Why do over 50% of the all-star salespeople fit the Challenger sales model?
Long story short — the challenger sales model is an approach that the absolute top dogs of sales use to sell more!
Now you’re probably thinking, “How do I get in on selling more?”
Don’t worry; we have exactly what you’re looking for right here!
Even if you just stumbled here out of curiosity and don't yet know the challenger sales model, trust us, you’ll be glad you checked this article out.
So read on, and let’s close more deals with your newfound knowledge!
What is the challenger sales model?
The challenger sales model is a sales approach that challenges the traditional method of selling. Instead of building customer relationships, the challenger sales model emphasises teaching, tailoring, and taking control of the sales conversation.
This approach was developed based on extensive research conducted by Gartner (formerly the CEB), which identified five types of sales reps and found that the "Challenger" type was the most successful.
The 5 types of sales reps, according to the challenger sales model
The challenger sales model identifies five distinct profiles of sales reps, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. Let's delve into each type and understand their characteristics, where they excel, and where they might face challenges.
Relationship builders are sales reps who focus on creating strong customer connections.
They are generous with their time, always ready to help, and strive to generate customer loyalty. While they excel in scenarios where long-term relationships are crucial, they might struggle in situations that require a more assertive approach.
The challenger sales model suggests that this type of sales rep may not be the most effective in closing sales.
Hard workers are the sales reps who are always willing to go the extra mile.
They are self-motivated, persistent, and always seeking feedback for improvement. They thrive in environments that reward tenacity and effort.
However, they might find it challenging to face complex sales scenarios requiring more strategic thinking.
Lone wolves are independent and self-assured sales reps.
They follow their instincts and often have their unique way of doing things. They can excel in situations where autonomy and quick decision-making are valued.
However, they might struggle in team-oriented environments or when a collaborative approach is required.
Reactive problem solvers
Reactive problem solvers are reliable and detail-oriented.
They ensure all of their customer’s problems are solved. They perform best in scenarios where troubleshooting and problem-solving skills are essential.
However, they might face challenges in situations that require proactive sales strategies or aggressive sales targets.
Challengers are the sales reps who are not afraid to push their customers out of their comfort zone.
They deeply understand the customer's business and are focused on delivering value in every interaction.
According to the challenger sales model, challengers are the most effective sales reps. They excel in complex sales environments where teaching, tailoring, and taking control are crucial.
However, they might face challenges in scenarios that require a softer, more relationship-oriented approach.
Understanding these profiles in the challenger sales model can help businesses assign the right roles to their sales reps and provide them with the appropriate training and resources.
Why should your business use the challenger sales methodology?
The challenger sales model is a customer-centric approach that empowers sales reps to take control of the customer conversation, moving beyond the traditional sales approach of simply selling solutions.
This proactive methodology allows sales reps to engage with prospects fearlessly, challenge their existing solutions, and offer better alternatives.
- According to a study by Adamson and Dixon, 40% of top performers on sales teams are challengers. They’re three times more effective at complex sales and have higher win rates. By leveraging the challenger sales approach, companies can empower their sales teams to close more deals.
- The challenger sales model helps you find ways to disrupt customers' current thinking and drastically improve the buying experience. This can make your business stand out in a crowded market, grabbing customer attention and driving action.
- The challenger sales model offers a structured approach to maximising selling efficiency and results. This model ensures your message comes across clearly and effectively, giving you an edge over competitors who cling to traditional methods.
- The challenger sales model requires salespeople to emulate the best practices of high-performing salespeople. This helps them develop character from the ground up to face any challenge during sales.
The sales rep becomes the expert in the room, grabbing customer attention and driving action. They offer customers new ideas and insights they may not have considered, making a sales call feel less like a sale and more like a consultation.
The pros and cons of the challenger sales methodology
Like any sales methodology, the challenger sales model comes with advantages and disadvantages. It's essential to understand these to fully leverage the methodology and mitigate any potential challenges that may arise.
Pros of the Challenger sales model
✅ It encourages sales reps to go beyond the traditional sales approach and add value by teaching customers something new about their business. This helps build credibility and position the sales rep as a trusted advisor.
✅ It promotes a consultative approach to sales, focusing on understanding the customer's business, identifying their challenges, and offering tailored solutions. This leads to more meaningful and productive sales conversations.
✅ It's particularly effective for complex sales, where the sales rep needs to challenge the customer's assumptions and offer a unique perspective. It allows the sales rep to take control of the sales conversation and steer it in a direction that highlights the value of their product or service.
Cons of the Challenger sales model
❌ Requires a shift in mindset from traditional selling to a more consultative approach. This can be challenging for sales reps who are used to a more transactional sales approach.
❌ Requires a certain level of skill and experience to be effective. Less skilled sales reps with traditional relationship selling experience may struggle with this approach.
❌ To effectively implement the challenger sales model, sales reps must undergo extensive training and development. This can be time-consuming and requires a commitment from both the sales reps and the organisation.
❌ While the challenger sales model is adequate for complex sales, it may not be ideal for all sales scenarios. For instance, the challenger sales model may not be the best fit in situations requiring a softer, more relationship-oriented approach.
How to adopt the challenger sales model
The challenger sales model is more than just a sales strategy; it's a paradigm shift that can revolutionise your sales process. To fully harness its potential, it's essential to follow a systematic and phased approach.
Phase 1: Understanding your customers; the foundation of the challenger sales model
The first step in adopting the challenger sales model is to understand customers comprehensively.
This involves conducting in-depth research to understand their buyer motives, business landscape, challenges, and goals. It's not just about knowing what your customers do, but also about understanding their pains and challenges.
This step is crucial as it forms the foundation for the challenger sales model.
Phase 2: Developing insights; the heart of the challenger sales model
The second step in the challenger sales model is to develop unique and valuable insights that you can bring to the sales conversation.
This should be something your customer hasn't considered before, which can help them see their business in a new light.
This is the heart of the challenger sales model, where you challenge the customer's preconceived notions and provide them with a fresh perspective.
Phase 3: Tailoring your sales message; the art of the challenger sales model
The third step in the challenger sales model is to tailor your sales message to fit your customer's specific needs and circumstances.
This involves using your insight to challenge their current way of thinking and present a compelling case for your product or service.
This is where the art of the challenger sales model comes into play, as you craft a message that resonates with your customer on a personal level.
Phase 4: Taking control of the sales conversation; the power of the challenger sales model
The fourth step in the challenger sales model is to take control of the sales conversation.
This means steering the conversation in a direction that highlights the value of your product or service and leads to a clear call to action.
This is where the power of the challenger sales model comes into play, as you guide the customer towards a decision that benefits both parties.
Phase 5: Providing ongoing value; the promise of the challenger sales model
The final step in the challenger sales model is to continue to provide value after the sale.
This involves maintaining a relationship with the customer, providing ongoing support and delivering valuable insights. This is the promise of the challenger sales model, where the relationship doesn't end with the sale. Rather, it's just the beginning.
However, after the initial sale, the process would usually be taken over by the processes of account management or customer success management.
Reframe method: How to turn non-challenger members of your sales team into challengers
This transformation is not just about changing their sales approach, but also about challenging their current way of thinking, providing them with new insights, and encouraging them to take a more proactive approach to sales.
A step-by-step guide to implementing the reframe method
Here’s how to implement the reframe method and turn your sales team into challengers…
Step 1: Identify the current mindset
The first step in the reframe method is to identify the current mindset of your sales team. Understand their sales approach, their strengths, and their weaknesses. This will help you determine what needs to be changed and where to focus your efforts.
Step 2: Introduce the challenger sales model
Once you clearly understand your team's current mindset, introduce them to the challenger sales model. Explain the concept, its benefits, and how it differs from traditional sales approaches. Ensure they understand the importance of providing value and challenging the customer's thinking.
Step 3: Provide training and insights
Training is a crucial part of the reframe method. Provide your team with the necessary training and insights to help them understand and adopt the challenger sales model. This could include workshops, seminars, or one-on-one coaching sessions.
Step 4: Encourage a proactive approach
Encourage your team to take a proactive approach to sales. This means not just reacting to the customer's needs, but also anticipating them, providing unique insights, and challenging their current way of thinking.
Step 5: Monitor progress and provide feedback
Finally, monitor your sales team's progress and provide regular coaching. This will help them improve and fully adopt the challenger sales model. Celebrate successes and address any challenges or obstacles they may face.
Remember, the goal is not just to change their sales approach, but also to challenge their mindset and encourage a more proactive and value-driven approach to sales.
The challenger sales model is an indispensable tool in your sales arsenal, designed to revolutionise and enhance your customer interactions in a profound, impactful manner.
From understanding the challenger sales model to implementing and mastering it, the process revolves around teaching, tailoring, and taking control of the sales conversation, challenging the customer's preconceived notions, and providing them with a fresh perspective.
Whether you're a software development firm, a renewable energy company, or a business consultancy, adapting your sales approach to resonate with your audience is crucial.
Utilising a sales training program or a CRM platform like NetHunt CRM can offer invaluable insights to help personalise your approach and successfully turn those challenging sales conversations into closed deals.
Equip yourself with the transformative challenger sales model, seize every opportunity, and let your sales performance soar.
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