Matt is also the Group Leader, Financial Services Practice with CEB, a best practice insight and technology company. As a senior member of CEB’s global research team, Matt has overseen dozens of original quantitative and qualitative research studies on all aspects of customer service strategy and sales productivity.
Additionally, Brent is the Principal Executive Advisor, Marketing & Communications Practice with CEB, a best practice insight and technology company. He is also a frequent contributor on sales topics on Harvard Business Review´s blog and as well as being published in Bloomberg, Businessweek and Selling Power.
Winning with The Challenger Sale: Pipeliner CRM Behind You All the Way
The Challenger is one of five personas into which, according to the Challenger Sale sales methodology, nearly every B2B salesperson fits. The others are relationship builders, hard workers, lone wolves, and reactive problem solvers.
According to Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, authors of the bestselling book The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, the challenger represented 40 percent of the top-performing reps in the authors’ study detailed in the book.
Because it is evident that the Challenger is by far the most successful sales persona, the authors take the time to isolate the qualities found in this type of salesperson, and impart them to the other four personality types.
The Challenger follows a particular control process consisting of three basic factors.
Challengers teach their prospects—not about the product or service in question, but about larger business problems, new ideas, and astute insights. Challenger sales reps possess a keen understanding of the customer’s business and utilize that understanding to expand the customer’s thinking and impart to them something new about how their company can more effectively do business.
The challenger doesn’t win simply by understanding their customers’ world as well as their customers, but by actually knowing it better, and imparting wisdom to prospects about it.
So what sets a challenger apart is not so much the quality of their products, but the value of their insight.
Instead of having a set pattern, they tailor their communications to the person they are talking to. A B2B buying decision is rarely if ever made by one person; it is a “committee matter” made by consensus. If a rep is to win a deal, they must be able to effectively communicate with a wide range of customer stakeholders. Of course, this must be done with control, diplomacy, and empathy.
Being able to accomplish this, the salesperson then builds advocacy throughout the prospect organization—a “network of advocacy” that will hold together in support of the deal. When it is time to make the decision, the buyer wants to know they have the strong backing of the organization.
The conversations should have some common elements, however: they should illustrate through compelling stories about their business, teach them something new, then lead to their differentiators.
Focused on the Goal
The challenger remains focused on the end goal rather than simply being liked; in other words, they’re not being afraid to push back on their customer. If the rep isn’t willing to do that, then the rep won’t be willing to convince the customer that the problem is urgent, and won’t be able to convince the customer it’s worth solving.
Of course, this push on the customer is conducted with respect and sensitivity to how the customer is reacting.
Behind You All the Way: Pipeliner CRM
The Challenger Sale only truly succeeds with a highly efficient CRM solution.
Ideally, the Challenger Sale has been carefully mapped out, based on the sales steps of successful reps who have succeeded in the past. CRM must be rapidly and easily adaptable to the broad stages of a company’s sales process, as well as the distinct steps (activities and tasks) to be taken at each stage.
With its completely visual, intuitive functionality, Pipeliner CRM meets and exceeds these qualifications and more.
Find out how Pipeliner CRM can totally empower your Challenger Sale efforts. Try our free trial.
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