Discovering Your Sales Champion: A Guide for Beginners
October 28th, 2023
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Sales teams use a variety of methodologies, processes, and frameworks to access revenue, and connect with customers. One of the most popular strategies among modern business leaders, involves using the MEDDIC sales process or framework to streamline the sales cycle.
The MEDDIC sales qualification process helps salespeople qualify prospects and potential buyers, and improve the outcome of their sales techniques. One of the key things this process asks salespeople to do, is identify their “champion” in the sales journey.
But what exactly is a sales champion, what are their qualities, and how do you discover your own?
What is a Sales Champion?
A sales champion is an internal advocate within a client’s organization.
In the MEDDIC framework, these champions are crucial to ensuring the progression of a deal, and providing sales teams with valuable insights.
Sales champions recognize the value of your solution, and work with you to ensure deals are closed. They often hold a significant amount of influence in the decision-making process, ensuring they can steer the choices made by other members of the organization.
Leveraged correctly, sales champions can help to facilitate meetings with key stakeholders, provide practical insights into the goals and pain points of the business, and push for the completion of a sale. Though they can be valuable in any sales cycle, champions are particularly useful in a complex sales process, where numerous stakeholders are often involved in the decision-making process.
The Importance of a Sales Champion for Sales Teams
The MEDDIC framework revolves around Metrics, Economic Buyers, Decision criteria, Decision processes, pain identification, and “sales champions”. The sales champion can be a game changer in a sales process, boosting your potential for success significantly.
Champions can offer value in all aspects of the sales journey. They can help connect salespeople with critical stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, and provide insights that help to drive conversations. Before you start pitching your product to other business leaders, sales champions can help you understand the decision-making process of the business, the pain points they want to solve, and the purchasing criteria they’ll be using.
During the sales process, a sales champion can provide guidance on which benefits and solutions to showcase to other stakeholders. They can define purchase requirements for you, so you can tailor your pitch to the specific needs of the business. They can also advocate for your solution, speaking to other business leaders about the value your solution can offer.
Sales champions can also:
- Provide vital insights into a company’s internal processes, KPIs, and metrics.
- Help you outshine the competition with insights into other companies the brand might be considering
- Ensure you’re equipped to handle any objections or issues raised by other stakeholders
- Assist in developing demonstrations and onboarding packages for the business
- Prepare you to offer excellent customer experience and service after the sale
Sales champions can also help you pave the way to new business opportunities for sales teams. They can recommend your product or service to other businesses, or act as a success story for future prospects. Remember, customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate.
How do You Identify a Sales Champion?
So, how do you find your sales champion? First and foremost, sales champions should always be people with a significant level of influence and authority within your target business. A low-level employee might be enthusiastic about your product or service, but they’re unlikely to have the power to push a deal forward, or drive decisions.
This means sales champions are often high-level executives, stakeholders, or leaders in a business who can actively steer the company’s purchasing decisions.
As well as having authority, sales champions should also possess a few crucial qualities:
- Enthusiasm: Around 68% of B2B customers don’t convert due to a lack of enthusiasm from a sales person. A sales champion can help to drive excitement about your product or service, by sharing their own enthusiasm. They’re passionate about whatever you offer, and they use that passion to engage others in the business.
- Persistence: Most sales champions are aware that the sales process can include a number of roadblocks and challenges. They don’t give up on implementing your solutions simply because they encounter a couple of objectives. They’re committed to pushing forward with a project, overcoming internal obstacles.
- Vision: A sales champion should be able to see the potential results of implementing your service or product before they start using it. They need to be able to effectively visualize what their team can accomplish with whatever you’re offering, so they can share the potential benefits with other business leaders.
- Empathy: Sales champions are often empathetic, emotionally intelligent people. They know how to build rapport with other members of staff, and have established relationships with key stakeholders and decision makers in their organization.
- Strategic knowledge: The best sales champions have a deep understanding of the business processes of their organization, their decision making strategies, and how new solutions are implemented. This makes them a valuable resource for sales people who need to plan how to move the sales cycle forward.
How to Engage and Leverage Sales Champions
Identifying and engaging sales champions can be complex, particularly for beginners in the sales world. It’s easy to assume an enthusiastic potential customer could be an excellent sales champion, only to discover they don’t have the level of influence you need.
Discovering sales champions means taking the time to build rapport and connect with stakeholders in the sales process. Learn as much as you can about their position in the business, their influence and authority through regular conversations.
Once you identify a potential sales champion, use active listening skills and empathy to connect with your partner on a personal level. Commit to learning as much as you can about their personal needs and the needs of their business, so you can pitch your solution effectively.
When you find your ideal sales champion:
- Invest in building a strong relationship: Engaging and leveraging the support of a sales champion requires sales professionals to build strong relationships, centered around mutual benefit and trust. Invest time in getting to know your sales champion, and make sure you maintain a regular cadence for communication.
- Provide access to useful resources: Sales champions may occasionally need additional help to position your product or service as the ideal solution for their team. Provide them with “sales enablement” content, such as case studies, product demonstrations, and videos. This will help them to pitch your solution for you.
- Offer valuable training: Don’t just walk your sales champion through the basics of your solution, open the door for rapid time to benefit with personalized training. Show them how to fix their most pressing problems with your services or products.
- Collaborate on a strategy: Work with your sales champion to develop a tailored implementation and configuration plan for their organization. Make sure you highlight the key goals of the company, and the pain points they want to overcome, so you can pave the way for rapid success.
- Ask and answer questions: Your sales champion can be a valuable source of insight into a company’s needs and processes, so it’s important to ask questions regularly during your conversations. However, you also need to make sure you’re answering any questions the champion might have in a timely manner.
- Recognize and reward their efforts: Thanking your sales champion for their efforts, or offering access to bonus rewards can help to strengthen your long-term relationship. This can ensure your sales champion becomes an excellent source of referrals and future business opportunities in the years to come.
Discovering and Using your Sales Champions
The success of any sales process doesn’t always rely exclusively on the skills and abilities of a sales rep. Sales is often a team sport, your sales champion is a valuable part of the group responsible for closing deals, and improving customer relationships.
Learning how to identify sales champions when you connect with a new lead, and take advantage of their incredible benefits is an excellent way to take your sales strategy to the next level.
Learn everything you need to know about identifying, engaging, and activating sales champions, by joining the Hard Skill Exchange today!
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