Mastering the Four Major Types of Selling in the IT Industry

Picture of Suparna Karmokar

Suparna Karmokar

February 25th 2023

At hubinit, we have seen that there are four major types of selling in the IT industry. These types include transactional selling, solution selling, consultative selling, and provocative selling. Each type has its own unique set of characteristics and works best in specific situations.

Do you know the four major types of selling? If not, it’s time to educate yourself. The four types are transactional selling, solution selling, consultative selling, and provocative selling. Each type has its own set of characteristics and works best in certain situations.

Transactional selling is a common method of sales where a sales representative seeks out prospects, develops a relationship, and tries to close a sale. This method works well in quarter-focused environments where the entire goal of the organization is to “push the product” and “hit the number.” Transactional selling works best for low-ticket offers with short sales cycles and is typically done via inside sales over the phone or the web.

Solution selling is the next big jump from transactional selling. Instead of focusing on the product only, you focus on the customer’s needs and try to match them with products and services. Solution selling works best in situations with slightly-longer purchase cycles, big ROI on the line, more nuanced decision-makers, or too many decision-makers.

Consultative selling is similar to solution selling, but the focus is on customer relationships and dialogue with the customer around needs. This approach requires a skilled salesforce with good listeners and talkers who know how to ask the right questions. An end goal of consultative selling is often a consulting situation.

Provocative selling is a “shock and awe” approach where you make customers aware of problems they didn’t even know existed. This has become a more used approach in recent years because many businesses do things the way they’ve always done them. If you can come in and show a decision-maker “Hey, you are leaving a ton of money on the table with your current solution,” they are generally more likely to consider switching or moving down your funnel.

Ultimately, you need to determine what works for your target group and your offer. Consider if they are actively searching for solutions on the web, if you need to educate the market, if they are aware of their problems and their impacts, if you need to create the demand, if it’s a highly competitive market, where the purchase typically happens, how you differentiate from alternative solutions, how you articulate your value proposition, what the average deal size or ARR is, and how you can sell profitably.

Each of these types of selling has its own set of characteristics and is best suited for different situations. By understanding each type, you can determine which approach will work best for your business and target audience. So, take the time to educate yourself on these four types of selling and start selling more effectively today.

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