challenger selling

The Ultimate Guide to the Challenger Sales Model

The B2B sales landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. According to studies, 40% of top sales performers are now leveraging the Challenger sales model, moving away from the traditional solution selling towards a more dynamic approach—value selling…

With buyers becoming more informed than ever, it’s crucial for sales professionals to evolve and adapt to this changing environment. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the Challenger sales model and learn how to thrive in modern B2B selling.

Understanding Sales Methodology: The Challenger Sales Model

The Challenger sales model denotes a key shift in B2B sales operations. Earlier, traditional “solution selling” worked on finding customer needs and offering apt solutions. However, with today’s data-rich environment, buyers come into the purchasing field well aware, changing the rules of the game.

The Challenger sales model emphasizes the need for sales representatives to bring innovative ideas to the table. These representatives, known as Challenger sellers, provide customers with data that challenges their pre-existing beliefs, offering fresh perspectives on problem-solving.

Evolution of the Challenger Model 

The Sales Challenger Model has evolved by shifting focus from seller personas to buyer personas. Initially, it ranked sales reps into five personas (discussed in detail later in the article).

However, since accepting the importance of customer-centricity, it now focuses on understanding and engaging with the Challenger customer. The shift accepts that successful sales experience relies on identifying the mobilizers within the buyer’s organization.

Value Selling vs. The Challenger Sales Methodology

Traditional solution selling, with a focus on addressing customer needs, once dominated B2B sales. However, as the business evolved, this sales process approach showed its limitations. 

In response to the changing landscape and the limitations of solution selling, value-based selling came to the fore. While solution selling involves identifying existing customer needs, value-based selling is a proactive approach that starts with the solution and works its way to the problem. Buyers come with data insights and enter the purchasing journey with a deep understanding of their problems and available solutions.

The Challenger sales model aligns with this by presenting customers with groundbreaking ideas and insights, reshaping their problem-solving perspectives. It encourages sales representatives to initiate meaningful conversations, challenge established norms, and guide customers toward insightful conclusions. In essence, value-based selling and the Challenger approach go hand in hand.

Key Principles of the Challenger Approach

The Challenger methodology is built on several foundational principles:

  • Teaching: Challengers serve as educators. They offer customers insights and knowledge that question the existing views while building trust.
  • Tailoring: This method emphasizes the importance of customizing sales pitches to address each prospect’s distinct challenges, promoting personalized interactions.
  • Taking Control: Challengers lead sales conversations towards valuable insights. They’re not afraid to question existing views to help prospects identify optimal solutions.
  • Disruptive Thinking: This approach stresses the importance of disruptive ideas that challenge customers’ existing thought processes.

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

Challenger Sales ModelImage source: Snovio

Understanding Challenger Sales Personas

To truly comprehend the Challenger sales model, one must familiarize themselves with the five foundational seller personas. Each persona possesses distinct traits, strengths, and weaknesses, bringing a unique sales approach to the table. Let’s explore these personas of the challenger sales method first:

The Hard Worker

Strengths: Hard Workers are known for their dedication. They are willing to put in extra hours and effort to meet sales goals, which makes them loyal team members.

Weaknesses: However, their focus on activity may stop them from meeting customer needs. They may struggle with strategic thinking and adapting to unknown situations.

The Problem Solver

Strengths: Problem Solvers are great at analytical thinking. They solve issues fast and provide crisp solutions, which makes them reliable.

Weaknesses: Their attachment to detail makes them slow decision-makers, which does not fit the fast-paced nature of complex sales. They may also struggle with uncommon thinking, which is key to Challenger sales personas.

The Relationship Builder

Strengths: Relationship builders are adept at building strong connections with clients. They are patient, show empathy, and are ready to go the extra mile to build links.

Weaknesses: Their passion for relationships may delay their ability to challenge customers’ assumptions or bring new ideas to the table.

The Lone Wolf

Strengths: Lone Wolves are independent and self-confident. They often get impressive results due to their urge to break the rules and follow their own path.

Weaknesses: Their independent nature may become a roadblock to smooth collaboration with the team. They might not align with the Challenger sales personas, which require collaboration and customized insights.

The Challenger

Strengths: Challengers, also known as value-based sellers, are the central focus of the Challenger selling model. They are great at educating customers, adapting their approach, and steering the conversations. They challenge customer assumptions and have no issues in suggesting new thinking patterns. They take back the power of the conversation and lead the customer to discover valuable insights.

Weaknesses: Their focus on disruption may sometimes affect customers the wrong way. Building trust using this approach can be challenging.

With a clear understanding of these distinct seller personas, we can now delve deeper into how the Challenger sales model shifts its focus toward the buyer, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and engaging with the right customer personas.

The Challenger Customer: A Shift in Focus

The earlier approach involved merely dividing sales reps based on their approaches. But now, the focus is on understanding buyers’ varying needs, motivations, and behaviors. This approach recognizes that buyers are not robots but that each has their unique problems, tastes, and thinking processes.

Identifying and Engaging with the Challenger Customer

Among the buyer personas, the “Challenger sales customer” is a focal point. Challenger sales customers are those within an organization who actively want change and are motivated to challenge the status quo. They bring disruptive thinking and innovation within their companies.

So, identifying and engaging with Challenger sales customers is highly important for sales teams looking to succeed. For this, you need a deep understanding of their needs, motivations, and pain points.

Challenger customers often possess the following characteristics:

  • Go-Getters: They are bold and passionate about bringing positive change to their parent firms.
  • Teachers: Challenger sales customers proactively educate themselves and their colleagues about new solutions and trends in the industry.
  • Skeptics: They use a critical approach, challenging the status quo whenever needed and always pushing for improvements.

Navigating the Intricate B2B Landscape

In the complex world of B2B sales, where multiple stakeholders are involved, identifying and engaging with the right persons can make or break a deal. At the core of this method lies the importance of identifying mobilizers in the buying process.

Mobilizers: Catalysts for Change

Mobilizers, often referred to as “champions” or “change agents,” are people within the customer’s organization who play a key part in bringing productive change. They are the ones behind the adoption of innovative solutions and new approaches. 

Identifying mobilizers is important because they have the power to influence and shape buying decisions within organizations.

Challenges in Pinpointing Mobilizers

Identifying mobilizers is a task filled with challenges, especially in complex organizational structures. In many cases, decision-making involves multiple departments and stakeholders. This can block the path to identifying the true mobilizers.

Some common challenges in identifying mobilizers include:

  • Complex Hierarchies: Large organizations have complex structures that don’t give much power to individuals. So, mobilizers may not hold usual decision-making titles, which makes them hard to locate.
  • Stakeholder Diversity: B2B deals involve stakeholders from multiple departments, each with its own priorities. Mobilizers may not always appear to agree with the power holders, making them hard to identify.
  • Resistance to Change: While mobilizers look for change, they face resistance from colleagues who support the status quo. This makes their efforts go unnoticed.

Technology’s Role in Identifying Mobilizers

To overcome these challenges, sales enablement teams need tools and technology to identify mobilizers. These should provide insights into organizational structures and the relationships between key stakeholders. One such tool is Revegy. It enables sales professionals to visualize complex organizational dynamics, identify mobilizers, and create sales strategies accordingly.

Unlocking the Power of Challenger Sales with Revegy

Revegy is more than a tool; it’s your strategic ally in the B2B sales landscape, where the Challenger sales model reigns supreme. With Revegy, sales leaders are armed with the insights and tools they need to navigate intricate buyer landscapes. I

Visualizing Complex Organizational Structures

One of Revegy’s pivotal features is the ability to visualize complex organizational structures clearly. Lately, organizational hierarchies have become increasingly complicated. It is challenging to figure out decision-making metrics and to identify mobilizers. 

Revegy transforms the game by giving you a visual map of the customer’s organization. It comes with details of hierarchies, relationships, and roles.

This visual representation empowers sales professionals to:

  • Identify Decision-Makers: Revegy helps you pinpoint the decision-makers of an organization, including the mobilizers who are key to bringing change.
  • Understand Hierarchies: By visualizing the hierarchy, you understand how decisions flow inside the organization. It lets you tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Highlight Silent Influencers: Uncover the influencers and stakeholders who may not hold formal decision-making roles but play a big role in the process.

Why Revegy is Essential for the Challenger Sales Approach

Revegy offers support for mastering the Challenger sales approach for several reasons:

Relationship Mapping

  • Relationship or Stakeholder Mapping: The tool gives you a clear organizational visualization that lets sales professionals map stakeholders, from decision-makers to blockers and advocates, making custom engagement strategies possible.


  • Data-Driven Insights: Revegy uses data and analytics to come up with practical insights. This helps enhance sales operations and improves decision-making.

sales playbook

  • Team Collaboration: With Revegy, you can make collaboration within sales teams easier with integrated sales playbooks. This enables the smooth sharing of knowledge and intelligence about customers.

challenger selling

  • Customer-Centric Approach: Revegy supports the customer-centric approach by finding and engaging mobilizers, which is fundamental to the Challenger Sales Model.

Navigating Modern B2B Selling with Ease

In this comprehensive exploration of the Challenger sales model, we’ve highlighted the transformative shift from traditional solution selling to the dynamic approach of value selling. As the B2B landscape evolves, it’s evident that informed buyers necessitate a change in sales tactics. The Challenger sales model, with its emphasis on innovative ideas and challenging pre-existing beliefs, offers a fresh perspective on problem-solving. This model not only focuses on the seller but also places significant importance on understanding the buyer’s unique needs and motivations. 

With the challenges of navigating intricate B2B landscapes and identifying key mobilizers, tools like Revegy emerge as game-changers, offering invaluable insights into complex organizational dynamics. Revegy’s capabilities, from visualizing organizational structures to mapping stakeholders, make it an indispensable ally for sales teams aiming to master the Challenger approach. If you’re keen on revolutionizing your B2B sales strategy and want to experience the power of Revegy firsthand, book a demo with us today.


What are the Pros and Cons of the Challenger Sales Model?

The Challenger Sales Model prioritizes sharing disruptive insights and customized solutions. It brings several advantages and has some potential drawbacks, too.


  • Higher Win Rates: One of the main benefits is the ability to drive better win rates. Challengers can guide prospects toward the right decisions, improving the chances of closed deals.
  • Increased Revenue: By challenging customers with fresh insights, sales teams often see a spike in revenue. Customized solutions that solve specific problems land bigger and better deals.
  • Improved Customer Engagement: The model supports relevant conversations where sales reps teach prospects. This builds customer relationships and trust.
  • Adaptability: The Challenger approach is flexible and applicable across various industries and sectors, making it a great method for diverse sales teams.


  • Requires Skilled Reps: Execution of the Challenger Sales Model needs trained and skilled sales reps. Hence, tools and technology help reps to quickly adapt and cope with this approach with data, training, and a roadmap to success.
  • Resistance: Some customers may resist the disruptive approach and stick to traditional relationship-based selling. However, creating a compelling business case with Revegy can help the customer understand how your solutions are essential for their success.
  • Complexity: Tailoring solutions to each client is time-consuming and complex, especially when dealing with a large customer base. Using Revegy’s strategic account planning, you can equip your team with unified playbooks and a consistent way to share information, remove silos, and eliminate blind spots, thus making the sales team more effective.

How Can Sales Teams Effectively Identify Mobilizers?

Identifying mobilizers within complex organizations can be an uphill task. However, it is crucial for success in the Challenger sales approach. A salesperson can employ several strategies:

  • Leverage Data: Use data analytics and market research to recognize those with a history of influencing change and decisions.
  • Network Actively: Build connections within the prospect’s organization to know more about the power dynamics and the most important persons.
  • Collaborate Internally: Work with colleagues and stakeholders to learn all about the prospect’s organization and its key players.
  • Use Technology: Leverage tools like Revegy to visualize the organizational structure, making it easier to identify decision-makers and mobilizers.

What are the Must-have Features of a Tool Needed for Mastering the Challenger Sales Model?

Some key features that help sales teams execute the Challenger Methodology well are:

  • Insight Generation: The tool should enable the collection of market insights and data points to build compelling, disruptive insights that Challengers can use to challenge customer beliefs.
  • Customization Capabilities: It should let sales reps tailor their usual approach and solutions to each client’s specific problems and preferences.
  • Content Creation: Tools should support the creation of educational content that can be distributed among customer channels to challenge their previous beliefs.
  • Sales Playbooks: In-depth sales playbooks should be offered within the tool, allowing the navigation of different customer scenarios and personas.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Detailed analytics and reporting features to help sales teams track performance and understand the success of Challenger strategies.



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