Why You Should Use The Challenger Sales Method

Customers today have access to more information than ever before — and that means the role of the salesperson is evolving and changing. Traditional approaches to sales typically focus on building relationships with prospects, but newer research has shown that sales organizations can increase business by actually challenging their customers.

This framework is called the Challenger Sales Method, and it’s used successfully by top performing sales reps in complex sales environments. Learn how the Challenger Sales Method works and how your sales team can implement this approach to close more deals.

What Is the Challenger Sales Method? 

The “Challenger Sales” model was coined in 2011 by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson in their book “The Challenger Sale.” The methodology describes a sales process where sales reps teach a prospect about some aspect of their situation, tailor their communications to suit the prospect’s needs, and take control of the sales experience. This approach allows sales reps to challenge customer assumptions by helping them look at things from a new perspective. 

In their research, Dixon and Adamson discovered that all sales reps fall into one of five distinct profiles:

  1. The hard worker – strives to get better in their role but doesn’t necessarily focus on the customer’s value drivers.
  2. The lone wolf – high performer but not necessarily a team player. Confident in their selling abilities but is difficult to deal with interpersonally.
  3. The problem solver – adept at finding solutions for issues in both the team and the prospect’s business.
  4. The relationship builder – gets in contact with a gatekeeper at their target company and slowly tries to create an internal advocate.
  5. The challenger – offers a new perspective and doesn’t shy from money conversations. Tailors the sales pitch to the prospect and teaches them something valuable. 

The Challenger profile has been correlated with high close rates amongst top performers and is proven to help boost sales. 

What Are the Benefits?

Research has proven that The Challenger profile is the most successful in complex B2B buying cycles. This is because in today’s oversaturated information environment, buyers are looking for someone they can trust and teach them something about the buyer’s journey. The Challenger approach works because it builds constructive tension with the prospect whereas the Relationship Builder never really pushes the client. 

 Studies have shown that the best-performing sales reps use the challenger approach to close more sales in complex sales cycles. One study that interviewed over 6,000 sales reps discovered that 40% of top sales performers primarily used a Challenger sales selling style. Top performers were more than two times more likely to use a Challenger approach than any other approach. And over 50% of all-star performers fit the Challenger profile in complex sales. 

It’s important to note that this method is effective for top performers and complex sales cycles but not useful for average performing reps or simple sales cycles. This is because the  Challenger method works best by creating constructive tension with a prospect which often requires reframing how sales teams typically approach selling.

How to Implement The Challenger Method

Pipedrive lists five simple steps a sales rep should take when engaging with a prospect using the Challenger method. Use this walkthrough to train your sales team:

  1. Warm-up — Empathize with your customer’s pain points.
  2. Reframe the conversation — Help the customer think about a more effective solution to solve their problems.
  3. Use of emotions — Show prospects what might happen if they don’t use that solution.
  4. Value proposition — Educate the customer about the ideal solution to their problem.
  5. The product — Finally, introduce your product. 

OneAffiniti offers partners’ efficient tools to discover insights that support the Challenger Method. Partners can see who is engaging with their content, when they’re doing it, and how often, all through analytics and reporting found via the comprehensive Insights Hub. Sales reps can use this tool to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to discover problems and present solutions — an essential aspect of The Challenger Sales Method.

Get Started with the Challenger Sales Method

The Challenger Sales Method is proven to work better than relationship building for top performing reps or complex sales cycles. Since this method educates your customers and provides a new point of view, it ties right in with the importance of content marketing. Combined with OneAffiniti’s top quality content and highly valuable data, sales reps have everything they need to execute even the most complex of deals. 

Interested in sharing topical, relevant content with your audience wherever they are in the buying journey? Join the OneAffiniti program for IT partners and brokers at no cost. 

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