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The Challenger Sale

“The Challenger Sale”- Great Methodology – Two Big Assumptions
“The Challenger Sale” (Dickson/Adams) excites the sales community. It promises an end to therapy questions like “what keeps you awake at night” with endless relationship building methodologies.

Indeed the claim is: relationship selling is over. Even Neil Rackham,, inventor of SPIN, is an ardent contributor. I have to admit that it is very thought provoking and very much challenges current thinking about business development.

The remarkable thing is this: To get senior executives attention you must make them think about their business in a way they have never done before. You do this based on a significant “Insight” that is challenging their status quo. Are we back to tell-sell? Not really. According to “Challenger” 57% of Customer loyalty is driven by the customer experience during the sales process. This is not exactly new news. What is new is HOW to create an experience that creates more value than your competitors, and, even more importantly, takes control of the sales cycle.

And here is the catch, one big assumption: You must have an “INSIGHT”. Easy? No – that’s the really hard part. How do you deliver value without the competition easily running a “me-too’ play and copying it. The other big assumption is that it is really easy to change sales people’s confidence in a new approach and alter their behaviour. Right? Well, we all know that’t a myth. We also know that a couple of class room training days don’t cut it.

A great way to fill these gaps are:

1)Use “Blue Ocean Strategy” to identify your “insight”. It is a solid process to really identify your competitive strengths based on customer value creation.

2) Experiential learning with real customer scenarios works best to “rehearse” the new spiel and build confidence and competence There is really only one way to embed this into sales teams: practice, practice, practice and even more disciplined coaching. Unfortunately we have to learn by doing. Intellectualizing the concept is easy. Doing it – is much harder.

Enjoy the book! It’s really worth a read. (Mar 2014)

Ursula Dauenhauer founded business backstage pty ltd in 2011. She has more than 10 year consulting experience as well as 15 years’ practitioner experience in high value IT and complex solution markets. She held various marketing and sales positions with organisations like IBM and Xerox in Germany, UK and Australia.