Have you heard of Challenger Sales or a Challenger Sales method? Or, thought of introducing it into your Middle Market company? Challenger salespeople are more comfortable with complex sales solutions. This could include helping their customers design sales programs that solve issues the customer may be experiencing. Challengers also are more adept at looking into the future. Thus, helping customers recognize opportunities they may be missing out on.
Challengers typically are your top salespeople and have higher close rates as well. They truly are more of a partner with their customers. So, satisfaction rates on both sides of the customer/salesperson table tend to be higher.
What Challengers Excel At
Challengers have some clear strengths they can rely on which help them be more successful in general. They are comfortable tackling and breaking down complex products and sales methods with customers. They are able to define and share opportunities and associated risk. So, they can help customers explore solutions they hadn’t thought of. Challengers are typically better teachers. Which means they help customers see innovations in their operations. Plus they can clearly demonstrate how customers can use these new thoughts for success. Lastly, because they form more of a partnership with clients, they are more hands on and are better at developing custom solutions. Your challengers will probably develop longer, stronger relationships rather than being your churn and burn salespeople.
Should You Focus On Challenger Methods?
Just like any other sales capabilities, some people are more naturally inclined to be challengers than others. So, you may already notice some of your sales team exhibit these tendencies and behaviors. While they will be easier or quicker to coach and adapt to challenger methods, the good news is the rest of your staff can also be trained to shift to a challenger mindset.
However, it may be your organization isn’t set up for these types of sales methods or that you don’t desire to make the change. As mentioned, challengers are great at taking time to develop relationships with customers and help them refine their own internal processes. It takes time to do, so your challengers will likely have larger but fewer sales. The sales cycle may also take more time as your salespeople will be delving deeper into your customer’s business. If your organization runs on short cycles, with lots of repeat business and depends on high volume, it may be tough to make the transition. Think about what a challenger model would bring to your organization and if those are things you value.
Challenger methods could be fantastic for your Middle Market organization, but will typically require a fair amount of work, mindset and process shifts. So, take some time to fully investigate if challenger sales models would be the right choice before you start trying to adapt them.
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