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    Top 10 sales methodologies for complex B2B sales

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    Implementing the right sales methodology for your complex B2B team can provide a major boost to sales effectiveness. But choosing the right methodology training company can be a challenge.

    To help you in your decision-making, here are ten sales methodology companies that are highly rated, with a little information about each. These are not ranked in any particular order, but chosen for their reputation, track record, and relevance for complex B2B sales.

    SPIN Selling

    SPIN Selling is one of the oldest modern methodologies still in use. In the 1980s, behavioral psychologist Neil Rackham conducted research over 12 years and 35,000 sales calls, looking at what sellers and buyers actually did during those sales calls. He then correlated that research with sales success. Rackham was hired by Xerox, Kodiak, Motorola, and others to use that research to help them develop their internal sales methodologies. In 1988, he founded SPIN Selling, which stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff.

    The approach is best suited for complex B2B selling situations and focuses on helping buyers draw their own conclusion that they need the product or service.


    Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson made a splash when they published The Challenger Sale in 2011. The training approach offered in the book reflected a response to the way that content marketing and wide availability of information has changed the sales landscape. They claimed that solution selling—a category into many other methodologies fall— is dead, and a new approach is called for. The Challenger Sale is a selling approach that focuses on disrupting the customer’s buying process by uncovering unrecognized needs. According to Spencer Wixom, Challenger’s Chief Customer Officer, Challenger represents a “tectonic shift, not about extracting customer value, but about injecting value into the relationship, focused on the business.”

    It is most appropriate for organizations that want to become true advisors to their clients and compete in challenging markets.

    RAIN Group

    Mike Schultz and John Doerr founded RAIN Selling in 2002. They built their methodology on extensive research into how to better satisfy what modern buyers want and need from sellers. They continue to update and optimize the methodology based on ongoing research and an obsessive focus on client results. They are known for their in-depth sales performance research and analysis.

    RAIN Selling is best suited for complex sales processes involving multiple decision makers. Organizations in financial services, professional services, and technology industries, for instance, often represent a good fit.

    Customer-Centric Selling

    John Holland, Frank Visgatis, Gary Walker, and Mike Bosworth founded Customer-Centric Selling in 2002. Holland and Visgatis noted that buyers were no longer investing in disruptive technologies, but rather improvements on old technologies, and they designed the methodology to respond to this change in the market. The methodology is based on Rackham’s research into how people buy, updated to focus on asking the right questions of modern technology buyers.

    Though its origins are in the technology industry, Customer-Centric Selling is a good fit for any B2B organization with complex sales.


    The ValueSelling Framework was created by Lloyd Sappington in 1991, one of the leaders of Xerox’s sales methodology revolution. The methodology’s parent company, ValueSelling Associates, was later purchased by its current owner, Julie Thomas. The ValueSelling Framework simplifies sales methodology to make it easier for salespeople to learn and master. The ValueSelling Framework is translated into 12 different languages with multiple training modalities available, and facilitators available across the globe.

    ValueSelling is best suited for companies with complex B2B sales cycles, who are competing on value and using differentiation to win.

    Baseline Selling

    Dave Kurlan founded Baseline Selling in 2005. He designed the approach as an answer to the difficulty of getting salespeople to follow complex sales methodologies. Baseline Selling uses a baseball diamond to visualize the sales process and use “bases” and base paths to represent stages of the sales process.

    Baseline Selling is a good fit for sales-driven companies of all sizes and in any industry whose teams need a visual, easy-to-use framework for selling.

    Solution Selling

    Mike Bosworth developed Solution Selling from research originally conducted at Xerox in the late 1970s. This research examined the behaviors of top-performing sales professionals at that organization and applied the resulting insights to his methodology, which was later acquired by SPI, which merged with Richardson to form Richardson Sales Performance. Richardson Sales Performance continues to offer Solution Selling among several other methodologies. The Solution Selling approach has been continuously refined and improved, in response to changing market conditions and ongoing research into what top-performing sellers do differently.

    Like many sales methodologies, it works well within a complex B2B sales environment but, unlike the others, it also claims to perform particularly well in high-volume commodities markets.

    Strategic Selling

    Bob Miller and Steve Heiman founded Strategic Selling in the 1960s, focusing on a practical, repeatable sales process that breaks complex situations down into small, manageable chunks. The approach, now owned and trained by Korn Ferry, focuses on creating a win-win situation for buyer and seller, to build long-term relationships. The organization provides ”blue sheets” to help sellers win opportunities along a well-defined sales process, and ”green sheets” that support all direct customer interactions along the sales process.

    Strategic Selling is a particularly good fit for complex sales in any B2B vertical market, and Korn Ferry provides a lot of additional resources and training to suit almost any company’s sales training needs.


    David Sandler founded Sandler© in 1967, with a focus on long-term success over quick fixes. David Sandler was one of the first thought leaders to begin talking about the use of “pain” in selling, and the Sandler “pain funnel” remains among its most well-known tools, along with the Sandler Selling System, which has been modified for all aspects of Sales, Enterprise Sales, Inside Sales and Customer Success. Sandler provides content to all aspects of sales, including Customer Success, and promotes use of the same verbiage with Sales Leadership and Sales to create a common approach.

    Sandler is a particularly good fit for organizations with complex sales cycles and can be used by entrepreneurial organizations looking to compete with larger brands, as well as large organizations looking to fill gaps in their sales process. Sandler owns the largest sales training organization in the world, with more than 250 local training centers serving Fortune 500 companies, SMB, and independent producers.

    Outcome-Centric Selling

    Founded by Bob Apollo to address a shift in b2b buying from IT-led to business-led technology, Outcome-Centric Selling helps sellers establish the “widest possible outcome gap” between the customer’s situation and a desired outcome. This approach focuses on crafting customer-specific value stories, aligning sales process with each phase of the buying decision, and guiding salespeople in what they need to know and do in each phase of the customer journey.

    Any of these sales methodologies can be embedded into Membrain and made actionable to your sales team. Some of them are already embedded via Membrain’s Editions, ready for immediate implementation.

    We’d love to show you how Membrain can work as a partner with your training and consulting team to help you execute on your sales strategy.

    George Brontén
    Published January 12, 2022
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn