Building Challenger Playbooks Designed for Growth

Opportunity Planning

The Challenge of Identifying Growth Opportunities

A new kind of buyer has emerged. The relationship between customers and sales reps have fundamentally changed over the past decade, as the power has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Customers today do their own independent research, now waiting until they are 57% through the buyers journey before even contacting sales. According to Mark Kopcha, CEO of Revegy, “Buyers today are much more careful with where they invest their money, and as a result the buyer is becoming increasingly sophisticated. The cornerstone of sales success in 2017 and beyond is leveraging customer intelligence to align your products or services to the buyers’ business needs.”

At the same time, there are an increasing number of stakeholders involved in purchasing decisions, making it more difficult to sell into large, matrixed organizations. At the recent CEB Sales & Marketing Summit in the “Building Playbooks for Growth” session, Dr. Sugato Deb, Director of the Business Impact Group at National Instruments, noted that sellers today struggle to identify and pursue growth opportunities because:

It’s Risky

  • Irrelevant or inapplicable insights harm seller credibility
  • Seller may appear uninformed and aggravate customer
  • Growth conversations can lead sellers outside of expertise areas

It’s Hard 

  • Determining a starting point for account growth is overwhelming
  • Requires drawing clear conclusions from imperfect, disparate information
  • Requires significant synthesis and creative thinking
  • Difficult to understand customer’s business challenges

To overcome these challenges and ultimately drive growth, it is critical to use plans and playbooks to empower critical thinking in the sales cycle.

Prescriptive Account Opportunity Development Cycle

Dr. Sugato Deb also discussed the value of playbooks, introducing key ways to make the process easier by going through what he calls the “Prescriptive Account Opportunity Development Cycle”. This is made up of three phases  –  1) pre-built customer mental map, 2) business impact hypotheses, and 3) pre-built insight playbook.

The pre-built customer mental map allows teams to do the following:

  • Provides supplier-agnostic view of customer’s business
  • Aides sellers to spot improvement opportunities from the customer’s perspective
  • Ensures sellers and customers properly identify root cause issues

The mental map nodes then link to the hypotheses that sellers can use to highlight implications and points of oversight to the customer.

Dr. Sugato Deb recommended limiting the business hypotheses to the two most frequent areas to ensure that they are manageable, broadly applicable and scalable. During the panel, he discussed how the strategic nature of the hypotheses enables sellers to elevate their conversations to the highest levels in the customer organization. Sellers then work with customers to correct the initial view of the account and adapt as needed based on customer feedback.

When it comes to developing playbooks, Dr. Sugato Deb provided the following best practices:

  1. Limit to 1 page with no more than 7 – 8 sections
  2. Sections should mirror the general sequence of sales conversations
  3. Leads to (not with) your unique differentiators
  4. Provides a link to next steps and resources for sellers
  5. Use rigorous role plays to build seller comfort

Execution Playbooks to Deliver Growth through Challenger® Sales

The most critical facet of any enterprise level sales organization is a manageable, repeatable process and standardized toolkit with all of the resources sellers need to succeed. Revegy offers execution playbooks that allow sales reps and account managers to bring the Challenger customer buying process to life.

You have a highly compensated and talented sales team — one that could crush the competition if they had the right materials at the right time to attack every opportunity.

Execution Playbooks provide the necessary tools to drive real, sustainable revenue growth by providing a visual context that gives inside, field or channel sales teams the customer-focused clarity they need to identify gaps, correlations and hidden opportunities within complex buyer landscapes.

Revegy’s execution-driven playbooks can help you align products and services to your customer’s goals and objectives and uncover highly qualified sales opportunities that close faster and contribute to predictable, long-term revenue visibility.

These playbooks guide and empower reps to stay focused on the buyer’s journey, not just their sales process, and allow reps to align their activities and strategies to how the customer evaluates and purchases. These playbooks are interactive and include links to content/videos/artifacts, etc. to reinforce training and the Challenger methodology.

Revegy Brings Challenger Selling to Life

Revegy brings Challenger to life and takes it from theory to an operational, measurable, repeatable and predictable framework for ongoing execution. A big challenge with companies that adopt any methodology is how to reinforce it over time. Reps often “unlearn” what they learn during kickoffs and training after a short time.

Revegy offers a set of purpose-built tools that are visual in nature designed to operationalize the challenger model so it becomes a part of reps’ daily enablement.

CHALLENGER® is a registered trademark of CEB, Inc. Revegy is not affiliated with or endorsed by CEB, Inc.

Related Challenger Selling Resources

Blog: The 3 Critical Ways to Bring the Challenger Sale to Life

eBook: Drive Revenue Growth with Customer-Centric Clarity


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