includes mapping out the parties that take part in deal approval. For example, it is often the case that the legal department is a bottleneck when trying to close a deal. Proper preparation for a close includes having paperwork reviewed against your list of hurdles collected in Step 3. 

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Happy Selling!

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