How to create a winning sales motion for your business

Sales Motion
What is a sales motion?
5 reasons to work on your sales motion
What does a sales motion look like in action?
How to build an effective sales motion: best practices for maximum profit
Sales motion FAQs
Final thoughts

A sales motion standardizes how your reps approach prospects and engage customers, giving valuable structure to your selling strategy.

Once you’ve optimized your sales motion, it’s easier to achieve consistent results, scale up successes and drive growth.

In this article, you’ll learn what a sales motion is, why you need one and best practices for maximizing profit.

What is a sales motion?

A sales motion is a standardized and structured way of selling that aims to make the process more effective, predictable and scalable.

It combines your company’s techniques and tactics to attract prospects, understand their needs, present suitable solutions, close deals and build profitable relationships.

The better you understand and refine these activities, the easier it’ll be to achieve reliable results consistently and grow your business. That understanding starts with awareness of a sales motion’s key components.

Key sales motion components

Every sales motion, regardless of business type, has two parts: process and methodology.

The sales process is the steps a salesperson or sales team follows to complete a deal.

For example, your sales process might include prospecting, qualifying, demoing, closing and following up. Each step in the pipeline is precise, repeatable and easy to follow.

Sales motion: How an organized sales pipeline is crucial to your sales process

The sales methodology is the approach you use throughout that selling process.

For example, solution selling is a sales methodology that prioritizes understanding customer needs and offering solutions that meet those needs. Other sales methodologies include consultative selling, relationship selling and outcome-based selling.

An example of a sales motion in action

Imagine a tech company selling software-as-a-service (SaaS). Its product-led sales process goes like this:

  • Find potential customers on LinkedIn

  • Qualify them through sales calls

  • Schedule and perform software demonstrations

  • Negotiate contracts to close deals

  • Follow up for feedback and cross-selling opportunities

The company’s sales team uses a consultative selling approach as part of its sales motion, meaning reps focus on understanding client problems and recommending the best possible solutions.

Reps also have sales enablement material, like flowcharts for common objections, detailed feature lists and a range of case studies organized by industry. It allows them to answer questions quickly and show how the company helped similar businesses.

Applying a consultative methodology means keeping a customer-centric mindset at all sales process stages.

It might involve asking about pain points on initial sales calls instead of pitching a product immediately or tailoring software demos to the prospect’s specific challenges.

5 reasons to work on your sales motion

Working on your sales motion forces you to focus and organize your sales efforts, helping you close more deals and increase retention.

An optimized sales motion will set you up to do the following.

1. Shorten your sales cycle

Reps can lose many opportunities when relying on guesswork and experimentation. However, when sales reps know what to do at each step (the process) and how to do it (the methodology), they can achieve more in less time and hit targets sooner.

Standardizing your sales strategy creates a shorter, more predictable sales cycle. Shorter cycles mean more time for prospecting and nurturing other leads, ultimately generating more revenue for your business.

2. Boost your conversion rate

Repeating winning techniques ensures your team always follows best practices. Standardizing proven methods to move prospects through the sales funnel (and learning from mistakes when things don’t go according to plan) makes closing deals easier.

Sales motion: How the AIDA model helps you move prospects along the sales funnel

For example, if a consultative approach during product demo calls consistently wins over new clients, document and standardize it as part of your sales motion so the whole team can benefit.

3. Enhance the customer experience

When all sales team members follow the same well-refined approach, customers receive a consistent level of service, which improves their satisfaction.

Zendesk found that 70% of customers expect the salespeople they interact with to have the full context of their situation, proving the value of a joined-up approach.

Meanwhile, more than half will switch to a competitor after a single bad experience, so not meeting those expectations will likely cost you business.

4. Improve your decision-making

Refining your team or company’s sales motion means measuring performance continuously to find improvement opportunities.

The data you collect provides valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, helping you make better strategic decisions and set productive goals.

Harnessing data also gives you an edge over some of your competitors. In one LinkedIn study, almost half of sales, revenue and marketing professionals said the processes in their companies are only moderately data-driven or not data-driven at all.

5. Deliver on your business strategy

A strong sales motion ensures sales activities help your broader business strategy. Your sales team can then focus on tasks and goals that help the company progress.

Say a SaaS company’s strategy is to expand its market share in the finance sector. Its sales motion can include a process and methodology that targets buyers at financial services providers.

It aims to identify well-established advisors who still rely on paper records (e.g., prospecting) and pitch the most industry-relevant features, such as analytics, security and compliance tracking.

What does a sales motion look like in action?

A sales motion may initially look like a simple sales process. However, dig deeper and you’ll see that each stage involves precise consideration of tactics to determine how individual actions influence other parts of the chain.

Here are the five key sales motion stages in more detail.

1. Prospecting

Prospecting is the first stage in all outbound sales cycles. It involves finding people who would value your product or service.

Building prospecting into a sales motion means approaching it with a broader perspective, knowing your chosen tactic will affect every future step.

For example, highly targeted prospecting will help you find more qualified leads who will be receptive to your pitch. Those people are easier to convert and more willing to start a relationship with your brand.

Looking at the big picture sets the stage for a smoother, more predictable sales motion.

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2. Qualifying

Building a strong sales motion means assessing and refining your methods and criteria to qualify potential customers (i.e., your lead qualification machine).

The method is the questions or qualification framework you adopt, like BANT (a checklist of budget, authority, need and timing) or CHAMP (challenges, authority, money and prioritization).

Your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas determine the criteria. If you use the BANT framework, for example, what level of budget, authority, need and timing qualifies someone?

Sales motion: How creating ideal customer profiles determines the criteria to qualify potential customers

If lots of leads go cold at any point after qualification, you need to revisit your strategy. Tweaking it will help ensure reps have high-quality leads to nurture so they can use their selling time and effort effectively.

3. Pitching

Pitching as part of a broader sales motion isn’t solely a case of explaining your product’s functionality. It means demonstrating how the solution aligns with the lead’s needs and situation using your chosen methodology.

For example, if you’re using the challenger sales methodology, focus your pitch on teaching, tailoring and taking control of the conversation.

That process might include presenting unique insights about the lead’s industry, highlighting challenges they may not have recognized and showing how your product addresses them.

A successful pitch makes a compelling case for why the prospect should choose your solution over competitors, which makes closing more straightforward.

4. Closing

Closing is where all the previous steps come together to secure the prospect’s commitment.

To close efficiently, you’ll need to do more than ask for the sale. You must also address all remaining objections and reinforce your solution’s value. Once again, your exact approach will depend on your sales methodology.

For example, if you use the SPIN selling technique (situation, problem, implication, need-payoff), you might recap these points to make purchasing the natural next step.

The conversation could go something like this

“From all our discussions, I get that excessive admin forces you to neglect customer relationships. Losing customers isn’t sustainable, but our automation tool will stop that. Are you ready to start freeing time and strengthening your business?”

Whichever methodology you apply to your sales process, your aim at this stage is to make the transition from prospect to customer smooth and positive.

Effective closing sets the foundation for a long-term, high-value relationship and aids the last step of your sales motion.

5. Relationship-building

Cementing relationships goes far beyond closing deals or upselling. It’s about maximizing lifetime value to make your business more efficient and profitable. That lifetime value comes from turning one-time customers into loyal advocates.

Weaving relationship-building into your sales motion means committing to three key responsibilities:

  • Maintaining regular communication

  • Providing exceptional customer support

  • Offering value continually

For instance, after a deal closes and you’ve gone through onboarding, schedule follow-up meetings to ensure customer satisfaction and discuss any extra needs. This tactic suits relationship and consultative sales methodologies, showing you’re committed to maximizing buyer return on investment (ROI).

Alternatively, share industry updates in an email newsletter to keep subscribers engaged or invite loyal followers to exclusive events to make them feel valued. You may also find natural cross-selling opportunities.

How to build an effective sales motion: best practices for maximum profit

Understanding what goes into a sales motion and why you need one are only the first steps. The next, more challenging part is building a sales motion that helps your company thrive.

Use these best practices to build your new template for sales success.

Organize your sales motion with a CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) software organizes customer interactions and sales activities to help you make informed decisions at all stages of your sales motion.

An alternative to confusing spreadsheets and siloed notes, it’s an easy way to track customer expectations throughout the sales process and see how they respond to your chosen methodology.

How Pipedrive CRM helps you make your sales motion more effective

Here are three ways a CRM will make your sales motion more efficient and effective:

  • Centralized data. Access valuable customer insights to tailor your approach, track sales interactions and follow up at the perfect moment to inspire action.

  • Pipeline management. Track each deal’s progress in the sales process and identify potential bottlenecks before they cause prospects to drop out.

  • Automation. Automate repetitive admin and routine sales tasks to free up time for strategizing, relationship-building and urgent ad-hoc work.

For example, Pipedrive’s fully customizable pipeline view shows the current status of sales, marketing, revenue and projects in real time. You’ll also see where leads drop out of the funnel, allowing you to fix issues and close more deals.

Build a collaborative culture

When team members work together and share information, they can learn from each other’s wins and obstacles while performing better at all stages of the sales motion.

An Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) study found that high-performing companies are up to 5.5 times more likely to incentivize collaboration.

Reap the rewards for your organization by prioritizing these elements:

  • Regular meetings. Arrange sessions to discuss progress, share strategies and address common issues.

  • Shared goals. Set team-wide goals to foster a sense of unity while encouraging sales and marketing team members to support each other in achieving shared objectives.

  • Open communication. Encourage team members to swap ideas, feedback and best practices.

This kind of collaboration ensures everyone is working toward the same objectives, which can lead to increased deals and a more efficient sales motion.

Automate workflows to free up time

Automating routine and low-skill sales tasks will free up time for cold calling, building new go-to-market strategies (GTM strategies) and personalizing customer experiences.

Respondents to Pipedrive’s State of Sales and Marketing survey who adopted technology and automated their sales and marketing tasks were 16% more likely to hit their targets. The more salespeople who hit their targets, the more effective your sales motion will be.

Sales motion: How automated workflows free up valuable time for higher-level tasks

Exactly what you can automate depends on the sales software you choose.

For example, Pipedrive can automate critical sales and marketing tasks like outreach, nurturing leads, sending follow-up emails, scheduling calls and generating reports.

Commercial refrigeration company Container Team cut the time it spent managing inquiries by 20% using Pipedrive’s automations instead of spreadsheets to keep track.

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Use performance analytics to refine your sales motion

Sales motions are never complete. You’ll need to keep adapting your strategy and tweaking the details to ensure your efforts align with buyer expectations.

Performance analytics tools are vital in identifying what needs improvement and when so you can ensure your sales motion is as smooth and efficient as possible.

Sales motion: How performance analytics tools are crucial to identify points of improvement

Again, you’ll need a sales CRM to collect, analyze and act on the right data. The typical process looks like this:

  • Track relevant metrics. Use your CRM’s dashboards and reports to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) like conversion rates, customer acquisition costs (CAC) and sales cycle length.

  • Analyze the data. Look for successes, failures and other patterns across your sales motion to find opportunities for improvement.

  • Adjust strategies. Based on this analysis, adjust your sales motion to address any issues and capitalize on winning tactics.

For example, if data shows that some sales pitches yield more conversions, you can refine your training to use those as inspiration. Meanwhile, an increased sales cycle length could point to new customer pain points that your team isn’t addressing.

Sales motion FAQs

Final thoughts

Any business or sales leader who wants to find, convert and retain high-value customers must understand their sales motion. The more aware you are of how yours works, the easier it will be to find improvement opportunities and enhance your results.

Whether you’re a new business owner targeting product-led growth (PLG) or an established enterprise sales leader, this guide offers insights and best practices for building a roadmap for your sales efforts.

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