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How to Make Every Sales Rep a Challenger

ROI Selling-How to Make Every Rep a ChallengerGuest post by Barbara Schwartz
Business Development Director of ROI Selling

I’ve been reading the now-classic business book, “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation" by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.

As I continue to read, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that value selling can help every sales rep perform like a Challenger by helping them adopt the complementary attributes that make up the profile of this likely sales leader.

Early in, the authors share data indicating that almost 40% of star performers fall into the Challenger category, as do 23% of core performers. Star performers are defined as "the top 20%" of performers at each company studied.

Although I haven’t found a definition of core performers, my guess is that they are the middle 60% of performers and are probably achieving at least 80% of quota. If you could hire all Challengers, 63% of your performers would likely be core performers or better (achieving at least 80% of quota).

Attributes of a Challenger

With this insight, companies are likely to strive to hire as many Challengers as possible for obvious reasons. To do so, companies should look for the following six attributes that present as "statistically significant" in identifying a Challenger as defined in The Challenger Sale:  

  1. Offers the customer unique perspectives
  2. Has strong two-way communication skills
  3. Knows the individual customer's value drivers
  4. Can identify economic drivers of the customer's business
  5. Is comfortable discussing money
  6. Can pressure (not bully) the customer

Keep in mind that while it is very difficult to hire Challengers exclusively, most reps have varying levels of all of the Challenger attributes identified.

Those that are strongest across the board can benefit from tools that will permit them to do what they naturally do, even better. For reps that don’t fully fit the Challenger mold, you can leverage value selling to strengthen their Challenger attributes and improve sales success.

Let’s focus on the first six attributes. When these skills are cultivated and used consistently, it’s easier for any rep to exert pressure on the customer by making the buyer’s decision obvious.

For the details on the first five attributes, click on the link for the complete article by ROI Selling.

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