The Ultimate Guide to the Challenger Sales Model

The hardest thing about winning deals in today’s B2B landscape is that buyers don’t need you the way that they used to. Ten years ago, a sales rep could achieve success by focusing on the customer’s needs and selling them “solutions”. In the past, this worked because while buyers were aware of their problems, they did not know how to solve them.

Things have changed today. Because companies have more data than ever before, they can define solutions for themselves and don’t need the help of a sales rep. An HBR article, The End of Solution Sales, claims that companies “now wait until they are 57% through the purchase process before contacting sales.” CEB justified this stat, citing a VP of Sales that claimed “For the first time, our customers know more about us than we know about them.” With that said, customers across various industries are often one step ahead of salespeople.

The Rise of Value Selling and the Challenger® Sales Model

Because of this change in B2B Sales, the idea of “value selling” has become increasingly popular. As we mentioned above, traditional solution selling is focusing on customer’s needs and selling them solutions. It focuses on leading with open-ended questions designed to reveal the most important customer needs. However, customers are likely already aware of these important needs, so a different type of selling is necessary.

Value selling rests on the notion that sales reps should lead with disruptive and unique ideas that will cause customers to realize unknown needs. This is where the Challenger Sales Model comes to play. The Challenger Sales Model is based on the idea that value-based sellers, also known as challenger sellers, present customers with disruptive ideas and insights to challenge customer’s assumptions and force them to think differently. They take back the power of the conversation and lead the customer to discover valuable insights.

The Evolution of the Challenger Sales Model – From Challenger Seller to Challenger Customer

Over the past few years, the challenger model has undergone an evolution. There has been a shift in focus from the challenger seller (or the challenger sales rep) to the challenger customer (or prospect). In the past, the challenger model focused on seller personas (i.e. the hard worker, the challenger, the relationship builder, the lone wolf and the problem solver). However, the model has evolved to now focus on the buyer personas. This shift is critical for sales reps to have the customer-centricity necessary to identify unknown needs and ultimately win deals.

The Challenge of Navigating the Buyer Landscape

The most important buyer persona to identify is the mobilizer. These are known as the go-getters, the teachers, and the skeptics – the people who are focused first and foremost on driving productive change within their organizations. While it’s critical for sales teams to identify these mobilizers, this is extremely challenging, thanks to the number of stakeholders and the complexity of enterprise structures.

Reps relying on traditional sales approaches will fail to identify and engage these individuals. Teams must have an innovative, visual approach to identify the mobilizers who matter most.

Identify Mobilizers and Master Challenger Sales with Revegy

To identify and engage with these mobilizers, you need a way to visualize this complex organizational and political structure of buying centers including who matters, who influences who, and what each individual cares about. Revegy allows reps to engage the mobilizers – those most important to influence in the challenger sale – and tailor your pitch to what these individuals care about most.

While mobilizers are the most important group to influence, it is also critical to map all stakeholders – talkers, blockers, guides and friends. With Revegy, you can effectively map each of these stakeholders and understand how they are all connected. The Revegy solution allows you to see where you’re driving consensus by showing who favors you and how strong your relationship is.

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

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