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The Miller Heiman Sales Process: What it Is

What is a Sales Process?

Any sales process or sales framework followed or practiced by any organization is a process to enable the sales team to effectively engage consumers in each phase of the sales process.

Every sales team identifies its principles and best practices to translate its vision into reality. The team maps out a series of steps leading to success. A great sales methodology entails the “how,” “what,” and “why” of the sales process, which starts from gathering intel on a client to analyzing their business needs.

That said, the value of a sales methodology can be realized by:

  • Repeatability, and
  • Scalability

When a specific sales methodology is implemented, the recruiters, trainers, salespersons, and other incumbents of the sales process will become more efficient. A sales methodology will entail a systematic approach to a seemingly un-systematic element: human behavior.

After understanding the anatomy of a sales process, we will try to introduce you to a very popular and potent sales process of Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman. It is a modern approach to sales and a proven method to crystallize complex sales processes.

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Let us break down the process here.

Sales Methodology by Robert Miller and Stephen Heiman

Both the marketing gurus conceptualized something called Conceptual Selling, which is a way to manage the various stakeholders and relations that are present in a complex B2B selling environment. The methodology is best suited for large organizations dealing with large sums of money that require people to sign off and take approvals before taking any decision.

The modern approach to B2B selling focuses on building and managing relationships with the different parties involved in a sales process and work forward to closing the deal.

Following the Miller Heiman approach, you can build and manage relationships with the stakeholders and decisions makers following the three steps:

1. Categorizing

The first foundational pillar of the Miller Heiman sales process is Categorizing. It is a phase, where you stop, look back, and take into account every person involved in the client’s buying cycle. Once you have identified these people, you will put them in groups based on how much and what kind of influence they put on the decision-making process.

If you are analyzing large deals, keep in mind that the number of people influencing the buying process will be higher.

The sales methodology of Miller Heiman is more about relationship-building, so knowing everyone involved in the sales cycle and their contribution to the buying process can be quite useful.

2. Determining

Now we come to the next stage of Determining. As you already have the categorized list, you put into use your previous knowledge and information that you have gained from earlier conversations and decide who is most likely to support your cause, and which is most likely to push back against it.

Using the Miller Heiman approach, it is your role to understand the places where you need to encourage your team and where you can gain the support to successful close the deal and also maintain strong relationships with all the parties involved.

Pro Tip: Note down your findings from the above two steps in your CRM so that you do not forget anything.

3. Influencing

The last stage in the Miller Heiman process is Influencing. It calls for some research and analysis you conducted in categorizing and determining the phases of sales.

You should always keep in mind that you aim to influence these key players with zero manipulation but build long-term and true working relationships with them.

  • Appreciate all the players who are actively participating with you. Support them throughout and maintain a positive relationship with them.
  • The ones who are still hesitant about the buying, do not ignore them. Try to communicate empathetically and try to cater to their concerns.

As a result, you can make everyone feel valued and understood in the organization. The sales process offers a win-win situation. You come close to sealing the deal, all key players are appreciated, and you forge a good working relationship within.

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Is this methodology right for me?

As a sales methodology, the Miller Heiman process offers ample benefits to salespeople who drive an organization’s growth. The process helps to;

  • Getting you out of your comfort zone and taking a step further to achieve your goals.
  • The process consistently reminds the team to offer tailored products and services to the audience.
  • The model helps in building a deeply-rooted relationship with the audience.

That said, the Miller-Heiman process takes you back to the basics of relationship building, authenticity, and mutual benefit. It offers a 21st-century salesperson a heightened sense of critical thought required to catch the big fish and manage complex sales processes.