People are buying in very different ways (both as consumers and B2B organisations). So it isn’t surprising that selling and salespeople are also evolving. The result of that evolution? Well, if it’s handled right, richer conversations between marketing and sales – and better agency support.
According to Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson’s new book, traditional Relationship salespeople are having less effect in today’s more strategic, complex sales/purchasing environments. Through exhaustive research, Dixon and Adam found that 7% of sales force ‘stars’ – the sales people who outperform the average by around 200% – are traditional Relationship sellers. Other ‘types’ – the Hard Worker, Lone Wolf, and Problem Solver – are there. But the one who stands out? The Challengers – which make up 39% of the star sales people.
Dixon and Adamson’s book is appropriately titled ‘The Challenger Sale’. They neatly outline the reasons for the star-status of the Challenger seller. Challengers’ approach is to see all parts of the business clearly, which enables them to:
- understand the processes of the business more effectively
- understand that now, wide purchasing teams must aggregate more complex information and insight and answer many more questions than before
- know everything – needs, processes, roles, stakeholders, pressures and solutions
- inject themselves as experts, asking questions and suggesting alternatives.
- because of this, they can move knowledge through the influencers rather than using personality to bludgeon the decision maker into deciding.
The challenger is, in short, a marketer.
What does this mean for strategic support providers? A huge difference. If sales people are becoming closer to us, aligning teams and thinking (a key stumbling block that many businesses encounter) is more easily achieved.
So, just as Challenger-led sales teams are aimed at the heart of the prospect’s needs and purchasing complexities, we can support with an even more effective (and more easily accepted) programme based on equally deep understanding and ‘challenge’ of the sales organisation and selling business’ processes, needs and pressures.
This means that for marketers, Challenger Selling leads to more effective Challenger Marketing. This means we can support sales by aiming more easily at the same place in their organisation and the prospect business. Right at the heart of both businesses’ issues, needs and pressures.
The way that marketing has always tried to point. And where the Challengers are evolving to go.
Through the fusion of Challenger-led sales and more effective sales support, sales enablement programmes can then become more truly effective than ever.