Developed by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon, the Challenger Sales Model is a revolutionary approach to selling that focuses less on selling a product and more on identifying and addressing a client’s needs.
Rather than working to build a relationship with a potential client, the Challenger Sales Model encourages sales representatives to control a sale by guiding the client to the solution. In this model, building value for a client is prioritized over building a relationship with the client.
Here are the key things you need to know about the Challenger Sales Model:
- The Challenger Sales Model is based on one of the largest studies conducted in the industry. The creators of The Challenger Sales Model, Brent Adamson, and Matthew Dixon, outline their revolutionary approach in The Challenger Sale.
- The Challenger Sales Model is built around a process that emphasizes the importance of challenging the customer’s assumptions and teaching them something new.
- There are five types of sales reps, according to the Challenger Sales Model: the Relationship Builder, the Hard Worker, the Lone Wolf, the Problem Solver, and the Challenger. The most effective? Challenger representatives.
- The Challenger Sales Process consists of six steps: Warm Up, Reframe, Rational Drowning, Emotional Impact, and Value Proposition.
- To successfully implement the Challenger Sales Model, companies must be willing to implement a CRM and educate their sales team on the importance of the Challenger Sales Model.
- Teamgate is an easy-to-use CRM with a hand-held approach that makes implementation and onboarding as smooth as possible.
Table of Contents:
- Understanding the Challenger Sales Model
- What Are the Characteristics of a Challenger Sales Rep?
- The Real-World Challenger Sales Process
- Implementing the Challenger Sales Model in Your Organization
Understanding the Challenger Sales Model
The Challenger Sales Model requires sales representatives to own their sales conversations. Rather than trying to build a relationship with a customer over time, the Challenger Sales Rep focuses on inspiring customers to identify key issues in their business. They then explain what solutions would fix those issues.
By the end of the conversation, the Challenger sales Rep has positioned their product as the only solution.
You may be wondering what a Challenger Sales Rep is. In The Challenger Sale, Adamson and Dixon outline the five profiles that sales representatives can typically be classified under. The most effective? The Challenger.
Here is an overview of the five types of sales representatives:
- The Challenger is prepared to challenge the customer’s way of thinking. They incorporate different viewpoints and lead the customer to see their business in a new light, which includes the Challenger’s product as a solution to a current problem.
- The Hard Worker can be found searching for their next lead, never failing in their efforts to reach their next goal. This representative wants to learn and will seek feedback and learning opportunities. While their drive is admirable, you may also notice an inability to keep up with changing market practices.
- The Relationship Builder can be found networking and socializing, and you’re sure to see strong customer relationships as a result. However, while these representatives may bring in the most leads, they aren’t the most successful at closing the deal.
- The Lone Wolf is prepared to accomplish everything on their own. While self-sufficient and independent, their success comes at the cost of a lack of collaboration abilities.
- The Problem Solver is probably the one you turn to when things go awry. While they’re fantastic at addressing customer concerns and finding quick solutions, their skillset may stop them from identifying new opportunities.
What Are the Characteristics of a Challenger Sales Rep?
Challenger Sales Reps are the most effective of the five sales representatives. While instinct would tell you that the Relationship Builder would be the most effective, in the current market, customers place a higher value on problem-solving than relationship building.
To effectively and strategically reach their goals, Challenger Sales Reps follow the three T’s: Teach, Tailor, and Take Control.
- Teach: To successfully close a sale, the Challenger Sales Rep has to be able to teach their customer something valuable about their business or field.
- Tailor: The Challenger Sales Model does not allow for “one sales pitch fits all.” Each pitch needs to resonate with the customer for the model to work, specifically highlighting the customer’s key values.
- Take Control: Rather than working to convince the customer to believe in the representative and the product, the Challenger Sales Rep owns the conversation and guides the customer to the conclusion that their product is the solution to their key problems.
Of all three of the T’s, Take Control can be the hardest for sales representatives to master. However, it’s the most important. Without taking control of the conversation, a representative can’t effectively guide the customer to the solution to their business issues.
“Just as you can’t be an effective teacher if you’re not going to push your students, you can’t be an effective Challenger if you’re not going to push your customers.”
– Matthew Dixon, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
The Real-World Challenger Sales Process
Challenging your customers is a process that includes six key steps: Warm Up, Reframe the Conversation, Rational Drowning, Emotional Impact, Value Proposition, and Close. Let’s discuss each step in detail, so you can see how it works in the real world.
Step 1: Warm Up
First step: Build credibility. The Challenger Sales Rep will start by highlighting problems that people commonly experience in their field. This establishes credibility with the customer while maintaining a problem-solution-oriented approach.
Step 2: Reframe the Conversation
Now that the problem has been identified, the Challenger offers the client a new perspective on their problem. This is the beginning of challenging a customer’s assumptions.
Step 3: Rational Drowning
Rather than focusing on the cost of the solution (the product being sold), the Challenger highlights the cost of not fixing the problem.
Step 4: Emotional Impact
With the costs of not fixing the problem front and center, the Challenger now offers testimony and experiences of how others suffered through the same problem.
Step 5: Value Proposition
Now, the conversation shifts to a positive light. The Challenger offers hope in that there’s a solution to the problem that’s also the best business solution.
Step 6: Close
The product is introduced for the first time in this step. The Challenger, having highlighted the cost of not fixing the problem, can counter those concerns with the cost of a solution.
Implementing the Challenger Sales Model in Your Organization
While you may hesitate to implement a new sales model, remember that the center of sales is not your team—it’s your market. With a more informed and opinionated market, sales reps are having to up their game faster than ever before to compete.
How do you compete in a market set on learning and research before they reach you? You challenge them, of course.
“Sales organizations can increase business by challenging customers”
– Brent Adamson, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
To implement the Challenger Sales Model within your organization, there are some best practices to follow.
Choose a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
First, you should implement CRM software. More specifically, Teamgate. Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms play a key role in modern business, especially when implementing the Challenger Sales Model. We know, however, how daunting using a new CRM can feel.
Teamgate was designed to help mitigate these moves. Our hand-held approach helps customers implement and onboard their new, easy-to-use CRM. Our customer care team will walk you through the entire process and have you ready to sell quickly and efficiently.
With Teamgate, your entire sales process is simplified and accessible. You can house important details about your customers and send them along the pipeline, all in one place.
Educate Your Team
The shift to the Challenger Sales Model will not be an overnight change. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Before implementation, be sure to take the time to educate and train your team on the model itself.
Different members of your team will respond to the training in different ways, based on their profiles:
- A Hard Worker may struggle with teaching their customers. Their self-motivation will inspire them to do what it takes to get the sale, which may include speeding through things. To help a Hard Worker implement the Challenger Sales model, you want to be sure to keep them motivated with well-paced praise and constructive feedback.
- A Relationship Builder will most likely struggle with challenging their customers. Their nature will encourage them to take their time and build meaningful relationships with their customers. To assist a Relationship Builder in implementing the Challenger Sales model, you want to focus on training them to lean on data rather than emotions.
- A Lone Wolf may struggle with having productive conversations. Their nature will encourage them to communicate in the way they’re most comfortable with. To best assist a Lone Wolf with implementing the Challenger Sales model, you’ll need to provide some initial guidance, but ultimately allow them to navigate the change themselves.
- A Problem Solver may struggle with offering new perspectives to change a customer’s assumptions. Their nature will encourage them to default to solutions that they know work. To help a Problem Solver with implementing the Challenger Sales model, you’ll want to provide them opportunities to problem solve in new ways that are specific to each customer.
Let Teamgate Help You Create a Team of Challengers
Transforming your sales representatives into Challengers is an investment. It will take time and training for your team to be the best they can be.
Why train your team to be the best without providing a CRM that offers the same? We know you have sales to make and the adoption of new software seems overwhelming. Using a hand-held approach, our Customer Care Team will be by your side from implementation to onboarding. Reach out to our team today for your free trial!
Q: What is the Challenger Sales Model?
A: The Challenger Sales Model is a sales approach that focuses on identifying and addressing a client’s needs rather than just selling a product. Developed by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon, it prioritizes building value for a client over building relationships.
Q: What are the key elements of the Challenger Sales Model?
A: The key elements of the Challenger Sales Model include challenging the customer’s assumptions, teaching them something new, controlling the sale, and guiding the client to the solution. The process consists of six steps: Warm Up, Reframe, Rational Drowning, Emotional Impact, Value Proposition, and Close.
Q: Who developed the Challenger Sales Model?
A: The Challenger Sales Model was developed by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon, who outlined their approach in their book, “The Challenger Sale”.
Q: What are the five types of sales representatives according to the Challenger Sales Model?
A: The five types of sales representatives according to the Challenger Sales Model are the Relationship Builder, the Hard Worker, the Lone Wolf, the Problem Solver, and the Challenger.
Q: What characteristics define a Challenger Sales Representative?
A: A Challenger Sales Representative follows the three T’s: Teach, Tailor, and Take Control. They must be able to teach the customer something valuable about their business, tailor their pitch to resonate with the customer’s values, and take control of the conversation, guiding the customer to the solution.
Q: How can the Challenger Sales Model be implemented in an organization?
A: To implement the Challenger Sales Model in an organization, it’s important to first implement a CRM software like Teamgate. Additionally, it’s crucial to educate and train the sales team on the principles of the Challenger Sales Model and how to effectively apply them.
Q: What is Teamgate and how does it assist in implementing the Challenger Sales Model?
A: Teamgate is an easy-to-use CRM with a hand-held approach that makes implementation and onboarding smooth. It simplifies the entire sales process and is especially effective when implementing the Challenger Sales Model.
Q: How does the Challenger Sales Model help in closing a deal?
A: The Challenger Sales Model aids in closing a deal by shifting the focus from just selling a product to identifying and addressing the customer’s business needs. The representative guides the customer towards the conclusion that their product is the solution to their key problems.
Q: How does the Challenger Sales Model differ from traditional sales models?
A: The Challenger Sales Model differs from traditional sales models by focusing less on building a relationship with the customer and more on challenging the customer’s assumptions and providing value. The goal is to guide the customer to the solution rather than just convincing them to buy the product.
Q: What are the steps involved in the Challenger Sales Process?
A: The Challenger Sales Process involves six steps: Warm Up, Reframe the Conversation, Rational Drowning, Emotional Impact, Value Proposition, and Close. Each step is designed to build credibility, challenge assumptions, highlight the cost of not fixing the problem, and ultimately guide the customer to the proposed solution.