The Challenger Sale: 4th sales breakthrough in the past 100-years?

“The Challenger Sale is potentially the 4th biggest sales breakthrough in the past 100-years.”

That’s a bold statement made by Neil Rackham, the researcher behind 10k salespeople and 35k sales calls in the 70’s that lead to SPIN Selling.

To find out why, I just completed a video interview with Matt Dixon, co-author of The Challenger Sale and Executive Director of the Corporate Executive Board. (Click here for video interview).

After interviewing 20k salespeople, Matt said that they found that salespeople fell into 5-catagories; 1) The Hard Worker; 2) The Challenger; 3) The Relationship Builder; 4) The Lone Wolf and; 5) The Reactive Problem Solver.

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How to sell without being a jerk so that you can take your foot off the brake and hit quota.

According to Sales Benchmark Index, only 57% of salespeople achieved quota in 2011.

Why? Did they lack motivation or a sense of urgency? Well, according to a recent study, only 1 in 7 seriously at risk heart patients were able to follow through and make the “change or die” lifestyle changes- diet, exercise, and no-smoking. That’s right, only 1 in 7.

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How to attract sales leads- not chase them- with killer marketing content.

In an interview with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of Marketing Profs (360,000 members and the largest community of marketers in the world) and co-author of Content Rules, she talks about the need to create killer marketing content so that you can attract sales leads instead of having to chase after them.

The three takeaways from the interview are:

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How to create stories that sell.

StorySellPicImagine if the power of storytelling could do for your salespeople what it did for  Al Gore?

Remember how he went from zero to hero.

In 1999, for example, facts & figures Al Gore was considered by the American public, according to a Washington Post poll, to be “very boring” or “somewhat boring.” That’s so cruel.

However, in 2006, Al Gore changes his approach and learns how to deliver his message through story in the hit presentation/film an “Inconvenient Truth.” He’s now a hit and wins an Emmy, an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize.

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McKinsey Study: Solution Selling… is the pain worth the gain?

Solutions selling has been all the rage over the last 5 to 10 years, yet 75 percent of the companies that attempt to offer solutions fail to return the cost of their investment.” (Source: ‘Solution Selling: Is the pain worth the gain’ McKinsey Study).

Even the author and founder of Solution Selling & CustomerCentric Selling, Mike Bosworth, agrees.

“The number one complaint I heard from sales managers was that the bottom 80 percent of their salespeople quit trying to use the methodology within 10 days of the workshop.” (‘Mike’s Ah-Ha moment’ Sept. 2011).

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Selling to Emotional Buyers, Not “Mr. Spock”

There’s a tendency for salespeople to concentrate on logic because they feel that emotions are too flaky to have any real importance on a buying decision. But economists have recently embraced the idea that irrational psychology, rather than cool calculation, plays a significant role in buying decisions.

Skeptical salespeople may be interested to hear that it’s now scientifically proven that emotions play a big role in decision making. Emotions generated through negatively framed decisions, for instance, can affect how we decide by as much as 44%.

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“Has Sales Training or Marketing helped your Salespeople Sell Value and Differentiate your offering?”

Why hasn’t Sales Training or Marketing helped your company tell a better story and then trained your Salespeople how to deliver it?

Because it’s too customized for the big Sales Training companies and it’s too tactical for Marketing. For example, up to 90% of marketing material created for sales support goes unused by the field” (source: American Marketing Association).

Isn’t it time for a new approach?

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Stories help overwhelmed Buyers to overthrow the status quo, and buy.

With 150 e-mails a day, 30 voice-mails and 60-80-hour work weeks thanks to corporate reorganizations, buyers are so busy today that in order to survive they have learned that they can’t do it all. Consequently, buyers now often stick with the status quo—even when it hurts the company.

Logic Doesn’t Help

Product Pitches, Value Propositions and Logical Arguments do not convince a buyer in denial to change.

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VP of Sales Story: Board wants sales quick fix or else.

Spray & Pray

Here’s a story about Paul, a VP of Sales at Software Inc., who has unfortunately inherited a sale cycle that drags on forever. That’s when deals happen. But most of the time, his team loses to their biggest competitor, the customer sticking with the status quo.

The Board at the Software Inc. hopes that he’ll fix things fast, but if he doesn’t, he’s toast.

But Sales Training and Marketing wasn’t going to save him. Continue reading…

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New Business: Mission Impossible?

Buyer- intense time pressure
Buyer- intense time pressure

When Buyers no longer answer their phone and your voice and e-mails get deleted, how will you win new business so that you achieve quota?

Well, if you accept that going back to basics and smiling and dialing won’t take you where you need to go, don’t despair.

But before I show you how to win new business, let’s first take a fieldtrip to a typical Buyer’s office Continue reading…

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