Tl;dr - The MEDDIC sales methodology has become increasingly popular. What is MEDDIC? How about the variations it's spawned including MEDDICC and MEDDPICC? Is it applicable to capital equipment sales? Will it improve results?
Sales Methodology for Complex Sales
Large complex sales like capital equipment face multiple hurdles throughout a multi-month or year sales cycle. Sales process and sales methodology must be carefully refined, continuously coached, and rigorously followed in order to deliver consistent, predictable industrial sales results.
Let's start with the distinction.
- The sales process is a series of steps that should lead to a sale.
- The methodology is the way in which the process is executed. (More on the difference here.)
There are numerous sales methodologies with which you're probably familiar. These include Sandler, Strategic Selling, SPIN, Conceptual Selling, Challenger, SNAP Selling, and Baseline Sales (which is unique in that it serves as both process and methodology simultaneously.)
MEDDIC is another methodology that, anecdotally, has recently become quite popular. As it's grown in adoption it's also been adapted and refined. What started as MEDDIC has been modified first to MEDDICC and later to MEDDPICC.
Let's look at the fundamentals of the MEDDIC sales methodology and then explore whether it's a strong fit for complex sales like capital equipment.
What is the MEDDIC Sales Methodology?
MEDDIC is an acronym that stands for:
- Metrics - the measurable inputs, outputs, and KPIs that will determine whether the project advances and whether it's ultimately a success or failure
- Economic Buyer - the person (or team) that can approve capital and authorize spending (you might know this as the decision-maker)
- Decision criteria - what factors will be used to make the decision
- Decision process - how the decision to purchase, and from whom, will be made (or the FIVE decisions!)
- Identify pain - the compelling business issues that need to be addressed
- Champion - a person with organizational influence to help manage the process within the customer
The additional "C" in MEDDICC is:
- Competition - what competitive vendors and solutions they're considering, along with all the detail from your battle cards
MEDDPICC adds the "P" which is:
- Paper process - insurance, security, NDA, preferred vendor lists, etc.
Reading through this list raises a question. Is MEDDIC a sales process or methodology?
The list reads like a process (series of steps) vs. a methodology (technique.) While MEDDIC Sales is commonly referred to as a methodology, when you dig into the specifics it really looks more like a robust sales qualification process.
That's why many organizations may opt to use it in conjunction with another B2B sales methodology like the Challenger Sales.
That highlights an important point. Regardless of the sales process and/or sales methodology you use, it's important to be precise and consistent. It's easy to conflate sales process and methodology because there's some inherent overlap. Mixing them up leads to a lack of precision in sales, that in turn leads to degraded performance.
We have to design, define and agree to precise, consistent language for our frameworks, and use language and terms consistently in coaching, pipeline reviews, CRM stages, etc. And of course, management must hold themselves to the same standards as the field sales team.
But how about capital equipment and machinery sales? Is a MEDDIC sales approach appropriate?
MEDDIC Sales in Complex Capital Equipment Sales
Capital equipment sales is a particularly challenging type of industrial sales because sell cycles tend to be longer, ticket values higher, and buying teams larger. Competition for capital between departments and locations means that the vendor selection decision where most sales teams focus is actually not where most deals are lost.
The MEDDIC sales process (or methodology,) therefore, can be beneficial for machinery sales teams as a framework to enhance understanding of the entire deal environment.
BUT....as I explain in this article, there are five decisions involved in most capital equipment purchases. A company could adopt MEDDIC as a process/methodology but only apply it superficially to the final decision - vendor selection. Doing so wouldn't materially improve results because so many deals founder elsewhere in the process. Worse, doing so might create a false sense of confidence in forecasts and pipeline.
Any Process and/or Methodology is Better Than None!
The bottom line is that any process or methodology that creates a structure of precision and accountability around opportunity qualification will improve capital equipment sales results. Many companies don't even clearly define requirements to advance from one pipeline stage to another, or at best have some casual and anecdotal BANT confirmation.
A successful framework must be based on a deep, nuanced understanding of how buying decisions are made - not only vendor selection but project prioritization, capital allocation, and buying team dynamics.
The system must be applied continuously. The old Sandler model of closing watertight doors on the submarine made sense when a single decision-maker was managing projects. Today's large buying teams, risk aversion, and availability of information mean that the entire process is in flux all the time. Every deal must be continuously prequalified regardless of the stage.
Finally, for the system to have value, it must be applied consistently and rigorously. If you have top-performing sales talent that might mean checkboxes confirming key steps to advance from one pipeline stage to another (e.g. identified key metrics that will drive the decision.) For most sales teams you'll need them to complete narratives that will require them to ask tough questions, push back, and really quantify. (e.g. primary metric, range of values, who set it, who on buying team disagrees, what if after completion they miss it, what happens if they fail to address it, how is change quantified in dollars, who owns the risk, etc.)
That will help improve sales performance, improve forecast accuracy (as you filter out a lot of fluff) and pipeline management, and provide capable sales managers with important coaching insights.
So, yes. For many companies that aren't yet disciplined in sales process and methodology, MEDDIC can help. Applied expertly it can definitely improve deal qualification (and consistent prequalification.)
But MEDDIC, like any sales technique, process, methodology or system, requires superb sales management and strong, consistent training and accountability.