How “THE CHALLENGER SALE” Fails and fix it overnight [Improving Challenger]

Quick scans won’t sell

Salespeople cannot expect to meet the specific needs of a prospective customer without completely understanding their industry and company goals. Unless they have the resources and time to delve into individual target accounts goals, initiatives, and financial gaps, they will never fully understand the needs of their buyers. This is extremely pertinent when selling “top-down” to decision makers and C-suite. The lack of business and financial detail or relevant leadership goals and issues in their “challenger approach” can end with poor new meeting and opportunity rates, false starts on opportunities, pipeline inaccuracies, and higher SG&A costs managing unfit pipelines and expectations.

In the end, if any deal is reached, it’s for less scope and impact than what was initially proposed.

“A Corporate Executive Board (CEB) study of 1,400+ B2B customers found 60% of typical purchasing decisions —researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking, pricing – happen before a conversation with a supplier.”

The Challenger Sale™

A challenger seller is one of the five widely accepted selling personas. An effective Challenger should be able to offer:
1.  A unique perspective
2.  Strong 2-way communication skills
3.  An understanding of individual customer value drivers
4.  An understanding of economic drivers surrounding a customer’s business

CEB Inc., creators of the Challenger Sale, describe it as being a “world class teacher.” Sales reps are supposed to know the customer’s world better than the customer knows it themselves. Presenting new perspectives to the customer is key to the sale, and being able to back that up with data and relatable cases of similar businesses will only enhance the sales effort. Alongside the salesperson, a marketing department must serve as an “insight generation machine” that will allow them to relay specific market information to their customer. The Challenger Sale is comprised of the perfect characteristics to earn that title, but how adaptable and feasible is this practice?

Where Challenger falls short

As vendors become less individualized and customers are flooded with constant sales calls, the Challenger Sale loses the ability to stand out. It also is built around an unrealistic set of requirements for a regular sales representative to effectively work with, especially when trying to sell to the C-Suite and managerial levels.

  • No adaptability. As buyers take more control of the sales process, the Challenger Sale starts to undermine the sales opportunity. Business analysts and marketing departments have more resources and time to make a quantifiable decision than salespeople, so challenging senior decision makers without substantive facts is a significantly flawed approach. The study by CEB Inc. states that the buyer carries out most of the purchasing process.
  • Lack of resources. Salespeople handling multiple large target public companies with significant diverse and complex buying committees need time and resources to gather account specific data. Without a team to gather that much company and industry data, the ability to effectively challenge weakens.

  • C-Suite exclusion. C-Suite and lower executive positions are made up of people with 15+ years on average in their industry. Challenging these key decision makers requires substantial quantifiable business outcomes that can’t be effective coming from a salesperson tasked with doing the same to a group of other accounts.

The Resolution

SPEEDSHEETS pick up where the Challenger Sale it falls short. The inclusion of C-Suite grade business cases and research that aligns vendor business outcomes with target account-specific value equips salespeople with insights they need to challenge decision makers. SpeedSheets challenge with consultative insights, facts, and account specific value.

Revenue Accelerators is the ONLY provider empowering Vendor Sales & Marketing teams to easily and more rapidly acquire high-performing opportunities from accessing and engaging Decision Makers and C-Suite. By defining the Vendors solution’s financial value, aligning it into Target Account objectives and business initiatives and using 1:1 ABM value messaging in SPEEDSHEETS; we transform Product to Value selling overnight for faster and easier selling.