Reflection Journal: Maximum 5 pages in length excluding bibliography & title page. 1- Share what you have learned over the course (Key content, principles of challengers, etc. text attached). 2

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Reflection Journal: Maximum 5 pages in length excluding bibliography & title page.

1-    Share what you have learned over the course (Key content, principles of challengers, etc. text attached).

2-    What has impacted you most, and why?

3-    Do you agree, disagree, or mixed in the author’s perspective on sales (Challenger text)?

4-    What was missing from the course if you were teaching this course?

5-    What could you teach or pass along to a colleague, friend, or family member from the course?

6-    How has this course prepared you for your next career endeavor?

Reflection Journal: Maximum 5 pages in length excluding bibliography & title page. 1- Share what you have learned over the course (Key content, principles of challengers, etc. text attached). 2
Maximum 5 pages in length excluding bibliography & title page. Share what you have learned over the course (Key content, principles of challengers etc. textbook attached). What has impacted you most, and why? Business Acumen, taking control, Discovery framework (MEDDIC – Metrics Economic Buyers, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champions). Do you agree, disagree, or mixed in the authors perspective on sales (Challenger text)? What was missing from the course if you were teaching this course? What could you teach or pass along to a colleague, friend, or family member from the course? (Making of Persona card, demand generation video & sales Pitch etc.) How has this course prepared you for your next career endeavor? (I am a banker, having 10 years of experience in retail banking sales, Institutional Business Sales and Corporate banking sales as a relationship Manager in Dubai United Arab Emirates. I would like to open up my own consultancy business (in Dubai) where banks can outsource their operations like sales, compliance call centre etc to my company.) *Please note that Textbook attached to write reflection and also other material attached too.
Reflection Journal: Maximum 5 pages in length excluding bibliography & title page. 1- Share what you have learned over the course (Key content, principles of challengers, etc. text attached). 2
Tab le o f C on te n ts T itle P age C opyrig ht P age D ed ic a tio n F ore w ord I n tr o ductio n C hap te r 1 – T H E E V O LV IN G J O URN EY O F S O LU TIO N S E LLIN G C hap te r 2 – T H E C H ALLE N GER ( P A RT 1 ): A N EW M ODEL F O R H IG H P E R FO RM ANCE C hap te r 3 – T H E C H ALLE N GER ( P A RT 2 ): E X PO RTIN G T H E M ODEL T O T H E C O RE C hap te r 4 – T EA CH IN G F O R D IF FE R EN TIA TIO N ( P A RT 1 ): W HY I N SIG HT M ATTER S C hap te r 5 – T EA CH IN G F O R D IF FE R EN TIA TIO N (P A RT 2 ): H OW T O B UIL D IN SIG HT-L E D C O NVER SA TIO NS C hap te r 6 – T A IL O RIN G F O R R ESO NANCE C hap te r 7 – T A KIN G C O NTR O L O F T H E S A LE C hap te r 8 – T H E M ANAGER A ND T H E C H ALLE N GER S E LLIN G M ODEL C hap te r 9 – I M PLE M EN TA TIO N L E SSO NS F R O M T H E E A RLY A DOPT ER S A F TE RW ORD A ckn ow le d gem en ts A PPE N DIX A – E xcerp t f r o m th e C halle nger C oachin g G uid e A PPE N DIX B – S ellin g S ty le S elf- D ia gno sti c A PPE N DIX C – C halle nger H ir in g G uid e: K ey Q uesti o ns to A sk i n th e I n te rv ie w I N D EX PO RTFO LIO / P EN GU IN Publis h ed b y th e P enguin G ro up Penguin G ro up ( U SA ) I n c., 3 75 H udso n S tr e et, New Y ork , N ew Y ork 1 0014, U .S .A . Penguin G ro up ( C anada), 9 0 E glin to n A venue E ast, S uit e 7 00, Toro nto , O nta rio , C anada M 4P 2 Y 3 (a d iv is io n o f P ears o n P enguin C anada I n c.) Penguin B ooks L td , 8 0 S tr a nd, L ondon W C2R 0 R L, E ngla nd Penguin I re la nd, 2 5 S t. S te phen’s G re en, D ublin 2 , I re la nd (a d iv is io n o f P enguin B ooks L td ) Penguin B ooks A ustr a lia L td , 2 50 C am berw ell R oad, C am berw ell, Vic to ria 3 124, A ustr a lia (a d iv is io n o f P ears o n A ustr a lia G ro up P ty L td ) Penguin B ooks I n dia P vt L td , 1 1 C om munit y C entr e , P anchsh eel P ark , New D elh i– 11 0 0 17, I n dia Penguin G ro up ( N Z), 6 7 A pollo D riv e, R ose dale , A uckla nd 0 632, New Z eala nd ( a d iv is io n o f P ears o n N ew Z eala nd L td ) Penguin B ooks ( S outh A fric a) ( P ty ) L td , 2 4 S tu rd ee A venue, Rose bank, J o hannesb urg 2 196, S outh A fric a Penguin B ooks L td , R egis te re d O ffic es: 80 S tr a nd, L ondon W C2R 0 R L, E ngla nd Fir s t p ublis h ed in 2 011 b y P ortf o lio / P enguin , a m em ber o f P enguin G ro up ( U SA ) I n c. Copyrig ht © T he C orp ora te E xecutiv e B oard C om pany, 2 011 A ll r ig hts r e se rv ed Challe nger™ , C halle nger R ep™ , a nd C halle nger D evelo pm ent P ro gra m ™ a re tr a dem ark s a nd s e rv ic e m ark s o f T he C orp ora te Executiv e B oard C om pany. S um mary d esc rip tio n o f Situ atio nal S ale s N eg otia tio n ® tr a in in g a nd m eth odolo gy u se d b y p erm is sio n o f B ayG ro up I n te rn atio nal, I n c. S SN N egotia tio n P la nner™ a nd © 2 009 B ayG ro up I n te rn atio nal, I n c. Situ atio nal S ale s N eg otia tio n ® a nd S SN ™ a re tr a dem ark s a nd se rv ic e m ark s o f B ayG ro up I n te rn atio nal, I n c. Slid es f ro m “ T he P ow er o f P la nnin g th e U npla nned” p re se nta tio n u se d b y p erm is sio n o f W . W . G ra in ger, I n c. LIB RA RY O F C O NGRESS C ATA LO GIN G I N P U BLIC ATIO N D ATA Dix on, M atth ew , 1 972– The c halle nger s a le : ta kin g c ontr o l o f th e c usto m er c onvers a tio n / M atth ew D ix on a nd B re nt A dam so n. p. c m . In clu des in dex. IS B N : 9 78-1 -1 01-5 4589-8 1. S ale s m anagem ent. 2 . S ellin g. 3 . C usto m er r e la tio ns. I . A dam so n, B re nt. I I. T it le . HF5438.4 .D 59 2 011 658.8 5— dc23 2 011 026907 W it h out lim it in g th e r ig hts u nder c opyrig ht r e se rv ed a bove, n o p art o f th is p ublic atio n m ay b e r e pro duced, s to re d in o r in tr o duced in to a r e tr ie val s y ste m , o r tr a nsm it te d, in a ny f o rm o r b y a ny m eans ( e le ctr o nic , m echanic al, p hoto copyin g, r e cord in g o r o th erw is e ), w it h out th e prio r w rit te n p erm is sio n o f b oth th e c opyrig ht o w ner a nd th e a bove p ublis h er o f th is b ook. The s c annin g, u plo adin g, a nd d is tr ib utio n o f th is b ook v ia th e I n te rn et o r v ia a ny o th er m eans w it h out th e p erm is sio n o f th e p ublis h er is ille gal a nd p unis h able b y la w . P le ase p urc hase o nly a uth oriz e d e le ctr o nic e dit io ns a nd d o n ot p artic ip ate in o r e ncoura ge e le ctr o nic p ir a cy of c opyrig hta ble m ate ria ls . Y our s u pport o f th e a uth or’s r ig hts is a ppre cia te d. http :/ /u s.p enguin gro up.c om To th e m em bers o f th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard a ro und th e w orld , w ho c halle nge u s e v ery d ay to deliv er i n sig hts w orth y o f th eir ti m e a nd a tte nti o n FO REW ORD T H E H IS T O RY O F s a le s h as b een o ne o f s te ad y p ro gre ss in te rru p te d b y a fe w r e al b re akth ro ughs t h at h av e c hanged th e w ho le d ir e cti o n o f th e p ro fe ssio n. T hese b re akth ro ughs, m ark ed b y r a d ic al n ew t h in kin g a nd d ra m ati c i m pro vem ents i n s a le s r e su lts , h av e b een r a re . I c an o nly th in k o f th re e o f th em i n th e la st c entu ry . T he fir s t s ta rte d a b out a h und re d y ears a go , w hen in su ra nce c o m panie s fo und th at t h ey co uld doub le th eir sa le s by a sim ple change in se llin g str a te gy. B efo re th is fir s t gre at b re akth ro ugh, in su ra nce p olic ie s— in c o m mon w ith m any o th er p ro ducts s u ch a s fu rn itu re , h o use ho ld g o ods, a nd c ap ita l e q uip m ent— were s o ld b y s a le sp eo ple w ho s ig ned u p c usto m ers a nd th en e v ery w eek v is ite d e ach o f th em to c o lle ct p re m iu m s o r i n sta llm ent p aym ents . A fte r s ig nin g u p a h und re d o r s o p eo ple , th e s a le sp ers o n w as to o b usy c o lle cti n g w eekly p re m iu m s to d o a ny m ore s e llin g o f n ew b usin ess. T hen s o m e a no nym ous g eniu s h it o n a n id ea th at g re w in to w hat w e n o w c all th e h unte r- f a rm er m odel. S up pose , i n ste ad o f o ne p ers o n b oth s e llin g th e p olic y a nd c o lle cti n g th e p re m iu m s, th e t w o r o le s w ere s p lit. T here w ould b e pro ducers, w ho o nly s o ld , b acked u p b y l e ss e xp erie nced — and t h ere fo re c heap er— co lle cto rs, w ho c am e b ehin d to lo ok a fte r e xis ti n g c usto m ers a nd c o lle ct th e w eekly pre m iu m s. T he id ea w as a sp ecta cula r su ccess and it changed th e in su ra nce in d ustr y o vern ig ht. T he c o ncep t q uic kly sp re ad to o th er in d ustr ie s, a nd fo r th e fir s t ti m e se llin g b ecam e a “ p ure ” r o le , w ith o ut th e b urd en o f c o lle cti o n. TH E S E C O ND B R EA K TH RO UG H W e d on’t k no w e xactl y w hen th e p ro ducer/c o lle cto r id ea w as fir s t in tr o duced , b ut w e c an b e v ery s p ecific a b out th e d ate o f th e s e co nd g re at b re akth ro ugh. I t h ap pened i n J u ly 1 925, w hen E . K . S tr o ng p ub lis h ed The P sy ch olo gy o f S ellin g . T his se m in al w ork in tr o duced th e id ea o f sa le s te chniq ues, s u ch a s fe atu re s a nd b enefits , o bje cti o n h and lin g, c lo sin g, a nd , p erh ap s m ost im porta nt, o pen a nd c lo se d q uesti o nin g. It s h o w ed th at th ere w ere th in gs p eo ple c o uld le arn th at w ould h elp th em s e ll m ore e ffe cti v ely , a nd i t g av e r is e to th e s a le s tr a in in g i n d ustr y . Lookin g b ack fr o m th e s o phis ti c ate d p ers p ecti v e o f to day, m any o f th e th in gs S tr o ng w ro te a b out s o und h eav y-h and ed a nd s im plis ti c . N ev erth ele ss, h e— and th o se w ho f o llo w ed h im — changed s e llin g f o re v er. P erh ap s th e m ost im porta nt a sp ect o f h is c o ntr ib uti o n w as th e id ea th at s e llin g w asn ’t a n i n nate a b ility . It w as a s e t o f id enti fia b le s k ills th at c o uld b e le arn ed . A nd in 1 925, th at w as r a d ic al i n d eed . It o pened s e llin g to a m uch w id er ra nge o f p eo ple a nd , fr o m a necd ota l re p orts o f th e ti m e, b ro ught a b out d ra m ati c i n cre ase s i n s a le s e ffe cti v eness. TH E T H IR D B R EA K TH RO UG H T he th ir d g re at b re akth ro ugh c am e in th e 1 970s, w hen r e se arc hers b ecam e in te re ste d in th e id ea th at t h e te chniq ues a nd s k ills th at w ork ed i n s m all s a le s m ig ht b e v ery d iffe re nt f r o m th o se th at w ork ed i n l a rg er a nd m ore c o m ple x o nes. I h ad th e g o od fo rtu ne to b e a n in te gra l p art o f th is r e v olu ti o n. In th e ’ 7 0s I d ir e cte d a h uge re se arc h p ro je ct, tr a ckin g 1 0,0 00 s a le sp eo ple in tw enty -th re e c o untr ie s. W e f o llo w ed s a le sp eo ple in to m ore th an 3 5,0 00 s a le s c alls a nd a naly ze d w hat m ad e s o m e o f th em m ore s u ccessfu l th an o th ers in c o m ple x s a le s. F ro m th is tw elv e-y ear p ro je ct w e p ub lis h ed a n um ber o f b ooks, s ta rti n g w ith SP IN S ellin g . T his m ark ed th e b egin nin g o f w hat w e n o w c all th e c o nsu lta ti v e s e llin g e ra . It w as a b re akth ro ugh b ecause it in tr o duced m uch m ore s o phis ti c ate d m odels o f h o w to s e ll c o m ple x p ro ducts a nd s e rv ic es a nd , l ik e th e e arlie r b re akth ro ughs, b ro ught a b out s ig nific ant g ain s i n s a le s p ro ducti v ity . The la st th ir ty y ears h av e b een m ark ed b y a lo t o f s m all im pro vem ents in s e llin g, b ut w e h av en’t s e en m any g am e-c hangin g d ev elo pm ents th at c o uld c la im to b e b re akth ro ughs. T ru e, th ere ’v e b een s a le s a uto m ati o n, sa le s p ro cess, a nd c usto m er re la ti o nsh ip m anagem ent. T echno lo gy h as p la yed a b ig ger a nd b ig ger ro le in s e llin g. T here h av e a ls o b een h uge c hanges to tr a nsa cti o nal s e llin g a s a r e su lt of th e In te rn et. B ut all th ese hav e been in cre m enta l changes, ofte n w ith questi o nab le p ro ducti v ity g ain s, a nd n o ne o f th em , to m y w ay o f th in kin g, q ualifie s a s a b ona fid e b re akth ro ugh in h o w to s e ll d iffe re ntl y a nd m ore e ffe cti v ely . TH E P U RCH ASIN G R EV O LU TIO N I n te re sti n gly , th ere has b een a b re akth ro ugh d ev elo pm ent o n th e o th er s id e o f th e s e llin g in te ra cti o n. P urc hasin g h as g o ne th ro ugh a m ajo r r e v olu ti o n. F ro m b ein g a d ead -e nd fu ncti o n in th e 1 980s w here t h o se w ho c o uld n’t c ut it in H R w ent to d ie , it h as e m erg ed a s a v ib ra nt s tr a te gic fo rc e. A rm ed w ith p ow erfu l p urc hasin g m eth o dolo gie s s u ch a s s u p plie r s e gm enta ti o n s tr a te gie s a nd s o phis ti c ate d s u p ply c hain m anagem ent m odels , th e r is e o f th e n ew p urc hasin g h as d em and ed fu nd am enta l s h ifts in s a le s t h in kin g. I’ v e b een w aiti n g to s e e h o w th e s a le s w orld w ould re act to th e c hanges in p urc hasin g. If e v er t h ere w as a ti m e fo r th e n ext b re akth ro ugh, it’ s d ue in re sp onse to th e p urc hasin g re v olu ti o n. B ut n o th in g b ig h as a p peare d o n th e s a le s s c ene. I t’ s b een a b it l ik e w aiti n g f o r th e i n ev ita b le e arth q uake. Y ou k no w it’ s g o in g to c o m e s o m ed ay, b ut y o u c an’t p re d ic t w hen— yo u ju st h av e a fe elin g th at it’ s d ue; s o m eth in g i s a b out to h ap pen. TH E F O URTH B R EA K TH RO UG H? W hic h b rin gs m e to The C halle n ger S ale a nd th e w ork o f th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil. It’ s to o s o on t o k no w w heth er th is i s th e b re akth ro ugh th at w e’v e b een w aiti n g f o r: O nly ti m e w ill te ll. O n th e f a ce o f it, th eir re se arc h has all th e in iti a l sig ns th at it m ay b e gam e-c hangin g. F ir s t, lik e th e o th er e xam ple s, i t f lie s i n th e f a ce o f c o nv enti o nal w is d om . B ut w e n eed m ore th an th at. M any c ra zy i d eas v io la te e sta b lis h ed th in kin g. W hat m akes th is d iffe re nt i s th at, l ik e th e o th er b re akth ro ughs, o nce s a le s l e ad ers u nd ers ta nd it, th ey s a y, “ O f c o urs e ! It’ s c o unte rin tu iti v e, b ut it m akes s e nse . I s h o uld h av e k no w n.” T he l o gic y o u’ll f in d i n The C halle n ger S ale l e ad s to th e i n esc ap ab le c o nclu sio n th at th is i s v ery d iffe re nt th in kin g a nd i t w ork s. I’ m n o t g o in g to s p oil th eir s to ry b y te llin g e ith er th e d eta ils o r th e p unch lin e. T hat’ s fo r y o u to r e ad . B ut I w ill te ll y o u w hy I th in k th e r e se arc h th at th ey h av e d one i s th e m ost i m porta nt a d vance i n s e llin g f o r m any y ears a nd m ay i n d eed j u sti fy th e r a re a nd c o vete d l a b el o f “ sa le s b re akth ro ugh.” It’s G ood R ese a rc h T he re se arc h is so lid , a nd b elie v e m e, I d on’t sa y th is lig htl y . M uch o f th e so -c alle d re se arc h in s e llin g h as m eth o dolo gic al h o le s s o b ig th at y o u c o uld f ly a j u m bo j e t th ro ugh th em . W e l iv e i n a n a ge w hen e v ery c o nsu lta nt a nd e v ery a uth o r c la im s “ re se arc h” to p ro ve th e e ffe cti v eness o f w hat th ey a re s e llin g. O nce r e se arc h w as a s u re w ay to g ain c re d ib ility ; n o w it’ s fa st b eco m in g a s u re w ay to lo se i t. C usto m ers are rig htl y cynic al ab out unsu p porta b le cla im s th at m asq uera d e und er th e nam e o f r e se arc h, su ch as, “O ur re se arc h pro ves th at sa le s m ore th an doub le d afte r ta kin g our tr a in in g p ro gra m ,” o r “ W e f o und i n o ur r e se arc h th at w hen s a le sp eo ple u se d o ur s e v en c usto m er b uyin g s ty le s m odel, it c ause d c usto m er s a ti s fa cti o n to in cre ase b y 7 2 p erc ent.” C la im s lik e th ese a re u np ro vab le a sse rti o ns th at e ro de th e c re d ib ility o f g enuin e r e se arc h. I w as a t a c o nfe re nce in A ustr a lia w hen I fir s t h eard th at th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil h ad s o m e s ta rtl in g n ew r e se arc h o n s a le s e ffe cti v eness. I m ust a d m it th at, w hile I r e sp ecte d th e S E C a nd th eir g o od tr a ck r e co rd o f s o lid m eth o dolo gy, I h ad b een b itte n e no ugh b y p oor r e se arc h to th in k to m yse lf, “ T his w ill p ro bab ly b e y et a no th er d is a p poin tm ent.” W hen I g o t b ack to m y o ffic e in V ir g in ia , I i n v ite d th e r e se arc h te am to s p end a d ay w ith m e a nd w e w ent th ro ugh th eir m eth o dolo gy w ith a f in e- t o oth c o m b. I a d m it th at I c o nfid entl y e xp ecte d to e xp ose s e rio us fla w s in w hat th ey h ad d one. In p arti c ula r, I h ad tw o c o ncern s: 1. Puttin g s a le sp eo ple in to fiv e b uckets . T he re se arc h c la im ed th at s a le sp eo ple fe ll in to o ne o f f iv e d is ti n ct p ro file s: The H ard W ork er The C halle nger The R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er The L one W olf The R eacti v e P ro ble m S olv er This s o und ed n aïv e a nd a rb itr a ry to m e. W hat, I a sk ed th e te am , w as th e ra ti o nale fo r th ese fiv e b uckets ? W hy n o t s e v en? O r te n? T hey w ere a b le to s h o w m e th at th ese w ere n o t i n v ente d c ate go rie s b ut o nes th at e m erg ed o ut o f a m assiv e a nd s o phis ti c ate d s ta ti s ti c al a naly sis . A nd th ey u nd ers to od, i n a w ay th at m any re se arc hers don’t, th at th eir fiv e buckets w ere behav io ra l clu ste rs , no t rig id p ers o nality ty p es. I w as s a ti s fie d th at th ey h ad p asse d m y f ir s t te st. 2. The h ig h- v ersu s lo w -p erfo rm er tr a p . A la rg e p erc enta ge o f th e r e se arc h in to e ffe cti v e s e llin g c o m pare s h ig h p erfo rm ers w ith l o w p erfo rm ers . I n th e e arly y ears o f m y o w n r e se arc h I d id th e s a m e t h in g. A s a r e su lt I le arn ed a lo t a b out lo w p erfo rm ers . W hen y o u a sk p eo ple to c o m pare th eir r o ck s ta rs w ith th eir l o se rs , y o u f in d th at th ey c an d is se ct th e l o se rs w ith s u rg ic al p re cis io n b ut f in d i t h ard , i f n o t i m possib le , to p ut th eir f in ger o n e xactl y w hat m akes th eir r o ck s ta rs r o ck. I s o on l e arn ed th at I e nd ed u p w ith a d eta ile d u nd ers ta nd in g o f p oor p erfo rm ance a nd n o t m uch e ls e . I f m y r e se arc h w as to h av e any m eanin g I had to co m pare to p perfo rm ers w ith av era ge, or co re , perfo rm ers . It w as r e assu rin g to f in d th at th e S E C r e se arc h h ad a d opte d e xactl y th at a p pro ach. It’s B ase d o n a n I m pre ssiv e S am ple I t’ s c o m mon f o r s a le s r e se arc h to b e b ase d o n s m all s a m ple s o f f ifty to e ig hty p arti c ip ants d ra w n f r o m j u st th re e o r f o ur c o m panie s. L arg er-s c ale r e se arc h i s h ard er to d o a nd s ig nific antl y m ore e xp ensiv e. M y o w n re se arc h h ad u se d s a m ple s o f a th o usa nd o r m ore , n o t b ecause w e lik ed m egastu d ie s b ut b ecause — giv en th e no is y data of re al- life se llin g— we had no cho ic e if w e w ante d to dra w s ta ti s ti c ally m eanin gfu l in sig hts . T he in iti a l s a m ple in th e C halle nger re se arc h w as 7 00, w hic h h as s in ce g ro w n to 6 ,0 00. T hat’ s i m pre ssiv e b y a ny s ta nd ard . W hat’ s e v en m ore i m pre ssiv e i s th at n in ety c o m panie s p arti c ip ate d in th e r e se arc h. W ith a s a m ple th is w id e w e c an r u le o ut m any o f th e fa cto rs t h at n o rm ally p re v ent re se arc h fr o m g enera liz in g its re su lts to c o ver s e llin g a s a w ho le . T he S E C f in d in gs a re n o t a b out a p arti c ula r o rg aniz a ti o n o r a s p ecific in d ustr y . T hey a p ply a cro ss th e w ho le s p ectr u m o f s e llin g, a nd th at’ s i m porta nt. It D id n’t F in d W hat t h e R ese a rc h ers E xp ecte d I a lw ays m is tr u st r e se arc h th at fin d s e xactl y w hat it s e eks. R ese arc hers , lik e e v ery b ody e ls e , h av e a b und le o f p re ju d ic es a nd p re co nceiv ed id eas. If th ey k no w w hat th ey a re lo okin g fo r, b y g o sh th ey w ill f in d i t. I w as r e ally p le ase d to h ear th at th e r e se arc hers th em se lv es w ere s tu nned to d is c o ver th at t h eir re su lts w ere a lm ost th e o pposite o f w hat th ey h ad e xp ecte d . T hat’ s a v ery h ealth y s ig n a nd a f r e q uent c hara cte ris ti c o f s ig nific ant r e se arc h. L ook a gain a t th eir f iv e p ro file s: The H ard W ork er The C halle nger The R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er The L one W olf The R eacti v e P ro ble m S olv er Most s a le s e xecuti v es, if th ey w ere fo rc ed to c ho ose ju st o ne p ro file to m ake u p th eir s a le s fo rc e, w ould h av e c ho se n th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er, a nd th at’ s ju st w hat th e r e se arc h te am w as e xp ecti n g to f in d . T hin k again . T he re se arc h sh o w ed th at R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers w ere unlik ely to be sta r p erfo rm ers . In co ntr a st, th e C halle ngers , w ho are aw kw ard to m anage and asse rti v e both w ith c usto m ers a nd w ith th eir o w n m anagers , c am e o ut o n to p. A s y o u’ll s e e i n th e b ook, C halle ngers w on o ut n o t b y a s m all m arg in b ut a m assiv e o ne. A nd th e m arg in w as f a r g re ate r i n c o m ple x s a le s. TH E D EC LIN E O F R ELAT IO NSH IP S E LLIN G H ow c an w e e xp la in th ese c o unte rin tu iti v e fin d in gs? In th e b ook, M att D ix o n a nd B re nt A dam so n b uild a v ery p ers u asiv e c ase . L et m e a d d m y o w n tw o c ents ’ w orth to w hat th ey s a y. C onv enti o nal w is d om h as lo ng h eld th at s e llin g is a b out r e la ti o nsh ip s a nd th at in c o m ple x s a le s, r e la ti o nsh ip s a re t h e u nd erp in nin g o f a ll s a le s s u ccess. Y et o ver th e l a st te n y ears th ere h av e b een s o m e d is tu rb in g h in ts t h at re la ti o nsh ip -b ase d se llin g m ay b e le ss e ffe cti v e th an it u se d to b e. M y o w n stu d ie s o f w hat c usto m ers v alu e fr o m s a le sp eo ple w ould b e a g o od e xam ple . W hen w e a sk ed 1 ,1 00 c usto m ers w hat t h ey v alu ed in sa le sp eo ple , w e w ere su rp ris e d a t h o w fe w ti m es th ey m enti o ned re la ti o nsh ip s. It s e em s th at th e o ld a d vic e, “ B uild r e la ti o nsh ip s f ir s t a nd th en s a le s w ill f o llo w ,” n o l o nger h o ld s tr u e. T hat’ s n o t to s a y th at r e la ti o nsh ip s a re u nim porta nt. I th in k a b ette r e xp la nati o n i s th at th e r e la ti o nsh ip a nd th e p urc hasin g d ecis io n h av e b eco m e d eco up le d . T oday y o u’ll o fte n h ear c usto m ers s a y, “ I h av e a g re at re la ti o nsh ip w ith th is sa le s re p b ut I b uy fr o m h er c o m peti ti o n b ecause th ey p ro vid e b ette r v alu e.” P ers o nally , I b elie v e th at a c usto m er r e la ti o nsh ip i s th e re su lt a nd n o t th e c ause o f s u ccessfu l s e llin g. It is a re w ard th at th e s a le sp ers o n e arn s b y c re ati n g c usto m er v alu e. If y o u h elp c usto m ers t h in k d iffe re ntl y a nd b rin g th em n ew id eas— whic h is w hat th e C halle nger r e p d oes— th en y o u e arn t h e r ig ht to a r e la ti o nsh ip . TH E C H ALLEN G E O F C H ALLEN G E A t th e h eart o f th is b ook is th e d em onstr a te d s u p erio rity o f C halle ngers in te rm s o f c usto m er im pact a nd th ere fo re s a le s r e su lts . M any p eo ple a re ta ken a b ack b y th is f in d in g— and I s u sp ect s o m e r e ad ers w ill fe el th e s a m e. B ut w hile th e a rti c ula ti o n o f th e C halle nger id ea is n ew , th e e v id ence h as b een v is ib le a ll a ro und u s. S urv eys o f c usto m ers c o nsis te ntl y sh o w th at th ey p ut th e h ig hest v alu e o n s a le sp eo ple w ho m ake th em th in k, w ho b rin g n ew id eas, w ho fin d c re ati v e a nd in no vati v e w ays to h elp th e custo m er’s b usin ess. In re cent years , custo m ers hav e b een d em and in g m ore d ep th and e xp erti s e . T hey e xp ect s a le sp eo ple to te ach th em th in gs th ey d on’t k no w . T hese a re th e c o re s k ills o f C halle ngers . T hey a re th e s k ills o f th e f u tu re , a nd a ny s a le s f o rc e th at i g no re s th e m essa ge o f th is b ook d oes s o a t i ts p eril. I’ v e b een in th e b usin ess o f s a le s in no vati o n a ll m y p ro fe ssio nal life , s o I d on’t a nti c ip ate th at th e p ub lic ati o n o f th is im porta nt re se arc h w ill b rin g a n in sta nt re v olu ti o n. C hange is s lo w a nd p ain fu l. B ut I d o k no w th is : T here w ill b e a fe w c o m panie s th at w ill ta ke th e fin d in gs th at a re la id o ut h ere a nd w ill im ple m ent th em w ell. T ho se c o m panie s w ill re ap h uge g ain s a nd s ig nific ant c o m peti ti v e a d vanta ge fr o m b uild in g C halle nge in to th eir s a le s fo rc e. A s th e S E C r e se arc h s h o w s, w e liv e in a n e ra w hen p ro duct in no vati o n a lo ne c anno t b e th e b asis fo r c o rp ora te su ccess. H ow y o u se ll h as b eco m e m ore i m porta nt th an w hat y o u s e ll. A n e ffe cti v e s a le s f o rc e i s a m ore s u sta in ab le c o m peti ti v e a d vanta ge th an a g re at p ro duct s tr e am . T his b ook g iv es y o u a w ell- a rti c ula te d b lu ep rin t f o r b uild in g a w in nin g sa le s fo rc e. M y ad vic e is th is : R ead it, th in k ab out it, im ple m ent it. Y ou, and yo ur o rg aniz a ti o n, w ill b e g la d th at y o u d id . Pro fe sso r N eil R ackham Auth o r o f SP IN S ellin g IN TR O DUCTIO N A S U RPR IS IN G L O OK I N TO T H E F U TU RE I N T H E U NFO RG ETTA BLE e arly m onth s o f 2 009, a s th e b otto m fe ll o ut o f th e g lo bal e co no m y, b usin ess-to -b usin ess sa le s le ad ers aro und th e w orld fa ced an ep ic p ro ble m and an ev en d eep er m yste ry . Custo m ers h ad v anis h ed o vern ig ht. C om merc e h ad g ro und to a h alt. C re d it w as s c arc e, a nd c ash e v en s c arc er. F or a nyo ne i n b usin ess, ti m es w ere to ugh. B ut f o r h ead s o f s a le s, th ey w ere a n a b so lu te n ig htm are . I m agin e h av in g to g et u p e v ery m orn in g, r a lly y o ur tr o ops, a nd s e nd th em i n to a b attl e th ey c o uld n’t p ossib ly w in . T o fin d b usin ess w here n o ne c o uld b e fo und . T ru e, sa le s h as a lw ays b een a b out th e g o od fig ht— ab out w in nin g b usin ess o fte n in th e fa ce o f str o ng re sis ta nce. B ut th is w as d iffe re nt. I t’ s o ne th in g to s e ll to r e lu cta nt, e v en n erv ous c usto m ers . I t’ s a no th er th in g a lto geth er to s e ll t o n o o ne a t a ll. A nd th at’ s w here w e w ere i n e arly 2 009. Yet th ere in la y th e m yste ry . S ta rin g d ir e ctl y in to th e te eth o f th e to ughest sa le s e nv ir o nm ent in d ecad es— if n o t e v er— a s m all b ut u niq uely g ifte d n um ber o f s a le s re p s were s e llin g. In fa ct, th ey w ere s e llin g a l o t. W hile o th ers s tr u ggle d to c lo se e v en th e s m alle st o f d eals , th ese i n d iv id uals w ere b rin gin g in th e k in d o f b usin ess m ost re p s c o uld o nly d re am o f e v en in a n u p e co no m y. W ere th ey l u cky? W ere th ey ju st b orn w ith it? A nd m ost im porta nt, h o w c o uld y o u p ossib ly c ap tu re th at m agic , b ottl e it, a nd e xp ort it to e v ery o ne e ls e ? F or m any c o m panie s, th eir v ery s u rv iv al d ep end ed o n th e a nsw er. It w as in to th is env ir o nm ent th at th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil (S E C )— a pro gra m w ith in th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard — la unched w hat h as b eco m e o ne o f th e m ost im porta nt s tu d ie s o f s a le s r e p p ro ducti v ity in d ecad es. T ask ed b y o ur m em bers — head s o f s a le s fr o m th e w orld ’s la rg est, b est- k no w n c o m panie s— we s e t o ut to i d enti fy w hat e xactl y s e t th is v ery s p ecia l g ro up o f s a le s r e p s a p art. A nd h av in g n o w s tu d ie d th at q uesti o n i n te nsiv ely f o r th e b ette r p art o f f o ur y ears , s p annin g d oze ns o f c o m panie s and th o usa nd s of sa le s re p s, w e hav e dis c o vere d th re e co re in sig hts th at hav e f u nd am enta lly r e w ritte n th e s a le s p la yb ook a nd le d B 2B s a le s e xecuti v es a ll o ver th e w orld to th in k v ery d iffe re ntl y a b out h o w th ey s e ll. The fir s t in sig ht w as s o m eth in g w e w ere n’t o rig in ally e v en lo okin g fo r. It tu rn s o ut th at ju st a b out e v ery B 2B s a le s r e p in th e w orld fa lls in to o ne o f fiv e d is ti n ct p ro file s, a s p ecific s e t o f s k ills a nd b ehav io rs th at d efin e h is o r h er p rim ary m ode o f i n te ra cti n g w ith c usto m ers . N ow , th at’ s i n te re sti n g i n a nd o f its e lf, a s y o u’ll b e a b le to fin d y o urs e lf a nd y o ur c o lle agues in th ese p ro file s w hen y o u s e e t h em . T hese fiv e p ro file s p ro ve to b e an in cre d ib ly p ra cti c al w ay o f d iv id in g th e w orld in to a m anageab le s e t o f a lte rn ati v e s a le s te chniq ues. That s a id , it’ s r e ally th e s e co nd in sig ht th at c hanges e v ery th in g. W hen y o u ta ke th o se fiv e p ro file s a nd c o m pare th em w ith a ctu al s a le s p erfo rm ance, y o u fin d th ere is a v ery c le ar w in ner a nd a v ery c le ar lo se r: O ne of th em sp ecta cula rly outp erfo rm s th e oth er fo ur, w hile one of th em fa lls d ra m ati c ally b ehin d . Y et th ere is s o m eth in g v ery d is tu rb in g a b out th ese r e su lts . W hen w e s h o w th em t o sa le s le ad ers , w e hear th e sa m e th in g again and again . T hese le ad ers fin d th e re su lts d eep ly t r o ub lin g, b ecause th ey’v e p la ced b y fa r th eir b ig gest b et o n th e p ro file le ast lik ely to w in . T his o ne i n sig ht h as s h atte re d th e w ay m any s a le s l e ad ers th in k a b out th e k in d o f r e p s th ey n eed to s u rv iv e a nd th riv e i n a to ugh e co no m y. And th at b rin gs u s to th e th ir d a nd fin al c o re in sig ht fr o m th is w ork — arg uab ly th e m ost e xp lo siv e of th em a ll. A s w e d ug d eep er in to th e d ata , w e fo und s o m eth in g e v en m ore s u rp ris in g. W hile w e’d se t o ut fo ur y ears a go to fin d th e w in nin g r e cip e fo r s a le s r e p s u ccess in a d ow n e co no m y, a ll o f th e data in d ic ate s o m eth in g fa r m ore im porta nt. T he p ro file m ost lik ely to w in is n ’t w in nin g beca use o f th e d ow n eco no m y, b ut ir re sp ectiv e o f it. T hese re p s are w in nin g b ecause th ey’v e m aste re d th e co m ple x s a le , n o t b ecause th ey’v e m aste re d a c o m ple x e co no m y. In o th er w ord s, w hen w e u nlo cked th e m yste ry o f h ig h p erfo rm ance in th e d ow n e co no m y, th e s to ry tu rn ed o ut to b e m uch b ig ger th an anyo ne h ad a nti c ip ate d . Y our v ery b est s a le s r e p s— th e o nes w ho c arrie d y o u th ro ugh th e d ow ntu rn — are n’t j u st th e h ero es o f to day, b ut a re a ls o th e h ero es o f to m orro w , a s th ey a re f a r b ette r a b le to d riv e sa le s a nd d eliv er c usto m er v alu e i n any k in d o f e co no m ic e nv ir o nm ent. W hat w e u lti m ate ly f o und i s a dra m ati c ally i m pro ved r e cip e f o r a s u ccessfu l s o lu ti o n s a le s r e p . We c all th ese w in nin g r e p s C halle ngers , a nd th is i s th eir s to ry . 1 TH E E V O LV IN G J O URN EY O F S O LU TIO N S ELLIN G I N E A RLY 2 009, th e te am at th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil se t o ut to answ er th e m ost p re ssin g q uesti o n o n th e m in d s o f sa le s le ad ers a t th e ti m e: H ow c an w e se ll o ur w ay th ro ugh th e w ors t e co no m y i n d ecad es? It w as a q uesti o n n atu ra lly a cco m panie d n o t o nly b y u rg ent c o ncern — ev en fe ar— but a ls o b y a s e nse o f re al m yste ry . In a w orld w here B 2B se llin g h ad g ro und to n early a c o m ple te h alt, sa le s e xecuti v es w ere s u rp ris e d to fin d a h and fu l o f re p s s ti ll b rin gin g in b usin ess ty p ic al o f th e b est o f t i m es, n o t th e w ors t. B ut w hat w ere th ey d oin g d iffe re ntl y ? H ow w ere th ese re p s s ti ll s e llin g w ell w hen v ir tu ally n o o ne e ls e w as s e llin g a t a ll? In s tu d yin g th is q uesti o n in s ig nific ant d ep th w e d is c o vere d s o m eth in g s u rp ris in g. W hat s e t th ese b est re p s a p art w asn ’t so m uch th eir a b ility to su cceed in a d ow n e co no m y, b ut th eir a b ility to s u cceed i n a c o m ple x s a le s m odel— one th at p la ces a h uge b urd en o n b oth r e p s a nd c usto m ers to th in k a nd behav e diffe re ntl y . T hat m odel is ofte n re fe rre d to as “so lu ti o n se llin g” or a “so lu ti o ns a p pro ach”— or s im ply “ so lu ti o ns” — and h as c o m e to d om in ate s a le s a nd m ark eti n g s tr a te gy a cro ss t h e l a st te n to tw enty y ears . The s to ry w e f o und i n o ur r e se arc h, h o w ev er, to ld u s s o m eth in g v ery i m porta nt a b out th e w orld o f s o lu ti o n se llin g. It’ s e v olv in g d ra m ati c ally . A s su p plie rs se ek to se ll e v er b ig ger, m ore c o m ple x, d is ru p ti v e, a nd e xp ensiv e “ so lu ti o ns,” B 2B c usto m ers a re n atu ra lly b uyin g w ith g re ate r c are a nd r e lu cta nce th an e v er b efo re , d ra m ati c ally re w riti n g th e p urc hasin g p la yb ook in th e p ro cess. A s a r e su lt, tr a d iti o nal, ti m e-te ste d s a le s te chniq ues n o l o nger w ork th e w ay th ey u se d to . C ore -p erfo rm in g r e p s s tr u ggle m ig hti ly i n a ll b ut th e m ost s tr a ig htf o rw ard o f s a le s, l e av in g a n a la rm in g n um ber o f h alf- c o m ple te d d eals in th eir w ake a s th ey a tte m pt to a d ap t to c hangin g c usto m er d em and s a nd e v olv in g b uyin g b ehav io rs . Fro m th is p ers p ecti v e, th e d ow n e co no m y th at s o tr o ub le d s e nio r s a le s e xecuti v es w hen w e fir s t l a unched th is w ork p ro ved to b e a r e d h errin g. T he d ow ntu rn e xacerb ate d th e w id enin g g ap b etw een c o re – a nd s ta r-p erfo rm in g re p s, b ut it d id n’t c ause it. In fa ct, th e s to ry la id o ut h ere is n ’t a b out th e e co no m y a t a ll. It’ s a b out th e e v olv in g w orld o f s o lu ti o n s e llin g a nd th e s k ills n ecessa ry to d riv e c o m merc ia l s u ccess a cro ss th e fo re se eab le fu tu re ir re sp ecti v e o f e co no m ic c o nd iti o ns. A s th e w orld o f so lu ti o n se llin g c o nti n ues to c hange, S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil re se arc h c le arly in d ic ate s th at a s p ecific s e t o f s a le s r e p s k ills h as e m erg ed a s s ig nific antl y m ore lik ely to d riv e c o m merc ia l r e su lts t h an th o se e m phasiz e d in e ith er tr a d iti o nal p ro duct s e llin g o r e arly s o lu ti o n s e llin g. T o u nd ers ta nd w hy th o se s k ills m atte r s o m uch, i t’ s h elp fu l to f ir s t e xam in e th e e v olu ti o n o f th e s a le s m odel i ts e lf. TH E P A T H T O S O LU TIO N S E LLIN G S olu ti o n se llin g co m es in m any fla v ors , b ut genera lly d esc rib es th e m ig ra ti o n fr o m a fo cus o n t r a nsa cti o nal s a le s o f in d iv id ual p ro ducts (u su ally b ase d o n p ric e o r v olu m e) to a fo cus o n b ro ad – b ase d c o nsu lta ti v e s a le s o f “ b und le s” o f p ro ducts a nd s e rv ic es. T he k ey to i ts s u ccess i s th e c re ati o n o f b und le d o ffe rin gs th at n o t o nly m eet b ro ad er c usto m er n eed s i n a u niq ue a nd v alu ab le w ay, b ut a ls o t h at co m peti to rs can’t easily re p lic ate . T he best so lu ti o ns, th ere fo re , are no t ju st uniq ue, but s u sta in ab ly s o , a llo w in g a s u p plie r to a d dre ss c usto m er c halle nges i n e ith er n ew o r m ore e co no m ic al w ays r e la ti v e to th e c o m peti ti o n. Why does th at m atte r? Solu ti o n se llin g is la rg ely driv en by su p plie rs ’ atte m pts to esc ap e d ra m ati c ally in cre asin g c o m moditi z a ti o n p re ssu re a s in d iv id ual p ro ducts a nd s e rv ic es b eco m e le ss d iffe re nti a te d o ver ti m e. B ecause i t i s h ard er f o r a c o m peti to r to o ffe r th e f u ll s p ectr u m o f c ap ab iliti e s c o m pris in g a w ell- d esig ned s o lu ti o n b und le , i t’ s m uch e asie r to p ro te ct p re m iu m p ric in g i n a s o lu ti o n s a le th an i n a tr a d iti o nal p ro duct s a le . Not s u rp ris in gly , th e a p pro ach h as b eco m e w id ely p opula r a cro ss b usin ess-to -b usin ess s a le s fo r t h at r e aso n. In fa ct, to g et a s e nse o f h o w w id esp re ad s o lu ti o n s e llin g h as b eco m e, in a r e cent S E C s u rv ey w e ask ed sa le s le ad ers to chara cte riz e th eir prim ary sa le s str a te gy acro ss a m ulti s te p c o nti n uum fr o m tr a d iti o nal p ro duct sa le s o n o ne e nd to fu ll- o n c usto m iz e d so lu ti o n se llin g o n th e o th er. T he re su lt? F ully th re e-q uarte rs of re sp ond ents re p orte d asp ir a ti o ns to be so m e kin d of s o lu ti o ns p ro vid er to a m ajo rity o f th eir c usto m ers . E sse nti a lly , s o m e fla v or o f s o lu ti o n s e llin g h as b eco m e a d om in ant s a le s s tr a te gy a cro ss a lm ost e v ery i n d ustr y . S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. F ig ure 1 .1 . T he S hift f r o m P ro duct to S olu ti o n S ellin g Now , w e d on’t d is p ute th e v alu e o f th is lo ng-te rm m ig ra ti o n to s o lu ti o n s e llin g— parti c ula rly a s a w ay to e sc ap e re le ntl e ss c o m moditi z a ti o n p re ssu re — but th e str a te gy n o neth ele ss b rin gs w ith it a n um ber o f re al c halle nges. C hie f a m ong th em a re tw o c halle nges th at e xp la in h o w — and w hy— th e s o lu ti o ns m odel h as n ecessa rily e v olv ed o ver ti m e. T he f ir s t i s th e b urd en th at s o lu ti o ns p la ces o n th e custo m er. T he s e co nd i s th e b urd en i t p la ces o n th e r e p . TH E C UST O M ER B U RDEN O F S O LU TIO NS B y d efin iti o n, a s h ift to s o lu ti o n s e llin g r e su lts i n c usto m ers ’ e xp ecti n g y o u to a ctu ally “ so lv e” a r e al p ro ble m a nd n o t ju st s u p ply a re lia b le p ro duct. A nd th at’ s h ard to d o. It re q uir e s th at y o u n o t o nly u nd ers ta nd th e custo m er’s und erly in g p ro ble m s o r challe nges as w ell if no t b ette r th an th ey d o t h em se lv es, b ut als o th at yo u can id enti fy new and b ette r m eans o f ad dre ssin g th o se challe nges, a rti c ula te c le ar b enefits fr o m u sin g lim ite d re so urc es to s o lv e th at p ro ble m v ers u s c o m peti n g o nes, a nd d ete rm in e th e r ig ht m etr ic s to m easu re s u ccess. A nd th e o nly w ay to d o a ll o f th at is to a sk th e c usto m er l o ts o f q uesti o ns. S o r e p s s p end a g re at d eal o f ti m e a sk in g th in gs l ik e, “ W hat’ s k eep in g y o u u p a t n ig ht? ” i n a n a tte m pt to tr u ly u nd ers ta nd a c usto m er’s c o m peti n g c halle nges. The p ro ble m w ith a ll o f th is “ d is c o very ” is th at it c an o fte n ta ke o n th e fe el o f a p ro tr a cte d p in g- p ong m atc h betw een th e su p plie r and custo m er. The custo m er exp la in s th eir need s, th e re p s u m mariz e s h er u nd ers ta nd in g, th e c usto m er c o nfir m s w heth er o r n o t th e r e p g o t i t r ig ht, s h e c re ate s a p ro posa l, th e c usto m er r e v ie w s a nd a m end s i t, a nd o n a nd o n. This co m plic ate d and ofte n ra th er pro tr a cte d pro cess re q uir e s a huge am ount of custo m er i n v olv em ent a t e ach s ta ge, p la cin g tw o k in d s o f b urd en o n th e c usto m er: T he fir s t is ti m e, a nd th e s e co nd is ti m in g. N ot o nly d oes th is d ance e nta il sig nific ant c usto m er c o m mitm ent a cro ss a w id e r a nge o f d iffe re nt s ta keho ld ers , c o nfe re nce c alls , a nd p re se nta ti o ns, b ut fr o m th e c usto m er’s p oin t o f v ie w , m ost o f th is e ffo rt c o m es e arly , b efo re th ey s e e a ny v alu e. R eally , it’ s a n a ct o f fa ith o n th eir p art th at th ey’re g o in g to g et a nyth in g i n r e tu rn f o r a ll o f th eir tr o ub le . This h as le d to s o m eth in g w e c all “ so lu ti o ns fa ti g ue.” A s s o lu ti o ns c o m ple xity h as in cre ase d , th is b urd en o n c usto m ers h as g o ne u p a s w ell, l e ad in g c usto m ers to e ngage w ith s u p plie rs v ery d iffe re ntl y w hen it c o m es to c o m ple x d eals . In fa ct, fo ur tr e nd s re ally sta nd o ut in d esc rib in g h o w c usto m er b uyin g b ehav io r i s e v olv in g r a p id ly . The R is e o f t h e C onse nsu s-B ase d S ale F ir s t, w e h av e se en a sig nific ant in cre ase in th e n eed fo r c o nse nsu s in o rd er to g et d eals d one. B ecause th e p ayo ff o f b uyin g a co m ple x so lu ti o n is so uncerta in , ev en C -le v el executi v es w ith s ig nific ant d ecis io n-m akin g a uth o rity a re u nw illin g to g o o ut o n a lim b to m ake a la rg e p urc hase d ecis io n w ith o ut th e s u p port o f th eir te am s. O ur r e se arc h a t th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil i n d ic ate s th at w id esp re ad s u p port fo r a s u p plie r a cro ss th eir te am is th e n um ber-o ne th in g s e nio r d ecis io n m akers l o ok f o r i n m akin g a p urc hase d ecis io n ( a f in d in g w e’ll d is c uss i n m ore d ep th l a te r i n th is b ook). And o f c o urs e , th at n eed f o r c o nse nsu s h as h uge i m plic ati o ns f o r s a le s p ro ducti v ity . N ot o nly d oes t h e re p n o w h av e to sp end th e ti m e tr a ckin g d ow n a ll th ese in d iv id uals a nd se llin g th em o n th e s o lu ti o n, b ut th e r is k th at a t le ast o ne o f th em is g o in g to s a y n o g o es u p w ith e ach n ew s ta keho ld er t h at r e p h as to e ngage. In cre ase d R is k A versio n S eco nd , a s d eals h av e b eco m e m ore c o m ple x a nd m ore e xp ensiv e, m ost c usto m ers h av e b eco m e m uch m ore c o ncern ed a b out w heth er th ey’ll ever s e e a r e tu rn o n th eir in v estm ent. A s a r e su lt, m any a re m ovin g a ggre ssiv ely to re q uir e s u p plie rs to s h are m ore d eep ly in th e p erc eiv ed h ig her ris k o f t h ese so lu ti o ns th em se lv es. It’ s n o th in g n ew fo r c usto m ers to d em and ju st- in -ti m e d eliv ery o r o n- d em and p ro ducti o n, b ut m ore a nd m ore w e’re s e ein g r e v is io ns to th e v ery m etr ic s c usto m ers u se to j u d ge th e su ccess o f a so lu ti o n im ple m enta ti o n. A s a re su lt, in th e w orld o f co m ple x so lu ti o ns, s u p plie r s u ccess is o fte n m easu re d b y th e p erfo rm ance o f th e c usto m er’s b usin ess, n o t th e s u p plie r’s p ro ducts . Sup plie rs l o okin g to g ro w a s o lu ti o ns b usin ess, th en, a re g o in g to h av e to r u n r ig ht a t r is k , b uild in g i t d ir e ctl y in to th eir v alu e p ro po siti o n, a s a n in cre asin gly la rg e n um ber o f c usto m ers a re n o lo nger w illin g to a ccep t a t f a ce v alu e th at “ so lu ti o ns” w ill u lti m ate ly d eliv er th e k in d o f v alu e th at s u p plie rs p ro m is e u p f r o nt. Gre ate r D em and f o r C usto m iz atio n T hir d , a s d eal c o m ple xity g o es u p , s o d oes c usto m ers ’ n atu ra l te nd ency to w ant to m odify th e d eal to m ore c lo se ly m eet th eir s p ecific n eed s. W here as s u p plie rs ty p ic ally s e e c usto m iz a ti o n p ure ly fr o m a c o st p ers p ecti v e, c usto m ers s e e c usto m iz a ti o n a s p art o f th e p ro m is e o f a “ so lu ti o ns” s a le : “ If y o u’re g o in g to ‘ s o lv e’ m y p ro ble m , th en th is i s w hat I n eed i t to d o. W hy s h o uld th at c o st m ore m oney? A fte r a ll, if it d oesn ’t d o th at, th en it’ s n o t re ally a ‘s o lu ti o n,’ is it? ” It’ s h ard to a rg ue w ith th at k in d o f l o gic . C usto m iz a ti o n: E very o ne w ants i t; n o o ne w ants to p ay f o r i t. The R is e o f T hir d -P arty C onsu lt a nts F in ally , o ver th e la st s e v era l y ears , w e’v e s e en a d ra m ati c a nd tr o ub lin g r is e in th e n um ber o f th ir d – p arty c o nsu lta nts e m plo yed b y c usto m ers to h elp th em “ extr a ct m axim um v alu e fr o m th e p urc hase d ecis io n.” A w ell- e sta b lis h ed p ra cti c e in so m e se cto rs — co rp ora te h ealth in su ra nce in th e U nite d S ta te s, fo r e xam ple — th is tr e nd re ally to ok o ff g lo bally in la te 2 009, fo rg ed b y th e n eed o f m ost c o m panie s to c ut c o sts o n th e o ne h and , a nd th e e v en m ore u rg ent n eed o f r e centl y la id -o ff in d ustr y e xp erts to f in d a j o b o n th e o th er. T yp ic ally , th ese n ew ly m in te d c o nsu lta nts s o ld th eir s e rv ic es l a rg ely o n th e b asis o f th eir a b ility to s a v e c o m panie s m oney. In th at c ase , “ extr a cti n g m axim um v alu e fr o m t h e p urc hase d ecis io n” r e ally w as n o th in g m ore th an c o de f o r d oin g e v ery th in g p ossib le to s ti c k i t to s u p plie rs o n p ric e, u p to a nd in clu d in g g o in g b ack a nd a ud iti n g p rio r d eals to u nco ver g ro und s fo r r e nego ti a ti o n. Over ti m e, h o w ev er, l a rg er o rg aniz a ti o nal p la yers h av e b eco m e d eep ly i n v olv ed i n th e p urc hase a s w ell. In th eir c ase , “ extr a cti n g m axim um v alu e fr o m th e p urc hase d ecis io n” ty p ic ally tr a nsla te s in to s o m eth in g c lo se r to h elp in g c usto m ers n av ig ate s o lu ti o ns c o m ple xity . T he f a ct o f th e m atte r i s th at a s s u p plie rs s e ek to s e ll i n cre asin gly b ro ad s o lu ti o ns to e v er m ore c o m ple x c usto m er p ro ble m s, a s o fte n a s n o t th e c o m ple xity o f th o se p ro ble m s is so h ig h th at c usto m ers a re th em se lv es u nq ualifie d to n av ig ate — le t a lo ne e v alu ate — pote nti a l c o urs e s o f a cti o n o n th eir o w n. T hey n eed h elp . R ath er th an t u rn in g to th e s u p plie rs f o r th at h elp , h o w ev er, th ey l o ok to “ neutr a l” th ir d -p arty e xp erts . As a re su lt, su p plie rs to day are fr e q uentl y co nfr o nte d w ith new and aggre ssiv e th ir d -p arty i n te rm ed ia rie s lo okin g to ta ke th eir s h are o f “ v alu e” fr o m th e d eal. A nd y o u c an b e s u re th at th at p ound o f fle sh is g o in g to c o m e fr o m th e su p plie r sid e, n o t th e c usto m er sid e, g iv en w ho m th ese c o nsu lta nts a re w ork in g fo r. In th is w orld , y o u c an e asily w in d u p w ith a ll th e c usto m er’s b usin ess, b ut n o ne o f th eir m oney. All f o ur o f th ese tr e nd s i n c usto m er b uyin g b ehav io r h av e l e d to a h ard tr u th f o r s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns a ll o ver th e w orld — and e sp ecia lly fo r th e re p s w ho s e ll fo r th em : W hile th e e co no m y h as g o tte n b ette r, s e llin g h asn ’t g o tte n a ny e asie r. It’ s th e p hysic s o f s a le s: S up plie rs c alle d th e s o lu ti o ns p la y, a nd c usto m ers h av e m ad e th eir c o unte rm ove. C usto m ers a re lo okin g fo r w ays to re d uce b oth th e c o m ple xity a nd th e r is k th at s u p plie rs ’ s o lu ti o n s e llin g e ffo rts h av e f o is te d u p on th em . A W ID EN IN G T A LEN T G AP H ow d oes th is s o lu ti o ns s to ry p la y o ut fo r in d iv id ual r e p p erfo rm ance? T he im pact h as b een n o th in g s h o rt o f d ra m ati c . In a re cent s tu d y, o ur te am a t th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil c o nd ucte d a n a naly sis lo okin g a t th e i m pact o f a c o m pany’s s a le s m odel— in o th er w ord s, tr a nsa cti o nal s e llin g v ers u s s o lu ti o n s e llin g— on t h e p erfo rm ance d is tr ib uti o n o f th eir s a le s re p s. W hat w e fo und w as e ye-o penin g a nd m ore th an a l ittl e tr o ub lin g. In a tr a nsa cti o nal s e llin g e nv ir o nm ent, th e p erfo rm ance g ap b etw een a v era ge a nd s ta r p erfo rm ers i s 5 9 p erc ent. S o th e sta r p erfo rm er se lls ab out half as m uch as th e co re p erfo rm er. H ow ev er, in c o m panie s w ith so lu ti o n se llin g m odels th e d is tr ib uti o n is v ery d iffe re nt. T here , sta r p erfo rm ers o utp erfo rm c o re p erfo rm ers b y a lm ost 200 p erc en t. T he g ap i s f o ur ti m es g re ate r. P ut a no th er w ay, a s s a le s b eco m e m ore c o m ple x, th e g ap b etw een c o re a nd s ta r p erfo rm ers w id ens d ra m ati c ally . S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 1 .2 . C ore V ers u s H ig h P erfo rm ers i n T ra nsa cti o nal ( L eft) a nd S olu ti o n S ellin g ( R ig ht) Env ir o nm ents This l e ad s u s to th re e c o nclu sio ns. F ir s t, a s a s o lu ti o ns p ro vid er, y o u’v e g o t to f in d a w ay to p ut a b ig c o rp ora te b ear h ug a ro und y o ur s ta rs . T hey’re c arry in g th e d ay fo r y o u. O ne h ead o f s a le s in b usin ess s e rv ic es to ld u s r e centl y th at o f th eir h und re d s a le s r e p s, tw o w ere r e sp onsib le fo r b rin gin g i n 8 0 p erc ent o f th e c o m pany’s re v enue. W hile th e situ ati o n in y o ur o rg aniz a ti o n m ay n o t b e a s e xtr e m e, th e s h ift to s o lu ti o n s e llin g h as u nd oub te d ly s e en a d ra m ati c r is e in k ey-p ers o n d ep end ency p ro ble m s a cro ss m any s a le s fo rc es. It’ s n o t ju st th at s ta rs a re c arry in g th e d ay fo r y o u; th ey’re o fte n c arry in g th e e nti r e c o m pany. Seco nd , a s y o ur s a le s m odel b eco m es m ore c o m ple x, th e v alu e o f n arro w in g th e g ap b etw een y o ur c o re a nd s ta r p erfo rm ers g o es u p r a d ic ally . In th e tr a nsa cti o nal w orld , th e v alu e o f g etti n g s o m eo ne j u st h alfw ay fr o m g o od to g re at is a 3 0 p erc ent im pro vem ent. T hat’ s n o t b ad . B ut th e v alu e o f th e s a m e m ove i n a s o lu ti o ns e nv ir o nm ent i s a n a lm ost 1 00 p erc ent i m pro vem ent. P ut s im ply , c lo sin g th at g ap i s w orth a l o t m ore th an i t u se d to b e. Fin ally , th e p enalty fo r n o t c lo sin g th e g ap is te rrify in g. A s y o ur m odel e v olv es, le ft u nte nd ed , th e co re w ill f a ll f a rth er a nd f a rth er b ehin d , u nti l th ey u lti m ate ly c an’t e xecute th e n ew m odel a t a ll. A N EW W AY F O RW AR D I n th is w orld o f d ra m ati c ally c hangin g c usto m er b uyin g b ehav io r a nd r a p id ly d iv erg in g s a le s ta le nt, y o ur s a le s a p pro ach m ust e v olv e o r y o u w ill b e l e ft b ehin d . So th e q uesti o n n o w i s : W hat d o y o u d o a b out i t? I f y o u’re g o in g to w in g o in g f o rw ard , y o u’v e g o t t o e q uip r e p s to g enera te n ew d em and i n a w orld o f r e lu cta nt, r is k -a v ers e c usto m ers — custo m ers w ho a re s tr u gglin g to b uy c o m ple x s o lu ti o ns j u st a s m uch a s y o u a re s tr u gglin g to s e ll th em . T hat’ s g o in g to t a ke a v ery s p ecia l k in d o f s a le s p ro fe ssio nal i n d eed . A s th e w orld o f s a le s h as e v olv ed d ra m ati c ally a cro ss th e la st te n to tw enty y ears , o ur re se arc h in d ic ate s th at th e b est re p s h av e e v olv ed a s e t o f u niq ue a nd p ow erfu l s k ills to k eep u p . A nd th at’ s w here o ur s to ry g o es n ext. 2 TH E C HA LLEN GER ( P A RT 1 ): A N EW M ODEL F O R H IG H P ER FO RM ANCE T H E N EED T O u nd ers ta nd w hat y o ur s ta r-p erfo rm in g r e p s a re d oin g to s e t th em se lv es a p art fr o m t h eir c o re -p erfo rm in g c o lle agues h as n ev er b een m ore u rg ent. T he w orld o f s a le s is c hangin g. T he p re -re cessio n r e cip e f o r s a le s s u ccess w on’t g et th e j o b d one i n a p ost- re cessio n e co no m y. T hat s a id , t h e eco no m y its e lf se rv es o nly as a b ackd ro p to th is sto ry . T he re al sto ry re v olv es aro und th e d ra m ati c c hange in c usto m er b uyin g b ehav io rs a cro ss th e la st fiv e y ears th at w e re v ie w ed in th e p re v io us c hap te r— all i n r e sp onse to s u p plie rs ’ e ffo rts to s e ll l a rg er, m ore c o m ple x, m ore d is ru p ti v e, a nd m ore e xp ensiv e s o lu ti o ns. Sti ll, i f n o th in g e ls e , th e g lo bal e co no m ic c o lla p se s e rv ed to th ro w th e w id enin g g ap b etw een c o re a nd s ta r r e p s i n to s ta rk c o ntr a st. E ven i n th e d ep th s o f th e d ow ntu rn , w hen m ost r e p s w ere f a r b ehin d q uo ta , s o m e r e p s— quite in exp lic ab ly — sti ll m anaged n o t ju st to h it th eir g o als , b ut to e xceed th em . W hat w ere th ey d oin g d iffe re ntl y ? G enera lly , th e te nd ency i n s a le s i s to s im ply c halk u p th e d iffe re nce t o n atu ra l ta le nt a nd a ssu m e s ta rs a re j u st b orn w ith i t. I t’ s n o t a s i f y o u c an j u st ta ke th eir s k ill, b ottl e i t, a nd s p rin kle i t o ver y o ur c o re p erfo rm ers to c lo se th e g ap . R ig ht? Well, w hat if y o u c o uld ? W hat if y o u c o uld tr a ck d ow n th e r e p lic ab le p art o f w hat tr u ly s e ts s ta r p erfo rm ers a p art, c ap tu re th at m agic , a nd e xp ort it to th e r e st o f y o ur s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n? Im agin e a w orld w here a ll y o ur r e p s— or a t l e ast m any m ore o f th em — perfo rm ed l ik e s ta rs . W hat w ould th at b e w orth to y o u? W hat w ould i t m ean f o r th e o vera ll p erfo rm ance o f y o ur c o m pany? Well, in 2 009, in a w orld w here o nly th e sta rs w ere se llin g to b egin w ith , it c o uld m ean th e d iffe re nce b etw een b ankru p tc y a nd s u rv iv al. A nd i t w as i n th is h ig h-s ta kes w orld th at w e f ir s t s e t o ut t o answ er th e q uesti o n: W hic h sk ills , b ehav io rs , kno w le d ge, and atti tu d es m atte r m ost fo r hig h p erfo rm ance? IN S E A R CH O F A N SW ER S T o f ig ure th is o ut, w e s u rv eyed h und re d s o f f r o ntl in e s a le s m anagers a cro ss n in ety c o m panie s a ro und t h e w orld , a sk in g th o se m anagers to a sse ss th re e r e p s e ach f r o m th eir te am s— tw o a v era ge p erfo rm ers a nd o ne s ta r p erfo rm er— alo ng f o rty -fo ur d iffe re nt a ttr ib ute s. A nd w hile th e i n iti a l m odel w as b uilt o n a n analy sis of th e fir s t 700 re p s fo r w ho m w e had data — re p re se nti n g ev ery m ajo r in d ustr y , g eo gra p hy, a nd g o -to -m ark et m odel— we’v e s in ce in cre ase d th at n um ber to w ell o ver 6 ,0 00 r e p s a ll o ver th e w orld as w e co nti n ue to ru n th is dia gno sti c su rv ey th ro ugh our S E C S olu ti o ns— th e i m ple m enta ti o n a rm o f th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil— gro up . A mong o th er th in gs, c o nti n uin g th at w ork h as a llo w ed u s to d ete rm in e w heth er o r n o t th e s to ry i n th e d ata h as c hanged o ver ti m e, e sp ecia lly i n l ig ht o f th e re cent s lo w b ut s te ad y e co no m ic re co very . A nd fo r re aso ns w e’ll re v ie w m om enta rily , w e’v e b een a b le to e sta b lis h q uite c le arly th at th ese fin d in gs h o ld tr u e ir re sp ecti v e o f e co no m ic c o nd iti o ns. So w hat e xactl y w as in th is s u rv ey? T he ta b le o n p age 1 6 p ro vid es a s a m ple o f th e r e p a ttr ib ute s w e te ste d a s p art o f th is w ork . W e a sk ed m anagers to a sse ss a tti tu d es, in clu d in g th e d egre e to w hic h t h eir r e p s s e ek to r e so lv e c usto m er is su es a nd th eir w illin gness to r is k d is a p pro val. W e a sk ed a b out s k ills a nd b ehav io rs , lik e th e r e p s’ le v el o f b usin ess a cum en a nd n eed s-d ia gno sis a b ility . W e lo oked a t a cti v iti e s, lik e re p s’ te nd ency to fo llo w th e s a le s p ro cess a nd th o ro ughly e v alu ate o pportu niti e s. A nd , fin ally , w e a sk ed a b out re p s’ k no w le d ge o f th eir c usto m ers ’ in d ustr y a s w ell a s th eir o w n c o m panie s’ p ro ducts . In te rm s o f d em ogra p hic s, th e stu d y c o vere d a w id e ra nge o f se llin g m odels , e v ery th in g fr o m h unte rs to f a rm ers , f ie ld r e p s to i n sid e s a le s r e p s, k ey a cco unt m anagers to b ro ad -b ase d a cco unt r e p s, a s w ell a s b oth d ir e ct s e lle rs a nd in d ir e ct s e lle rs . T hat s a id , w e c are fu lly c o ntr o lle d fo r th in gs lik e r e p te nure , g eo gra p hy, a nd a cco unt s iz e to m ake s u re th at th e r e su lts a p ply n o t o nly u niv ers a lly a cro ss t h e e nti r e sa m ple , b ut a ls o b ro ad ly a cro ss th e w id e ra nge o f th e c o m panie s re p re se nte d in S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil m em bers h ip . Fin ally , b ecause w e w ere w ork in g w ith s a le s re p s, w e h ad a v ery p ra cti c al m eans o f m easu rin g actu al p erfo rm ance, nam ely each in d iv id ual re p ’s p erfo rm ance again st go al. W hen yo u p ut it all to geth er, w hat a ll o f th is w ork g iv es y o u i s a v ery r o bust d ata -d riv en s n ap sh o t o f r e p p erfo rm ance th at allo w s y o u to a nsw er th e q uesti o n, “ O f a ll th e th in gs a s a le s r e p co uld d o w ell, w hic h o nes a ctu ally matte r m ost fo r s a le s p erfo rm ance?” It’ s a n e xtr e m ely th o ro ugh p ic tu re o f w hat “ go od” lo oks lik e when i t c o m es to s a le s r e p s k ill a nd b ehav io r. We s h o uld a ls o p oin t o ut w hat w e d id not s tu d y. T his w ork is d efin iti v ely n o t a n e xam in ati o n o f sa le s re p p ers o nality ty p es o r p ers o nal str e ngth s. T hat k in d o f th in g is h ard to m easu re a nd e v en hard er to d o a nyth in g a b out. If w e w ere to te ll y o u th at “ charis m a” is h ugely im porta nt to sa le s su ccess, y o u m ig ht n o t d is a gre e, b ut y o u’d lik ely str u ggle to k no w w hat to a ctu ally do w ith th at in fo rm ati o n. S ure , o ver ti m e y o u m ig ht fin d n ew h o m es fo r a ll o f y o ur n o ncharis m ati c r e p s a nd h ir e more o utg o in g o nes in ste ad . B ut w hile th at m ay in fa ct h elp p erfo rm ance to m orro w , it w ould b e aw fu lly d iffic ult to e xecute p ra cti c ally , in o rd er to im pro ve p erfo rm ance to day. In ste ad , fir s t a nd fo re m ost, w e w ante d to p ro vid e a d vic e a ro und w hat y o u c an d o r ig ht n o w w ith th e r e p s y o u alr e a dy hav e ( th o ugh th ere i s c erta in ly a h ir in g s to ry th at c o m es o ut o f th ese r e su lts a s w ell) . To th at e nd , lo okin g b ack a t th e lis t o f v aria b le s, y o u’ll n o ti c e th at a ll o f th e a ttr ib ute s w e te ste d were fo cuse d o n r e p s’ dem onstr a te d b eh avio rs . In o th er w ord s, h o w m uch m ore o r le ss lik ely is a re p to d o “ X ”? O r h o w e ffe cti v e i s a r e p a t d oin g “ Y ”? W e d id th at b ecause s k ills a nd b ehav io rs are th in gs y o u c an d o s o m eth in g a b out r ig ht a w ay. Y ou m ay o r m ay n o t b e c haris m ati c , b ut th ro ugh b ette r co achin g, fo r e xam ple , I c an h elp y o u d o a b ette r jo b o f fo llo w in g th e s a le s p ro cess. O r, th ro ugh bette r tr a in in g a nd to ols , I c an i m pro ve y o ur p ro duct o r i n d ustr y k no w le d ge. This i s a s u rv ey a b out g etti n g th in gs d one. I t w asn ’t d esig ned s o m uch to d ete rm in e w hy y o ur s ta rs are b ette r, b ut ra th er to d ete rm in e ho w to m ake yo ur co re b ette r. T hin k o f th e p ote nti a lly huge co m merc ia l v alu e c urre ntl y l o cked u p i n th e m id dle 6 0 p erc ent o f y o ur s a le s f o rc e. W hat w ould i t b e worth to m ake e ach o f th o se r e p s e v en j u st a l ittl e b it b ette r? O ur s u rv ey f o cuse d o n th e th in gs y o u c an do r ig ht n o w to h elp th e c o re p erfo rm ers y o u a lr e ad y h av e a ct m ore lik e th e s ta rs th at y o u w is h th ey were . So w hat d id w e fin d ? W hic h o f th ese m any a ttr ib ute s m atte rs m ost? A t th e h ig hest le v el, th e s to ry re v olv es aro und th re e key fin d in gs, each re p re se nti n g a ra d ic al d ep artu re fr o m ho w m ost sa le s executi v es th in k a b out h o w to d riv e s a le s s u ccess. L et’ s ta ke th em o ne b y o ne. FIN DIN G # 1: T H ER E A R E F IV E T YPES O F S A LES R EPS T he fir s t th in g w e d id w as to ru n a fa cto r a naly sis o n th e d ata . P ut sim ply , fa cto r a naly sis is a s ta ti s ti c al m eth o dolo gy fo r g ro up in g a la rg e n um ber o f v aria b le s in to a sm alle r se t o f c ate go rie s w ith in w hic h v aria b le s c o -p re se nt a nd m ove to geth er. F or e xam ple , i f w e w ere s tu d yin g e co sy ste m s, a fa cto r a naly sis o f e v ery p ote nti a l e co sy ste m v aria b le w ould te ll u s th at th in gs lik e in te nse h eat, s a nd , a rid c o nd iti o ns, s c o rp io ns, a nd c acti te nd to c o -p re se nt i n n atu re . B ecause w e te nd to f in d th em t o geth er, w e c o uld g iv e th is c ate go ry a n am e, i .e ., “ a d ese rt.” When w e ra n fa cto r a naly sis o n th e d ata fr o m o ur sa le s re p stu d y, w e fo und so m eth in g re ally i n tr ig uin g. T he a naly sis in d ic ate d v ery c le arly th at c erta in r e p c hara cte ris ti c s te nd to c lu m p to geth er. T he fo rty -fo ur a ttr ib ute s w e te ste d fe ll in to fiv e d is ti n ct g ro up s, e ach c o nta in in g a v ery d iffe re nt c o m bin ati o n o f r e p c hara cte ris ti c s. W hen a r e p te nd s to b e g o od a t o ne a ttr ib ute in th at g ro up , h e o r s h e i s v ery l ik ely to b e g o od a t a ll o f th e o th ers i n th at g ro up a s w ell. S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 2 .1 . T he F iv e S ale s R ep P ro file s Fig ure 2 .1 sh o w s th ese fiv e d is ti n ct re p p ro file s a s w ell a s th e d esc rip ti v e v aria b le s th at a re c lu ste re d w ith in each. T hese gro up s are no t necessa rily m utu ally exclu siv e. G oin g back to th e e co sy ste m e xam ple e arlie r, th in k o f it th is w ay: A ll d ese rts h av e in te nse h eat a nd s a nd , b ut in te nse h eat a nd s a nd a re n o t u niq ue to d ese rts . Y ou fin d th ese th in gs in o th er e co sy ste m s to o, m ayb e ju st in d iffe re nt a b und ance. I n o ur s tu d y, e v ery r e p h as a t l e ast a b ase lin e l e v el o f p erfo rm ance a cro ss a ll th e a ttr ib ute s w e te ste d . F or e xam ple , to o ne d egre e o r a no th er, a ll s a le s r e p s a d here to a fo rm al s a le s p ro cess. A ll r e p s h av e a t le ast a m in im um a ccep ta b le le v el o f p ro duct a nd in d ustr y k no w le d ge. B ut f o r a lm ost e v ery r e p , a s p ecific s u b se t o f th ese a ttr ib ute s d efin es th eir p rim ary a p pro ach to c usto m ers . We lik e to th in k o f th ese p ro file s a s c o lle ge o r u niv ers ity d egre es. In o rd er to g ra d uate , e v ery s tu d ent m ust c o ver a b ro ad c o re c urric ulu m : s c ie nce, la nguage, h is to ry , m ath , e tc . B ut a t th e s a m e t i m e, u niv ers ity s tu d ents h av e a “ p rim ary ” o r “ m ajo r” a s w ell— th e th in g th ey s p ecia liz e in th at s e ts t h em a p art. A nd th at’ s w hat th ese fiv e p ro file s a re a ll a b out. T hey a re th e fiv e d is ti n ct “ m ajo rs ” in s a le s. These f iv e p ro file s a re n o t g ro up s th at w e p ut to geth er b ase d o n o ur i n te rp re ta ti o n o f th e d ata o r o ur vie w o f th e w orld . W e le t th e a naly sis te ll th e s to ry . T he fiv e p ro file s a re s ta ti s ti c ally d eriv ed , b ut th ey a ccura te ly a nd c o m ple te ly d esc rib e th e fiv e m ost c o m mon p ro file s fo und in th e re al w orld . In te re sti n gly , th ey’re r e la ti v ely e v enly d is tr ib ute d a cro ss o ur s a m ple p opula ti o n. So w ho a re th ese d iffe re nt re p s? A s w e g o th ro ugh th e fiv e p ro file s, a sk y o urs e lf th e fo llo w in g questi o ns: W hic h o f th ese fiv e p ro file s d o y o u th in k b est d esc rib es th e b ulk o f y o ur sa le s fo rc e? Where h av e y o u p la ced y o ur b ets a s a n o rg aniz a ti o n o r, p erh ap s m ore p ra cti c ally s p eakin g, w hic h ty p e o f r e p a re y o u tr y in g to r e cru it r ig ht n o w ? W hic h a re y o u tr y in g to g et y o ur r e p s to b ehav e m ore lik e? The H ard W ork er H ard W ork ers a re e xactl y w ho th ey s o und lik e. T hese a re th e r e p s w ho s h o w u p e arly , s ta y la te , a nd a re a lw ays w illin g to p ut i n th e e xtr a e ffo rt. T hey’re th e “ no se to th e g rin d sto ne” s e lle rs . T hey’re s e lf- m oti v ate d a nd d on’t g iv e u p e asily . T hey’ll m ake m ore c alls in a n h o ur a nd c o nd uct m ore v is its in a w eek th an ju st a b out a nyo ne e ls e o n th e te am . A nd th ey e nth usia sti c ally a nd fr e q uentl y se ek o ut f e ed back, a lw ays l o okin g f o r o pportu niti e s to i m pro ve th eir g am e. A C SO a t a g lo bal l o gis ti c s c o m pany p ut i t l ik e th is : “ T hese g uys b elie v e th at d oin g th e r ig ht th in gs t h e rig ht w ay w ill in ev ita b ly get yo u re su lts . If th ey d o eno ugh calls , se nd eno ugh e-m ails , and r e sp ond to e no ugh R FPs [re q uests fo r p ro posa l] , it’ ll a ll c o m e to geth er b y th e e nd o f th e q uarte r. T hey’re th e o nes w ho w ere actu ally p ayin g atte nti o n w hen w e p ound ed th e im porta nce o f sa le s p ro cess.” The R ela tio nsh ip B uild er J u st a s th e n am e im plie s, R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers a re a ll a b out b uild in g a nd n urtu rin g s tr o ng p ers o nal a nd pro fe ssio nal re la ti o nsh ip s and ad vocate s acro ss th e custo m er org aniz a ti o n. They’re very g enero us w ith th eir ti m e a nd w ork v ery h ard to e nsu re th at c usto m ers ’ n eed s a re m et. T heir p rim ary p ostu re w ith c usto m ers is la rg ely o ne o f a ccessib ility a nd s e rv ic e. “ W hate v er y o u n eed ,” th ey’ll te ll c usto m ers , “ I’ m h ere to m ake th at h ap pen. J u st s a y th e w ord .” Not su rp ris in gly , o ne V P o f sa le s w e re centl y in te rv ie w ed to ld us, “O ur custo m ers lo ve our r e la ti o nsh ip b uild ers . T hey’v e w ork ed v ery h ard to b uild c usto m er re la ti o nsh ip s, so m eti m es o ver y ears . I t f e els l ik e th at’ s r e ally m ad e a h uge d iffe re nce to o ur b usin ess.” The L one W olf T he L one W olf w ill lo ok fa m ilia r to a nyo ne in s a le s. L one W olv es a re d eep ly s e lf- c o nfid ent. A s a r e su lt, th ey te nd to f o llo w th eir o w n i n sti n cts i n ste ad o f th e r u le s. I n m any w ays, th e L one W olv es a re t h e “ p rim a d onnas” o f th e s a le s f o rc e— th e “ co w boys” w ho d o th in gs “ th eir w ay” o r n o t a t a ll. M ore o fte n th an n o t th ey d riv e s a le s le ad ers c ra zy — th ey h av e n o p ro cess c o m plia nce, n o tr ip r e p orts , n o C RM ( c usto m er r e la ti o nsh ip m anagem ent) e ntr ie s. “F ra nkly ,” o ne h ead o f sa le s to ld u s, “ I’ d fir e th em if I c o uld , b ut I c an’t, b ecause th ey’re a ll c ru sh in g th eir n um bers .” A nd th at’ s th e c ase f o r m ost c o m panie s. O n a v era ge, L one W olv es te nd to d o v ery w ell d esp ite e gre gio usly flo uti n g th e s y ste m , b ecause if th ey d id n’t d o w ell, th ey’d p ro bab ly h av e b een f ir e d a lr e ad y. The R eactiv e P ro ble m S olv er T he R eacti v e P ro ble m S olv er i s h ig hly r e lia b le a nd v ery d eta il- o rie nte d . W hile e v ery r e p i n o ne w ay o r a no th er i s f o cuse d o n s o lv in g c usto m er p ro ble m s, th ese i n d iv id uals a re n atu ra lly d ra w n to e nsu rin g t h at a ll o f th e p ro m is e s th at a re in ev ita b ly m ad e a s p art o f a s a le a re a ctu ally k ep t o nce th at d eal is d one. T hey te nd to fo cus v ery h eav ily o n p ost- s a le s fo llo w -u p , e nsu rin g th at s e rv ic e is su es a ro und i m ple m enta ti o n a nd e xecuti o n a re a d dre sse d q uic kly a nd th o ro ughly . One S E C m em ber d esc rib ed th e p ro ble m s o lv er a s “ a c usto m er s e rv ic e r e p i n s a le s r e p c lo th in g.” A s s h e p ut i t, “ T hey c o m e i n to th e o ffic e i n th e m orn in g w ith g ra nd p la ns to g enera te n ew s a le s, b ut a s s o on a s a n e xis ti n g c usto m er c alls w ith a p ro ble m , th ey d iv e rig ht in ra th er th an p assin g it to th e p eo ple w e a ctu ally p ay to s o lv e th o se p ro ble m s. T hey fin d w ays to m ake th at c usto m er h ap py, b ut a t t h e e xp ense o f f in d in g w ays to g enera te m ore b usin ess.” The C halle nger C halle ngers are th e deb ate rs on th e te am . T hey’v e go t a deep und ers ta nd in g of th e custo m er’s b usin ess a nd u se th at u nd ers ta nd in g to p ush th e c usto m er’s th in kin g a nd te ach th em s o m eth in g n ew a b out h o w th eir c o m pany c an c o m pete m ore e ffe cti v ely . T hey’re n o t a fr a id to s h are th eir v ie w s, e v en w hen th ey’re d iffe re nt a nd p ote nti a lly c o ntr o vers ia l. C halle ngers a re a sse rti v e— th ey te nd to “ p re ss” c usto m ers a littl e — both o n th eir th in kin g a nd a ro und th in gs lik e p ric in g. A nd a s m any s a le s le ad ers w ill te ll y o u, th ey d on’t re se rv e th eir C halle nger m enta lity fo r c usto m ers a lo ne. T hey te nd to p ush t h eir o w n m anagers a nd s e nio r l e ad ers w ith in th eir o w n o rg aniz a ti o ns a s w ell. N ot i n a n a nno yin g o r a ggre ssiv e m anner, m in d y o u— th en w e’d s im ply h av e to c all th is p ro file “ th e J e rk ”— but in a w ay t h at f o rc es p eo ple to th in k a b out c o m ple x i s su es f r o m a d iffe re nt p ers p ecti v e. As o ne m em ber p ut it, “ W e h av e a h and fu l o f C halle ngers in o ur c o m pany, a nd a lm ost a ll o f th em s e em to h av e a s ta nd in g ti m e s lo t o n o ur C SO ’s c ale nd ar to d is c uss w hat th ey’re s e ein g a nd h earin g i n t h e m ark et. T he C SO l o ves i t. T hey’re c o nsta ntl y b rin gin g f r e sh i n sig ht to th e ta b le th at f o rc es h im to c o nsta ntl y c heck h is s tr a te gy a gain st r e ality .” FIN DIN G # 2: O NE C LEA R W IN NER A N D O NE C LEA R L O SE R I f y o u s te p b ack a nd lo ok a t th e fiv e p ro file s, a sk y o urs e lf: W hic h w ould y o u p re fe r to h av e o n y o ur t e am ? I n m any w ays, th ey a ll l o ok g o od. But a s in te re sti n g a s it is th at re p s fa ll in to o ne o f fiv e d is ti n ct p ro file s, it’ s re ally th e se co nd f in d in g th at’ s p ro ven s o c o m ple te ly s u rp ris in g. W hen y o u ta ke th ese f iv e p ro file s a nd c o m pare th em to a ctu al sa le s p erfo rm ance, y o u fin d so m eth in g v ery d ra m ati c . O ne in p arti c ula r p erfo rm s h ead a nd s h o uld ers ab ove th e oth er fo ur, and one fa lls dra m ati c ally behin d , yet th e re su lts go again st c o nv enti o nal w is d om . W hen m ost s a le s le ad ers s e e h o w e ach p ro file p erfo rm s, th ey te ll y o u q uite f r a nkly , th ey’v e i n d eed p la ced th eir b ig gest b et o n th e p ro file l e ast l ik ely to w in . So w ho w in s? T he a nsw er i s th e C halle nger b y a l a nd slid e. T ake a l o ok a t f ig ure 2 .2 . S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 2 .2 . C ore a nd H ig h P erfo rm ers b y P ro file In co m parin g th e fiv e re p p ro file s w ith actu al sa le s p erfo rm ance, th e fir s t th in g w e d id w as s e p ara te c o re p erfo rm ers fr o m sta r p erfo rm ers a nd a naly ze e ach in d ep end entl y . T o d ete rm in e sta r p erfo rm ers , w e a sk ed p arti c ip ati n g c o m panie s to te ll u s w hic h o f th eir r e p s i n th e s a m ple f e ll i n to th e t o p 20 perc ent of th eir sa le s fo rc e as m easu re d by perfo rm ance again st go al. O nce w e had c ate go riz e d a ll th e r e p s in o ur s a m ple b y p erfo rm ance, w e th en d ete rm in ed th e d is tr ib uti o n o f e ach g ro up a cro ss th e f iv e p ro file s. A nd w hat w e f o und w as f a sc in ati n g. Fir s t, th e dis tr ib uti o n of co re perfo rm ers acro ss th e fiv e pro file s is fa ir ly ev en. N o pro file d om in ate s am ong av era ge sa le s re p s. It tu rn s out co re perfo rm ers are n’t av era ge because th ey g ra v ita te to a s p ecific p ro file ; th ey’re a v era ge b ecause w ell, th ey’re a v era ge. T hey s h o w u p in a ll f iv e c ate go rie s a nd a chie v e a v era ge p erfo rm ance i n e v ery s in gle o ne. I n o th er w ord s, th ere ’s n o t o ne w ay to b e a v era ge, b ut fiv e. M ed io crity c o m es in m ulti p le fla v ors . In d eed , y o u s e e th is in fig ure 2 .2 i n th e r e la ti v ely e v en d is tr ib uti o n o f th e l ig hte r-s h ad ed b ars a cro ss th e f iv e p ro file s. But w hen y o u lo ok a t th e d is tr ib uti o n o f sta r p erfo rm ers a cro ss th ese s a m e fiv e p ro file s, y o u fin d s o m eth in g co m ple te ly d iffe re nt. W hile th ere m ay b e fiv e w ays to b e av era ge, th ere ’s cle arly a d om in ant w ay to b e a s ta r. A nd th at, b y f a r, i s th e C halle nger p ro file , c o m pris in g n early 4 0 p erc ent o f a ll h ig h p erfo rm ers i n o ur s tu d y. You’ll r e m em ber th at th e C halle nger r e p is th e r e p w ho lo ves to d eb ate . T he o ne w ho u se s h is o r her d eep u nd ers ta nd in g o f a c usto m er’s b usin ess n o t s im ply to s e rv e th em , b ut to te ach th em : to p ush th eir th in kin g a nd p ro vid e th em w ith n ew a nd d iffe re nt w ays to th in k a b out th eir b usin ess a nd h o w to co m pete . So w hat tr u ly s e ts th em a p art? In o ur a naly sis , o f th e fo rty -fo ur o r s o a ttr ib ute s w e te ste d , s ix o f th em s h o w ed u p a s s ta ti s ti c ally s ig nific ant i n d efin in g s o m eo ne a s a C halle nger r e p : • O ffe rs th e c usto m er u niq ue p ers p ecti v es • H as s tr o ng tw o-w ay c o m munic ati o n s k ills • K no w s th e i n d iv id ual c usto m er’s v alu e d riv ers • C an i d enti fy e co no m ic d riv ers o f th e c usto m er’s b usin ess • I s c o m fo rta b le d is c ussin g m oney • C an p re ssu re th e c usto m er At fir s t g la nce, th is lis t m ay s e em lik e a s tr a nge m ix o f u nre la te d q ualiti e s. In fa ct, w hen w e fir s t put to geth er th e l is t o f a ttr ib ute s to b e te ste d , i t’ s u nlik ely a nyo ne w ould h av e p ic ked th ese p arti c ula r six a s th e k ey c o m ponents o f s ta r p erfo rm ance. N oneth ele ss, th at’ s h o w th e a naly sis c am e o ut. E ach o f th ese a ttr ib ute s re p re se nts a p arti c ula r w ay in w hic h C halle nger re p s s ig nific antl y o utp erfo rm th eir co lle agues i n th e c o re . That s a id , i f w e g ro up th e a ttr ib ute s i n to th re e c ate go rie s w e f in d th ey p ain t a v ery c le ar p ic tu re o f who th e C halle nger tr u ly is . A C halle nger is re ally d efin ed b y th e a b ility to d o th re e th in gs: te ach, ta ilo r, a nd ta ke c o ntr o l: • W ith th eir u niq ue p ers p ecti v e o n th e c usto m er’s b usin ess a nd th eir a b ility to e ngage in r o bust tw o-w ay dia lo gue, C halle ngers are ab le to te a ch fo r diffe re n tia tio n durin g th e sa le s in te ra cti o n. • B ecause C halle ngers p osse ss a s u p erio r s e nse o f a c usto m er’s e co no m ic a nd v alu e d riv ers , th ey a re a b le to ta ilo r fo r r e so nance, d eliv erin g th e r ig ht m essa ge to th e r ig ht p ers o n w ith in th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n. • F in ally , C halle ngers are co m fo rta b le dis c ussin g m oney and can, w hen need ed , pre ss th e custo m er a b it. I n th is w ay, th e C halle nger ta kes c o ntr o l o f th e s a le . These a re th e d efin in g a ttr ib ute s o f th e C halle nger— th e a b ility to te ach, to ta ilo r, a nd to ta ke co ntr o l. T hey’re th e p illa rs o f w hat w e’v e c o m e to c all th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel, a nd th e r e st o f th is b ook w ill p ro vid e a r o ad m ap f o r b uild in g th ese c ap ab iliti e s i n y o ur s a le s f o rc e. Befo re w e tu rn to a c lo se r a naly sis o f C halle ngers , h o w ev er, le t’ s re tu rn b rie fly to o ur o vera ll re su lts . B ecause a s b ig a n a h-h a! a s i t h as b een f o r s a le s l e ad ers a ro und th e w orld th at th e C halle nger is s o m uch m ore l ik ely to w in th an a ny o th er p ro file , i t’ s p ro ven e q ually s u rp ris in g— and f r a nkly m uch more tr o ub lin g— fo r s a le s e xecuti v es to l e arn th at th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er f a lls s o f a r b ehin d . I n o ur stu d y, o nly 7 p erc en t o f a ll s ta r p erfo rm ers fe ll in to th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er p ro file , fa r fe w er th an any o th er. A nd th is fin d in g s h o uld b e a re al re d fla g fo r a ll s a le s le ad ers e nco ura gin g th eir re p s to sim ply g o o ut a nd “ b uild d eep er r e la ti o nsh ip s” w ith c usto m ers , o r, a s o ne c o m pany to ld th eir r e p s i n th e d ep th s o f th e r e cessio n, to g o o ut a nd “ hug y o ur c usto m ers .” Now , b efo re w e g o a ny fu rth er, w e s h o uld e m phasiz e th at th ese re su lts b y n o m eans s u ggest th at custo m er r e la ti o nsh ip s a re n’t im porta nt fo r s a le s— th is w ould b e a n aïv e c o nclu sio n. O f c o urs e th ey are im porta nt, p arti c ula rly in c o m ple x s a le s w here r e p s a re r e q uir e d to e ngage in r e la ti o nsh ip s w ith multi p le s ta keho ld ers . I f y o ur c usto m ers d on’t k no w w ho y o u a re , o r w ors e , o utr ig ht d is lik e y o u, y o u must f ix th at f ir s t. B ut a t th e s a m e ti m e, i f y o ur s tr a te gy a s a s a le s r e p i s l a rg ely o ne o f b ein g a v aila b le to ta ke c are o f w hate v er y o ur c usto m er n eed s— of a cq uie sc in g to th e c usto m er’s e v ery d em and — th at can b e a r e cip e fo r d is a ste r in a n e nv ir o nm ent w here y o ur c usto m ers a re m ore r e lu cta nt th an e v er to buy y o ur s o lu ti o ns fo r a ll th e r e aso ns w e d is c usse d in c hap te r 1 . In th at e nv ir o nm ent, a s c riti c al a s a str o ng c usto m er re la ti o nsh ip m ay b e, fa m ilia rity a lo ne is n ’t e no ugh to w in th e b usin ess. A s e rv ic e- orie nte d q uarte rly c heck-in c all w ith y o ur c usto m er c an b e a g re at w ay to fin d b usin ess, b ut i t’ s n o t a very go od w ay to make b usin ess. A s a re su lt, in a w orld w here fin d ab le b usin ess has all b ut vanis h ed , R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers a re d oom ed to f a il. Sourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 2 .3 . C halle nger V ers u s R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er P ro file So is th e C halle nger p ro file re ally all th at d iffe re nt fr o m th at o f th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er? It ab so lu te ly is . W hen y o u lo ok a t th e a ttr ib ute s th at d efin e th e C halle nger a nd c o m pare th em w ith th e ones th at d efin e th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er, a s w e’v e d ep ic te d i n f ig ure 2 .3 , y o u’ll s e e w hy. Challe nger r e p s s u cceed f o r a ll o f th e r e aso ns w e j u st d is c usse d — th ey e xcel a t te achin g, ta ilo rin g, and ta kin g c o ntr o l. M eanw hile , a s th e C halle nger is fo cuse d o n p ush in g th e c usto m er o ut o f th eir co m fo rt z o ne, th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er is fo cuse d o n b ein g a cce p te d in to it. T hey fo cus o n b uild in g str o ng p ers o nal r e la ti o nsh ip s a cro ss th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n, b ein g l ik ab le a nd g enero us w ith th eir ti m e. T he R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er ad opts a se rv ic e m enta lity . W hile th e C halle nger is fo cuse d o n custo m er v alu e, th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er i s m ore c o ncern ed w ith c usto m er c o nv enie nce. The C halle nger r e p w in s b y m ain ta in in g a c erta in a m ount o f c o nstr u cti v e te nsio n a cro ss th e s a le . The R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er, o n th e o th er h and , s tr iv es to r e so lv e o r d efu se te nsio n, n o t c re ate i t. I t’ s th e exact o pposite a p pro ach. G ra nte d , th e c o nv ers a ti o n w ith th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er is in m ost c ase s a very p ro fe ssio nal o ne, b ut it d oesn ’t re ally help th e c usto m er m ake p ro gre ss a gain st th eir g o als . They’re l ik ab le , b ut th ey’re n o t v ery e ffe cti v e. T he C halle nger, b y c o ntr a st, k no w s th at th ere i s v alu e fo r b oth y o u a nd y o ur c usto m ers i n m ain ta in in g th at te nsio n a l ittl e b it l o nger i n a m anner th at p ush es th e c usto m er to th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out th eir o w n b usin ess— ab out th e w ays i n w hic h y o u m ig ht b e a b le to h elp th em (to sa v e m oney o r m ake m oney) a nd , u lti m ate ly , a b out th e v alu e y o u p ro vid e a s a su p plie r. Here ’s h o w a g lo bal h ead o f s a le s i n th e h o sp ita lity i n d ustr y p ut i t w hen h e s a w th ese r e su lts : “ Y ou kno w , th is i s r e ally h ard to l o ok a t. F or th e l a st te n y ears , i t’ s b een o ur s ta te d s tr a te gy to h ir e e ffe cti v e Rela ti o nsh ip B uild ers . A fte r a ll, w e’re i n th e h o sp ita lity b usin ess. A nd f o r a w hile , th at w ork ed f in e. But e v er s in ce th e e co no m y c ra sh ed , m y R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers a re c o m ple te ly l o st. T hey c an’t s e ll a th in g. A nd a s I l o ok a t th is , I n o w k no w w hy.” F IN DIN G # 3: C H ALLEN G ER S A R E T H E S O LU TIO N S E LLIN G R EP, N O T JU ST T H E D O W N E C O NO M Y R EP T he d ra m ati c d iffe re nce b etw een C halle ngers a nd a ll o th er r e p s b rin gs u s to o ur th ir d a nd a rg uab ly m ost d ra m ati c fin d in g. A lm ost in ev ita b ly a t th is p oin t in o ur sto ry , a q uesti o n n atu ra lly c o m es u p a b out th e “ sta yin g p ow er” o f th e C halle nger p ro file . A fte r a ll, w e fir s t d eriv ed th ese fin d in gs a t a v ery s p ecific a nd u niq uely b ad m om ent o f e co no m ic p erfo rm ance. S o is it p ossib le th at th e s u p erio r p erfo rm ance o f C halle ngers is s im ply a te m pora ry p heno m eno n— a p ro duct o f th e G re at R ecessio n a nd th e b ru ta l s a le s e nv ir o nm ent it e ngend ere d ? If th at’ s th e c ase , a re w e lik ely to c o m e b ack in tw o o r th re e y ears a nd fin d th at s o m e o th er p ro file — perh ap s o ne a s y et u nid enti fie d — is m ore lik ely to w in ? B ase d o n w hat w e’re s e ein g i n th e d ata , w e d on’t b elie v e th at’ s th e c ase . T o s h o w y o u w hy, l e t’ s s h ift o ur p ers p ecti v e to th e lo nger v ie w fo r a m om ent a nd lo ok a t th e C halle nger fin d in gs in th e c o nte xt o f th e b ro ad er s h ift to w ard s o lu ti o n s e llin g. S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 2 .4 . H ig h P erfo rm ance b y S ale s R ep P ro file i n L ow -a nd H ig h-C om ple xity S ale s Env ir o nm ents If w e lo ok a t th e d ata th ro ugh a d iffe re nt le ns— th e le ns o f s a le s c o m ple xity — we fin d s o m eth in g e v en m ore d ra m ati c . A fte r o ur in iti a l a naly sis , w e w ent b ack to th e d ata a nd d iv id ed u p th e h ig h p erfo rm ers a cco rd in g to th e c o m ple xity o f th e d eals th ey w ere s e llin g ( s e e f ig ure 2 .4 ), c o m parin g s ta r p erfo rm ers w ho s e ll r e la ti v ely s im ple , s ta nd -a lo ne p ro ducts a cro ss a s h o rte r s a le s c ycle v ers u s th o se w ho s e ll m ore c o m ple x b und le s o f p ro ducts a nd s o lu ti o ns a cro ss a r e la ti v ely l o nger s a le s c ycle . In co m ple x sa le s, C halle ngers ab so lu te ly dom in ate , w ith more th an 50 perc en t of all sta r p erfo rm ers f a llin g i n to th is c ate go ry . T he o nly g ro up th at c an e v en c o m e c lo se a re th e L one W olv es— w ho , m ost s a le s le ad ers w ill a gre e, a re h ard to fin d a nd e v en h ard er to c o ntr o l. A t th e s a m e ti m e, R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers n early fa ll o ff th e m ap e nti r e ly — th e lik elih o od th at th ey a chie v e s ta r s ta tu s when y o u’re s e llin g c o m ple x s o lu ti o ns f a lls to nea rly z e ro . This e xp la in s w hy s o m any o rg aniz a ti o ns s tr u ggle w ith th e m ig ra ti o n to s o lu ti o ns. T he w orld o f so lu ti o n s e llin g is a lm ost d efin iti o nally a b out a d is ru p ti v e s a le . It’ s n o t th at y o u’re a sk in g c usto m ers to b uy y o ur p ro duct a nd p ut it u p o n th e s h elf w ith a ll o f th e o th er p ro ducts th ey’v e b ought. R ath er, yo u’re a sk in g c usto m ers to c hange th eir b ehav io r— to s to p a cti n g in o ne w ay a nd s ta rti n g a cti n g in ano th er. T o m ake th at h ap pen, h o w ev er, y o u h av e to g et c usto m ers to th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out h o w th ey opera te . Y ou n eed to s h o w th em a n ew w ay to th in k a b out th eir b usin ess. F ro m th at p ers p ecti v e, it’ s re ally n o s u rp ris e th at in th is m ore c o m ple x w orld o nly o ne p ro file w in s— and it w in s b y a c o untr y mile . If y o u’re n o t b uild in g o r h ir in g C halle nger r e p s, c hances a re y o u’re g o in g to c o m e u p w ell s h o rt a s yo ur d eals b eco m e m ore c o m ple x. C halle ngers a re n’t j u st th e d ow n e co no m y r e p o f to day; th ey’re th e so lu ti o n-s e llin g re p o f to m orro w . If y o u’re lo okin g to g ro w th ro ugh s o lu ti o ns, y o u’re g o in g to n eed Challe nger r e p s to d o i t. If y o u s to p a nd th in k a b out y o ur b est s a le sp eo ple — th e o nes b rin gin g in th e b ig gest d eals fr o m th e most c o m ple x c usto m ers , y o u c an s e e th em i n th is p ic tu re . C hances a re th ey’re y o ur b est C halle ngers . That s a id , i m plic it i n th is f in d in g i s a l e sso n f o r h o w y o u m ig ht th in k a b out th e l e ss c o m ple x, m ore tr a nsa cti o nal p arts o f y o ur b usin ess, a s w ell. In th ese a re as ( m any o f th em in th e in sid e o r te le sa le s parts o f y o ur c o m pany), it p ro bab ly d oesn ’t m ake s e nse to o verin v est in b uild in g C halle ngers , a s th e data s u ggest th at H ard W ork ers a re m ore l ik ely to w in th e d ay th ere . I f s a le s s u ccess i s m ore a m atte r of c all v olu m e th an c all q uality , H ard W ork ers a re p rim ed to s u cceed . C halle ngers a re c riti c al i n th e co m ple x w orld o f s o lu ti o n s e llin g, b ut th ey’re n o t r e q uis ite f o r e v ery p art o f th e b usin ess. The o vera ll c o nclu sio n f r o m o ur r e se arc h i s th is : I f y o u’re o n th e j o urn ey to m ore o f a v alu e-b ase d or s o lu ti o ns-o rie nte d s a le s a p pro ach, th en y o ur a b ility to ch alle n ge c usto m ers is a b so lu te ly v ita l fo r yo ur s u ccess g o in g f o rw ard . I t’ s th ere fo re i m pera ti v e to u nd ers ta nd j u st w hat e xactl y m akes s o m eo ne a C halle nger. A fte r a ll, it’ s o ne th in g to te ll r e p s, “ B e a C halle nger!” It’ s a no th er th in g a lto geth er to te ll th em e xactl y w hat y o u w ant th em to do . 3 TH E C HA LLEN GER ( P A RT 2 ): E X PO RT IN G T H E M ODEL T O T H E C O RE A C H ALLEN G ER I S d efin ed b y th e a b ility to d o th re e th in gs— te ach, ta ilo r, a nd ta ke c o ntr o l— and t o d o a ll o f th is th ro ugh th e u se o f c o nstr u cti v e te nsio n. These a re th e p illa rs o f w hat w e c all th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel— an a p pro ach to s a le s th at is b ase d o n w hat C halle ngers d o. It’ s a m eth o dolo gy th at w e’v e w ork ed o n w ith c o m panie s a cro ss a w id e ra nge o f in d ustr ie s— co m panie s a s d iv ers e a s T ale cris B io th era p euti c s, P M I, B rin ks, a nd th e s o lu ti o ns b usin ess o f T ho m so n R eute rs — to im ple m ent w ith in th eir o w n sa le s o rg aniz a ti o ns. It’ s p re m is e d o n th e n o ti o n th at w ith th e r ig ht tr a in in g, c o achin g, a nd s a le s to ols , m ost r e p s— ev en a rd ent R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers — can l e arn to ta ke c o ntr o l o f th e c usto m er c o nv ers a ti o n l ik e a C halle nger. The C halle nger S ellin g M odel i s s im ple i n th eo ry , b ut c o m ple x i n p ra cti c e, a nd e arly a d opte rs w ill a tte st to th at. T he r e st o f th is b ook is d ed ic ate d to s h arin g p ro ven b est p ra cti c es, to ols , a nd le sso ns l e arn ed to h elp c o m panie s, c o m merc ia l l e ad ers , m anagers , a nd r e p s i m ple m ent th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel. Befo re w e b egin th is jo urn ey, it m akes s e nse to d is c uss s o m e o f th e fu nd am enta l p rin cip le s th at u nd erlie th e m odel a nd th at w ill b eco m e th em es th ro ugho ut th e c o urs e o f th is b ook. Prin cip le # 1: C halle n gers A re M ad e, N ot J u st B orn O ne o f th e q uesti o ns w e o fte n h ear i s w heth er b ein g a C halle nger i s a q uesti o n o f n atu re o r n urtu re f o r s a le s re p s. In o th er w ord s, a re C halle ngers b orn o r m ad e? T here a re a fe w w ays to a nsw er th is q uesti o n. One o f th e th in gs w e k no w fr o m o ur re se arc h is th at e v ery re p in o ur stu d y h ad tr a ces o f th e C halle nger “ gene,” it ju st w asn ’t th e th in g th ey “ m ajo re d ” in . B ut b ecause w e fo cuse d o ur w ork s p ecific ally o n sk ills , atti tu d es, b ehav io rs , and kno w le d ge, th at te ll us th at w ith th e rig ht to ols , t r a in in g, c o achin g, a nd r e w ard a nd r e co gniti o n s y ste m , y o u c an lik ely e q uip m any o f y o ur r e p s w ho m in o r in c halle ngin g (a nd m ayb e e v en th o se w ho ju st to ok a fe w c re d its in it) to a ct m ore lik e C halle ngers w hen th ey’re in fr o nt o f th e c usto m er. W hile th ere m ay b e re p s w ho w on’t m ake th e t r a nsiti o n, th ere a re m any, m any m ore w ho w ill i f y o u i n v est th e ti m e a nd e nerg y to g et th em th ere . Furth erm ore , th e id ea th at C halle ngers a re b orn a nd n o t m ad e is s o m ew hat ir re le v ant. W hile w e m ig ht n o t b e a b le to r e w rite th eir D NA, if w e a re a b le to m odify n o n– C halle nger r e p b ehav io r e v en t e m pora rily a s th ey f a ce o ff w ith c usto m ers ( to “ fle x,” a s o ne m em ber p ut i t) , th at e ffo rt i s l ik ely ti m e w ell s p ent. A fte r a ll, w e a re n’t a w are o f a ny s a le s l e ad er w ho i s r e ad y to l e t g o o f a ll b ut a h and fu l o f h is r e p s a nd r e hir e a n e nti r e ly n ew s a le s f o rc e— th at i s , n o h ead o f s a le s w ho w ants to k eep h is j o b. Our o pera ti n g p rin cip le w ith m em bers h as b een to f o cus o n a rm in g th em w ith th e to ols a nd tr a in in g t h ey n eed to im pro ve th eir e xis ti n g s a le s fo rc e r ig ht n o w . T his is a w orth y g o al a nd o ne th at th e b est o rg aniz a ti o ns hav e sh o w n gre at su ccess in purs u in g. T here is am ple ev id ence to su ggest th at C halle ngers c an b e m ad e. W e’v e s e en th is fir s th and : O ur o w n S E C S olu ti o ns g ro up (th e c o nsu lti n g a rm o f S E C ) h as h ad tr e m end ous s u ccess h elp in g o ur m em bers to b uild C halle ngers w ith in th eir o w n o rg aniz a ti o ns. If y o u a re a s a le s r e p , r e gard le ss o f w heth er o r n o t y o u a re a n atu ra l C halle nger, th is d is c ussio n o f t h e C halle nger S ale s M odel c o nta in s in sig hts th at w ill h elp b oost y o ur p ers o nal e ffe cti v eness a s a s a le sp ers o n. W hile y o ur c urre nt a p pro ach m ay d iffe r f r o m th e C halle nger m odel, d on’t th in k o f th ese d iffe re nces a s in su rm ounta b le o r s o m eho w c arv ed in s to ne. U nd ers ta nd in g th at th ese g ap s e xis t a nd , m ore i m porta nt, th at y o u h av e i t i n y o ur p ow er to c lo se th em , i s a c riti c al p art o f th e j o urn ey. Prin cip le # 2: I t’s t h e C om bin atio n o f S kills T hat M atte rs O ne o f th e k ey le sso ns fr o m o ur w ork is th at it’ s th e c o m bin ati o n o f th e C halle nger a ttr ib ute s— th e a b ility to te ach, ta ilo r, ta ke c o ntr o l, a nd d o it a ll w hile le v era gin g c o nstr u cti v e te nsio n— th at se ts C halle ngers a p art. If y o u te ach w ith o ut ta ilo rin g, y o u c o m e o ff a s ir re le v ant. If y o u ta ilo r b ut d on’t te ach, y o u ris k s o und in g lik e e v ery o th er su p plie r. If y o u ta ke c o ntr o l b ut o ffe r n o v alu e, y o u ris k b ein g sim ply a nno yin g. T hus th e V enn d ia gra m y o u s e e in fig ure 3 .1 . T his is a g ra p hic al s n ap sh o t o f w hat “ go od” l o oks lik e w hen it c o m es to re p p erfo rm ance. T hin k o f th is a s a s in gle s n ap sh o t o f th e “ new h ig h p erfo rm er.” B ecause th ese s k ills a re m ost e ffe cti v e w hen u se d in c o m bin ati o n, w e s tr o ngly u rg e o ur m em bers to a v oid th e te m pta ti o n to “ cherry -p ic k” w hen i t c o m es to r o llin g o ut th e m odel. But ju st a s n atu re a b ho rs a v acuum , c o m panie s a b ho r d up lic ati v e in v estm ent. F or th is r e aso n, w e o fte n h ear c o m merc ia l l e ad ers ta lk a b out s k ip pin g e le m ents o f th e m odel g iv en r e cent i n iti a ti v es. F or i n sta nce, s o m e c o m panie s w is h to fo cus o nly o n ta ilo rin g a nd ta kin g c o ntr o l b ecause th ey re centl y p oure d m oney in to d esig nin g n ew s a le s c o lla te ra l. W hile w e c an’t d ic ta te w hat c o m panie s d o w ith t h e m odel, w e a re u p fr o nt w ith o ur fe ed back a ro und s u ch p arti a l r o llo uts : In d iv id ual e le m ents o f th e m odel, w hen in v este d in , c an d eliv er p erfo rm ance im pro vem ents o ver th e sta tu s q uo , b ut fo r th e m odel to r e ally w ork , a ll e le m ents m ust b e i n v este d i n a nd d ev elo ped . T here a re n o s h o rtc uts to f u lly r e aliz in g th e p ote nti a l p erfo rm ance g ain s th at th e m odel o ffe rs . S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 3 .1 . K ey S kills W ith in th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel P rin cip le # 3: C halle n gin g I s A bou t O rg an iz a tio n al C ap ab ilit y , N ot J u st R ep S kills M any o rg aniz a ti o ns a ssu m e th at th e m ig ra ti o n to th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel is a q uesti o n o nly o f i m pro vin g i n d iv id ual r e p s k ills . F or th e m odel to r e ally w ork , th at i s e m phati c ally n o t th e c ase . T his j o urn ey is a ctu ally ju st a s m uch a b out b uild in g o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab iliti e s a s it is a b out d ev elo pin g i n d iv id ual s k ills . Build in g a te achin g cap ab ility , w hic h w e w ill d is c uss in m uch m ore d eta il in th e fo llo w in g c hap te rs , i s n o t s o m eth in g th at y o u j u st w ant y o ur i n d iv id ual r e p s o ut th ere f ig urin g o ut o n th eir o w n. W hile it is tr u e th at s o m e o f y o ur e xis ti n g C halle ngers c an d o th is e ffe cti v ely , a n o rg aniz a ti o n th at l e av es th e te achin g c o nte nt u p to i ts i n d iv id ual r e p s w ill b e p ulle d i n m any d iffe re nt d ir e cti o ns a s r e p s p ro m is e custo m ers so lu ti o ns to m yria d busin ess is su es— in clu d in g m any yo ur co m pany is no t e q uip ped to s o lv e. The a ct o f d eliv erin g a te achin g p itc h i s a s k ill, to b e s u re , b ut th e co nte n t o f a te achin g p itc h— th e b usin ess is su es y o u te ach c usto m ers to v alu e, th e id ea a ro und w hic h y o u r e fr a m e h o w th e c usto m er t h in ks a b out th eir b usin ess— must b e s c ala b le a nd re p eata b le , a nd a s s u ch, m ust b e c re ate d b y th e o rg aniz a ti o n ( in m ost o rg aniz a ti o ns, th is i s th e j o b o f m ark eti n g). The s a m e c an b e s a id f o r p arts o f ta ilo rin g. W hile th ere i s a c le ar r o le f o r th e i n d iv id ual r e p o n th e t a ilo rin g fr o nt, n am ely , re co gniz in g h o w to m odify th e te achin g m essa ge fo r d iffe re nt in d iv id uals a cro ss th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n, th e o rg aniz a ti o n h as a n im porta nt r e sp onsib ility w hen it c o m es to t a ilo rin g a s w ell. F ir s t, o rg aniz a ti o ns c an le v era ge b usin ess in te llig ence a nd r e se arc h a sse ts to h elp d ev elo pin g C halle ngers b ette r ta ilo r th eir m essa ges to e ach c usto m er’s i n d ustr y a nd c o m pany c o nte xt. T he o rg aniz a ti o n a ls o b ears th e r e sp onsib ility fo r id enti fy in g w hic h te achin g m essa ges w ill r e so nate w ith w hic h sta keho ld ers . A o ne-s iz e -fits -a ll te achin g m essa ge is unlik ely to b e te nab le fo r m ost s u p plie rs , a sid e fr o m th o se w ho se ll in a sin gle lin e o f b usin ess to a h ig hly h o m ogeneo us se t o f c usto m ers . Y et in d iv id ual c usto m er s ta keho ld er s e gm enta ti o n a t th is le v el, a gain , is ju st a s m uch a n o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility a s i t i s a n i n d iv id ual s k ill. If ta ilo rin g is h alf in d iv id ual/h alf o rg aniz a ti o nal, th e o nly c o m ponent o f th e C halle nger m odel th at c an tr u ly b e c alle d a la rg ely in d iv id ual s k ill is ta kin g c o ntr o l. H ere is w here r e p u p sk illin g w ill p ay s ig nific ant d iv id end s, a nd in c hap te r 7 w e w ill e xp la in th e b est w ay to d riv e th is b ehav io r in to th e f r o nt lin e. H ow ev er, it is w orth n o ti n g th at e v en h ere , th e o rg aniz a ti o n h as a ro le to p la y. N am ely , C halle nger r e p s a rm ed w ith p ow erfu l te achin g m essa ges p ro duced b y th eir o rg aniz a ti o ns w ill b e i n a m uch b ette r p ositi o n to ta ke c o ntr o l o f th e c usto m er c o nv ers a ti o n. A s w ell, re cent S E C re se arc h s h o w s th at th e o rg aniz a ti o n p la ys a n i m porta nt r o le i n e q uip pin g r e p s to i d enti fy a nd p ro perly e ngage w ith th e r ig ht s ta keho ld ers o n th e c usto m er s id e— an i m porta nt p art o f ta kin g c o ntr o l o f th e s a le . Prin cip le # 4: B uild in g t h e C halle n ger S ale s F orc e I s a J ou rn ey, N ot a n Overn ig h t T rip A b ig m is ta ke w e se e o rg aniz a ti o ns m ake in th eir C halle nger e ffo rts is a ssu m in g th at c hange w ill h ap pen in sta ntl y . M ovin g to a C halle nger m odel is a co m merc ia l tr a nsfo rm ati o n, o ne th at early a d opte rs te ll u s ta kes ti m e to g et r ig ht. P re cis e ly b ecause th e C halle nger m odel d em and s c hanges b oth t o o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab iliti e s a nd to i n d iv id ual r e p b ehav io rs a nd s k ills , i t i s h ard w ork . Ram min g th ro ugh C halle nger tr a in in g fo r re p s w ith o ut a ls o c are fu lly c o nstr u cti n g ro bust te achin g p itc hes fo r th em to d eliv er o r a rm in g fr o ntl in e m anagers to re in fo rc e th e rig ht b ehav io rs a nd s k ills m ig ht y ie ld a sm all b um p in re p p ro ducti v ity , b ut tw o o utc o m es a re p ra cti c ally g uara nte ed : T he p erfo rm ance b oost a tta in ed w ill f a ll w ell s h o rt o f w hat i t c o uld h av e d eliv ere d i f d one p ro perly , a nd m ore l ik ely th an n o t i t w ill b e p erc eiv ed a s th e tr a in in g “ fla v or o f th e m onth ,” s o on to b e f o rg o tte n o r r e je cte d b y m ost r e p s. Early a d opte rs a tte st to th e fa ct th at m ovin g to th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel is a jo urn ey. T ho se w ho ’v e b een d ow n th is p ath p eg th e ti m e to fu ll a d opti o n in te rm s o f y ears , n o t w eeks o r m onth s. I n d eed , m uch o f th e u p fr o nt e ffo rt w ill b e s p ent g etti n g y o ur o w n le ad ers h ip te am o n b oard w ith th e n ew m odel. T he C halle nger m odel, in o th er w ord s, is n ’t a b olt- o n so ftw are up date — it’ s a new o pera ti n g sy ste m fo r th e c o m merc ia l o rg aniz a ti o n. T ho se lo okin g fo r a q uic k w in w ould b e w ell a d vis e d to l o ok e ls e w here . If y o u’re re ad y to ta ke y o ur o rg aniz a ti o n o n th is tr a nsfo rm ati o n jo urn ey, h o w ev er, re ad o n. T he a d vanta ges th at a re a ccru in g to fir s t m overs a re e no rm ous. T he C halle nger m odel o ffe rs a n ew a nd p ow erfu l w ay o ut o f th e s o lu ti o n s e llin g m ora ss th at h as h ad s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns a cro ss i n d ustr ie s a nd a ro und th e w orld i n a v is e g rip f o r y ears . DO ES T H E C H ALLEN G ER S E LLIN G M ODEL W ORK? S oon a fte r w e b egan s h arin g th e fin d in gs fr o m o ur r e se arc h, w e b egan h earin g s to rie s b ack fr o m o ur m em bers a b out h o w th eir r e p s w ere e m plo yin g th e p rin cip le s o f th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel w ith c usto m ers — ofte n to o uts ta nd in g e ffe ct. L et’ s l o ok a t e ach o f th e p illa rs o f th e m odel i n tu rn to g iv e a s e nse o f w hat i t l o oks l ik e w hen d one w ell. Tea ch in g f o r D if fe re n tia tio n T he th in g th at r e ally s e ts C halle nger r e p s a p art i s th eir a b ility to te ach c usto m ers s o m eth in g n ew a nd v alu ab le ab out ho w to co m pete in th eir m ark et. O ur re se arc h o n custo m er lo yalty , w hic h w e’ll d is c uss in d ep th in th e n ext c hap te r, s h o w s th at th is is th e e xact b ehav io r th at w in s c usto m ers fo r th e l o ng te rm . Teachin g is a ll a b out o ffe rin g c usto m ers u niq ue p ers p ecti v es o n th eir b usin ess a nd c o m munic ati n g t h o se p ers p ecti v es w ith p assio n a nd p re cis io n i n a w ay th at d ra w s th e c usto m er i n to th e c o nv ers a ti o n. T hese new p ers p ecti v es ap ply no t to yo ur p ro ducts and so lu ti o ns, b ut to ho w th e custo m er can c o m pete m ore e ffe cti v ely in th eir m ark et. It’ s in sig ht th ey c an u se to fr e e u p o pera ti n g e xp ense s, p enetr a te n ew m ark ets , o r r e d uce r is k . To s e e h o w th is te achin g a p pro ach w ork s in p ra cti c e, w e’ll g iv e y o u a fe w e xam ple s. T he fir s t is f r o m o ne o f o ur m em bers a t a n o ffic e f u rn itu re m anufa ctu re r. A s e nio r m em ber o f th e c o m pany’s s a le s l e ad ers h ip te am to ld u s th e s to ry o f a re p w ho w as s tr u gglin g to g ain tr a cti o n w ith a p ro sp ecti v e c usto m er. T he c usto m er h ad ju st b uilt a n ew h ead quarte rs fa cility a nd o ne o f th eir c o m peti to rs h ad b een s e le cte d to fu rn is h th e b uild in g. T he c o m pany s e em ed to h av e b een c ut o ut o f th e b usin ess, b ut t h e r e p — a b ra nd -n ew h ir e — sti ll f e lt th ere w as a n o pportu nity to g ain a f o oth o ld i n th e n ew b uild in g b efo re th e c o m pany to ok d eliv ery f r o m th eir c o m peti to r. A fte r s o m e p ers is te nce, s h e l a nd ed a m eeti n g w ith th e c o m pany’s h ead o f r e al e sta te a nd f a ciliti e s. One o f th e k ey p rio riti e s fo r th is c o m pany w as to c re ate c o lla b ora ti v e s p aces w here e m plo yees c o uld m ore e ffe cti v ely i n te ra ct w ith o ne a no th er. I n l o okin g a t th e a rc hite ct’ s d esig ns, s h e w as a b le to t e ll h im , “ W ell, w e h av e ro bust d ata th at in d ic ate s th at c o lla b ora ti o n d oesn ’t h ap pen in g ro up s o f e ig hts . I t h ap pens i n tw os a nd th re es, a nd w hen y o u g et to s e v en i t s to ps b ein g p ro ducti v e. Y ou m ay b e b uild in g th e w ro ng s iz e c o nfe re nce r o om s.” “T hat’ s g re at to k no w ,” r e sp ond ed th e c usto m er, “ b ut th e c o nfe re nce r o om s h av e a lr e ad y b een b uilt. W hat c an w e d o a b out th at n o w ?” Lev era gin g h er p ro duct k no w le d ge, th e r e p e xp la in ed h o w th ey c o uld p ut u p a m ovab le w all d ow n t h e m id dle o f th e c o nfe re nce ro om s, c re ati n g tw o ro om s th at w ould fit s m alle r g ro up s o f th re e a nd f o ur. T hen s h e ta lk ed a b out a p ro duct th e c o m pany o ffe rs th at c o uld h elp fa cilita te c o lla b ora ti o n fo r t h em . S he s ta rte d fr o m a n in sig ht, ta ught th e c usto m er a b out a p ro ble m th ey d id n’t k no w th ey h ad , d ev elo ped i n te re st, a nd c hanged th e w ho le d ir e cti o n o f th e a cco unt. Ano th er g o od e xam ple c o m es f r o m a g lo bal p harm aceuti c al c o m pany. A nyb ody w ho k no w s p harm a k no w s a b out th e a rm s r a ce th at th e in d ustr y ’s b ig p la yers h av e b een lo cked in fo r y ears — to o m any r e p s fig hti n g to g et fa ce ti m e w ith to o fe w d octo rs . In th is to ugh s a le s e nv ir o nm ent, th is p arti c ula r c o m pany w as lo okin g to b re ak th ro ugh a nd b eco m e th e s u p plie r th at p hysic ia ns p re fe r to s p end ti m e w ith . H ow ev er, c usto m er s u rv ey d ata c le arly in d ic ate d th at in th e e yes o f c usto m ers , s u p plie rs w ere i n d is ti n guis h ab le f r o m o ne a no th er. To c ut th ro ugh th e n o is e , th e c o m pany in q uesti o n w ork ed to a rm its r e p s to te ach p hysic ia ns n ew i n sig hts — no t a b out th eir p ro ducts , b ut a b out h o w to im pro ve th eir o w n e ffe cti v eness a s m ed ic al p ra cti ti o ners . R ely in g o n th e c o m pany’s w ealth o f k no w le d ge o n d is e ase m anagem ent, th eir m ark eti n g t e am b uilt a s e rie s o f “ p ati e nt j o urn eys” th at r e p s c o uld s h are w ith d octo rs . T hese j o urn eys l o oked a t t h e e nti r e c ycle o f a n i lln ess, f r o m th e ti m e s y m pto m s a p pear to tr e atm ent a nd , f in ally , f o llo w -u p . For a d octo r, s e ein g th e fu ll life c ycle o f a n illn ess c an b e p re tty e ye-o penin g. F or e xam ple , th e co m pany k no w s th at p ati e nts w ith a c erta in i lln ess h av e a n a v era ge o f 2 .5 e xacerb ati o ns— fr e q uentl y re q uir in g a v is it to th e e m erg ency ro om — a y ear. H ow ev er, th e fa m ily p hysic ia n fo r th ese p ati e nts mig ht n ev er k no w th at th ese e m erg encie s o ccur b etw een v is its . A s a c o nse q uence, th ey a re tr e ati n g th e p ati e nts f o r a m uch l e ss s e v ere m ed ic al c o nd iti o n th an th e p ati e nts a ctu ally h av e. O nce th ey l e arn th is n ew in fo rm ati o n, th ey c an c hange th e p ati e nt’ s tr e atm ent to a v oid o r s u b sta nti a lly re d uce th ese exacerb ati o ns, w hic h re ally im pro ves th e q uality o f p ati e nt c are th e p hysic ia n c an d eliv er. T his is in sig ht p hysic ia ns v alu e, a nd it’ s h elp ed th is p arti c ula r s u p plie r g ain a ccess to p hysic ia ns in a w ay th ey n ev er e njo yed b efo re . One l a st e xam ple . I n s a le s th ese d ays, th ere ’s a l o t o f d is c ussio n a b out h o w r e p s c an “ get a head o f th e R FP.” T his s to ry illu str a te s h o w te achin g c an b e u se d e ffe cti v ely n o t ju st to g et a head o f a n R FP, but to a ctu ally r e sh ap e a n R FP i n a g iv en s u p plie r’s f a v or. The sto ry c o m es fr o m a su p plie r o f e m plo yee b enefit m anagem ent se rv ic es w ho w as re centl y in fo rm ed b y a l o ngti m e c usto m er th at th e c o m pany h ad d ecid ed to p ut th e c o ntr a ct f o r th e b usin ess o ut to b id i n a n a tte m pt to s a v e m oney. F ru str a te d th at th is l o ngti m e c usto m er w as tr y in g to p ull th em i n to a p ric e w ar, th e su p plie r to ld th em th at th ey w ere n’t in te re ste d in th at k in d o f p artn ers h ip w ith a clie nt, i.e ., o ne b ase d o n p ric e. S o th ey to ld th e c usto m er th at th ey w ould re sp ectf u lly d eclin e to su b m it a b id i n r e sp onse to th e f o rth co m in g R FP. B ut n o t b efo re th ey m ad e a r a th er u niq ue g estu re . They to ld th e c usto m er th at s in ce th ey w ere n’t g o in g to b e p arti c ip ati n g i n th e b id din g p ro cess, b ut valu ed th e lo ng-te rm w ork in g r e la ti o nsh ip th ey h ad , th ey w ould b e h ap py to h elp th em th in k th ro ugh th e c o nstr u cti o n o f th eir R FP to e nsu re th at th ey w ere re q uesti n g th e rig ht th in gs o ut o f th eir n ext su p plie r. Appre cia ti v e o f th e fr e e c o nsu lti n g th e s u p plie r w as o ffe rin g, th e c usto m er in v ite d th em d ow n fo r th e d ay, w here th ey s p ent a fe w h o urs o utl in in g w hat s h o uld b e in th e b id . T he d is c ussio ns in clu d ed ad vic e a lo ng th e lin es o f, “ If a ny s u p plie r te lls y o u th e fo llo w in g th re e th in gs, th ey’re w ro ng. A nd here ’s w hy.” “ If th ey s a y y o u n eed th ese fo ur th in gs, y o u a ctu ally d on’t, a nd h ere ’s w hy.” “ N o m atte r what, m ake s u re th at y o ur b id in clu d es th e fo llo w in g tw o th in gs, a nd h ere ’s w hy.” “ If a ny c o m pany te lls y o u th o se tw o th in gs a re n’t n ecessa ry , te ll th em th ey’re w ro ng. A nd h ere ’s w hy. T hey’re ju st tr y in g to g et y o u to b uy w hat th ey w ant to s e ll, b ut h ere ’s w hy y o u n eed to in sis t o n th ese tw o k ey th in gs.” The c usto m er fo und th e a d vic e to b e h ugely v alu ab le , a s th ese w ere p oin ts th ey w ould n’t h av e th o ught to c o nsid er o n th eir o w n. O nce th e R FP w as b uilt, th e s u p plie r’s a cco unt te am l o oked a t i t a nd sa id , “ O kay, w ell, i f th at i s th e b id y o u’re g o in g to p ut o ut th ere , th en w e’d l ik e to p arti c ip ate s in ce i t desc rib es e xactl y th e k in d o f p artn ers h ip w e’d l ik e to h av e w ith y o u.” This l a st e xam ple i n p arti c ula r i llu str a te s w hy th is te achin g a p pro ach w ork s s o w ell. T he c o nte nt o f th e r e p ’s te achin g p itc h i s c are fu lly l in ked to th e s u p plie r’s u niq ue c ap ab iliti e s. T he a b ility o f a s a le s re p to d eliv er th is k in d o f u niq ue in sig ht is a rg uab ly th e m ost p ow erfu l w eap on in th e C halle nger’s ars e nal a nd a ctu ally th e b ig gest d riv er o f B 2B c usto m er lo yalty . W e’ll fo cus o n b uild in g th is k in d o f te achin g c ap ab ility i n c hap te rs 4 a nd 5 . Tailo rin g f o r R eso n an ce W hile te achin g i s a b ove a ll o th ers th e d efin in g a ttr ib ute o f b ein g a C halle nger, th e a b ility to ta ilo r th e t e achin g m essa ge to d iffe re nt ty p es o f custo m ers — as w ell as to d iffe re nt in d iv id uals w ith in th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n— is w hat m akes th e te achin g p itc h r e so nate a nd s ti c k w ith th e c usto m er. Tailo rin g r e lie s o n th e r e p ’s k no w le d ge o f th e s p ecific b usin ess p rio riti e s o f w ho m ev er h e o r s h e i s t a lk in g to — th e s p ecific o utc o m es th at p arti c ula r p ers o n v alu es m ost, th e r e su lts th ey’re o n th e h o ok to d eliv er f o r th eir c o m pany, a nd th e v ario us e co no m ic d riv ers m ost l ik ely to a ffe ct th o se o utc o m es. If a C halle nger r e p i s s itti n g a cro ss th e ta b le f r o m a h ead o f m ark eti n g, h e u nd ers ta nd s h o w to c ra ft h is m essa ge to r e so nate w ith h er s p ecific p rio riti e s. A nd i f h e’s m eeti n g w ith s o m eo ne i n o pera ti o ns, h e k no w s h o w to m odify th e m essa ge a cco rd in gly . B ut th is is n ’t ju st a m easu re o f b usin ess a cum en, i t’ s a m easu re o f a gility — th e r e p ’s a b ility to ta ilo r th e s to ry to th e in d iv id ual s ta keho ld er’s b usin ess e nv ir o nm ent. W hat s p ecific ally d o th ey c are a b out? H ow is th eir p erfo rm ance m easu re d ? H ow d o t h ey f it i n to th e o vera ll c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n? An exam ple th at d em onstr a te s th e p ow er o f effe cti v e ta ilo rin g co m es fr o m o ur m em ber at a b usin ess s e rv ic es p ro vid er. T w o o f th eir r e p s h ad b een j o in tl y w ork in g o ne a cco unt f o r a p pro xim ate ly s ix m onth s, b uild in g r a p port w ith th e b usin ess l e ad ers a cro ss th e o rg aniz a ti o n, a ll th e w hile p re p arin g f o r a b ig p ro posa l p re se nta ti o n to th e c o m pany’s C EO a nd m anagem ent te am . A fte r m ulti p le m eeti n gs a nd p re se nta ti o ns, th e re p s h o m ed in o n w hat th ey th o ught w as m ost n eed ed b y th e c usto m er— an o uts o urc in g s o lu ti o n th at w ould d eliv er c o st s a v in gs to th e b usin ess. But j u st a w eek b efo re th ey w ere a b out to p re se nt to th e C EO a nd h is te am , th e r e p s a tte nd ed th eir o w n c o m pany’s a nnual sa le s m eeti n g, w hic h h ad fo cuse d o n b uild in g C halle nger sk ills a cro ss th e s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n. A t th e s e ssio n o n ta ilo rin g, th e r e p s r e aliz e d th at th ey h ad n’t f u lly i n v esti g ate d th e p ers o nal m oti v ati o ns a nd b usin ess o bje cti v es o f th e c usto m er’s C EO a nd w ere p ote nti a lly u np re p are d t o m ake th eir b est p itc h a t th e u p co m in g m eeti n g. They c alle d a l a st- m in ute m eeti n g w ith s o m e o f th e k ey s ta keho ld ers i n th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n to b ette r u nd ers ta nd th e p ers o nal g o als a nd o bje cti v es o f th e C EO — all i n a n a tte m pt to s e e i f th ere w as s o m e in sig ht th ey c o uld b rin g to th e ta b le th at w ould p ers o nally a p peal to h im . W hat th ey le arn ed in t h is m eeti n g p ro ved in v alu ab le . T hey fo und o ut th at th e C EO w as e xtr e m ely fo cuse d o n th e p oor c usto m er s a ti s fa cti o n s c o re s th e c o m pany h ad r e centl y r e ceiv ed . A nd th ey le arn ed th at th e C EO w as h im se lf a te chno lo gy j u nkie . In ste ad o f g o in g in to th e m eeti n g w ith th e c o st s a v in gs– fo cuse d p itc h th ey h ad a lr e ad y p re p are d , t h ey s w itc hed g ears a nd f o cuse d th e c o nv ers a ti o n o n w ays i n w hic h th e s o lu ti o n th ey w ere p ro posin g n o t only w ould cut co sts but co uld at th e sa m e ti m e im pro ve custo m er sa ti s fa cti o n and is su e r e so lu ti o n r e sp onse ti m e b y l e v era gin g n ew te chno lo gie s th e s u p plie r h ad r e centl y d ev elo ped . W hat’ s m ore , th e te chno lo gy w ould a llo w e v ery o ne fr o m th e C EO d ow n to lin e m anagers to g et re al- ti m e v is ib ility i n to c usto m er s e rv ic e i s su es a nd i s su e r e so lu ti o n r e sp onse ti m es. The C EO im med ia te ly s a t u p a nd lis te ned w ith r a p t a tte nti o n to th e s a le s p itc h. W hat w as to b e a s ta nd ard r e v ie w o f a s u p plie r p ro posa l tu rn ed in to a s u rp ris in g d is c ussio n o f o ne o f th e C EO ’s h o t- b utto n is su es. A t th e e nd o f th e p re se nta ti o n, th e C EO th anked th e r e p s fo r s h ed din g n ew lig ht o n a p ers is te nt b usin ess p ro ble m a nd d em onstr a ti n g c ap ab iliti e s th at h e d id n’t re aliz e th e s u p plie r h ad . W hile th e c o m peti to rs s tu ck to th eir s ta nd ard p ro posa ls , th is s u p plie r w on th e b usin ess b y ta ilo rin g t h eir m essa ge to w hat th e C EO c are d a b out m ost. In a ti m e w hen c o nse nsu s is m ore im porta nt th an ev er to g et th e d eal d one, i t’ s n o s u rp ris e th at th e r e p w ho w in s i n th is e nv ir o nm ent i s th e o ne w ho c an effe cti v ely ta ilo r th e m essa ge to a w id e ra nge of custo m er sta keho ld ers in ord er to build th at co nse nsu s. T his i s a to pic w e’re g o in g to e xp lo re i n a l o t m ore d ep th i n c hap te r 6 . Takin g C on tr o l o f t h e S ale T he fin al c hara cte ris ti c th at s e ts C halle nger r e p s a p art is th eir a b ility to a sse rt a nd m ain ta in c o ntr o l o ver th e s a le . N ow , b efo re w e g o a ny f u rth er, i t’ s i m porta nt to n o te th at b ein g a sse rti v e d oes n o t m ean b ein g a ggre ssiv e o r, w ors e sti ll, a nno yin g o r a b usiv e. T his is a ll a b out th e re p s’ w illin gness a nd a b ility to s ta nd th eir g ro und w hen th e c usto m er p ush es b ack. A C halle nger’s a sse rti v eness ta kes tw o f o rm s. F ir s t, C halle ngers a re a b le to a sse rt c o ntr o l o ver th e d is c ussio n o f p ric in g a nd m oney m ore g enera lly . T he C halle nger r e p d oesn ’t g iv e i n to th e r e q uest f o r a 1 0 p erc ent d is c o unt, b ut b rin gs th e c o nv ers a ti o n b ack to th e o vera ll s o lu ti o n— push in g f o r a gre em ent o n v alu e, ra th er th an p ric e. S eco nd , C halle ngers a re a ls o a b le to c halle nge c usto m ers ’ th in kin g a nd p re ssu re th e c usto m er’s d ecis io n-m akin g c ycle — both to r e ach a d ecis io n m ore q uic kly a s w ell a s to o verc o m e th at “ in d ecis io n i n erti a ” th at c an c ause d eals to s ta ll i n d efin ite ly . In fa ct, if y o u th in k a b out it, if a k ey to a C halle nger r e p ’s s u ccess is te achin g— or r e fr a m in g h o w t h at c usto m er s e es th eir w orld — th en th e r e p i s g o in g to h av e to b e w illin g to g et a l ittl e s c uffe d u p i n t h e p ro cess. J u st a s y o u c an’t b e a n e ffe cti v e te acher if y o u’re n o t g o in g to p ush y o ur s tu d ents , y o u c an’t b e a n e ffe cti v e C halle nger if y o u’re n o t g o in g to p ush y o ur c usto m ers . T his a p pro ach is so i m porta nt to day w ith c usto m er r is k a v ers io n a s h ig h a s i t i s . I t’ s f u nny, s a le s l e ad ers o fte n l a m ent th at c o re -p erfo rm in g r e p s f a ll i n to th eir c o m fo rt z o ne w hen s e llin g, b ut a rg uab ly th e b ig ger p ro ble m i s th at c usto m ers o fte n fa ll in to th eir c o m fo rt z o ne w hen it c o m es to b uyin g. A nd th at’ s w hat th e C halle nger r e p d oes— sh e m oves c usto m ers o ut o f th eir c o m fo rt z o ne b y s h o w in g th em th eir w orld i n a d iffe re nt l ig ht. T he k ey, o f c o urs e , i s to d o th is w ith c o ntr o l, d ip lo m acy, a nd e m path y. As one of our lo ngti m e m em bers , th e fo rm er C SO of one of th e w orld ’s la rg est chem ic al m anufa ctu re rs , e xp la in s, “ In p ra cti c e, a sse rti n g c o ntr o l c an ta ke m any f o rm s. I n e sse nce, i t m eans th at t h e s a le s p ro fe ssio nal ta kes th e le ad in th e c usto m er d is c ussio n w ith a s p ecific e nd in m in d .” W hile t h e e nti r e to olk it f o r ta kin g c o ntr o l i s b oth l a rg e a nd c o m ple x, th ere a re m any s im ple to ols th at c an b e a p plie d w ith p ow er. “D is c ussio ns o ver p ric e— pric e in cre ase s o r re q uests fo r p ric e d ecre ase s— are v ery h ig h-v alu e a re as fo r th e s a le s p ro fe ssio nal to ta ke c o ntr o l o f,” h e s a ys. “ W hen th e to pic o f p ric e c o m es u p , a p ow erfu l te chniq ue i s f o r th e s a le s p ro fe ssio nal to s h ift th e d is c ussio n f r o m p ric e to v alu e. T he v alu e o f th e c urre nt o ffe rin g i s a g re at p la ce to s ta rt th is d ia lo gue. D urin g th e c o urs e o f s u ch a d is c ussio n, i t i s use fu l to get th e custo m er to ra nk th e ele m ents o f th e o ffe rin g in o rd er o f im porta nce. T his s o m eti m es e nab le s th e c usto m er to s e e th e o ffe rin g in a d iffe re nt lig ht; th ese n ew in sig hts a re v ery u se fu l to b oth th e s a le s p ro fe ssio nal a nd th e c usto m er a s th ey th in k a b out v alu e.” He to ld u s th e s to ry o f o ne o f h is s a le s r e p s, w ho w as i n a s itu ati o n w here h e h ad to l e t a l o ngti m e c usto m er k no w a b out a p ric e i n cre ase — one th at w as n o t o nly s u b sta nti a l, b ut a ls o o ut o f s y nc w ith th e e co no m y. N one o f th e c usto m er’s o th er s u p plie rs w ere ra is in g p ric es, b ut th e ra w m ate ria l fo r th e s u p plie r’s p ro duct h ad g o ne u p s o m uch th at i t d ic ta te d th e n eed . A t th e s a m e ti m e, y ears b efo re , th at s a m e c usto m er h ad r e q ueste d th at th e p ro duct b e s h ip ped i n a n e xp ensiv e, n o nsta nd ard p ackage. O ver t i m e, th e co st o f th is p ackage had su b sta nti a lly re d uced th e p ro fita b ility o f th e b usin ess fo r th e s u p plie r. D urin g th e d is c ussio n o f th e p ric e in cre ase , th e s a le s p ro fe ssio nal a sk ed th e c usto m er to r a nk th e v ario us f e atu re s o f th e s u p plie r’s o ffe rin g. T he e xp ensiv e c usto m p ackagin g d id n’t r a nk i n th e t o p th re e. A s a c o nse q uence, th e s u p plie r a nd th e s a le s p ro fe ssio nal a gre ed to a l o w er p ric e i n cre ase a nd a s h ift to s ta nd ard p ackagin g. T he c hange i n p ackagin g i m pro ved p ro fita b ility m ore th an th e p ric e in cre ase its e lf. “ T his w as a g re at o utc o m e,” h e sa id , “ usin g a re la ti v ely sim ple d ev ic e to a sse rt co ntr o l i n a p ric e d is c ussio n to d eliv er a w in f o r b oth p arti e s.” A R O AD M AP F O R T H E R EST O F T H IS B O OK W hat’ s th e b est p ath to b uild in g C halle nger re p s? H ere is h o w w e’ll ta ckle th is q uesti o n in th e f o llo w in g c hap te rs : • In c hap te rs 4 a nd 5 , w e’ll lo ok a t th e n o ti o n o f te achin g. W e’ll a d dre ss th e q uesti o ns o f w hy te achin g w ork s a nd w hat y o ur r e p s s h o uld b e te achin g i n th e f ir s t p la ce— as w ell a s w hat th e co nte nt o f th eir “ te achin g p itc h” sh o uld lo ok lik e. M uch o f th is c hap te r w ill c ente r o n th e criti c al ro le th at th e org aniz a ti o n— in m ost co m panie s, m ark eti n g— pla ys in id enti fy in g “custo m er-w orth y i n sig hts ” th at l e ad to a s u p plie r’s u niq ue c ap ab iliti e s. • In c hap te r 6 , w e’ll lo ok a t ta ilo rin g. W e’ll ta ke a d eep d iv e in to w hy ta ilo rin g is a n e ffe cti v e ap pro ach in to day’s s a le s e nv ir o nm ent a nd lo ok a t w hat th e b est s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns d o to eq uip th eir r e p s to ta ilo r— in o th er w ord s, g et th em to a d ap t th eir s a le s a p pro ach a nd m essa ge to s p ecific in d iv id uals a cro ss th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n. A c riti c al p art o f th e ta ilo rin g s to ry is th e s h ift w e d is c usse d i n c hap te r 1 to w ard c o nse nsu s b uyin g w ith in c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o ns. We’ll s p end s o m e ti m e u np ackin g th is tr e nd i n m ore d eta il i n c hap te r 6 . • In c hap te r 7 , w e’ll d ig d eep in to th e a re a o f ta kin g c o ntr o l a nd d is c uss te chniq ues fo r g etti n g re p s to i n cre ase th eir a sse rti v eness w ith o ut b eco m in g a ggre ssiv e. A s m enti o ned b efo re , ta kin g co ntr o l i s a n e asily m is u nd ers to od e le m ent o f th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel. P oorly a p plie d , i t will d o m ore harm th an go od, b ut co rre ctl y ap plie d , it can b e th e d iffe re nce b etw een a decis io n a nd “ no d ecis io n.” In a w orld w here th e c usto m er’s s ta tu s q uo is r e ally y o ur w ors t enem y, a nd c usto m ers a re so in cre asin gly ris k -a v ers e , th e a b ility to ta ke c o ntr o l c an b e a gam e-c hanger f o r y o ur s a le s r e p s. • In chap te r 8 , w e w ill lo ok at th e criti c al ro le o f th e fr o ntl in e sa le s m anager in b uild in g Challe ngers acro ss th e sa le s fo rc e. S pecific ally , w e’ll lo ok at th e is su e of co achin g— so m eth in g m ost s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns c o nti n ue to n egle ct. T his is a n a re a o f d eep e xp erti s e fo r th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil a nd o ne w here w e h av e s o m e c o unte rin tu iti v e d ata a nd p ow erfu l best p ra cti c es to sh are w ith y o u. T he sto ry d oesn ’t e nd w ith c o achin g, h o w ev er. In so m e re cent w ork w e’v e c o m ple te d , w e’v e f o und th at h ig h-p erfo rm in g s a le s m anagers a ls o p osse ss a u niq ue a b ility to in no vate a t th e d eal le v el w ith th eir re p s. If c o achin g is a b out im parti n g sk ills kno w n to driv e sa le s su ccess, sa le s in no vati o n is ab o ut m ovin g in d iv id ual deals fo rw ard in a p urp ose fu l m anner. T hey’re d iffe re nt s k ills , b ut b oth a re h ugely im porta nt in a n org aniz a ti o n s e ekin g to m ake a s h ift to th e C halle nger m odel. • In c hap te r 9 , w e’ll o ffe r s o m e a d diti o nal w ord s o f g uid ance to le ad ers w ho a re s e ekin g to tr a nsfo rm th eir c o m merc ia l o rg aniz a ti o ns in to C halle nger o rg aniz a ti o ns. If y o u’re g o in g to em bark o n th is j o urn ey o f b uild in g C halle ngers , h o w d o y o u d esig n th e c hange e ffo rt s o th at i t le ad s to r e al, l o ng-te rm c hange a nd n o t j u st th e n ext “ fla v or o f th e m onth ” u p sk illin g e ffo rt? • L astl y , i n th e a fte rw ord , w e’ll l o ok a t th e n o ti o n o f c halle ngin g b eyo nd th e w orld o f s a le s. T he Challe nger m odel i s o ne th at, w e b elie v e, i s a b usin ess c o ncep t, n o t j u st a s a le s c o ncep t, a nd is o ne th at w e’v e s e en e ffe cti v ely e m plo yed i n a v arie ty o f c o rp ora te s e tti n gs— fr o m I T to H R to f in ance, l e gal, a nd s tr a te gy— and w e’ll d is c uss th is i n m ore d eta il i n th is c lo sin g s e cti o n o f th e b ook. 4 TEA CHIN G F O R D IF FER EN TIA T IO N ( P A RT 1 ): W HY I N SIG HT M AT TER S O VER T H E L A ST fifte en y ears , m ost s a le s tr a in in g h as c ente re d o n a c o re p rin cip le : T he s h o rte st p ath to s a le s s u ccess i s a d eep u nd ers ta nd in g o f c usto m ers ’ n eed s. I f y o u’re g o in g to s e ll “ so lu ti o ns,” t h e th in kin g g o es, y o u’v e g o t to f ir s t “ d is c o ver” y o ur c usto m ers ’ m ost p re ssin g p oin ts o f p ain a nd th en b uild a ti g ht c o nnecti o n b etw een w hat’ s k eep in g th em u p a t n ig ht a nd w hat y o u’re s e ekin g to s e ll. Not s u rp ris in gly , th en, s a le s l e ad ers h av e s p ent m illio ns o f d olla rs a nd u nto ld h o urs tr a in in g r e p s to a sk b ette r q uesti o ns. L ots o f th em . P ro bin g q uesti o ns. F in ancia l q uesti o ns. H yp oth eti c al q uesti o ns. O pen-e nd ed questi o ns. F ollo w -u p questi o ns. A ll desig ned to fig ure out as deep ly as possib le c usto m ers ’ “ to p th re e s tr a te gic o bje cti v es fo r th e c o m in g y ear,” o r “ th e tw o th in gs th ey’v e g o t to g et r ig ht th is q uarte r,” o r— bette r s ti ll— th eir c urre nt “ b urn in g p la tf o rm s.” The i d ea b ein g, i f w e j u st d ig d eep e no ugh to f in d “ th e s to ry b ehin d th e s to ry ,” w e’ll e v entu ally g et t o a p la ce w here c usto m ers a re s o f o rth co m in g a b out w hat th ey tr u ly n eed th at r ig ht th ere o n th e s p ot w e c an c ra ft a h ig hly ta rg ete d o ffe r th at p ro vid es th e p erfe ct “ so lu ti o n” to th eir p ro ble m . A s o lu ti o n s o p erfe ctl y a lig ned w ith th eir n eed s th at th ey h av e n o c ho ic e b ut to b uy i t— no m atte r w hat th e c o st. It s o und s g re at o n p ap er, b ut th is a p pro ach s u ffe rs o ne m ajo r p ro ble m : It d oesn ’t w ork n early a s w ell to day a s i t u se d to . C erta in ly i t n o l o nger w arra nts th e m assiv e tr a in in g i n v estm ents p oure d i n to i m pro vin g re p s’ d is c o very sk ills . A nd th at’ s n o t ju st b ecause im pro vin g re p s’ a b ility to a sk g o od q uesti o ns pro ves co lo ssa lly diffic ult— esp ecia lly am ong co re -p erfo rm in g re p s— but, m uch m ore i m porta nt, b ecause th is a p pro ach is b ase d o n a d eep ly fla w ed a ssu m pti o n: th at c usto m ers a ctu ally k n ow w hat th ey n eed i n th e f ir s t p la ce. T hat c usto m er n eed s a re s im ply th ere w aiti n g to b e u nlo cked , e ith er w illin gly o r b egru d gin gly , th ro ugh th e m aste ry o f o ur i n te rro gati v e te chniq ue. But w hat i f c usto m ers tr u ly d on’t k no w w hat th ey n eed ? W hat i f c usto m ers ’ s in gle g re ate st n eed — i r o nic ally — is to fig ure o ut e xactl y w hat th ey n eed ? If th is w ere tr u e, r a th er th an ask in g c usto m ers w hat th ey n eed , th e b ette r s a le s te chniq ue m ig ht in f a ct b e to te ll c usto m ers w hat th ey n eed . A nd th at’ s e xactl y w hat C halle ngers d o. W hen y o u g et d ow n t o it, C halle ngers a re n’t s o m uch w orld -c la ss in v esti g ato rs a s th ey a re w orld -c la ss te achers . T hey w in n o t b y u nd ers ta nd in g th eir c usto m ers ’ w orld a s w ell a s th e c usto m ers k no w i t th em se lv es, b ut b y a ctu ally k no w in g th eir c usto m ers ’ w orld bette r th an th eir c usto m ers k no w it th em se lv es, te achin g t h em w hat th ey d on’t k no w b ut s h o uld . Acro ss th e n ext tw o c hap te rs w e d iv e d eep i n to th e C halle nger’s a b ility to te ach— arg uab ly th e f ir s t a m ong e q uals a cro ss th e th re e c entr a l C halle nger c o m pete ncie s. A c riti c al p art o f o ur te achin g s to ry w ill b e a c lo se , c o ncre te l o ok a t w hat te achin g i s a nd i s n o t. W hat i t l o oks l ik e a nd s o und s l ik e, h o w i t w ork s, a nd h o w to e nsu re w e g et p aid w hen i t’ s d one r ig ht. A nd a lo ng th e w ay, w e’ll a d dre ss to ugh q uesti o ns w ith s o m e s u rp ris in g a nsw ers . T hin gs l ik e: • H ow exactl y is a “te achin g” co nv ers a ti o n all th at diffe re nt fr o m a tr a d iti o nal sa le s co nv ers a ti o n? • W hat k in d o f c o lla te ra l d o I n eed to te ach e ffe cti v ely ? • H ow m uch o f th is i s tr u ly a m atte r o f i n d iv id ual s k ill v ers u s o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility ? • W hat’ s th e r o le o f m ark eti n g i n g etti n g th is r ig ht? And p erh ap s m ost i m porta nt: • D o c usto m ers r e ally w ant to b e ta ught i n th e f ir s t p la ce? Let’ s s ta rt w ith th e la st q uesti o n fir s t. T hat’ s re ally w here th e ru b ber h its th e ro ad in a ny s a le s ap pro ach: w ith th e c usto m er. A nd i n th e c ase o f th e C halle nger a p pro ach, th is i s th e q uesti o n w e h ear most o fte n. A fte r a ll, it s e em s o n th e s u rfa ce ra th er a rro gant to s im ply s h o w u p a nd d ecla re to th e custo m er, “ H ello , I ’ m h ere to te ach y o u!” But th at’ s e xactl y w hat w e’re s a yin g. P erh ap s n o t in th o se w ord s p er s e — in fa ct, a lm ost c erta in ly no t in th o se w ord s. B ut s ti ll, a fte r fo ur y ears o f e xte nsiv e c usto m er r e se arc h, w hat w e e m phati c ally kno w to b e tr u e is th at th at’ s exa ctly w hat c usto m ers a re lo okin g fo r m ore th an a nyth in g e ls e in a su p plie r. IT ’S N O T W HAT Y O U S E LL, I T ’S H OW Y O U S E LL B egin nin g lo ng b efo re th e g lo bal e co no m y w ent o ff a c liff in 2 008 a nd c o nti n uin g rig ht th ro ugh th e e nsu in g d ow ntu rn , th e te am a t th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil a nd its sis te r p ro gra m , th e M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip C ouncil, a p ro gra m o f th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard , h av e s u rv eyed w ell o ver 5 ,0 00 i n d iv id uals at our clie nts ’ custo m er org aniz a ti o ns— ev ery o ne fr o m busin ess ow ners and C -s u ite e xecuti v es to e nd u se rs , p urc hase in flu encers , p ro cure m ent o ffic ers , a nd e v en th ir d -p arty c o nsu lta nts — in o rd er to d ete rm in e w hat e xactl y th ey’re l o okin g f o r i n a b usin ess-to -b usin ess s u p plie r. Specific ally , a cro ss r o ughly fifty q uesti o ns w e a sk ed e ach r e sp ond ent to r a nk th e n am ed s u p plie r ( i.e ., o ur c lie nt o rg aniz a ti o n) v ers u s s im ila r s u p plie rs i n te rm s o f v ario us a ttr ib ute s o f th eir p ro ducts , b ra nd , s e rv ic e, a nd p ric e-to -v alu e r a ti o . W e a sk ed a b out a ll th e ty p ic al r e aso ns w hy s o m eo ne m ig ht c ho ose one su p plie r over ano th er— th in gs lik e pro duct perfo rm ance, pro duct fe atu re s, bra nd r e co gniti o n, se rv ic e re sp onse ti m es. In ad diti o n, w e ask ed th o se sa m e in d iv id uals a num ber o f q uesti o ns a b out th e s a le s e xp erie nce its e lf— what it’ s a ctu ally lik e to b uy fr o m th e n am ed s u p plie r r e la ti v e to th eir c o m peti to rs . F in ally , w e a sk ed e ach r e sp ond ent th re e s p ecific q uesti o ns to g auge th eir l e v el o f l o yalty to th at s u p plie r: “ O n a s c ale f r o m o ne to s e v en, h o w w illin g a re y o u to : • k eep b uyin g f r o m th is p arti c ula r s u p plie r; • b uy e v en m ore f r o m th is s u p plie r g o in g f o rw ard ; • a d vocate o n th is s u p plie r’s b ehalf a cro ss y o ur o rg aniz a ti o n?” We w ere n’t ask in g ab out a custo m er’s genera l le v el of hap pin ess, or sa ti s fa cti o n, or ev en l ik elih o od to b uy— all o f w hic h w e’v e f o und i n e arlie r w ork a t th e M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip C ouncil to h av e l ittl e i m pact o n B 2B c usto m er l o yalty — but r a th er a b out th eir w illin gness to j o in th at s u p plie r o n a “ so lu ti o ns jo urn ey.” A cro ss y ears o f lo yalty re se arc h, w e’v e fo und th at th e c o m bin ati o n o f th ese t h re e q uesti o ns b ette r p re d ic ts d eep er c usto m er r e la ti o nsh ip s a nd , u lti m ate ly , c o m merc ia l g ro w th th an a ny o th er l o yalty m etr ic w e’v e te ste d . When w e p ut a ll o f th at in fo rm ati o n to geth er— te ns o f th o usa nd s o f d ata p oin ts — and th en ru n it t h ro ugh e xte nsiv e a naly sis , it a llo w s u s to d ete rm in e, o f a ll th e w ays to o utp erfo rm th e c o m peti ti o n, w hat th e m ost i m porta nt f a cto rs a ctu ally are d riv in g u p c usto m er l o yalty . The a nsw er is n o t o nly fa sc in ati n g b ut s o u nexp ecte d fo r m ost s a le s a nd m ark eti n g e xecuti v es th at t h e re su lts h av e la nd ed in m ore b oard ro om -le v el c o nv ers a ti o ns th an a ny o th er p ie ce o f re se arc h w e’v e e v er c o nd ucte d ( s e e f ig ure 4 .1 ). Sourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 4 .1 . R ep re se nta ti v e D riv ers o f C usto m er L oyalty The f ir s t th in g y o u f in d w hen y o u l o ok a t th e a naly sis i s a d efin iti v e i m pact o n l o yalty f r o m b ra nd , pro duct, a nd s e rv ic e. W hen y o u c o m bin e th ese f a cto rs y o u f in d th at 3 8 p erc ent o f c usto m er l o yalty i s attr ib uta b le to y o ur a b ility to o utp erfo rm th e c o m peti ti o n in th ese a re as. S ellin g a w ell- b ra nd ed , hig hly d iffe re nti a te d p ro duct, s u p porte d b y h ig her-th an-in d ustr y -a v era ge s e rv ic e w ill u nd oub te d ly g et yo u m ore lo yalty . If yo u’re w ay b ehin d th e co m peti ti o n in any o f th ese th re e cate go rie s, th at’ s pro bab ly w here y o u w ant to s ta rt. That s a id , m any e xecuti v es l o ok a t th ese r e su lts w ith g enuin e s u rp ris e . T hey e xp ect th ese f a cto rs to acco unt f o r m uch m ore , m ayb e 7 0, 8 0, o r e v en 9 0 p erc ent o f c usto m er l o yalty . A fte r a ll, i f th ey c an’t win l o yalty o ff th eir s u p erio r b ra nd , p ro duct, a nd s e rv ic e, w ell th en, w hat e ls e i s th ere ? But th e re aso n fo r th eir su rp ris in gly lo w im pact ste m s la rg ely fr o m a c o m mon tr e nd c ap tu re d perfe ctl y in a sto ry to ld to u s re centl y b y th e g lo bal h ead o f m ark eti n g a t o ne o f th e w orld ’s to p fin ancia l s e rv ic es f ir m s. W hen s h e s a w th is d ata , s h e s a id , “ F our y ears a go , o ur c o m pany w as s itti n g at o nly 6 5 p erc ent c usto m er s a ti s fa cti o n d ue to a l o ng tr e nd o f g enera lly p oor c usto m er s e rv ic e a cro ss our e nti r e in d ustr y . S eein g th is p ro ble m a s a r e al g ro w th o pportu nity , a cro ss th e n ext th re e y ears w e se t a b out a naly zin g a nd i m pro vin g s e rv ic e a cro ss e v ery m ajo r c usto m er to uchp oin t, i n v esti n g m illio ns of d olla rs a nd c o untl e ss h o urs a lo ng th e w ay. A nd th e r e su lts w ere p heno m enal! A t th e e nd o f th re e years , w e had in cre ase d custo m er sa ti s fa cti o n fr o m 65 p erc ent to 95 p erc ent.” S ound s fa nta sti c , doesn ’t i t? “B ut,” s h e c o nti n ued , “ th ere w as o nly o ne p ro ble m . In th o se s a m e th re e y ears , o ur tw o b ig gest co m peti to rs d id th e e xact s a m e th in g. T hey i n v este d r o ughly th e s a m e a m ount o f m oney a nd a chie v ed more o r l e ss th e e xact s a m e r e su lt. S o h ere w e a re , f o ur y ears l a te r, a nd o ur e nti r e i n d ustr y s its a t 9 6 perc ent c usto m er s a ti s fa cti o n. D on’t g et m e w ro ng, th at’ s g re at, b ut a s a r e su lt w e’v e s e en a b so lu te ly no c o m merc ia l b enefit fr o m a ll th at e xp ense . S ati s fie d c usto m ers le av e u s e v ery d ay, b ecause th ey kno w th ey’ll b e tr e ate d e q ually w ell s o m ew here e ls e .” Now , i s i t f a ir to s a y th at th is c o m pany h ad to i n v est th at k in d o f ti m e a nd m oney s im ply to s ta y i n th e g am e? A bso lu te ly . H ad th ey n o t, th ey’d ju st a s lik ely b e o ut o f b usin ess to day. B ut th e le sso n is sti ll m ad denin gly fa m ilia r. W e p our m illio ns o f d olla rs in to b ra nd , p ro duct, and se rv ic e se ekin g gro w th , a nd r e ally o nly g et s ta tu s q uo . O ur c usto m ers a re m ore s a ti s fie d , b ut th ey’re n o t n ecessa rily any m ore l o yal. So w hat’ s h ap penin g h ere ? T o f in d o ut, w e w ent o ut a nd d is c usse d th ese f in d in gs w ith s o m e o f th e custo m ers w ho h ad c o m ple te d th e s u rv ey a nd h eard s o m eth in g th at m ig ht s u rp ris e y o u. In lig ht o f th e re su lts — th e re la ti v ely lo w im pact o n lo yalty o f b ra nd , p ro duct, a nd s e rv ic e— we e xp ecte d a t le ast so m e o f th ese c usto m ers to e xp re ss re al d is sa ti s fa cti o n w ith th e s u p plie r in q uesti o ns a cro ss th ese th re e c ate go rie s. B ut th at’ s n o t w hat w e h eard a t a ll. In fa ct, it w as ju st th e o pposite . T hey lo ved th e pro duct! T he b ra nd w as world -c la ss ! T he s e rv ic e w as fa nta stic ! B ut i f th at w as th e c ase , th en w hy i n th e w orld w ere th e l o yalty s c o re s f o r th ese a ttr ib ute s s o l o w ? The a nsw er l a y i n w hat th ese c usto m ers w ould o fte n s a y n ext. “ S ure ! T hey’v e g o t a gre a t p ro duct! It p erfo rm s e xactl y l ik e th ey s a id i t w ould ! B ut th e c o m peti ti o n’s g o t a g re at p ro duct to o!” O r, “ T heir bra nd is world -c la ss ! Every o ne k no w s th eir b ra nd ! B ut th e c o m peti ti o n’s g o t a w orld -c la ss b ra nd to o!” O r, “ T heir s e rv ic e i s fa nta stic ! I n f a ct, I ’ d p ut th em r ig ht u p th ere w ith th e c o m peti ti o n!” S ound fa m ilia r? Over and o ver w e fo und th at custo m ers , genera lly sp eakin g, se e sig nific antl y le ss d iffe re nce betw een u s a nd th e c o m peti ti o n th an w e d o o urs e lv es. It’ s n o t th at th ey th in k m ost su p plie rs a re parti c ula rly bad o n b ra nd , p ro duct, o r se rv ic e. It’ s ju st th at th ey d on’t th in k th ey’re p arti c ula rly diffe re n t . S o w hile w e sp end m uch o f o ur ti m e e m phasiz in g su b tl e d iffe re nces, c usto m ers te nd to fo cus f ir s t o n th e g enera l s im ila riti e s. Does th is m ean y o u s h o uld s to p i n v esti n g i n b ra nd , p ro duct, a nd s e rv ic e? C erta in ly n o t! I t’ s a ll s ti ll hugely im porta nt. B ut— at le ast in th e B 2B w orld — th e in v estm ents w e m ake in b ra nd b uild in g, pro duct d ev elo pm ent, a nd im pro ved c usto m er se rv ic e a re n o t th e fin al ste p to w in nin g c usto m er lo yalty , b ut th e fir st . I t’ s th e p ric e o f e ntr y to g ain in g c usto m er l o yalty a t a ll. In fa ct, a fte r th ey’v e h ad a c hance to w ra p th eir h ead s a ro und th is fin d in g fo r a w hile , s a le s a nd mark eti n g e xecuti v es te nd to a gre e, a s th ey s e e i t e v ery s in gle d ay i n th eir o w n b usin ess. H ow ev er, i n many c ase s, th eir n atu ra l i n clin ati o n a cro ss th e l a st s e v era l y ears , a t l e ast, i s to e xp la in a w ay th e l o w im pact o n l o yalty f r o m b ra nd , p ro duct, a nd s e rv ic e a s a n atu ra l b y-p ro duct o f c usto m ers ’ i n te nse f o cus on re d ucin g c o sts . S ure , c usto m ers a re lo yal, th ey’d a rg ue. T hey’re ju st lo yal to w ho ev er’s g o t th e lo w est p ric e. But it tu rn s o ut, th at’ s n o t th e c ase e ith er. O nly 9 p erc ent o f c usto m er lo yalty is a ttr ib uta b le to a su p plie r’s a b ility to o utp erfo rm th e c o m peti ti o n o n p ric e-to -v alu e ra ti o . Y es, y o u m ig ht b e c heap er th an th e c o m peti ti o n, b ut i n th e e yes o f y o ur c usto m er, y o u l ik ely p ro vid e l e ss v alu e a s w ell. S o y o ur lo w er p ric e m ay g et y o u th e d eal, b ut i t a lm ost c erta in ly w on’t g et y o u m uch l o yalty . If y o ur c usto m er is d ead se t o n b uyin g th e c heap est o pti o n to day, th en c hances a re p re tty g o od th ey’ll b e d ead s e t o n b uyin g th e c heap est o pti o n to m orro w a s w ell. A nd th at m ay o r m ay n o t b e y o u. Afte r a ll, th ere ’s u su ally littl e s to ppin g y o ur c o m peti ti o n fr o m d is c o unti n g th eir w ay to a w in . In th at gam e, l o yalty i s e sse nti a lly i r re le v ant, a s c usto m ers a re n’t l o okin g f o r a p artn er, th ey’re l o okin g f o r a barg ain . A nd th at’ s n o t w hat th is s to ry i s a ll a b out. T his i s a s to ry a b out a c usto m er’s w illin gness n o t only to k eep b uyin g f r o m y o u, b ut to b uy e v en m ore o ver ti m e a nd to a d vocate o n y o ur b ehalf. A nd i f th at’ s yo ur go al, p ric e is sim ply a b ad w ay to get th ere . U nle ss yo ur lo w er p ric es co m e w ith sig nific antl y h ig her p erc eiv ed v alu e th an th e c o m peti ti o n, to day’s d is c o unts w on’t g et y o u to m orro w ’s busin ess. So if only 38 perc ent of custo m er lo yalty is attr ib uta b le to yo ur ab ility to outp erfo rm th e co m peti ti o n o n b ra nd , p ro duct, a nd s e rv ic e, a nd 9 p erc ent o f lo yalty is a ttr ib uta b le to y o ur a b ility to outp erfo rm th e c o m peti ti o n o n p ric e-to -v alu e r a ti o , th en w hat a b out th e o th er 5 3 p erc ent? W hat e ls e i s th ere ? Well, to u nd ers ta nd th e a nsw er, le t’ s g o b ack to th o se c usto m er c o nv ers a ti o ns w e m enti o ned a mom ent a go . W hat w e ty p ic ally h eard fr o m c usto m ers , a fte r th ey to ld u s h o w littl e d iffe re nce th ey sa w b etw een o ne s u p plie r a nd a no th er in te rm s o f b ra nd , p ro duct, a nd s e rv ic e, is th at th ey s a w h uge diffe re nces in th e s a le s e xp erie nce its e lf— th e a ctu al s a le s c o nv ers a ti o ns th ey h ad w ith s u p plie rs o n an o ngo in g b asis . Custo m ers w ere p ain fu lly b lu nt o n th is p oin t. S om e re p s, th ey s a id , w ould s o th o ro ughly w aste th eir ti m e th at a t th e e nd o f th e s a le s c all th ey f e lt a s th o ugh th ey’d j u st b een r o bbed o f a n h o ur o f th eir liv es— an h o ur th ey w ill n ev er g et b ack. A nd f r a nkly , i t d id n’t m atte r h o w g o od th e r e p ’s p re se nta ti o n sk ills m ig ht b e. It ju st w asn ’t w orth it to h av e to s it a nd lis te n to a n e xcite d e xp la nati o n o f h o w th e new and im pro ved M odel X PJ1 78 co uld ru n th re e se co nd s fa ste r w hile usin g le ss energ y and re q uir in g le ss m ain te nance, “sa v in g yo u ti m e and m oney fo r th e m ore im porta nt th in gs!” W ho care s? !? ! D o I w ant to s a v e ti m e a nd m oney? O f c o urs e I d o! D o I th in k th at th re e s e co nd s j u sti fie s a 5 perc ent p ric e p re m iu m ? P ro bab ly n o t. On th e o th er h and , th o se s a m e c usto m ers to ld u s th at oth er re p s w ould ta ke th e ti m e to p ro vid e in fo rm ati o n s o in te re sti n g a nd v alu ab le th at— in th e w ord s o f N eil R ackham — th e c usto m er w ould hav e b een w illin g to pay fo r th e c o nversa tio n its e lf . In o th er w ord s, w hile c usto m ers fo und s o m e su p plie rs to b e h o rrib le in th e s a le s e xp erie nce, th ey fo und o th ers to b e in v alu ab le . E ven s u p plie rs th at a p peare d s im ila r in e v ery o th er w ay o n p ap er p erfo rm ed a ll o ver th e m ap w hen it c am e to th e sa le s e xp erie nce. A nd th at d iffe re nce, i t tu rn s o ut, h as a h uge i m pact o n c usto m er l o yalty . That’ s th e r e al b om bsh ell fin d in g o f th is w ork . L oyalty is n ’t w on in p ro duct d ev elo pm ent c ente rs , in a d verti s e m ents , o r o n to ll- fr e e h elp l in es: L oyalty i s w on o ut i n th e f ie ld , i n th e tr e nches, d urin g th e sa le s c all. It’ s th e re su lt o f th e c o nv ers a ti o ns o ur re p s a re h av in g w ith c usto m ers e v ery s in gle d ay. The enti r e re m ain d er of custo m er lo yalty — all 53 perc ent— is attr ib uta b le to yo ur ab ility to outp erfo rm th e c o m peti ti o n i n th e s a le s e xp erie nce i ts e lf. O ver h alf o f c usto m er l o yalty i s a r e su lt n o t of what y o u s e ll, b ut how y o u s e ll. A s im porta nt a s it is to h av e g re at p ro ducts , b ra nd , a nd s e rv ic e, it’ s a ll f o r n aught i f y o ur r e p s c an’t e xecute o ut i n th e f ie ld . That s a id , i t’ s o ne th in g to s a y th at th e s a le s e xp erie nce i s h ugely i m porta nt f o r c usto m er l o yalty , b ut ano th er th in g a lto geth er to u nd ers ta nd h o w . A fte r a ll, r e m em ber, c usto m ers w ere v ery s p ecific h ere . Som e o f th ese i n te ra cti o ns a re d esp era te ly p ain fu l, o th ers i n cre d ib ly v alu ab le . S o w hat e xactl y n eed s to h ap pen d urin g th e s a le s e xp erie nce i n o rd er to g enera te s u ch a n i m pact o n c usto m er l o yalty ? Well, th is is w here th e s to ry r e ally g ets in te re sti n g, b ecause w hen y o u c ra ck o pen th e d ata in sid e th e s a le s e xp erie nce c ate go ry , w hat y o u fin d is th e e xact s a m e C halle nger s to ry , o nly th is ti m e fr o m th e c usto m er’s p ers p ecti v e. TH E P O W ER O F I N SIG HT O f th e fifty o r so a ttr ib ute s w e te ste d in o ur lo yalty su rv ey, se v ente en o f th em fe ll in to th e sa le s e xp erie nce c ate go ry , e ach r e fle cti n g a t le ast a m arg in ally p ositi v e im pact o n c usto m er lo yalty . T hey i n clu d ed th in gs lik e, “ D em onstr a te s a h ig h le v el o f p ro fe ssio nalis m ,” “ A dju sts to o ur u niq ue n eed s a nd sp ecific ati o ns,” “P ortr a ys a re alis ti c p ic tu re o f co sts ,” and “M atc hes co m munic ati o ns to m y p re fe re nces.” H ow ev er, w hen w e r a nked th e lis t a cco rd in g to im pact, w e fo und s e v en in p arti c ula r t h at r o se w ay a b ove th e o th ers i n te rm s o f i m porta nce: • R ep o ffe rs u niq ue a nd v alu ab le p ers p ecti v es o n th e m ark et. • R ep h elp s m e n av ig ate a lte rn ati v es. • R ep p ro vid es o ngo in g a d vic e o r c o nsu lta ti o n. • R ep h elp s m e a v oid p ote nti a l l a nd m in es. • R ep e d ucate s m e o n n ew i s su es a nd o utc o m es. • S up plie r i s e asy to b uy f r o m . • S up plie r h as w id esp re ad s u p port a cro ss m y o rg aniz a ti o n. Now , if w e sta rt at th e b otto m o f th at lis t and w ork up , th e fir s t th in g w e fin d is sta ti s ti c al c o rro bora ti o n f o r w hat w e a ll k no w to b e tr u e— and s o m eth in g w e’ll d is c uss i n m ore d ep th i n c hap te r 6 . T he n eed fo r c o nse nsu s a cro ss c usto m er s ta keho ld ers h as g o ne w ay u p . S enio r d ecis io n m akers i n sid e th e c usto m er a re n o l o nger w illin g to g o o ut o n a l im b f o r a ny s u p plie r o r a ny s o lu ti o n, u nle ss t h at d eal h as th e s u p port o f h is o r h er te am . It’ s a lo gic al, if fr u str a ti n g, o utc o m e o f th e la rg er, m ore exp ensiv e, m ore d is ru p ti v e so lu ti o ns s u p plie rs a re s e ekin g to s e ll. W hen th e s ta kes a re h ig her, y o u c an’t ju st c la w y o ur w ay to th e c o rn er o ffic e to g et th e d eal d one. Y ou’v e g o t to b uild a n etw ork o f a d vocacy a lo ng th e w ay o r r is k l o sin g th e d eal a lto geth er d ue to w eak s u p port a cro ss th e o rg aniz a ti o n. Lik ew is e , c usto m ers p la ce a g re at d eal o f im porta nce o n a s m ooth , u nco m plic ate d p urc hase . N o o ne w ants to w ork w ith a s u p plie r th at m akes a ny p urc hase m ore c o m plic ate d th an it h as to b e— e sp ecia lly a s o lu ti o ns p urc hase . N oth in g s lo w s d ow n a d eal fa ste r th an r e p s w ho h av e to c o nsta ntl y “ check w ith th eir m anager,” o r “ ru n it th ro ugh L egal,” o r “ se e if F in ance w ill b e w illin g to d o th at.” D on’t m ake y o ur c usto m ers w ork s o h ard to s p end th eir m oney! There ’s so m eth in g e ls e a b out th is lis t th at re ally ju m ps o ut. T ake a no th er lo ok a t th e to p fiv e a ttr ib ute s l is te d th ere — th e k ey c hara cte ris ti c s d efin in g a w orld -c la ss s a le s e xp erie nce: • R ep o ffe rs u niq ue a nd v alu ab le p ers p ecti v es o n th e m ark et. • R ep h elp s m e n av ig ate a lte rn ati v es. • R ep p ro vid es o ngo in g a d vic e o r c o nsu lta ti o n. • R ep h elp s m e a v oid p ote nti a l l a nd m in es. • R ep e d ucate s m e o n n ew i s su es a nd o utc o m es. Each o f th ese a ttr ib ute s s p eaks d ir e ctl y to a n u rg ent n eed o f th e c usto m er n o t to buy s o m eth in g, b ut t o le a rn s o m eth in g. T hey’re l o okin g to s u p plie rs to h elp th em i d enti fy n ew o pportu niti e s to c ut c o sts , i n cre ase re v enue, p enetr a te n ew m ark ets , a nd m iti g ate ris k in w ays th ey th em se lv es h av e n o t y et re co gniz e d . E sse nti a lly th is is th e c usto m er— or 5 ,0 00 o f th em a t le ast, a ll o ver th e w orld — sa yin g ra th er e m phati c ally , “ S to p w asti n g m y ti m e. C halle nge m e. T each m e s o m eth in g n ew .” It’ s a p ow erfu l c o nclu sio n th at r u ns c o ntr a ry to y ears o f th o ught a nd tr a in in g in B 2B s a le s. S ure , a su p plie r h as to h av e g re at p ro ducts , b ra nd , a nd s e rv ic e. B ut fr o m th e c usto m er’s p ers p ecti v e, m ost alr e ad y d o. A fte r a ll, if th at w ere n’t th e c ase , th ey p ro bab ly w ould n’t b e s p eakin g w ith th at s u p plie r in th e f ir s t p la ce. I n ste ad , w hat s e ts th e b est s u p plie rs a p art i s n o t th e q uality o f th eir p ro ducts , b ut th e va lu e o f th eir in sig ht —new id eas to h elp c usto m ers e ith er m ake m oney o r s a v e m oney in w ays th ey did n’t e v en k no w w ere p ossib le . In th is s e nse , c usto m er l o yalty i s m uch l e ss a b out w hat y o u s e ll a nd m uch m ore a b out h o w y o u s e ll. The b est c o m panie s d on’t w in th ro ugh th e q uality o f th e p ro ducts th ey s e ll, b ut th ro ugh th e q uality o f th e in sig ht th ey d eliv er a s p art o f th e s a le its e lf. T he b attl e fo r c usto m er lo yalty is w on o r lo st lo ng befo re a th in g e v er g ets s o ld . A nd th e b est r e p s w in th at b attl e n o t b y “ d is c o verin g” w hat c usto m ers alr e ad y k no w th ey n eed , b ut b y te achin g th em a n ew w ay o f th in kin g a lto geth er. Custo m ers a re v ery c le ar o n th is p oin t. T hey p la ce m uch g re ate r v alu e o n r e p s’ te achin g s k ills th an on th eir d is c o very s k ills . T o g o b ack to th e d ata fo r a m om ent, m uch fa rth er d ow n th e lis t w ith in th e sa le s e xp erie nce i s , “ T he r e p e xcels i n d ia gno sin g o ur s p ecific n eed s.” T he a b ility to d ia gno se n eed s sc o re s m uch lo w er b ecause , fr a nkly , it’ s ju st n o t a s v alu ab le to th e c usto m er. S ure , it’ s g re at if a r e p kno w s m y n eed s a s w ell a s I d o a nd c an a sk g re at q uesti o ns to u nco ver th o se n eed s a s q uic kly a s possib le . B ut w hat I re ally n eed is a re p w ho k no w s m y n eed s bette r th an I d o— one w ho can challe nge m e to th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out m y b usin ess a lto geth er. A nd to d o th at, g re at q uesti o ns a re n’t eno ugh. Y ou’v e g o t to h av e g re at in sig hts . And b y th e w ay, f o r th o se s e llin g a c o m modity , th is i s a ll th e m ore a p plic ab le . T here ’s n o q uesti o n th at w in nin g c usto m er lo yalty w hen y o u c an’t d iffe re nti a te y o urs e lf o n p ro duct, b ra nd , o r p ric e is diffic ult a t b est. B ut th ese fin d in gs p ro vid e th e b est p ossib le p ath fo r d oin g ju st th at. A s a h ead o f sa le s a t a g lo bal c hem ic al c o m pany p ut i t to u s, “ S ure , y o u a nd I m ay b oth s e ll f iv e-g allo n b uckets o f unb ra nd ed a xle g re ase a t th e s a m e p ric e. B ut if I c an s e ll m y fiv e-g allo n b ucket o f u nb ra nd ed a xle gre ase b ette r th an y o u c an se ll y o ur fiv e-g allo n b ucket o f u nb ra nd ed a xle g re ase — well, th en I’ m go in g to w in . A nd th e w ay I d o th at i s b y h elp in g th e c usto m er th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out th eir b usin ess.” And h e’s r ig ht. A fte r a ll, i f h e’s n o t, th en th ere ’s r e ally n o th in g l e ft o th er th an p ric e i ts e lf a s th e b asis fo r d iffe re nti a ti o n. A nd in th at c ase , w hy h av e a s a le s fo rc e a t a ll? P ut th at u nb ra nd ed a xle g re ase onlin e a nd s e ll i t th ro ugh y o ur W eb s ite . I t’ s a l o t c heap er th at w ay. So w here d oes th at l e av e u s? I n th is w orld — where q uality i n sig ht tr u m ps a ll e ls e — it’ s n o w ond er, th en, th at C halle ngers w in . I n sig ht i s a ll a b out te achin g c usto m ers n ew w ays o f th in kin g, p ush in g th em to re th in k th eir c urre nt p ers p ecti v es a nd a p pro aches. A nd th at’ s e xactl y w hat C halle ngers d o. T hey te ach c usto m ers n ew p ers p ecti v es, s p ecific ally ta ilo re d to th eir m ost p re ssin g b usin ess n eed s, in a co m pellin g a nd a sse rti v e e no ugh m anner to e nsu re th at th e m essa ge n o t o nly re so nate s, b ut a ctu ally driv es a cti o n. A fte r a ll, if y o u d on’t c hange th e w ay a c usto m er th in ks— and , u lti m ate ly , acts —th en yo u h av en’t re ally ta ught th em a nyth in g to b egin w ith . A t le ast n o th in g w orth d oin g a nyth in g a b out. And w here ’s th e v alu e i n th at? NO T J U ST A N Y T EA C H IN G . CO M MERCIA L TEA C H IN G S ti ll, a s im porta nt a s te achin g is , it is n o t e no ugh to s im ply b uild a te am o f C halle nger r e p s a nd te ll t h em , “ G o fo rth a nd te ach!” T hat m ay b e g o od fo r c usto m ers , b ut n o t n ecessa rily g o od fo r b usin ess. H ere ’s h o w th e g lo bal h ead o f sa le s a t a la rg e e nte rp ris e so ftw are c o m pany p ut it to u s: “ W hat h ap pens,” he ask ed , “if m y re p go es out, te aches a custo m er so m eth in g co m ple te ly new and c o m pellin g a b out th eir b usin ess, g ets th em a ll e xcite d to ta ke a cti o n, a nd th at c usto m er th en ta kes th at i n sig ht, p uts i t o ut to b id , a nd m y c o m peti to r w in s th e d eal? I n th at c ase , i t d oesn ’t f e el l ik e I ’ v e r e ally w on a nyth in g.” And h e’s r ig ht, y o u h av en’t. A ll y o u’v e r e ally d one is p ro vid e fr e e c o nsu lti n g. S ure , y o u’v e g iv en t h e c usto m er e xactl y w hat th ey w ant, b ut i n th e p ro cess y o u’v e a ctu ally g iv en y o ur c o m peti to r e xactl y w hat th ey w ant to o— yo ur b usin ess. A nd th at i s tr u ly a b ad p la ce to b e. It’ s o ne th in g to c halle nge c usto m ers w ith n ew i d eas, a nd a no th er th in g a lto geth er to e nsu re y o u g et p aid fo r it. E ven th e w orld ’s b est C halle ngers can’t w in if th ey’re te achin g custo m ers to v alu e c ap ab iliti e s th ey c an’t c o m peti ti v ely p ro vid e. S o h o w d o w e e nsu re th at o ur te achin g e ffo rts a ctu ally l e ad to m ore b usin ess fo r u s a nd n o t th e c o m peti ti o n? W ell, to d o th at, w e fin d th at y o ur te achin g e ffo rts h av e to m eet s o m e v ery s p ecific c rite ria . We c all th is a p pro ach C om merc ia l T eachin g. A b it u nim agin ati v e, p erh ap s, b ut w e lik e th e n am e n o neth ele ss because it perfe ctl y cap tu re s w hat C halle ngers ulti m ate ly m ust do: te ach custo m ers s o m eth in g n ew a nd v alu ab le a b out th eir b usin ess— whic h is w hat th ey w ant— in a w ay th at r e lia b ly l e ad s to c o m merc ia l w in s fo r u s— whic h o f c o urs e is w hat w e w ant. It s o und s a b it lik e ju jits u , b ut i t’ s a ctu ally p re tty s tr a ig htf o rw ard ; it’ s ju st n o t n ecessa rily e asy. C om merc ia l T eachin g h as fo ur k ey r u le s: 1. L ead to y o ur u niq ue s tr e ngth s. 2. C halle nge c usto m ers ’ a ssu m pti o ns. 3. C ata ly ze a cti o n. 4. S cale a cro ss c usto m ers . As w e w ork th ro ugh th ese r u le s, y o u’ll f in d th at th ey a re a s m uch a b out b uild in g a n o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility a s th ey a re a b out d ev elo pin g a n in d iv id ual s k ill, a k ey le sso n o f th e C halle nger s e llin g m odel w e d is c usse d i n th e p re v io us c hap te r. T his a p pro ach i s a b out m uch m ore th an s im ply b uild in g C halle ngers ; it’ s a b out b ro ad , lo ng-te rm c o m merc ia l tr a nsfo rm ati o n. M ore o n th at s h o rtl y . F or n o w , l e t’ s r e v ie w th e f o ur r u le s o f C om merc ia l T eachin g. Com merc ia l T each in g R ule # 1: L ead t o Y our U niq ue S tr e ngth s F ir s t and fo re m ost, co m merc ia l te achin g m ust ti e dir e ctl y back to so m e cap ab ility w here yo u o utp erfo rm y o ur c o m peti to rs . I f w hat y o u’re te achin g i n ev ita b ly l e ad s b ack to w hat y o u d o b ette r th an a nyo ne e ls e , th en y o u’re i n a m uch b ette r p ositi o n w hen i t c o m es to w in nin g th e b usin ess. We o fte n p ut it lik e th is : T he s w eet s p ot o f c usto m er lo yalty is o utp erfo rm in g y o ur c o m peti to rs o n t h o se th in gs y o u’v e ta ught y o ur c usto m ers a re im porta nt. Y es, y o u’v e g o t to g et a c usto m er th in kin g a b out n ew o pportu niti e s to s a v e o r m ake m oney— opportu niti e s th at m ove th em to ta ke a cti o n. B ut y o u’v e o nly re ally su cceed ed w hen th e c usto m er a sk s, “ W ow , h o w c an I m ake th at h ap pen?” a nd y o u’re a b le to s a y, “ W ell, le t m e s h o w y o u h o w w e’re b ette r a b le to h elp y o u m ake th at h ap pen th an a nyo ne els e .” T hat’ s th e m agic al m om ent. Y ou’v e sh are d new , re le v ant in sig ht— whic h is w hat c usto m ers a re lo okin g fo r— but a t th e sa m e ti m e, y o u’v e ti e d th at in sig ht to y o ur u niq ue so lu ti o n. Y ou’v e ta ught y o ur c usto m er n o t j u st to w ant h elp b ut to w ant yo ur h elp . There a re tw o im porta nt c av eats , h o w ev er, to d oin g th is w ell. F ir s t, in o rd er fo r th is a p pro ach to w ork , y o u’v e g o t to m ake s u re th at y o u a ctu ally ca n h elp . F ro m th e c usto m er’s p ers p ecti v e, th ere ’s n o th in g m ore f r u str a ti n g th an a s u p plie r th at te aches th em a n ew a nd c o m pellin g w ay to s a v e o r m ake m oney, b ut th en c an’t a ctu ally d o a nyth in g a b out it. O ne h ead o f s a le s w e w ork w ith r e fe rs to th is a s “ te achin g y o ur c usto m er i n to th e d ese rt.” Y ou l e av e th em tr o ub le d b y a n ew p ro ble m th ey n ev er k new t h ey h ad a nd w ith n o r e al w ay o f d oin g a nyth in g a b out it. Y es, c usto m ers w ant in sig ht o n h o w th ey c o uld o pera te m ore p ro ducti v ely , b ut i n sig ht th ey c an’t d o a nyth in g a b out a ctu ally m akes th in gs w ors e , n o t b ette r. T hen y o u r e ally have g iv en th em s o m eth in g to k eep th em u p a t n ig ht! Seco nd , a nd th is is th e b ig c av eat, in o rd er to e nsu re th at y o ur te achin g e ffo rts u lti m ate ly le ad to y o ur u niq ue str e ngth s, y o u a ctu ally h av e to k no w w hat y o ur u niq ue str e ngth s are . S ure , it so und s o bvio us. B ut w e h av e b een c o nsis te ntl y s u rp ris e d b y th e n um ber o f e xecuti v es w ho s tr u ggle m ig hti ly o n th is i s su e. H ere ’s h o w o ne h ead o f m ark eti n g a t a w ell- k no w n m anufa ctu rin g c o m pany p ut i t: “ If I p olle d a h und re d r e p s o n o ur c o re v alu e p ro positi o n, I’ d g et at le a st a h und re d d iffe re nt a nsw ers .” W e h ear th is a ll th e ti m e, u su ally c o up le d w ith a s lo w s h ake o f th e h ead a nd a r u efu l s ig h; i t’ s o ne o f t h o se a ge-o ld tr u th s o f s a le s a nd m ark eti n g. Yet n o ti c e th at th is e xecuti v e’s la m ent re ally c ap tu re s o nly p art o f th e p ro ble m . Y es, it’ s h ard e no ugh to g et r e p s to a gre e o n a b ro ad d esc rip ti o n o f w hat th e c o m pany d oes w ell. B ut a sk th o se s a m e r e p s w hat th e c o m pany a ctu ally d oes bette r th an th e c o m peti ti o n, a nd in ste ad o f a h und re d d iffe re nt a nsw ers y o u’re ju st a s lik ely to g et n o ne a t a ll. A t b est y o u m ig ht h ear s o m eth in g lik e, “ Y eah, th e c o m peti ti o n c an d o s o m eth in g lik e th at to o, b ut w e d o it s o m uch bette r !” O r e v en m ore c o m mon: “ S ure , y o u c o uld g o w ith th e o th er g uy, b ut k eep in m in d w e’v e b een in th is b usin ess lo nger th an a nyo ne e ls e . W e’v e b een s e rv in g le ad in g c o m panie s fo r o ver fifty y ears w ith in no vati v e s o lu ti o ns b acked b y a d eep c o m mitm ent to p ro duct q uality a nd a la se r-lik e fo cus o n s e rv in g c usto m ers .” B la h, b la h, b la h. A s i f y o ur m ain c o m peti to r d id n’t h av e a “ la se r-lik e” f o cus o n c usto m ers e ith er. O f c o urs e t h ey d o! How is a custo m er su p pose d to cho ose betw een tw o su p plie rs th at are more or le ss u nd iffe re nti a te d ? It’ s a ctu ally ra th er s im ple : T hey c ho ose th e c heap est s u p plie r. W ho w ould n’t? In t o day’s w orld , every o ne is “ in no vati v e,” “ so lu ti o ns-o rie nte d ,” “ custo m er-fo cuse d ,” a nd — of c o urs e — “gre en,” s o w hy p ay m ore f o r i t? In a r e cent s u rv ey o f B 2B c usto m ers , th e M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip C ouncil fo und o nly 3 5 p erc ent o f co m panie s ab le to esta b lis h th em se lv es as tr u ly p re fe rre d o ver th e co m peti ti o n. A nd sti ll m ore tr o ub lin g, e v en a m ong p re fe rre d c o m panie s, w hen w e te ste d th e im pact o f e ach o f th e b enefits th ey belie v ed to b e u niq ue, w e f o und th at c usto m ers p erc eiv ed o nly half o f th em to b e a ctu ally r e le v ant to th eir n eed s. A nd a m ong th o se , c usto m ers to ld u s th at m ost w ere n’t d eliv ere d c o nsis te ntl y e no ugh to actu ally in flu ence th eir p re fe re nce. W hen y o u p ut it a ll to geth er, o nly 1 4 p erc ent o f c o m panie s’ s o – calle d u niq ue b enefits w ere p erc eiv ed b y c usto m ers a s b oth u niq ue a nd b enefic ia l! A nd a s y o u m ig ht im agin e, b ein g “ in no vati v e,” “ custo m er-fo cuse d ,” a nd “ gre en” w ere n o t a m ong th em . W hen it c o m es to d iffe re nti a ti o n, y o ur c usto m ers h o ld y o u to a m uch h ig her s ta nd ard . It’ s n o w ond er, th en, th at r e p s c o nti n ually r e v ert to p ric e. I t’ s n o t j u st th at th ey s tr u ggle to a rti c ula te th e v alu e o f th eir s o lu ti o n; th ey s tr u ggle to a rti c ula te th e uniq ue v alu e o f th eir s o lu ti o n. A nd th is , it tu rn s o ut, is th e h ard est p art o f c o m merc ia l te achin g: u nd ers ta nd in g a nd a gre ein g o n w hat it is th at yo ur c o m pany d oes bette r th an a nyo ne e ls e . I t r e q uir e s a v ery d eep u nd ers ta nd in g o f w ho y o u a re a nd what y o u d o. M uch o f o ur w ork a t b oth th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil a nd th e M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip Council a cro ss th e la st s e v era l y ears h as a im ed a t p ro vid in g c lie nts th e to ols to fig ure th is o ut— ev ery th in g fr o m s te p -b y-s te p s e lf- g uid ed e xerc is e s, to fa cilita te d le ad ers h ip w ork sh o ps, to c usto m er su rv ey b uild ers , to a ctu al c usto m er d ia gno sti c s. But n o m atte r h o w y o u g o a b out a d dre ssin g it, a ll o f th is w ork u lti m ate ly b oils d ow n to a s in gle questi o n y o u m ust a nsw er. W e s o m eti m es r e fe r to it a s th e “ D eb O le r q uesti o n,” n am ed a fte r D eb ra Ole r, v ic e p re sid ent a nd g enera l m anager o f G ra in ger B ra nd a t W . W . G ra in ger, In c. A s D eb p uts it, “W hy s h o uld o ur c usto m ers b uy f r o m u s o ver a nyo ne e ls e ?” T hat’ s i t. I t’ s d is a rm in gly s im ple . B ut th at one q uesti o n c an ta ke y o ur e nti r e c o m merc ia l l e ad ers h ip te am to a v ery d ark p la ce a s y o u r e aliz e i t’ s much h ard er to a nsw er th an y o u m ig ht h av e th o ught. In fa ct, m ost c o m panie s c an’t a nsw er it, a t le ast no t in a w ay th at’ s c o m pellin g to c usto m ers (a gain , b ein g “ in no vati v e,” “ custo m er-fo cuse d ,” a nd “so lu ti o ns-o rie nte d ” d oesn ’t c o unt) . A nd fo r th e fe w c o m panie s th at c an a nsw er it, e v en fe w er s ti ll would f in d a gre em ent o n th at a nsw er a cro ss th eir e nti r e s a le s f o rc e. So w here d oes th at le av e us? W ell, fir s t and fo re m ost, it m eans th at if yo u’re go in g to b uild Challe nger r e p s to te ach c usto m ers s o m eth in g n ew a b out th eir b usin ess, y o u’v e l ik ely g o t s o m e w ork to d o in yo ur o w n b usin ess fir s t. U nle ss yo u can ulti m ate ly co nnect th e in sig hts yo u te ach yo ur custo m ers b ack to c ap ab iliti e s o nly y o u c an o ffe r, y o u’re m uch m ore l ik ely p ro vid in g f r e e c o nsu lti n g th an C om merc ia l T eachin g. T hat’ s a d angero us p la ce to b e u nle ss y o u h ap pen to a ls o b e th e lo w est- co st p ro vid er in th at m ark et (w hic h is im pro bab le s in ce lo w est- c o st p ro vid ers , b y d efin iti o n, c an’t affo rd th e a d ded c o st o f te achin g c usto m ers ). Com merc ia l T each in g R ule # 2: C halle nge C usto m ers’ A ssu m ptio ns I f th e fir s t r u le o f C om merc ia l T eachin g is a ll a b out th e c o nnecti o n b etw een in sig ht a nd s u p plie r, th e s e co nd i s a b out th e c o nnecti o n b etw een i n sig ht a nd c usto m er. It fe els lik e a n o bvio us p oin t, b ut w e’ll s a y it a nyw ay. D efin iti o nally , w hate v er y o u te ach y o ur c usto m ers h as to a ctu ally te a ch th em so m eth in g. It h as to c halle nge th eir a ssu m pti o ns a nd sp eak d ir e ctl y to th eir w orld i n w ays th ey h av en’t th o ught o f o r f u lly a p pre cia te d b efo re . T he w ord w e l ik e t o u se h ere i s “ re fr a m e.” W hat d ata , i n fo rm ati o n, o r i n sig ht c an y o u p ut i n f r o nt o f y o ur c usto m er th at r e fr a m es th e w ay th ey th in k a b out th eir b usin ess— ho w th ey o pera te o r e v en h o w th ey c o m pete ? T hat’ s w hat y o ur c usto m ers a re r e ally l o okin g f o r. R em em ber w hat w e s a w i n o ur c usto m er s u rv ey? • R ep o ffe rs u niq ue a nd v alu ab le p ers p ecti v es o n th e m ark et. • R ep h elp s m e n av ig ate a lte rn ati v es. • R ep p ro vid es o ngo in g a d vic e o r c o nsu lta ti o n. • R ep h elp s m e a v oid p ote nti a l l a nd m in es. • R ep e d ucate s m e o n n ew i s su es a nd o utc o m es. There ’s n o th in g o n th at lis t a b out “ co nfir m ati o n” o r “ v alid ati o n.” Y es, c usto m ers a p pre cia te it if y o u c an c o nfir m w hat th ey a lr e ad y k no w to b e tr u e; th ere ’s v alu e th ere to b e s u re . B ut th ere ’s v astl y g re ate r valu e in in sig ht th at changes or build s on w hat th ey kno w in w ays th ey co uld n’t hav e d is c o vere d o n th eir o w n. That k in d o f i n sig ht i s n o t n ecessa rily e asy to a chie v e. Y ou h av e to k no w y o ur c usto m ers ’ b usin ess b ette r th an th ey kno w it th em se lv es— at le ast th at part of th eir busin ess th at sp eaks to yo ur c ap ab iliti e s. It s o und s lik e a n im possib ly h ig h b ar b ut th e re ality is th at m ost s u p plie rs a ctu ally do u nd ers ta nd th eir c usto m ers ’ b usin ess b ette r th an c usto m ers d o th em se lv es— when v ie w ed s p ecific ally t h ro ugh th e le ns of th at su p plie r’s cap ab iliti e s. A co m pany th at se lls prin te rs to ho sp ita ls , fo r e xam ple , m ay n o t k no w m ore a b out h ealth c are th an th e h o sp ita l a d m in is tr a to rs th ey s e ll to , b ut th ey c erta in ly kno w m ore ab out in fo rm ati o n m anagem ent in a ho sp ita l se tti n g. A co m pany th at se lls c o nsu m er p ackaged g o ods p ro bab ly k no w s m ore a b out h o w a nd w hy c o nsu m ers b uy g ro cerie s th an m ost o f th e r e ta ile rs th ey s e ll to . Where v er th e i n sig ht c o m es f r o m , y o u’ll k no w i f y o u’v e a ctu ally r e fr a m ed y o ur c usto m er’s th in kin g b ase d o n th eir re acti o n. A nd th is is w here so m e re p s re ally fa ll in to a tr a p . Ir o nic ally , if yo ur c usto m er r e acts to y o ur s a le s p itc h w ith s o m eth in g lik e, “ Y es, I to ta lly a gre e! T hat’ s exa ctly w hat’ s k eep in g m e u p a t n ig ht! ” w ell, th en y o u’v e a ctu ally f a ile d . T hat m ay f e el c o unte rin tu iti v e, b ut i t’ s tr u e n o neth ele ss. S ure , y o u’v e f o und a n i s su e o r i n sig ht th at re so nate s , b ut i t d oesn ’t re fr a m e . Y ou h av en’t a ctu ally ta ught th em a nyth in g. T his is e xactl y w here w e s e e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers s tr u ggle a ll th e t i m e. T hey r e tu rn fr o m a s a le s c all e xcite d a b out th e “ co nnecti o n” th ey e sta b lis h ed w ith a c usto m er b ecause th ey “ naile d th e is su e m atc h.” “ It w as lik e I w as r e ad in g h is m in d ! E very th in g I p ut o n th e t a b le w as so m eth in g he w as fo cuse d o n!” B ut th en th ey’re su rp ris e d w hen th at custo m er hasn ’t r e tu rn ed th eir c alls tw o w eeks la te r. T hey a ssu m e th at th eir s u ccessfu l d ia gno sis o f th e c usto m er’s n eed s w as s u ffic ie nt to w in th e b usin ess. B ut th at’ s n o t th e c ase . R ap port a nd r e fr a m e a re n o t th e s a m e t h in g. Ju st because yo u “get” th e custo m er’s busin ess doesn ’t m ean yo u auto m ati c ally get th e c usto m er’s b usin ess. N ot b y a l o ng s h o t. Challe nger r e p s, o n th e o th er h and , a re l o okin g f o r a d iffe re nt c usto m er r e acti o n a lto geth er. R ath er th an, “ Y es, I to ta lly a gre e!” th ey k no w th ey’re o n th e r ig ht tr a ck w hen th ey h ear th eir c usto m er s a y, “H uh, I n ev er th o ught o f it th at w ay b efo re .” T he b est in d ic ato r o f a su ccessfu l re fr a m e, in o th er word s, i s n ’t e xcite d a gre em ent b ut th o ughtf u l r e fle cti o n. Y ou’v e j u st s h o w n y o ur c usto m er a d iffe re nt way to th in k ab out th eir busin ess— perh ap s a la nd min e th ey’d overlo oked , a tr e nd th ey und era p pre cia te d , o r a n a lte rn ati v e th ey’d p re m atu re ly d is m is se d — and n o w y o u’v e g o t th em c urio us. They’re w ond erin g, “ W hat e xactl y d oes th is m ean f o r m y b usin ess? ” o r e v en b ette r, “ W hat els e d on’t I k no w ?” This is th e p iv ot p oin t o f a ny e ffe cti v e C om merc ia l T eachin g c o nv ers a ti o n. W hen y o ur c usto m er sa ys, “ H uh, I n ev er th o ught a b out it th at w ay b efo re ,” th ey’re c le arly te llin g y o u th ey’re e ngaged , mayb e e v en a l ittl e u nse ttl e d . A nd a s c usto m ers th em se lv es h av e to ld u s, th at’ s e xactl y w hat th ey w ere ho pin g fo r w hen th ey sa t d ow n w ith yo u in th e fir s t p la ce. T hat’ s w hen th e co nv ers a ti o n its e lf beco m es s o m eth in g w orth p ayin g f o r. Sti ll, ju st because w e’v e help ed th em se e th in gs diffe re ntl y doesn ’t m ean w e’v e necessa rily pers u ad ed th em to do th in gs d iffe re ntl y . T hat’ s n ext— and i t’ s j u st a s i m porta nt. Com merc ia l T each in g R ule # 3: C ata ly ze A ctio n I n a w orld o f l im ite d r e so urc es a nd c o m peti n g p rio riti e s, i t’ s n o t e no ugh to c hange th e w ay c usto m ers t h in k. Y ou’v e u lti m ate ly g o t to g et th em to a ct. W e o fte n j o ke a b out th e c usto m er w ho r e sp ond s to y o ur r e fr a m e w ith , “ H uh, I n ev er th o ught a b out i t th at w ay b efo re ! . . . I w ond er w hat’ s f o r l u nch . . .” L ik e D oug, th e d og in th e m ovie Up w ho b eco m es c o m ple te ly d is tr a cte d e v ery ti m e h e s e es a s q uir re l, c usto m ers e asily lo se fo cus. S o if y o u w ant th em to ta ke a cti o n, y o u’ll n eed to b uild a c o m pellin g b usin ess c ase f o r w hy a cti o n m atte rs i n th e f ir s t p la ce. This i s w ell- tr o dden g ro und . F or m ost s u p plie rs , th e m ove to “ so lu ti o ns” i s g ro und ed i n a n e ffo rt to j u sti fy p re m iu m p ric es f o r b und le d p ro ducts a nd s e rv ic es. A s a r e su lt, th ey’v e i n v este d h uge a m ounts o f ti m e a nd m oney in a w id e r a nge o f to ols d esig ned to h elp c usto m ers c alc ula te th e “ R O I” o r “ to ta l c o st o f o w ners h ip ” o f th eir o ffe rin gs— usu ally a cco m panie d b y s a le s r e p s’ e nth usia sti c a ssu ra nces o f t h e “ life ti m e v alu e” o f th eir p ro ducts . “ Y es, w e m ig ht c o st a l ittl e m ore u p f r o nt, b ut l o ok a t w hat y o u c an s a v e o ver th e n ext fo ur y ears ! O ur s o lu ti o n p ra cti c ally p ays fo r its e lf!” U nle ss y o u c an c o nv in ce y o ur c usto m ers th ey’ll g et i n cre m enta l v alu e f o r th at p re m iu m p ric e, y o ur s o lu ti o n s tr a te gy i s d oom ed t o f a il. In a C om merc ia l T eachin g a p pro ach, th is is e xactl y w here w e fin d th e b ig gest d iffe re nce b etw een c o m panie s w ho belie ve th ey d o th is w ell a nd th o se w ho actu ally d o th is w ell. T hat’ s b ecause a w ell- e xecute d te achin g c o nv ers a ti o n is n ’t a b out th e s u p plie r’s s o lu ti o n a t a ll— at le ast n o t in iti a lly . It’ s a b out th e c usto m er’s b usin ess, la yin g o ut a n a lte rn ati v e m eans to e ith er s a v e m oney o r m ake m oney t h ey’d p re v io usly o verlo oked . In a c o nv ers a ti o n lik e th at, tr a d iti o nal R O I c alc ula ti o ns p ro ve u se le ss b ecause th ey’re f o cuse d o n th e w ro ng th in g. Nearly e v ery R O I c alc ula to r w e k no w o f is b uilt to h elp c usto m ers c alc ula te th e r e tu rn o n b uyin g t h e s u p plie r’s s o lu ti o n. B ut b efo re y o u c o nv in ce c usto m ers to ta ke th at a cti o n, y o u f ir s t h av e to s h o w t h em w hy th e in sig ht y o u ju st s h are d w ith th em m erits a ny a cti o n a t a ll, e sp ecia lly w hen th at in sig ht c o m pete s d ir e ctl y w ith c o nv enti o nal w is d om . T o th at e nd , th e b est R O I c alc ula to rs in a te achin g a p pro ach h av e n o th in g to d o w ith y o ur s o lu ti o n a t a ll. R ath er, th ey h elp c usto m ers c alc ula te th e c o sts t h ey’re i n currin g o r th e r e tu rn s th ey’re f o rg o in g b y f a ilin g to a ct o n th e o pportu nity y o u’v e j u st ta ught t h em th ey’v e o verlo oked . If yo u’re go in g to b uild an R O I calc ula to r, m ake su re it calc ula te s th e re tu rn o n p urs u in g th e r e fr a m e, n o t p urc hasin g y o ur p ro ducts . B efo re th ey b uy a nyth in g, c usto m ers fir s t n eed to u nd ers ta nd w hat’ s i n i t f o r th em to f ix th eir p ro ble m . Com merc ia l T each in g R ule # 4: S ca le A cro ss C usto m ers D one w ell, C om merc ia l T eachin g is m uch m ore th an sim ply an effe cti v e sa le s te chniq ue. It’ s a p ow erfu l c o m merc ia l s tr a te gy. T o b e s u re , it a b so lu te ly w ork s w ell a t th e in d iv id ual d eal le v el, a s C halle nger r e p s o pportu nis ti c ally u nco ver o ccasio ns to te ach c usto m ers f r e sh i n sig hts ta ilo re d to th eir s p ecific co nte xt. H ow ev er, th ere are a num ber of im porta nt re aso ns w hy th e ap pro ach is u nq uesti o nab ly m ore e ffe cti v e w hen d ep lo yed s e gm ent b y s e gm ent r a th er th an c usto m er b y c usto m er. Fro m a ta cti c al p ers p ecti v e, it’ s no t re alis ti c o r fa ir to exp ect yo ur re p s to und ers ta nd th eir c usto m ers ’ b usin ess b ette r th an th ey d o th em se lv es w ith o ut a t l e ast s o m e o rg aniz a ti o nal s u p port. Y our c o re p erfo rm ers w ill s tr u ggle m ig hti ly w ith th at ta sk n o m atte r h o w m uch y o u tr a in th em — esp ecia lly i f th ey w ork a cro ss a d iv ers e c usto m er b ase . But im agin e if y o u c o uld p ro vid e th o se s a m e re p s w ith a m anageab ly s m all s e t o f w ell- s c rip te d i n sig hts a lo ng w ith tw o o r th re e e asy -to -re m em ber d ia gno sti c q uesti o ns d esig ned to m ap th e rig ht i n sig ht to th e r ig ht c usto m er. T hen th ey’d b e in a m uch b ette r p ositi o n to te ach. It w ould s ig nific antl y s h ift th e b urd en o f effe cti v e need s d ia gno sis aw ay fr o m fr o ntl in e sa le s re p s and b ack in to th e o rg aniz a ti o n, w here y o u’v e g o t b oth th e d ep th o f s k ill a nd th e b re ad th o f i n sig ht n ecessa ry to f ig ure i t o ut i n a d vance. For th is a p pro ach to tr u ly w ork , y o u n eed a s m all n um ber o f p ow erfu l i n sig hts th at n atu ra lly l e ad to a n ev en sm alle r num ber o f uniq ue so lu ti o ns, all ap plic ab le acro ss th e b ro ad est p ossib le se t o f c usto m ers . I n o th er w ord s, y o u n eed s c ale . C om merc ia l T eachin g i s d efin ite ly not s o m eth in g y o u ju st w ant to l e av e i n th e h and s o f i n d iv id ual r e p s. Com merc ia l T eachin g als o re q uir e s yo u to th in k v ery d iffe re ntl y ab out custo m er se gm enta ti o n. W hile tr a d iti o nal se gm enta ti o n sc hem es lik e g eo gra p hy, p ro duct silo , o r in d ustr y v erti c al m ay b e s u ffic ie nt fo r s a le s r e p d ep lo ym ent, th e c o m panie s th at d o b est a t th is a p pro ach h av e le arn ed to a ls o s e gm ent c usto m ers b y n eed o r b ehav io r. If y o u c an fin d a g ro up o f c usto m ers w ith s im ila r n eed s— i r re sp ecti v e o f w here th ey a re o r w hat th ey s e ll— th o se c usto m ers w ill lik ely a ll re act in a s im ila r f a sh io n to a c o m mon s e t o f in sig hts . F or e xam ple , w e h av e s e en C om merc ia l T eachin g w ork v ery e ffe cti v ely a ro und a c o m mon n eed to f r e e u p c ash , o r r e d uce e m plo yee c hurn , o r i m pro ve w ork p la ce s a fe ty . I n e ach o f th ese c ase s, th e s u p plie rs i n q uesti o n h elp ed c usto m ers th in k a b out th at n eed i n n ew a nd su rp ris in g w ays b y re fr a m in g th eir th in kin g, c o nv in cin gly la yin g o ut th e fu lly lo ad ed c o sts o f i n acti o n, a nd th en p ro vid in g a c re d ib le c o urs e o f a cti o n th at n atu ra lly le d b ack to th e su p plie r’s u niq ue so lu ti o n. A nd each did it acro ss la rg e gro up s of custo m ers w ho und er any tr a d iti o nal s e gm enta ti o n s tr a te gy w ould h av e a p peare d , s u p erfic ia lly a t le ast, to h av e n o th in g in c o m mon. T he c o m mon d eno m in ato r fo r in sig ht, in o th er w ord s, is n ’t g eo gra p hy, o r s iz e , o r in d ustr y . It’ s a c o m mon s e t o f n eed s. We’v e d one a g re at d eal o f w ork a t th e M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip C ouncil a cro ss th e la st th re e y ears h elp in g c lie nts d ev elo p a nd im ple m ent v ario us n eed s-b ase d se gm enta ti o n te chniq ues, b ase d o n a n um ber o f b est p ra cti c es d ev elo ped a t s o m e o f th e w orld ’s le ad in g B 2B c o m panie s. T he o ne th in g e v ery c o m pany th at’ s g o ne d ow n th is p ath h as d is c o vere d i s th is : N eed s a naly sis i s n o t s o m eth in g y o u c an a ffo rd to l e av e i n th e h and s o f y o ur i n d iv id ual r e p s. I f y o ur r e p s’ p rim ary g o al g o in g i n to a s a le s c all is to “ d is c o ver” th e c usto m er’s n eed s, y o u’v e lo st th e b attl e b efo re y o u’v e e v en b egun to fig ht, b ecause , f r a nkly , y o ur c usto m ers d on’t w ant to h av e th at c o nv ers a ti o n. Alte rn ati v ely , C om merc ia l T eachin g eq uip s re p s to te ach custo m ers w hat th ey re ally need b y challe ngin g th e w ay th ey th in k a b out th eir b usin ess a lto geth er, p ro vid in g th em w ith n ew m eans to ad dre ss th eir to ughest p ro ble m s in w ays th ey w ould h av e n ev er id enti fie d o n th eir o w n. G ra nte d , th ere a re s o m e i m porta nt c o nd iti o ns th at m ust b e m et i n o rd er f o r th is a p pro ach to w ork . C om merc ia l Teachin g m ust le ad to y o ur u niq ue s tr e ngth s, c halle nge c usto m ers ’ a ssu m pti o ns, c ata ly ze a cti o n, a nd sc ale a cro ss c usto m ers . B ut w hen th ese c o nd iti o ns a re m et, it w ork s— pheno m enally w ell, in fa ct. And th e re aso n w hy, as w e sa w , is b ecause m ore th an anyth in g els e custo m ers are lo okin g to su p plie rs to c halle nge th eir th in kin g a nd te ach th em s o m eth in g th ey d on’t k no w . That sa id , o nce y o u’v e la id th e g ro und w ork fo r e ffe cti v e C om merc ia l T eachin g, y o ur re p s sti ll hav e to g o o ut a nd a ctu ally ta lk to c usto m ers . I f th ey d on’t h av e th e s k ills to c halle nge, e v en th e m ost pow erfu l i n sig hts w ill f a ll o n d eaf e ars . S o w hat d oes a “ te achin g c o nv ers a ti o n” a ctu ally s o und l ik e? Is it r e ally a ll th at d iffe re nt? A bso lu te ly . It’ s n o t ju st th at C halle ngers te ach th at s e ts th em a p art, it’ s th e way th at th ey te ach th at re ally m atte rs m ost. W orld -c la ss te achin g c o nv ers a ti o ns, it tu rn s o ut, fo llo w a v ery s p ecific c ho re o gra p hy, o ne th at ta kes a tr a d iti o nal s a le s c o nv ers a ti o n a nd c o m ple te ly sta nd s i t o n i ts h ead . L et’ s l o ok a t th at n ext. 5 T EA CHIN G F O R D IF FER EN TIA T IO N ( P A RT 2 ): H O W T O B U IL D I N SIG HT-L ED CO NVER SAT IO NS O NCE Y O U’V E A G REED o n th e u niq ue b enefits th at c le arly s e t y o u a p art f r o m th e c o m peti ti o n a nd y o u’v e id enti fie d a se t o f c o m pellin g in sig hts th at te ach c usto m ers a n ew w ay to c o m pete m ore e ffe cti v ely , ho w do yo u put it all to geth er? W ell, if yo u w ere to m ap a w orld -c la ss te achin g c o nv ers a ti o n— or te achin g “ p itc h”— yo u’d fin d it m oves th ro ugh six d is c re te ste p s, e ach b uild in g d ir e ctl y to th e n ext. But befo re w e get to th e ste p s th em se lv es, it’ s im porta nt to no te th e very str o ng em oti o nal c o m ponent o f a w ell- d esig ned te achin g p itc h. F ra nkly , th is is n ’t s o m uch a b out d eliv erin g a fo rm al p re se nta ti o n a s i t’ s a b out te llin g a c o m pellin g s to ry . A lo ng th e w ay, th ere s h o uld b e s o m e r e al d ra m a, p erh ap s a b it o f s u sp ense , a nd m ayb e e v en a s u rp ris e o r tw o. U lti m ate ly , th e g o al i s to ta ke c usto m ers o n a r o lle r-c o aste r r id e, l e ad in g f ir s t to a r a th er d ark p la ce b efo re s h o w in g th em th e l ig ht a t th e e nd o f t h e tu nnel. A nd th at l ig ht, o f c o urs e , i s y o ur s o lu ti o n. Sourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h Fig ure 5 .1 . D eco nstr u cti o n o f a C om merc ia l T eachin g P itc h A P U RPO SE FU L C H OREO GRAPH Y I f y o u’re g o in g to su ccessfu lly c o nv in ce re lu cta nt c usto m ers to n o t o nly th in k d iffe re ntl y , b ut a ct d iffe re ntl y — in w hat i s a lm ost d efin iti o nally g o in g to b e a d is ru p ti v e m anner— th en i t’ s n o t e no ugh f o r y o ur te achin g p itc h to s im ply c o nv ey a “ co m pellin g b usin ess c ase ” w ith d ata , c harts , a nd g ra p hs. N o o ne e v er s o ld a nyth in g o ff a s p re ad sh eet a lo ne. D one w ell, a te achin g p itc h m akes c usto m ers f e el s o rt o f s ic k a b out a ll th e m oney th ey’re w asti n g, o r r e v enue th ey’re m is sin g, o r r is k th ey’re u nkno w in gly e xp ose d to . B ut if y o ur s to ry fa ils to e ngage b oth s id es o f th e b ra in s im ulta neo usly — th e r a ti o nal a nd t h e e m oti o nal— it’ s to o e asy fo r y o ur c usto m er to m ake n o d ecis io n e v en o ver a g o od d ecis io n, a s l o gic a lo ne i s r a re ly e no ugh to o verc o m e th e s ta tu s q uo . D is ru p ti v e c hange i s a s m uch a b out f o llo w in g y o ur g ut a s i t i s a b out f o llo w in g y o ur h ead . So w ith th at i n m in d , l e t’ s r e v ie w th e s ix s te p s o f a w orld -c la ss te achin g p itc h. Ste p 1 : T he W arm er A fte r in iti a l fo rm aliti e s (e .g ., in tr o ducti o ns, ti m e c heck, a gend a se tti n g), a w ell- d esig ned te achin g p itc h s ta rts o ff w ith y o ur a sse ssm ent o f y o ur c usto m er’s k ey c halle nges. R ath er th an a sk in g, “ W hat’ s k eep in g y o u u p a t n ig ht? ” y o u la y o ut w hat y o u’re s e ein g a nd h earin g a s k ey c halle nges a t s im ila r c o m panie s. I f y o u h av e i t, th is i s a g re at p la ce to p ro vid e b enchm ark in g d ata . A t th e v ery l e ast, th is i s w here y o u s h are a necd ote s fr o m o th er c o m panie s th at c ap tu re th e c halle nges m ost lik ely o f h ig hest c o ncern to y o ur c usto m er in w ays th at c o rro bora te th eir o w n e xp erie nce. (N ev er u nd ere sti m ate th e v alu e in b ein g a b le to d em onstr a te to y o ur c usto m ers th at th ey’re n o t a lo ne w hen it c o m es to th eir m ost p re ssin g c halle nges.) Y ou th en c o nclu d e y o ur r e v ie w b y a sk in g f o r th eir r e acti o ns. W hen y o u p ut i t a ll to geth er, i t s h o uld s o und s o m eth in g l ik e, “ W e’v e w ork ed w ith a n um ber o f c o m panie s s im ila r to y o urs , a nd w e’v e fo und th at th ese th re e c halle nges c o m e u p a gain a nd a gain a s b y fa r th e m ost t r o ub lin g. I s th at w hat y o u’re s e ein g to o, o r w ould y o u a d d s o m eth in g e ls e to th e l is t? ” The w ho le p oin t o f s te p 1 , o f c o urs e , i s to b uild c re d ib ility . E sse nti a lly , w hat y o u’re s a yin g to y o ur c usto m er i s , “ I u nd ers ta nd y o ur w orld ,” a nd “ I’ m n o t h ere to w aste y o ur ti m e a sk in g y o u to te ach m e a b out yo ur busin ess.” It’ s an ap pro ach w e’v e dub bed “H yp oth esis -B ase d S ellin g.” R ath er th an l e ad in g w ith o pen-e nd ed questio ns a b out c usto m ers ’ n eed s, y o u le ad w ith hyp oth ese s o f c usto m ers ’ n eed s, in fo rm ed by yo ur ow n exp erie nce and re se arc h. U lti m ate ly , custo m ers su ffe rin g fr o m “ so lu ti o ns f a ti g ue” l o ve i t n o t o nly b ecause i t m akes th e e nti r e s a le b oth f a ste r a nd e asie r f o r th em , b ut b ecause i t f e els m uch m ore l ik e a “ get” th an a “ giv e”— th ey g et y o ur i n fo rm ed p ers p ecti v e r a th er th an h av in g to e d ucate y o u w ith in fo rm ati o n y o u sh o uld h av e b een a b le to fig ure o ut o n y o ur o w n. A C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h c uts r ig ht to th e c hase . I t f e els e ffic ie nt. I t h o no rs th e c usto m er’s ti m e a nd s h o w s th at y o u’v e d one y o ur h o m ew ork . I n o th er w ord s, y o u’v e j u st e sta b lis h ed y o urs e lf a s s o m eo ne w orth ta lk in g to . O r, a t th e v ery le ast, fo r th e e sp ecia lly re sis ta nt c usto m ers o ut th ere , y o u’v e ju st b ought y o urs e lf a no th er f iv e m in ute s. So w hat n ext? W hat a re y o u g o in g to d o w ith th e g o odw ill y o u’v e ju st e sta b lis h ed ? P re se nt y o ur s o lu ti o n? L ay o ut y o ur “ v alu e p ro positi o n”? T hat’ s th e la st th in g y o u w ant to d o n o w ! A lth o ugh it is t h e n ext ste p th ey’re p ro bab ly e xp ecti n g, a nd it’ s a b so lu te ly th e n ext th in g a c o re -p erfo rm in g re p w ould d o— and w ith o ut a d oub t w hat y o ur c o m peti to r’s s a le s r e p d id w hen h e w as s itti n g i n th e s a m e c usto m er’s o ffic e a n h o ur e arlie r. Thin k a b out it. Y ou ju st g o t y o ur c usto m er to w arm u p to y o u b y ta lk in g a b out th eir b usin ess. W hy i n th e w orld w ould y o u w ant to ru in a ll th at g o odw ill b y sp outi n g o ff a b out yo ur b usin ess? Y ou h av en’t y et g iv en th em a re aso n to c are . In ste ad , n o w y o u g o to a p la ce y o ur c usto m er n ev er s a w c o m in g: th e R efr a m e. Ste p 2 : T he R efr a m e T his i s th e c entr a l m om ent o f a C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h, a s th e e nti r e c o nv ers a ti o n p iv ots o ff w hat y o u’re a b out to d o n ext. Build in g o ff th e c halle nges y o ur c usto m er ju st a ckno w le d ged in s te p 1 , y o u n o w in tr o duce a n ew p ers p ecti v e th at c o nnects th o se c halle nges to e ith er a b ig ger p ro ble m o r a b ig ger o pportu nity th an th ey e v er re aliz e d th ey h ad . M in d y o u, y o u’re n o t e xp ecte d to a ctu ally c o m e u p w ith th e in sig ht in th e m om ent. F or re aso ns w e ad dre sse d in th e pre v io us se cti o n, th at kin d of sp onta neo us fla sh of b rillia nce is n o t o nly to o h ard , it’ s a ctu ally a b ad id ea. R ath er, th is is s o m eth in g y o u’v e c o m e w ell p re p are d to d is c uss. ( In f a ct, i t m ay h av e b een a b rie f m enti o n o f th is i n sig ht th at w on y o u th e v is it i n t h e f ir s t p la ce.) T hat s a id , a t th is p oin t, y o ur g o al i s n ’t to l a y o ut th e e xp la nati o ns a nd i m plic ati o ns o f t h e in sig ht in a ny g re at d eta il— th at w ill c o m e in a fe w m in ute s. R ath er, th e R efr a m e is s im ply a b out t h e in sig ht its e lf. It’ s ju st th e head lin e. A nd lik e any go od head lin e, yo ur go al is to catc h yo ur c usto m er o ff g uard w ith a n u nexp ecte d v ie w poin t— to s u rp ris e th em , m ake th em c urio us, a nd g et th em w anti n g to h ear m ore . Rem em ber, th e re acti o n y o u’re lo okin g fo r h ere is d efin iti v ely n o t, “ Y es! I to ta lly a gre e! T hat’ s e xactl y w hat w e’re w ork in g o n!” b ut ra th er, “ H uh, I n ev er th o ught o f it th at w ay b efo re .” If y o ur c usto m er’s fir s t re acti o n to y o ur in sig ht is e nth usia sti c a gre em ent, th en y o u h av en’t a ctu ally ta ught t h em a nyth in g. A nd th at’ s is a d angero us p la ce to b e. S ure , it a lw ays fe els g re at w hen y o ur c usto m er s a ys, “ I a gre e!” B ut i f y o u’v e j u st a rti c ula te d a p ro ble m th ey’v e a lr e ad y th o ught o f, c hances a re p re tty g o od th ey’v e a lr e ad y th o ught o f a s o lu ti o n to o. A t b est, y o u’re n o w “ te achin g a t th e m arg in s.” D oin g t h is is a ctu ally b ad fo r tw o re aso ns. F ir s t, if y o u fa il to p ro vid e u niq ue in sig ht, th en y o u fa il to p ro vid e u niq ue v alu e. S eco nd , if y o ur c usto m ers h av e a lr e ad y b egun to c o nsid er p ossib le s o lu ti o ns, y o u’v e l o st a s ig nific ant o pportu nity to s k ew th eir th in kin g to w ard y o ur s o lu ti o n. P ra cti c ally s p eakin g, i t’ s lik e fa ilin g to g et a head o f th e R FP. Y ou’re re sp ondin g to c usto m ers ’ n eed s r a th er th an defin in g t h em . A nd th at’ s a r e cip e f o r i n cre ase d c o m moditi z a ti o n. If y o u’re g o in g to r e fr a m e, th en b e s u re y o u r e ally r e fr a m e. T his i s n o t th e p la ce to b e ti m id , a s th e e nti r e a p pro ach re sts o n y o ur a b ility to su rp ris e y o ur c usto m er a nd m ake th em c urio us fo r m ore i n fo rm ati o n. Y ou’v e ju st b ought y o urs e lf a no th er fiv e m in ute s. S o w hat’ s n ext? W ell, y o u’v e s h o w n y o ur c usto m er a d iffe re nt w ay to th in k a b out th eir b usin ess, n o w y o u’v e g o t to s h o w th em w hy it m atte rs . Ste p 3 : R atio nal D ro w nin g R ati o nal D ro w nin g i s w here y o u l a y o ut th e b usin ess c ase f o r w hy th e R efr a m e i n s te p 2 i s w orth y o ur c usto m er’s ti m e a nd a tte nti o n. So n o w it’ s ti m e fo r th e d ata , g ra p hs, ta b le s, a nd c harts y o u n eed to q uanti fy fo r th e c usto m er th e t r u e, o fte n hid den, co st o f th e p ro ble m o r siz e o f th e o pportu nity th ey’d co m ple te ly o verlo oked . R ati o nal D ro w nin g is th e n um bers -d riv en ra ti o nale fo r w hy y o ur c usto m er s h o uld th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out th eir b usin ess, b ut p re se nte d s p ecific ally i n a w ay d esig ned to m ake th em s q uir m a l ittl e b it— to f e el lik e th ey’re d ro w nin g. M ark ete rs o fte n r e fe r to th is a s th e “ F U D fa cto r” — fe ar, u ncerta in ty , a nd d oub t. If y o ur p re se nta ti o n is d one w ell, th e c usto m er re acti o n in s te p 3 s h o uld b e s o m eth in g lik e, “ W ow , I h ad n o id ea w e w ere w asti n g th at k in d o f m oney!” o r “ I’ d n ev er th o ught o f th is a s a n o pportu nity b efo re . W e’v e g o t to g et a fte r th is o r w e’re g o in g to r e ally m is s o ut! ” If y o u’re g o in g to p ut a n R O I c alc ula to r in fr o nt o f y o ur c usto m er, th is is w here it g o es. B ut ju st r e m em ber th e R O I th at y o u’re c alc ula ti n g. In a w orld -c la ss te achin g p itc h a g o od R O I c alc ula to r c alc ula te s th e R O I o n s o lv in g th e c halle nge y o u’v e j u st ta ught y o ur c usto m er th ey h av e, n o t th e R O I o n b uyin g y o ur so lu ti o n. If y o ur R O I c alc ula to r is e xp lic itl y a b out y o ur p ro ducts a nd se rv ic es— as it a lm ost in ev ita b ly is — th en y o u’re ta lk in g a b out th e w ro ng th in g. B efo re y o u d em onstr a te h o w y o ur s o lu ti o n c an e co no m ic ally s o lv e a k ey c usto m er c halle nge, y o u’v e g o t to c o nv in ce th e c usto m er th at t h at c halle nge i s w orth s o lv in g i n th e f ir s t p la ce. Putti n g s te p s 2 a nd 3 to geth er, y o u’v e g o t to s h o w th em s o m eth in g n ew , a nd th en s h o w th em w hy i t m atte rs . T his is w hat g o od te achin g is a ll a b out. Gre a t te achin g, h o w ev er, re q uir e s s o m eth in g e ls e : e m oti o nal i m pact. Ste p 4 : E m otio nal I m pact E m oti o nal Im pact is a ll a b out m akin g a b so lu te ly s u re th at th e c usto m er s e es th em se lv es in th e s to ry y o u’re te llin g. T here ’s n o th in g m ore fr u str a ti n g th an la yin g o ut a c o m pellin g a rg um ent a nd h earin g y o ur c usto m er s a y, “ Y eah, I s e e w hat y o u’re s a yin g, a nd I’ m s u re it m akes a lo t o f s e nse fo r a lo t o f y o ur c usto m ers . B ut I’ m s tr u gglin g to s e e h o w th is a p plie s to u s. W e’re d iffe re nt.” U gh. T his is th e s a le s v ers io n o f th at a w kw ard m om ent w hen y o ur d ate lo oks a t y o u a nd s a ys, “ It’ s n o t y o u. It’ s m e.” C le arly , w hat th ey’re tr y in g to s a y i s , “ I h av e a b so lu te ly z e ro i n te re st i n a nyth in g y o u h av e to o ffe r.” So w hat d o yo u d o no w ? H ow d o yo u co unte r th e “w e’re d iffe re nt” d efe nse ? F or th e co re – p erfo rm in g re p , th e re sp onse is p re d ic ta b le . If o ne c hart w asn ’t e no ugh, tr y tw o. If th e P ow erP oin t d eck d id n’t g et y o u th ere , se nd th e w hite p ap er. It’ s m ore o f th e sa m e. B ut sim ply re p eati n g th e b usin ess c ase i n g re ate r d eta il w ill n ev er g et y o u p ast th e “ w e’re d iffe re nt” r e sp onse . T hat’ s b ecause y o u’re so lv in g fo r th e w ro ng p ro ble m . T he p ro ble m is n ’t th at yo u’v e fa ile d to m ake a lo gic al p re se nta ti o n, th e p ro ble m is y o u’v e fa ile d to m ake a n e m oti o nal c o nnecti o n. It’ s n o t th at th ey d on’t b elie v e y o ur s to ry , it’ s ju st th at th ey d on’t s e e it a s th eir s to ry . Y ou n eed to g et th em to in te rn aliz e w hat y o u’re te llin g th em . So h o w d o y o u d o th at? N ow y o u’v e g o t to m ake i t p ers o nal. A nd th is i s w here a C halle nger r e p ’s s to ry te llin g a b ility re ally c o m es in to p la y. A s th e n am e im plie s, E m oti o nal Im pact is n ’t a b out th e n um bers ; it’ s a b out th e n arra ti v e. Y ou’v e g o t to p ain t a p ic tu re o f h o w o th er c o m panie s ju st lik e th e c usto m er’s w ent d ow n a sim ila rly p ain fu l p ath b y engagin g in b ehav io r th at th e custo m er w ill i m med ia te ly r e co gniz e a s ty p ic al o f th eir o w n c o m pany. The s to ry , th ere fo re , s ta rts o ut w ith s o m eth in g l ik e, “ I u nd ers ta nd y o u’re a l ittl e b it d iffe re nt, b ut l e t m e g iv e y o u a s e nse o f h o w w e’v e s e en th is p la y o ut a t s im ila r c o m panie s . . .” A nd f o r th is to w ork , w hate v er yo u sa y next has to fe el im med ia te ly fa m ilia r (w hic h is ano th er re aso n w hy a deep u nd ers ta nd in g o f th e custo m er m ust b e acq uir e d prio r to th e sa le s call, no t ju st d urin g it) . T he r e acti o ns y o u’re lo okin g fo r a re a r u efu l s h ake o f th e h ead , a w ry s m ile , a th o ughtf u l fa ra w ay lo ok. W hy? B ecause y o u’re l o okin g f o r th e c usto m er to r e p la y th e s a m e s c enario i n th eir h ead a s i t actu ally h appen ed t o t h em i n t h eir o w n c o m pany j u st l a st w eek. I d eally , th e c usto m er’s r e sp onse to y o ur s to ry i s s o m eth in g lik e, “ W ow , it’ s lik e y o u w ork h ere o r s o m eth in g. Y eah, w e d o th at all th e ti m e. It ju st k ills u s.” A nd th at is h o w y o u s la y th e d ra go n o f “ w e’re ju st d iffe re nt” : b y c re ati n g a n e m oti o nal c o nnecti o n b etw een th e p ain in th e s to ry y o u’re te llin g a nd th e p ain y o ur c usto m er fe els e v ery d ay i n sid e th eir o w n o rg aniz a ti o n. If y o ur c usto m er s ti ll th in ks th ey’re d iffe re nt a fte r s te p 4 , y o u e ith er h av e th e w ro ng c usto m er o r th e w ro ng s to ry . But if y o u a re s u ccessfu l, n o w y o u’v e g o t y o ur c usto m er b ought in to th e R efr a m e. T hey s e e th e c halle nge o r o pportu nity a s th eir o w n, a nd n o w th ey’re l o okin g f o r a s o lu ti o n. Ste p 5 : A N ew W ay C om in g i n to s te p 5 y o u’v e c o nv in ced th e c usto m er o f th e p ro ble m . N ow y o u’v e g o t to c o nv in ce th em o f th e s o lu ti o n. T his i s a p oin t- b y-p oin t r e v ie w o f th e s p ecific c ap ab iliti e s th ey w ould n eed to h av e i n o rd er to m ake g o od o n w hate v er o pportu nity to m ake m oney, s a v e m oney, o r m iti g ate r is k th at y o u’v e j u st c o nv in ced th em th ey’re f a cin g. A s te m pti n g a s i t m ig ht b e a t th is p oin t to l a unch i n to a r e v ie w o f h o w y o u c an h elp , s te p 5 is s ti ll a b out th e so lu tio n , n o t a b out th e su pplie r . F acin g a c usto m er w ho e nth usia sti c ally agre es th at th ey’v e go t th e v ery challe nge yo ur so lu ti o n d ir e ctl y ad dre sse s, it is d eep ly te m pti n g to ta lk s p ecific ally a b out h o w y o u c an h elp . F or m ost re p s it s im ply fe els lik e th e o bvio us th in g to d o. B ut s te p 5 i s n ’t a s to ry a b out h o w m uch b ette r c usto m ers ’ l iv es w ould b e i f th ey b ought y o ur s tu ff (w hic h is w hat m ost re p s w ant to ta lk a b out) , it’ s a b out s h o w in g c usto m ers h o w m uch b ette r th eir l ife w ould b e i f th ey j u st a cte d d iffe re ntl y . I t’ s a b out b ehav in g d iffe re ntl y , n o t b uyin g d iffe re ntl y . Don’t r u sh th is . B efo re th ey b uy yo ur s o lu ti o n, th e c usto m er h as to b uy th e s o lu ti o n. Y ou’re l o okin g f o r y o ur c usto m er to s a y s o m eth in g l ik e, “ Y ou’re r ig ht, th at m akes to ta l s e nse . T hat’ s w hat w e n eed to d o,” o r “ T hat’ s th e k in d o f c o m pany I w ant u s to b e.” Now th ey’re r e ad y f o r s te p 6 , Y our S olu ti o n. Ste p 6 : Y our S olu tio n I f s te p 5 i s a b out g etti n g c usto m ers b ought i n to a cti n g d iffe re ntl y , th e g o al o f s te p 6 i s to d em onstr a te h o w y o ur s o lu ti o n i s b ette r a b le th an a nyo ne e ls e ’s to e q uip th em to a ct d iffe re ntl y . I n m any w ays, o f a ll s ix s te p s, th is o ne is th e m ost s tr a ig htf o rw ard , a s it’ s w hat r e p s h av e b een tr a in ed to d o fr o m th e v ery b egin nin g. T his is w here y o u la y o ut th e s p ecific w ays y o u c an d eliv er th e s o lu ti o n th ey’v e ju st a gre ed to in s te p 5 b ette r th an a nyo ne e ls e . It’ s a ls o w here a ll o f th e h ard w ork a ro und id enti fy in g y o ur u niq ue c ap ab iliti e s p ays o ff, b ecause th ey a re fr o nt a nd c ente r in s te p 6 . A fte r a ll, it w ould b e a b so lu te ly c ru sh in g to g et y o ur c usto m er a ll th e w ay to s te p 6 a nd th en h av e th at d eal g o o ut to a n R FP t h at y o u c o uld n’t e asily w in . If y o ur c o m peti ti o n is s ti ll in th e ru nnin g a t th is p oin t, th en y o u h av e e ith er fa ile d to id enti fy cap ab iliti e s th at are tr u ly uniq ue o r yo u hav e fa ile d to le ad to th em as c o nv in cin gly a s y o u’d h o ped . If, h o w ev er, y o u’v e g o t th is rig ht, in ste p s 1 –6 y o u’v e a d dre sse d b oth a sp ects o f C om merc ia l T eachin g— th e “ co m merc ia l” a nd th e “ te achin g”— in o ne c o nv ers a ti o n. Y ou’v e ta ught th e c usto m er s o m eth in g n ew a nd v alu ab le a b out th eir b usin ess (w hic h is w hat th ey w ere lo okin g fo r fr o m th e c o nv ers a ti o n), in a w ay th at sp ecific ally le ad s th em to v alu e y o ur c ap ab iliti e s o ver th o se o f th e c o m peti ti o n ( w hic h i s w hat y o u w ere l o okin g f o r f r o m th e c o nv ers a ti o n). Now , w hen y o u l o ok b ack a t a ll s ix s te p s to geth er, a sk y o urs e lf th e f o llo w in g q uesti o n: W here d oes t h e su pplie r fir s t e nte r th e c o nv ers a ti o n? N oti c e it’ s n o t u nti l th e v ery e nd in s te p 6 . A nd fo r m any r e p s, th is i s c o m ple te ly c o unte rin tu iti v e. A fte r a ll, i f I ’ m g o in g to s e ll m y s o lu ti o n to a c usto m er, th en t h e fir s t th in g I n eed to ta lk a b out is my so lu tio n —what it d oes, h o w it’ s d iffe re nt, h o w it h elp s. R ig ht? W ro ng! T hat’ s n o t th e f ir s t th in g y o u n eed to ta lk a b out, b ut th e la st , fo r a v ery s im ple r e aso n: Y our c usto m er d oesn ’t c are . That f a ct th at y o ur n ew ly d esig ned X Z-6 90 r u ns 1 5 p erc ent f a ste r, q uie te r, c o ole r, a nd c heap er th an t h e c o m peti ti o n j u st i s n ’t th at i n te re sti n g to m ost c usto m ers . I f i t is , th en w hy b oth er w ith a s a le s c all a t a ll? J u st s e nd th em a q uo te a nd ta ke th e o rd er o ver th e p ho ne. B ette r y et, s e ll it th ro ugh a n e -s to re o n th e I n te rn et a nd g et r id o f y o ur s a le s f o rc e a lto geth er. If, o n th e o th er h and , y o u’re g o in g to ta ke s ix ty m in ute s o f y o ur c usto m er’s p re cio us ti m e f o r a f a ce- t o -fa ce m eeti n g, y o u’d b ette r m ake su re th at w hate v er y o u d o w ith th at ti m e is v alu ab le to y o ur c usto m er. L is te nin g to a re v ie w o f h o w y o ur X Z-6 90 is g o in g to s a v e th em ti m e a nd m oney is n ’t. T alk in g a b out th e c usto m er’s b usin ess i n w ays th at h elp th em b oost p ro ducti v ity i s . Rem em ber, in th e C om merc ia l T eachin g w orld e v ery th in g is b uilt b ack fr o m th e fin d in g th at, in y o ur c usto m ers ’ e yes, y o ur p rim ary v alu e a s a s u p plie r i s y o ur a b ility to te a ch th em s o m eth in g, n o t to s e ll th em so m eth in g. In th e te achin g w orld , th e p itc h is n ’t a b out th e su p plie r a t a ll. It’ s a b out th e c usto m er. A s a r e su lt, th e b est s a le s r e p s h av e f o und th at y o u c an’t w in c usto m ers ’ i n te re st a nd l o yalty i f y o u l e ad w ith y o ur d iffe re nti a to rs — all y o ur p ro ducts , s e rv ic es, a nd s o lu ti o ns— no m atte r h o w g o od t h ey a re . I n ste ad , th e b est s a le s c o nv ers a ti o ns p re se nt th e c usto m er w ith a c o m pellin g s to ry a b out th eir b usin ess fir st , te ach th em s o m eth in g n ew , a nd th en l e ad to th eir d iffe re nti a to rs . By p la cin g y o ur u niq ue str e ngth s in c o nte xt a t th e e nd o f a h ig hly c re d ib le te achin g p itc h y o u c o m ple te ly c hange th e c usto m er’s d is p ositi o n to w ard y o ur o ffe rin g. B ut to g et th ere , th ere h as to b e a f lo w to th e c o nv ers a ti o n, a p urp ose fu l c ho re o gra p hy w here y o ur s o lu ti o n is th e n atu ra l o utg ro w th o f y o ur te achin g, r a th er th an th e s u b je ct o f y o ur te achin g. A nd th at’ s a h uge d iffe re nce. D on’t le ad with , l e ad to . R em em ber, th e r e al v alu e o f th e i n te ra cti o n i s n ’t w hat y o u s e ll; i t’ s th e i n sig ht y o u p ro vid e a s part o f th e s a le s i n te ra cti o n i ts e lf. A L O OK I N T H E M IR RO R T his te achin g c ho re o gra p hy a llo w s y o u to v ery c o ncre te ly a ud it a nd i m pro ve th e s a le s c o nv ers a ti o ns y o u’re h av in g w ith c usto m ers r ig ht n o w . H ow c lo se ly d oes yo ur p itc h fo llo w th is p ath ? D oes it le ad w ith , o r l e ad to ? H ere ’s a s h o rt q uiz to c o m pare y o ur c urre nt a p pro ach w ith w hat y o u s e e h ere . T hin k r ig ht n o w a b out w hate v er p ie ce o f c o lla te ra l, o r s lid e d eck, o r c ap ab ility b ro chure y o u ty p ic ally ta ke i n to a c usto m er m eeti n g. S pecific ally , th in k a b out th e fir s t fo ur o r fiv e p ages. W hat a re th ey a b out? M ost o f th e ti m e i t’ s s o m eth in g l ik e th is : • W hat y o u b elie v e in a s a c o m pany. (T op fa v orite s in clu d e “ a c le aner w orld ,” “ se rv in g o ur custo m ers ,” “in no vati n g fo r th e fu tu re ,” “o ur 150 years of exp erie nce,” “o ur te am of exp erie nced p ro fe ssio nals d ed ic ate d to h elp in g o ur c usto m ers a chie v e th eir g o als .” ) • A re v ie w o f a ll o f y o ur c ap ab iliti e s. (A fte r a ll, y o u to ok th e ti m e a nd m oney to b uild o ut a so lu ti o ns c ap ab ility , a nd y o u w ant to m ake s u re y o ur c usto m ers u nd ers ta nd a ll o f th e g re at ways y o u c an h elp . T here ’s n o th in g m ore f r u str a ti n g th an c usto m ers w ho d on’t f u lly a p pre cia te all th e g re at th in gs y o u c an d o f o r th em .) • A lis t o f y o ur to p p artn ers a nd c usto m ers , p re fe ra b ly a cco m panie d b y a s m any o f th eir fu ll- co lo r lo go s a s p ossib le . (N oth in g c o nv eys c re d ib ility b ette r th an a lo ng lis t o f w ell- k no w n custo m ers w ho h av e p la ced th eir tr u st i n y o u, r ig ht? ) • A m ap o f a ll o f y o ur l o cati o ns a ll o ver th e w orld . ( If y o ur c usto m ers a re g o in g g lo bal, y o u w ant th em to k no w y o u’re r ig ht th ere w ith th em , w here v er th at m ig ht b e.) Sound fa m ilia r? A re th e fir s t fo ur p ages o f yo ur sa le s m ate ria ls all ab out yo u, o r ab out th e c usto m er? A lm ost i n ev ita b ly , i t’ s th e f o rm er. N ot o nly d o m ost r e p s l e ad w ith , r a th er th an l e ad to , b ut a lm ost all o f th e sa le s to ols at th eir d is p osa l d o th e sa m e th in g. It’ s a tr e nd as p re d ic ta b le fo r o rg aniz a ti o ns a s i t i s f o r i n d iv id uals . So if yo u’re go in g to b uild C halle nger re p s and ask th em to te ach yo ur custo m ers , fo r m any c o m panie s o ne o f th e f ir s t s te p s w ill i n ev ita b ly h av e to b e a p re tty s ig nific ant r e v ie w o f th e m ate ria ls y o u p ro vid e th em w ith to d o th at. DEV ELO PIN G A P U RPO SE FU L C H OREO GRAPH Y S o h o w d o y o u build a C om merc ia l T eachin g m essa ge? T he p la ce to b egin i s a ctu ally a t th e e nd w ith s te p 6 , y o ur s o lu ti o n. Y ou c an’t b uild a c o m pellin g s to ry u nle ss y o u fir s t k no w w hat it’ s b uild in g to . Y ou’v e g o t to h av e b oth c la rity a nd a gre em ent a cro ss y o ur o rg aniz a ti o n a ro und th e u niq ue b enefits th at o nly y o u c an o ffe r y o ur c usto m ers . T hat s a id , a s y o u n ail th o se b enefits d ow n, y o u’ll w ant to f o cus i n p arti c ula r o n th e o nes y o ur c usto m ers c urre ntl y under ap pre cia te . N ow th at m ig ht f e el c o unte rin tu iti v e a t fir s t. W ould n’t y o u d o th e o pposite ? F ocus o n th e u niq ue b enefits th at y o ur c usto m ers tr u ly v alu e? A fte r a ll, th at’ s M ark eti n g 1 01, r ig ht? E xactl y . But if y o u w ant to te a ch c usto m ers s o m eth in g n ew a nd n o t ju st r e in fo rc e w hat th ey a lr e ad y k no w , y o u’ll n eed to e nsu re th at th e “ p unch l in e” o f th at te achin g c o nta in s a n e le m ent o f s u rp ris e a s w ell— a n ew a nd u nexp ecte d w ay to th in k a b out h o w y o u c an h elp . A lte rn ati v ely , if y o ur c usto m ers a lr e ad y p la ce h ig h v alu e o n y o ur b enefits o ver th o se o f th e c o m peti ti o n, y o u lik ely d on’t n eed to te ach th em a nyth in g a t a ll. Ju st ta ke th eir o rd er. B ut b ew are : B y fo cusin g so le ly o n th e kn ow n v alu e o f y o ur o ffe rin g, y o u fo rg o a n o pportu nity to c halle nge c usto m ers ’ th in kin g, w hic h th ey v alu e e v en m ore th an w hate v er y o u’re s e llin g. Y ou w in th eir b usin ess i n th e s h o rt r u n, b ut p ote nti a lly l o se i t o ver ti m e. B y h elp in g c usto m ers th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out th eir c o m pany, y o u u lti m ate ly w ant th em to th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out yo ur c o m pany. Once yo u’v e esta b lis h ed cla rity aro und ste p 6 — Your S olu ti o n— yo ur next sto p in b uild in g a p ow erfu l C om merc ia l T eachin g c o nv ers a ti o n is s te p 2 — th e R efr a m e. Y ou n eed to id enti fy th e c o re i n sig ht, o r a h-h a! m om ent, th at w ill g et y o ur c usto m er to s a y, “ W ow , I n ev er th o ught a b out i t th at w ay b efo re .” To g et th ere , s ta rt w ith th e u niq ue b enefits y o u’v e i d enti fie d f o r s te p 6 a nd th en a sk y o urs e lf, “ W hy d on’t m y c usto m ers v alu e th o se b enefits alr e a dy ?” W hat is it a b out h o w th ey v ie w th eir w orld th at p re clu d es th em fr o m a p pre cia ti n g th o se b enefits a s m uch a s w e th in k th ey e ith er c o uld o r s h o uld ? T hat’ s th e v ie w y o u n eed to c hange. A nd to c hange it, y o u’ll n eed to p ro vid e th em w ith a n a lte rn ate v ie w ( th e R efr a m e), a nd th en c o nv in ce th em th at th at a lte rn ate v ie w — were th ey to p urs u e it— co uld e ith er s a v e o r m ake th em m ore m oney th an th ey r e aliz e d ( s te p 3 ). A fte r th at, it’ s s im ply a m atte r o f f le sh in g o ut th e r e st o f th e s to ry to c re ate a l o gic al a nd c o m pellin g p ath f r o m s te p 2 to s te p 6 . Put it a ll to geth er a nd y o u g et: “ W hat’ s c urre ntl y c o sti n g o ur c usto m ers m ore m oney th an th ey r e aliz e , th at o nly w e c an h elp th em fix ?” T he a nsw er to th at q uesti o n is th e h eart a nd s o ul o f y o ur C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h. BU IL D IN G T H E I N SIG HT G EN ER AT IO N M AC H IN E W hen y o u s te p b ack a nd c o nsid er th e s c o pe o f w hat w e’re p ro posin g h ere , y o u c an b egin to s e e h o w t h is a p pro ach r e aches d eep b ack in to th e o rg aniz a ti o n. Y es, y o u n eed C halle nger r e p s to d eliv er th e t e achin g, b ut th e a ctu al c o nstr u cti o n o f th e c o nv ers a ti o n— th e u niq ue b enefits , th e s u rp ris in g c usto m er i n sig hts , th e ti g htl y packaged te achin g cho re o gra p hy— re q uir e in p ut fr o m th e enti r e co m merc ia l o rg aniz a ti o n. Many c o m panie s c ho ose to sh ie ld sa le s re p s fr o m th e c o m ple xity o f th e six -s te p c ho re o gra p hy a lto geth er b y s im plify in g th e a p pro ach in to th re e k ey e le m ents : ( 1 ) P ro vid in g c usto m ers w ith g am e- c hangin g in sig ht, (2 ) sp ecify in g and pers o naliz in g th e pote nti a l im pact of th at in sig ht, and (3 ) i n tr o ducin g y o ur c ap ab iliti e s a s th e b est p ossib le m eans o f a cti n g o n th at i n sig ht. I t’ s th e s a m e j o urn ey, b ut it’ s sim ply easie r to p ro cess fo r re p s tr a d iti o nally accusto m ed to “le ad in g w ith ” ra th er th an “ le ad in g to .” It’ s p ossib le y o u’v e b egun w ond erin g: “ Id enti fy in g u niq ue b enefits . . . s e gm enti n g c usto m ers b y n eed . . . g enera ti n g c o m pellin g c usto m er in sig ht . . . d ev elo pin g te achin g-b ase d c o lla te ra l . . . F or a b ook a b out in d iv id ual s a le s p erfo rm ance, it s e em s lik e w e’v e w and ere d a lo ng w ay a w ay fr o m th e i n d iv id ual r e p .” B ut r e m em ber, th is b ook is a b so lu te ly a b out in d iv id ual s a le s r e p s a nd h o w th ey c an p erfo rm s ig nific antl y b ette r, y et y o u w ould n’t w ant to le av e a ny o f th ese th in gs in th e h and s o f y o ur i n d iv id ual r e p s. T hese a re o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab iliti e s, n o t in d iv id ual s k ills . A c riti c al le sso n o f th e C halle nger a p pro ach i s th e s ig nific ant n eed f o r o rg aniz a ti o nal i n v olv em ent to m ake i t tr u ly s u sta in ab le a nd n o t j u st th e r e su lt o f i n cid enta l s a le s r e p e xcelle nce. F ew b ut th e v ery b est o f y o ur r e p s c o uld p ull o ff th is k in d o f te achin g o n th eir o w n c o nsis te ntl y o ver ti m e. When s a le s l e ad ers f ir s t s e e C om merc ia l T eachin g, th ey u su ally te ll u s s o m eth in g l ik e, “ I’ m h av in g a h ard e no ugh ti m e g etti n g m y g uys to se ll , a nd n o w y o u w ant th em to te a ch ? G ood lu ck!” B ut it d oesn ’t h av e to b e th at w ay. A t le ast in te rm s o f te achin g, th e m ost im porta nt s te p s y o u c an ta ke to m ig ra te y o ur s a le s fo rc e c lo se r to th e C halle nger p ro file h av e le ss to d o w ith th e in d iv id ual re p s t h em se lv es a nd m uch m ore to d o w ith th e o rg aniz a ti o n th at su p ports th em . In fa ct, in m any w ays, C om merc ia l T eachin g is lik ely ea sie r fo r in d iv id ual re p s th an w hat w e’re a sk in g th em to d o rig ht n o w . M uch o f th e h eav y lifti n g n ecessa ry to its s u ccess h ap pens lo ng b efo re a n in d iv id ual r e p e v er g ets i n f r o nt o f a c usto m er. To u nd ers ta nd w hy, th in k a b out th e jo urn ey fr o m tr a nsa cti o nal s e llin g to s o lu ti o ns s e llin g th at ju st a b out e v ery B 2B s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n h as u nd erta ken a cro ss th e l a st f iv e to f ifte en y ears ( s e e f ig ure 1 .1 o n page 7). A s part of th at m ove, sa le s sk ill re q uir e m ents hav e go ne up dra m ati c ally . W ith t r a nsa cti o nal s e llin g, r e p s s o ld l a rg ely o n p ro duct f e atu re s a nd b enefits ; i n th e n ew w orld o f s o lu ti o n s e llin g, re p s pro be fo r in d iv id ual custo m er need s in th e m om ent, allo w in g th em to su ggest s p ecific ally ta ilo re d s o lu ti o ns to w hate v er th ey h ear i n r e sp onse . I n i ts p ure st f o rm , s o lu ti o n s e llin g i s c usto m iz a ti o n i n th e m om ent. I t’ s a n i n cre d ib ly h ig h b ar f o r a ny s a le s r e p . I t’ s n o w ond er, r e ally , th at s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns a ll o ver th e w orld s tr u ggle m ig hti ly to h elp th eir te am s m ake th is tr a nsiti o n. With C om merc ia l T eachin g, y o u c an sig nific antl y b ack o ff o n y o ur e xp ecta ti o ns fo r in d iv id ual c usto m iz a ti o n a b ility , a s th e o rg aniz a ti o n s te p s in to o ffe r c ru cia l s u p port a ro und th e v ery th in g th at c usto m ers h av e to ld u s th ey v alu e m ost in s u p plie r in te ra cti o ns, n am ely th e s h arin g o f c o m merc ia l i n sig ht. T he r e p s’ p rim ary jo b s h ifts fr o m d is c o verin g n eed s to g uid in g a c o nv ers a ti o n. T hat a llo w s t h e o rg aniz a ti o n to la y o ut th e fr a m ew ork fo r th at c o nv ers a ti o n in a d vance— to “ chalk th e fie ld ,” a s one h ead o f s a le s p ut i t. There a re a n um ber o f w ays i n w hic h th at c o nv ers a ti o n m ig ht s ti ll ta ke a n u nexp ecte d tu rn o r g o o ff th e r a ils a lto geth er, a nd i n d iv id ual s k ill i s s ti ll h ugely i m porta nt i n a llo w in g th e b est r e p s to n av ig ate th o se s c enario s b ette r th an a nyo ne e ls e , b ut C om merc ia l T eachin g p la ces s ig nific ant g uard ra ils a ro und th e s a le s i n te ra cti o n to p ro vid e r e al s u p port f o r th e r e p . Fir s t, th e custo m er’s need s are pre sc o ped . R ep s d on’t sta rt w ith a b la nk sh eet o f p ap er and dia gno se each custo m er’s need s in d iv id ually . M uch of th at w ork has been done in sid e th e org aniz a ti o n th ro ugh b ette r s e gm enta ti o n a nd c usto m er a naly sis , s ig nific antl y r e d ucin g th e b urd en o n th e o ne s k ill r e p s p ro bab ly s tr u ggle w ith th e m ost. Seco nd , th e c o nv ers a ti o n is pre sc rip te d . A te achin g r e p s ti ll h as to in te ra ct w ith th e c usto m er in a liv e se tti n g, answ erin g questi o ns and ad ap ti n g to unanti c ip ate d obje cti o ns. H ow ev er, th e re p ’s openin g s e t o f h yp oth ese s i s a lr e ad y l a id o ut i n d eta il, a nd e v ery s te p a lo ng th e w ay i s c le arly m ark ed th ro ugh th e te achin g c ho re o gra p hy. B ecause th e te achin g p itc h fo llo w s th e s a m e ta lk in g p oin ts a gain and a gain , re p s w ill n atu ra lly im pro ve a s th ey le arn fr o m e xp erie nce, b eco m in g m ore c o m pellin g over ti m e. I n th at r e sp ect, C om merc ia l T eachin g s u p porte d b y th e o rg aniz a ti o n i s m uch m ore c o ncre te th an r u nnin g a n o pen-e nd ed n eed s a naly sis . It’ s e asie r fo r r e p s to le arn , a nd e asie r fo r m anagers to co ach. Fin ally , th e s o lu ti o n th e r e p is w ork in g to w ard is pre d efin ed . T he b urd en o n th e r e p to d ete rm in e th e rig ht so lu ti o n fo r an in d iv id ual custo m er is sig nific antl y re d uced , as th e so lu ti o n is la rg ely dete rm in ed in ad vance th ro ugh o rg aniz a ti o nal id enti fic ati o n o f th e su p plie r’s uniq ue b enefits and need s-b ase d s e gm enta ti o n o f c usto m ers . O ne c o m pany w e w ork w ith r e fe rs to th ese p re b uilt s o lu ti o ns as “ H ap py M eals ,” b ase d o n M cD onald ’s fa m ous “ m eal s o lu ti o n” fo r y o ung c hild re n. T hey’re o ff- th e-s h elf so lu ti o ns th at fe el c usto m iz e d to c usto m ers , b ecause th ey’re w ell ta ilo re d in a d vance to th o se c usto m ers ’ m ost c o m mon n eed s. Of c o urs e , th is a p pro ach s ti ll r e q uir e s g re ate r s k ill th an th e s im ple w orld o f tr a nsa cti o nal s e llin g. But c o m pare it w ith a w orld o f c la ssic so lu ti o n se llin g o r “ co nsu lta ti v e se llin g” w here re p s a re exp ecte d to fig ure a ll o f th is o ut o n th eir o w n. W hile y o ur s ta rs w ill g et it r ig ht a t le ast s o m e o f th e ti m e, y o ur c o re r e p s w ill s tr u ggle m ig hti ly a ll o f th e ti m e. B ut if y o u’v e d one y o ur h o m ew ork in sid e th e o rg aniz a ti o n to b uild a s o lid te achin g in te ra cti o n to b egin w ith , y o ur r e p s a re fa r b ette r p re p are d to s u cceed w hen th ey’re i n f r o nt o f th e c usto m er. So w ho s h o uld d o th e w ork ? C om merc ia l T eachin g is a s m uch a te am s p ort a s a n in d iv id ual o ne. Ju st a s y o u’ll n eed to a lig n in d iv id ual r e p s to th e C halle nger p ro file to m ake it w ork , y o u’ll n eed to alig n sa le s and m ark eti n g aro und th e co re cap ab iliti e s im plic it in th e C om merc ia l Teachin g cho re o gra p hy: 1. I d enti fy y o ur u niq ue b enefits . 2. D ev elo p c o m merc ia l i n sig ht th at c halle nges c usto m ers ’ th in kin g. 3. P ackage c o m merc ia l i n sig ht i n c o m pellin g m essa ges th at “ le ad to .” 4. E quip r e p s to c halle nge c usto m ers . Com merc ia l T eachin g als o p ro vid es a co ncre te and v ery acti o nab le ro ad m ap fo r ad dre ssin g arg uab ly o ne o f th e to ughest c halle nges in a ll o f B 2B s a le s a nd m ark eti n g, n am ely g etti n g th e tw o fu ncti o ns to w ork to geth er i n th e f ir s t p la ce. Giv en th e c hance, a ny h ead o f s a le s o r m ark eti n g w ill b e h ap py to r e gale y o u w ith e xam ple s o f th e his to ric ally poor— or no nexis te nt— co lla b ora ti o n betw een th e tw o fu ncti o ns. A t best in m ost org aniz a ti o ns th ere ’s a th in ly veile d anti p ath y acro ss th e sa le s/m ark eti n g div id e. A t w ors t, it’ s outr ig ht h o sti lity . W e’v e a ll s e en th e s ta ti s ti c s. E ig hty p erc ent o f m ark eti n g c o lla te ra l w in d s u p i n th e tr a sh , w hile 3 0 p erc ent o f s a le s ti m e i s s p ent r e p ro ducin g th e v ery c o lla te ra l th ey j u st th re w a w ay. The u nd erly in g c ause o f m uch o f th is d is c o rd ty p ic ally g o es u nad dre sse d . M ost c o m panie s fa il to defin e a n a gre ed -u p on fr a m ew ork fo r w hat th e tw o fu ncti o ns s h o uld a ctu ally d o to geth er in th e fir s t pla ce. M any co m merc ia l exec uti v es w ho la m ent th e need fo r gre ate r sa le s and m ark eti n g “in te gra ti o n” fa il to c o nsid er th e p ro ble m fr o m th e o pposite p ers p ecti v e, w hic h is : W hat sh ould n’t th ey d o to geth er? Com merc ia l T eachin g p ro vid es a ro ad m ap fo r in te gra ti n g a ro und a lim ite d n um ber o f a cti v iti e s th at tr u ly m atte r. T he a p pro ach d efin es a v ery s p ecific fr a m ew ork fo r “ w hat g o od lo oks lik e” fo r th e enti r e c o m merc ia l o rg aniz a ti o n, a llo w in g fo r th e id enti fic ati o n o f c o ncre te ro le s, ta sk s, g o als , a nd re sp onsib iliti e s. F or e xam ple , o nly m ark eti n g h as th e to ols , th e e xp erti s e , a nd th e ti m e to g enera te th e in sig hts n ecessa ry to c halle nge c usto m ers b oth s c ala b ly a nd r e p eate d ly . A s th e h ead o f m ark eti n g a t a la rg e te le co m munic ati o ns c o m pany p ut it, m ark eti n g m ust s e rv e a s th e “ in sig ht g enera ti o n m achin e” th at k eep s re p s w ell e q uip ped w ith q uality te achin g m ate ria l th at c usto m ers w ill fin d c o m pellin g. Sale s, o n th e o th er h and , w ill h av e to e nsu re th at re p s h av e th e k no w le d ge, sk ills , a nd c o achin g necessa ry to g o o ut a nd u se th at i n sig ht i n a c o nv in cin g m anner to a ctu ally c halle nge c usto m ers . I t’ s a sy m bio ti c r e la ti o nsh ip a ro und a c o re p rin cip le . Eith er w ay, a t th e e nd o f th e d ay y o ur m essa ge lib ra ry , y o ur c o lla te ra l, a nd y o ur p itc h c an’t b e sta ti c . T hey m ust c o nsta ntl y e v olv e to s ta y c urre nt w ith th e c usto m er’s b usin ess e nv ir o nm ent a nd w ith a c o m peti ti v e, d ynam ic la nd sc ap e. T his is a b ig jo b— hund re d s o f p ro ducts , d oze ns o f c usto m er se gm ents , m ulti p le c hannels , a nd a c usto m er e nv ir o nm ent th at e v olv es o n a q uarte rly b asis . T here fo re , Com merc ia l T eachin g is n ’t a o ne-ti m e e xerc is e , it’ s a n “ alw ays-o n” c ap ab ility . W ith in p ut fr o m th e sa le s fo rc e— and at th eir behest— org aniz a ti o ns m ust in v est in tr a in in g m ark ete rs to arti c ula te diffe re nti a to rs a nd c o nsta ntl y s o urc e f r e sh a nd c o m pellin g te achin g m essa ges. MAKE S U RE Y O UR T EA CHIN G P IT C H I S “ B O LD ” We s e e a lo t o f c o m panie s s lip in to “ sa fe m ode” a s th ey d ev elo p th eir te achin g p itc hes. T hey mig ht s ta rt w ith s o m eth in g i n sig htf u l a nd g enuin ely p ro vocati v e, b ut a s m ore a nd m ore p eo ple g et th eir h and s o n i t i n te rn ally , i t g ets w ate re d d ow n to th e p oin t w here i t’ s m ore o f a s u ggesti o n th an a p ro vocati o n. A g re at to ol w e’v e s e en to e nsu re th at te achin g p itc hes d on’t l o se th eir e d ge a s th ey w ork th eir way th ro ugh th e o rg aniz a ti o n is th e “ S A FE -B O LD F ra m ew ork ,” d ev elo ped b y N eil R ackham and K PM G. T he fr a m ew ork fu ncti o ns a s a g ra d in g e xerc is e fo r e v alu ati n g th e str e ngth o f a te achin g p itc h. T o q uo te N eil a nd K PM G, “ A s u ccessfu l te achin g p itc h m ust d o f o ur th in gs w ell. Fir s t, i t m ust b e big . D one w ell, it w ill b e s e en b y th e c usto m er a s m ore e xp ansiv e a nd fa rth er- re achin g th an a n o rd in ary id ea. S eco nd , it m ust b e in nova tiv e . It h as to p ush th e e nv elo pe w ith new , o fte n u nte ste d a nd u niq ue a p pro aches. T hir d , it m ust b e ris k y . B ig id eas m ean th at w e a re ask in g o ur o w n c o m panie s a nd o ur c usto m ers to ta ke a b ig r is k i n a d opti n g o ur i d ea. A nd l a stl y , it m ust b e diffic u lt . T he id ea its e lf m ust b e h ard to d o— eith er b ecause o f s c ale , u ncerta in ty , o r politi c s— oth erw is e , w hy w ould a c usto m er h ir e y o u to f ix i t f o r th em ?” The f r a m ew ork i s a s im ple to ol th at f o rc es y o u to g ra d e a p ote nti a l te achin g p itc h a lo ng th ese fo ur d im ensio ns. T he b est id eas w ill s c o re c lo se r to th e “ B O LD ” e nd o f th e c o nti n uum — th ey will b e b ig , th ey w ill o utp erfo rm ( fr o m a r is k in ess p ers p ecti v e), th ey w ill b e le ad in g-e d ge ( in te rm s o f i n no vati o n), a nd th ey w ill b e d iffic ult to i m ple m ent f o r th e c usto m er. A t th e o th er e nd o f th e sp ectr u m a re th e “ S A FE ” id eas, w hic h, in c o ntr a st, a re sm all, fe el e asily a chie v ab le (in te rm s o f r is k ), a re “ fo llo w er” i d eas ( v ers u s p ro gre ssiv e, i n no vati v e i d eas), a nd a re s e en a s e asy to i m ple m ent. The w ay N eil a nd th e K PM G te am e m plo yed th is to ol w as to a sk a g ro up o f K PM G c lie nt ad vis e rs to b ra in sto rm a C halle nger p itc h to a c lie nt a nd th en p re se nt th at p itc h to a n a ud ie nce o f in te rn al p eers , w ho in tu rn g ra d ed th e p itc h u sin g th e S A FE -B O LD fr a m ew ork . K PM G te lls u s th at th is has no w b eco m e a p art o f th e in te rn al v ern acula r fo r th e o rg aniz a ti o n, w ith clie nt ad vis e rs c auti o nin g p eers a gain st w ate rin g d ow n a nd “ m akin g to o S A FE ” th eir c usto m er p itc hes. Sourc e: K PM G, N eil R ackham . Fig ure 5 .2 . T he S A FE -B O LD F ra m ew ork Rem em ber, R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers a re e v ery w here , n o t ju st in s a le s, a nd c hances a re p re tty go od th at s o m ew here a lo ng th e lin e, a s e nio r-le v el R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er— mayb e s o m eb ody in mark eti n g or co rp ora te co m munic ati o ns, m ayb e a se nio r lin e executi v e— will te m per th e messa ge o f th e p itc h, fe arfu l th at it w ill c o m e a cro ss a s c o nfr o nta ti o nal o r u nse ttl in g to th e custo m er. One o f th e c la ssic R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er m odific ati o ns to a g re at te achin g p itc h is to p ull th e “w ho w e a re a nd w hat w e d o” s lid es fr o m th e back o f th e p itc h d eck ( w here th ey b elo ng in a pro per te achin g p itc h) a nd p ut th em in th e fr o nt o f th e d eck. R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers fe el th e n eed to e sta b lis h c re d ib ility u p fr o nt b y th ro w in g a ro und c o m pany s iz e a nd fa cto id s a nd e ngagin g in so m e h ig h-p ro file c usto m er n am e-d ro ppin g. T hey a re u nco m fo rta b le le ad in g w ith in sig ht a nd le tti n g th eir i n sig hts e sta b lis h c re d ib ility f o r th em . As so on a s y o u’re n o t lo okin g, R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers w ill ta ke o ut th eir b elt sa nd ers a nd sm ooth o ut th e e d ges o f y o ur s h arp p itc h. T hey’ll s o fte n i t u nti l y o u b are ly r e co gniz e i t, p ush in g i t to th e S A FE e nd o f th e c o nti n uum . But b ein g a littl e unse ttl in g is th e p oin t o f a C halle nger ap pro ach: to b e p ro vocati v e, to challe nge, a nd th ere fo re to b e s e en a s d iffe re nti a te d b y th e c usto m er. W ith o ut a n e d ge, y o u s o und ju st lik e ev ery b ody els e . R em em ber, w hile R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers se ek to re d uce o r d efu se te nsio n, C halle ngers c o nstr u cti v ely u se te nsio n to th eir a d vanta ge. So w hat d oes C om merc ia l T eachin g l o ok l ik e a nd f e el l ik e i n r e ality ? N ow th at w e’v e l a id o ut th e th eo ry o f th e a p pro ach, w e c an s e e i t i n a cti o n a t tw o r e al c o m panie s: W . W . G ra in ger, I n c., a nd A DP Deale r S erv ic es. CO M MER CIA L T EA C H IN G C ASE S T U DY # 1: W . W . G RAIN G ER , I N C., AN D T H E P O W ER O F P LA N NIN G T H E U NPLA N NED W . W . G ra in ger, I n c., b ase d i n L ake F ore st, I llin o is , i s a $ 7 b illio n d is tr ib uto r o f m ain te nance, r e p air, a nd o pera ti o ns (M RO ) eq uip m ent and su p plie s, se rv in g nearly tw o m illio n co m panie s p rim arily a cro ss th e U nite d S ta te s a nd C anad a. G ra in ger p ro vid es o ne-s to p sh o ppin g fo r th e w id e ra nge o f e q uip m ent c o m panie s n eed to k eep th eir fa ciliti e s, p la nts , a nd o ffic es ru nnin g s a fe ly , s m ooth ly , a nd e ffic ie ntl y . A ll to ld , th e c o m pany sto cks se v era l h und re d th o usa nd d iffe re nt p ro ducts — fr o m to ols , p um ps, and sa fe ty su p plie s to ele ctr ic al eq uip m ent and ja nito ria l su p plie s— whic h th ey deliv er t h ro ugh b ra nches, a h eav ily tr a ffic ked e -s to re , a nd o f c o urs e th e fa m ous G ra in ger p ro duct c ata lo g. M uch o f i ts s a le s v olu m e i s d riv en b y b oth i n sid e a nd f ie ld -b ase d s a le s r e p s w ork in g w ith c usto m ers t o e sta b lis h l o ng-te rm c usto m er p urc hase a gre em ents . As p ow erfu l a s G ra in ger’s b ro ad p ro duct p ortf o lio c an b e i n s e rv in g c usto m ers ’ m any a nd d iv ers e n eed s, th e c o m pany’s im pre ssiv e s c o pe c an b e o verw helm in g. F aced w ith s u ch a d aunti n g a rra y o f c ho ic es, o ver th e y ears , so m e c usto m ers h av e slip ped in to b uyin g in d iv id ual p ro ducts re acti v ely , b ase d s im ply o n p ast p urc hase p atte rn s a nd o pportu nis ti c n eed , r a th er th an ta kin g th e ti m e to s it d ow n w ith G ra in ger a nd c o nsid er h o w to m anage th eir o vera ll M RO s p end m ore w is e ly , d esp ite th e fa ct t h at m any c o m panie s’ to ta l M RO s p end c an e asily re ach in to th e te ns o f m illio ns o f d olla rs . In th e v ie w o f m any c usto m ers , it’ s ju st a b unch o f h am mers , g lo ves, lig ht b ulb s, p um ps, a nd g enera to rs . “ W e’v e g o t m ore i m porta nt th in gs to d o,” th e th in kin g g o es, “ th an s p end o ur ti m e w orry in g a b out th at s tu ff.” T he r e su lt f o r G ra in ger? O ver ti m e, m any c usto m ers h ad c o m e to th in k o f G ra in ger m ere ly a s a t r a nsa cti o nal s u p plie r r a th er th an a s tr a te gic p artn er. N eed a h am mer? G o to G ra in ger. N eed a p um p? G o to G ra in ger. N eed b usin ess a d vic e o n c o m peti n g m ore e ffe cti v ely ? N ot s o m uch. It s im ply n ev er o ccurre d to m any c usto m ers th at G ra in ger m ig ht b e a b le to h elp w ith a nyth in g b eyo nd g re at p ro ducts a t g re at p ric es. S o w hen it c am e ti m e fo r th o se c usto m ers to r e new th eir c o ntr a cts , th at’ s w hat th ey w ante d to ta lk a b out: p ric e. Now , y o u c o uld a rg ue th at th ere a re c erta in ly w ors e p ro ble m s to h av e th an c usto m ers w ho th in k a b out y o u p rim arily a s th e c o m pany w ith g re at p ro ducts a t g re at p ric es. B ut i f y o ur p rim ary g o al a s a b usin ess is to d riv e d eep er c usto m er re la ti o nsh ip s th ro ugh b ro ad er, m ore s tr a te gic “ so lu ti o ns,” it’ s a ctu ally a pre tty to ugh pla ce to be. It’ s hard to driv e org anic gro w th and deep en custo m er r e la ti o nsh ip s w hen y o ur c usto m ers th in k o f y o u b y a nd la rg e a s a tr a nsa cti o nal s u p plie r o f r e la ti v ely u nim porta nt p ro ducts . I n th e e nd , y o u b eco m e r e le gate d to th e c usto m er’s f a ciliti e s m anagem ent te am , o r w ors e , p ro cure m ent, w here y o u w in d u p h agglin g o ver s h o rt- te rm p ric in g ra th er th an lo ng-te rm v alu e c re ati o n. So G ra in ger h ad a p ro ble m . A s D eb ra O le r, G ra in ger’s v ic e p re sid ent a nd g enera l m anager o f G ra in ger B ra nd , p ut i t, i f th e c o m pany w as g o in g to e sta b lis h i ts e lf a s a tr u e s o lu ti o ns p ro vid er i n th e m in d s o f its c usto m ers , it h ad to c hange th e w ay th o se c usto m ers th o ught a b out th e c o m pany. T hey n eed ed to b uild a c o nv in cin g s to ry , n o t a b out h o w G ra in ger c an s e ll y o u m ore h am mers , b ut a b out h o w i t c an h elp y o u i m pro ve y o ur b otto m l in e b y s a v in g y o u m oney. To d o th at, G ra in ger f ir s t h ad to s o lv e a n e v en b ig ger c halle nge. T he r e al p ro ble m w asn ’t s o m uch t h at c usto m ers fa ile d to th in k a b out G ra in ger s tr a te gic ally , b ut th at th ey fa ile d to th in k o f th eir o w n M RO s p end s tr a te gic ally . I t’ s h ard to b e p erc eiv ed a s a n i m porta nt p artn er w hen y o ur c usto m ers th in k o f y o u a s o nly to uchin g a n u nim porta nt p art o f th e b usin ess. So lo ng b efo re G ra in ger c o uld c hange c usto m ers ’ m in d s a b out h o w th ey th o ught a b out it, th ey fir s t had to c hange c usto m ers ’ m in d s a b out h o w th ey th o ught a b out th em se lv es . T hey h ad to s h o w th em th at th e m illio ns o f d olla rs th ey s p end e v ery y ear i n M RO p urc hase s i s n o t o nly a s iz a b le i n v estm ent, b ut more im porta nt, o ne th at, if m anaged p ro perly , co uld sa v e th em m illio ns o f d olla rs . In d eed , in tr a ckin g c usto m ers ’ p urc hase h ab its fo r s e v era l y ears , G ra in ger h ad d is c o vere d th at m ost c o m panie s were p urc hasin g M RO p ro ducts e xtr e m ely in effic ie ntl y , a nd th o se h ab its w ere c o sti n g th em m illio ns of d olla rs th at th ey h ad n o id ea th ey c o uld b e s a v in g. In o th er w ord s, G ra in ger h ad d is c o vere d a n opportu nity to te ach c usto m ers s o m eth in g n ew a b out th eir b usin ess— a w ay to r e th in k M RO s p end — th at c o uld fr e e u p h uge a m ounts o f c ash th ey c o uld th en u se o n m uch m ore im porta nt th in gs th an ham mers . I n te rm s o f i n sig ht, th ey h ad a s la m d unk. In te rm s o f C om merc ia l T eachin g, h o w ev er, G ra in ger n eed ed th e o th er c ru cia l p ie ce o f th e s to ry . Befo re te achin g c usto m ers h o w to s a v e m illio ns o f d olla rs b y th in kin g d iffe re ntl y a b out th eir M RO sp end , G ra in ger h ad to m ake s u re th at th is i n sig ht n atu ra lly l e d c usto m ers to p re fe r G ra in ger o ver th e wid e r a nge o f a lte rn ati v e M RO s u p plie rs . T o d o th at, D eb a nd th e te am f ir s t h ad to a nsw er th e s in gle questi o n, “ W hy s h o uld o ur c usto m ers b uy fr o m u s o ver a nyo ne e ls e ?” A s it tu rn ed o ut, th at q uesti o n wasn ’t n early a s e asy to a nsw er a s th ey’d a nti c ip ate d . A s D eb te lls it, o ne c o lle ague s u ggeste d , fo r exam ple , th at th ey to ut th eir m assiv e p ro duct l in e a s tr u ly d iffe re nti a ti n g. W here up on D eb a sk ed , “ D o no ne o f o ur c o m peti to rs o ffe r a w id e r a nge o f p ro ducts ? ” “N o,” th e a nsw er c am e b ack, “ th ere a re a fe w g uys o ut th ere th at h av e a p re tty w id e ra nge o f pro ducts a s w ell— at l e ast f o r s o m e o f th e c ate go rie s w e s e rv e.” “T hat w on’t w ork , th en. W hat e ls e i s th ere ?” a sk ed D eb . “W ell, w e’v e g o t s to re s a ll o ver th e c o untr y . W here v er y o u a re , y o u c an f in d a G ra in ger b ra nch.” “S o c usto m ers c an’t m eet th eir M RO n eed s th ro ugh o th er r e ta il o utl e ts ? ” D eb a sk ed . “N o, th ere a re o th er c o m panie s o ut th ere w ith s to re s . . .” “T hat’ s n o t i t e ith er, th en. W hat e ls e ?” And a ro und th ey w ent, l o okin g f o r th e s e t o f c ap ab iliti e s th at tr u ly s e t G ra in ger a p art. A nd f r a nkly , it p ro ved to b e m uch h ard er th an m ost o n th e te am w ould h av e th o ught. A s D eb p ut i t, “ F or a w hile , i t re ally to ok u s to a d ark p la ce. A fte r a ll, w hat were w e b ette r a t th an a nyo ne e ls e ? W ere w e r e ally a ny diffe re nt? ” It’ s a d iffic ult q uesti o n f o r m ost c o m panie s. W hen y o u s it d ow n to r e ally d efin e th e s p ecific s e t o f cap ab iliti e s th at se ts y o u a p art, o nce y o u c ro ss o ff “ in no vati v e,” “ custo m er-fo cuse d ,” “ so lu ti o ns- orie nte d ,” “m ark et le ad er,” “gre at peo ple ,” “tr u ste d ,” and “ric h his to ry ” fr o m yo ur lis t, m any executi v es l a nd i n th e s a m e d ark p la ce G ra in ger d id . A nd n o w y o u’v e g o t to r o ll u p y o ur s le ev es a nd se t a b out th e h ard w ork o f i d enti fy in g r e al c ap ab iliti e s th at o nly y o u c an o ffe r. F or G ra in ger, th at k in d of c la rity c am e o nly a fte r a la rg e n um ber o f le ad er-le d c usto m er in te rv ie w s, a g re at d eal o f m ark et re se arc h, so m e ro bust data analy sis of custo m er sp end in g te nd encie s, and a num ber of cro ss- fu ncti o nal b ra in sto rm in g s e ssio ns d esig ned to c ap tu re a s c o m ple te a p ic tu re o f m ark et p erc ep ti o ns a s possib le . In th e e nd , a ll o f th at w ork l e d G ra in ger to tw o i m porta nt c o nclu sio ns. F ir s t, m ost c o m panie s w ere sp end in g fa r to o m uch o n p urc hasin g M RO p ro ducts e v ery y ear, b ecause th ey fa ile d to a p pre cia te ho w certa in buyin g behav io rs w ere co sti n g th em huge am ounts of m oney. S eco nd , w hile oth er su p plie rs m ig ht c arry a w id e ra nge o f p ro ducts o r m ain ta in a c o nv enie nt n etw ork o f re ta il o utl e ts , only G ra in ger d id it a ll, a nd o n a s c ale th at a llo w ed c usto m ers p artn ere d w ith G ra in ger to e lim in ate th o se co sts by av oid in g unnecessa ry or “cauti o nary ” M RO purc hase s. W hate v er yo u need ed , where v er y o u n eed ed i t, w henev er y o u n eed ed i t, G ra in ger c o uld p ro vid e i t, s o y o u d id n’t h av e to b uy it “ ju st in c ase .” In o th er w ord s, G ra in ger’s d is ti n cti v e co m bin atio n o f c ap ab iliti e s p ut th e c o m pany in a u niq ue p ositi o n to h elp c usto m ers f r e e u p s u rp ris in g a m ounts o f o pera ti n g e xp ense , a nd p ro vid ed a p ow erfu l o pportu nity to s h ift c usto m ers ’ v ie w o f G ra in ger fr o m tr a nsa cti o nal s u p plie r to s tr a te gic partn er. Gra in ger th en to ok th o se i n sig hts a nd b uilt th em i n to a c o nv ers a ti o n ti tl e d “ T he P ow er o f P la nnin g th e U np la nned ,” a w orld -c la ss e xam ple o f a C om merc ia l T eachin g c o nv ers a ti o n. T his is th e k in d o f co nte nt o rg aniz a ti o ns n eed to p ro vid e th e f r o ntl in e s a le s f o rc e i n o rd er to m ake C om merc ia l T eachin g work b eyo nd th e s ta r-p erfo rm in g C halle nger r e p s. I n f a ct, G ra in ger r e p s b rin g th e “ P ow er o f P la nnin g th e U np la nned ” d eck i n to a lm ost e v ery s a le s c all b ecause i t a b so lu te ly h its th e h eart o f th e c o m pany’s diffe re nti a te d v alu e p ro positi o n. F or G ra in ger, th e g o al o f th is c o nv ers a ti o n i s to c hange th e w ay th at custo m ers th in k a b out th e c o m pany. B ut to g et th em th ere , th e G ra in ger r e p f ir s t n eed s to g et c usto m ers to c hange th e w ay th ey th in k a b out th eir o w n M RO s p end . T hat’ s h o w th e c o nv ers a ti o n i s s e t u p f r o m th e very begin nin g— as a co nv ers a ti o n ab out th e custo m er’s M RO sp end , no t ab out G ra in ger’s cap ab iliti e s. So a s y o u m ig ht im agin e, th e G ra in ger s a le s r e p r e q uests th e m eeti n g in th e fir s t p la ce in o rd er to sh are s o m e im porta nt in sig hts G ra in ger h as le arn ed a b out h o w m ost c o m panie s c o uld s a v e a lo t o f money s im ply b y th in kin g d iffe re ntl y a b out h o w th ey m anage th eir M RO s p end . I n f a ct, ta ke a l o ok a t th e a gend a f o r th e s a le s c all: Fro m th e v ery s ta rt o f th e c o nv ers a ti o n, e v ery th in g i s s q uare ly f o cuse d o n th e c usto m er. R em em ber, custo m ers w ant to ta lk ab out th eir b usin ess, no t yo ur so lu ti o n, and th at’ s exactl y ho w G ra in ger positi o ns th e m eeti n g. F ir s t a nd fo re m ost, th e a gend a is la id o ut a s a “ get” fo r th e c usto m er, n o t a “giv e.” It’ s G ra in ger sa yin g, “ W e’re h ere to h elp y o u th in k sm arte r a b out a p art o f y o ur b usin ess where w e h av e d eep e xp erti s e .” T hat’ s th e p ositi o nin g; n o w w e’re r e ad y to g o . F ir s t s to p, s te p 1 , th e Warm er: The W arm er s ta rts w ith th e c usto m er’s c halle nges. S o th e o penin g i s , “ W e k no w y o u f a ce a h o st o f challe nges e v ery d ay, s u ch a s p ro ducti o n lin e is su es, w ork ers ’ c o m p c o sts , m ain te nance a nd s a fe ty is su es. E sp ecia lly th o se c halle nges th at a re c riti c al to k eep in g y o ur b usin ess o pen a nd r u nnin g e v ery sin gle d ay.” A fte r r e v ie w in g a c o up le i s su es a nd p ro vid in g s o m e g enera l c o lo r f r o m o th er c o m panie s, th e r e p th en a sk s th e c usto m er to s e le ct f o r d is c ussio n o ne o r tw o th at a re p arti c ula rly p re ssin g i n th eir org aniz a ti o n. The id ea is to g et th e c usto m er p ulle d in to th e c o nv ers a ti o n rig ht a w ay a nd ta lk in g a b out th eir challe nges r e la ti v e to w hat G ra in ger h as a lr e ad y s e en a t o th er c o m panie s. G ra in ger h as f o und th at th is one p age c an l e ad to a n i n cre d ib ly r o bust a nd v alu ab le c o nv ers a ti o n— all b ecause th e r e p l e d w ith a hyp oth esis o f c usto m er n eed r a th er th an a n o pen-e nd ed q uesti o n to “ d is c o ver” c usto m er n eed . Done w ell, a t th is p oin t th e c o nv ers a ti o n fe els le ss lik e a s a le s p re se nta ti o n a nd m ore lik e tw o co lle agues c o m mis e ra ti n g a b out c o m mon c halle nges. I t’ s a c o nnecti o n b orn o f s h are d e xp erie nce a nd a g re at w ay to s ta rt a c o nv ers a ti o n. Yet w hile th e G ra in ger r e p m ay h av e b uilt a c o nnecti o n a t th is p oin t, h e o r s h e h asn ’t a ctu ally ta ught th e c usto m er a nyth in g n ew . T hat h ap pens i n s te p 2 , th e R efr a m e. To c hange th e w ay c usto m ers th in k a b out th eir M RO s p end , G ra in ger s ta rts b y b re akin g th at s p end in to its ty p ic al c ate go rie s: to ols , s a fe ty , lig hti n g, ja nito ria l, a nd s o o n. F or m any c o m panie s th e to ta l sp end in a ny one o f th ese c ate go rie s c an e asily r e p re se nt h und re d s o f th o usa nd s o f d olla rs o r m ore , dep end in g o n th e c o m pany’s s iz e . T his w ill a ll l o ok v ery f a m ilia r to th e c usto m er. How ev er, w hat’ s not f a m ilia r to c usto m ers i s a c o m ple te ly d iffe re nt w ay to th in k a b out th is s p end . Usin g a re la ti v ely str a ig htf o rw ard g ra p hic , th e re p sh ifts th e c usto m er’s p ers p ecti v e fr o m v erti c al pro duct c ate go rie s to h o riz o nta l p urc hase te nd encie s: fr o m what th ey b uy to how th ey b uy. T hey d o th at b y i n tr o ducin g th e i d ea o f “ p la nned ” v ers u s “ unp la nned ” p urc hase s. The r e p e xp la in s, “ P la nned p urc hase s a re p ro ducts a nd p arts th at y o u b uy v ery fr e q uentl y , u su ally on a r e gula r c ycle a nd b ud gete d f o r i n a d vance. Un pla nned p urc hase s, o n th e o th er h and , a re p ro ducts and re p air p arts th at y o u b uy a t th e la st m in ute , u su ally in re sp onse to so m e u nfo re se en n eed o r pro ble m .” T he d is ti n cti o n’s im porta nt, b ecause w hat c o m panie s d on’t re aliz e is h o w th e u np la nned part o f M RO sp end — th e se em in gly o ne-o ff, in no cuo us p urc ha se s o f a n e xtr a h am mer h ere , o r a re p la cem ent p um p th ere — can a d d u p to a h uge a m ount in a ny g iv en y ear a nd a ctu ally h av e s tr a te gic co nse q uences fo r a c o m pany. G ra in ger h as d ete rm in ed fr o m its re se arc h th at a fu ll 4 0 p erc ent o f a ty p ic al co m pany’s M RO sp end is fo r unp la nned purc hase s. W hen yo u ad d th at up acro ss all cate go rie s o f M RO sp end c o m bin ed , u np la nned p urc hase sp end is b ig ger th an a ny o ne in d iv id ual pro duct c ate go ry , r e p re se nti n g m illio ns o f d olla rs i n l a st m in ute , o ne-o ff s p end in g. Noti c e, th e re p h asn ’t y et b uilt th e fu ll b usin ess c ase fo r w hy th e d is ti n cti o n m atte rs — th at’ s s ti ll co m in g— but a t th is p oin t h e o r s h e h as a t l e ast p iq ued th e c usto m er’s i n te re st. T hey’re c urio us to h ear more . A fte r a ll, y o u’v e ju st to ld th em th at th eir s e co nd b ig gest c ate go ry o f M RO s p end — unp la nned purc hase s— is o ne th ey’v e n ev er e v en th o ught to tr a ck b efo re . N ow th ey’re w ond erin g w hat th at m ig ht mean fo r th eir b usin ess. R em em ber, th e litm us te st fo r th e R efr a m e is s im ply to g et y o ur c usto m er to sa y, “ H uh, I’ d n ev er r e ally th o ught a b out it th at w ay b efo re ,” a nd th is s h ift in p ers p ecti v e fr o m w hat th ey b uy to h o w th ey b uy i s a g re at e xam ple o f h o w to d o th at w ell. Now th e re p is re ad y to b uild a s o lid b usin ess c ase fo r w hy it m atte rs . O n to s te p 3 , R ati o nal Dro w nin g. Usin g d ata f r o m i ts o w n a naly sis o f s e v era l y ears ’ w orth o f c usto m er s p end d ata , G ra in ger u se s th e next s e v era l s lid es to b uild o ut th e s to ry o f th e o fte n o verlo oked , b ut v ery re al c o st o f u np la nned purc hase s. “ In fa ct,” th e G ra in ger r e p c o nti n ues, “ it’ s p ro bab ly w ors e th an y o u th in k. A h uge n um ber of th e p urc hase s y o u m ake a re n’t ju st u np la nned — th ey’re in fr e q uent. M ost y o u m ake o nly o nce. Y et each o ne r e q uir e s a d diti o nal ti m e, e ffo rt, p eo ple , a nd m oney to c o m ple te .” This i s G ra in ger u sin g th eir e xp erti s e to te ach th e c usto m er s o m eth in g a b out th eir b usin ess. F or th e custo m er, it’ s v alu ab le in sig ht. F or G ra in ger, it’ s a n e ffe cti v e m eans to tu rn in te re st in to a cti o n b y build in g a ra ti o nal b usin ess c ase th at m akes th e c usto m er fe el re al d is c o m fo rt a ro und a p ro ble m th ey’d nev er re aliz e d th ey had . If G ra in ger has a lo ng-s ta nd in g re la ti o nsh ip w ith a parti c ula r custo m er, th e r e p w ill o fte n r e v ie w th eir p urc hase h is to ry w ith th e c o m pany to e nsu re th e s to ry is a s co m pellin g a s p ossib le . I t’ s h ard to s a y y o u’re d iffe re nt w hen y o u’re l o okin g a t y o ur v ery o w n d ata . So w hat’ s th e i m pact o f a ll o f th ese u np la nned p urc hase s? W ell, i t’ s p re tty d ra m ati c . While m ost c o m panie s w ork w ith a s m all n um ber o f s u p plie rs fo r p la nned p urc hase s, th ey o fte n hav e h und re d s o f s u p plie rs f o r u np la nned p urc hase s, b ecause e v ery i te m i s p urc hase d f r o m w hic hev er su p plie r c an g et i t to y o u r ig ht a w ay. A nd th e c o st o f s p re ad in g 4 0 p erc ent o f y o ur M RO s p end a cro ss th at m any d iffe re nt s u p plie rs c an b e h uge, a s th ere ’s n o l e v era ge th ere . E very i te m i s p urc hase d a t th e la st m in ute a t f u ll r e ta il. Even w ors e th an th e a d diti o nal dir e ct c o sts o f u np la nned p urc hase s, h o w ev er, a re th e u nse en b ut dra m ati c ally h ig h in dir e ct c o sts . The re al c o st o f u np la nned p urc hase s c o m es fr o m a ll o f th e n ecessa ry b ut ty p ic ally o verlo oked pro cess c o sts a sso cia te d w ith b uyin g s o m eth in g y o u h ad n’t p la nned f o r. Y ou’v e g o t to ta ke th e ti m e to fin d th e p art, g enera te a n in v oic e, c all th e s u p plie r, p la ce th e o rd er, in v ento ry w hate v er y o u b ought, and th en ru n p ap erw ork a nd p aym ent o n th e p urc hase . A ll to ld , a ny s in gle u np la nned p urc hase c an in v olv e f iv e to te n d iffe re nt p eo ple a cro ss y o ur c o m pany a nd i n cur h uge a m ounts o f u nse en c o st w hen yo u a d d u p a ll th e ti m e, e ffo rt, p ap erw ork , a nd p eo ple n ecessa ry to b uy it. M ore o fte n th an n o t th e very a ct o f b uyin g a n u np la nned i te m i s v astl y m ore e xp ensiv e th an th e i te m i ts e lf. At th is p oin t, th e custo m er is lik ely b egin nin g to fe el a littl e sic k ab out all th ese unp la nned purc hase s. T his is h ap penin g e v ery d ay in th eir o rg aniz a ti o n, a nd th ey’v e n ev er re ally th o ught o f it th is w ay b efo re . T hey’re th in kin g, “ G re at, th at h am mer I b ought la st w eek fo r $ 17 a ctu ally c o st m e $11 7! I f I m ulti p ly th at b y 4 0 p erc ent o f m y to ta l M RO s p end , h o w a m I e v en s ta yin g i n b usin ess? ” I t’ s meant to b e a r e al g ut p unch— a r a ti o nal a rg um ent d esig ned to e v oke a n e m oti o nal r e acti o n. But ju st in c ase th e c usto m er is s ti ll s k ep ti c al o f th e p ro ble m a t th is p oin t, G ra in ger tu rn s th e d ia l one m ore ti m e. T he c o nv ers a ti o n n o w m oves to s te p 4 , E m oti o nal I m pact. N ow th ey m ake i t p ers o nal. To e nsu re th at th e c usto m er tr u ly s e es th em se lv es in th e s to ry G ra in ger is te llin g, G ra in ger u se s a slid e th ey lik e to c all th e “ P ain C hain ” to illu str a te h o w n early e v ery c o m pany a cts w hen s o m eth in g im porta nt b re aks d ow n th at th ey n eed to r e p la ce i n a h urry . Let’ s sa y th at a h ard -to -fin d c o il o n th e tw enty -y ear-o ld a ir -c o nd iti o nin g sy ste m in y o ur C EO ’s offic e g o es o ut i n m id su m mer. W ell, i t’ s h o t, a nd i t’ s y o ur C EO , s o c le arly y o u’v e g o t to g et th e th in g fix ed a s s o on a s p ossib le . S o w hat d o y o u d o? The fir s t th in g y o u lik ely d o is c all o ne o f y o ur g o -to s u p plie rs fo r p la nned p urc hase s. S ure ly th ey can h elp . B ut a fte r tw enty m in ute s o n h o ld , y o u le arn th at th ey’v e ju st s o ld o ut o f th e p art a nd w on’t hav e a ny m ore f o r a t l e ast tw o w eeks. S o y o u tr y a no th er s u p plie r y o u’v e w ork ed w ith o nce o r tw ic e in th e p ast, b ut th ey d on’t c arry th e p art a t a ll. A fte r tw enty m in ute s o n h o ld , a th ir d s u p plie r te lls y o u th at a cco rd in g to th eir i n v ento ry s y ste m th ey s h o uld h av e tw o i n s to ck, b ut th ey c an’t f in d th em o n th e sh elf b ack i n th e w are ho use . N ow y o u’re g etti n g f r u str a te d . T w o h o urs o n th e p ho ne— mostl y l is te nin g to re ally b ad a d ult c o nte m pora ry m usic — and y o u’v e g o t n o th in g b ut b ad n ew s to re p ort to y o ur in cre asin gly i m pati e nt— and s w eaty — CEO . Feelin g a littl e d esp era te , y o u c all th e fo urth a nd fin al s u p plie r in th e g re ate r m etr o polita n a re a. They’re a ll th e w ay a cro ss to w n, b ut th at c ease d to m atte r a b out n in ety m in ute s a go . G re at! T hey’v e go t th e p art! S o y o u p ull tw o g uys o ff th e p ro ducti o n l in e, p ut th e h asti ly g enera te d p ap erw ork i n th eir hand s, a nd s e nd th em a cro ss to w n in r u sh -h o ur tr a ffic to p ic k u p th e p art. A n h o ur a nd a h alf la te r, when th ey g et th ere , th ey c all y o u u p a nd s a y, “ H ey, b oss, th ey’v e a ctu ally g o t th re e o f th ese th in gs. You w ant th at w e s h o uld b uy a no th er o ne, ju st to b e s a fe ?” W ell, y o u n ev er w ant to g o th ro ugh th is again , s o y o u te ll th em , “ Ju st b uy a ll th re e a nd g et b ack h ere a s f a st a s y o u c an!” You u se o ne p art to r e p air th e a ir c o nd iti o ner, a nd y o u p ut th e o th er tw o in th e b ack c o rn er o f th e ware ho use o n a s h elf G ra in ger l ik es to c all th e “ P arts O rp hanage” w here th ey j u st s it a nd g ath er d ust. You p ro bab ly w on’t n eed th em n ext y ear. O r th e y ear a fte r th at. A nd w hen y o u fin ally d o, th e w ho le sy ste m i s l ik ely o bso le te a nd n eed s to b e r e p la ced a nyw ay. B ut i f y o u th in k a b out i t, n o t o nly a re th o se parts th at y o u’ll n ev er u se , b ut m ore im porta nt, th at’ s v alu ab le c ash y o u’v e ju st ti e d u p in in v ento ry th at y o u d on’t a ctu ally n eed , s im ply b ecause y o u n ev er w ant to h av e to g o th ro ugh th e p ain o f h av in g to b uy th at p art a gain . A nd th at’ s c ash y o u c o uld b e u sin g fo r fa r m ore im porta nt th in gs th at y o u actu ally do n eed . Dra m ati c ? Y es. B ut G ra in ger’s s to ry is c o m ple te ly b elie v ab le a nd c re d ib le . T hat’ s b ecause it’ s base d o n r e al c usto m er b ehav io r ( th is is w here a ll th o se c usto m er in te rv ie w s r e ally p ay o ff ) . M ore im porta nt, h o w ev er, it’ s d ra m ati c fo r a re aso n. T he sto ry is in te nti o nally d esig ned to g enera te a n em oti o nal r e sp onse f r o m c usto m ers . T hey n eed to s e e th em se lv es i n th e p ic tu re y o u’re p ain ti n g. T hey sh o uld fe el th e p ain a s if it w ere th eir s to ry y o u w ere te llin g. A s o ne c usto m er p ut it w hen th ey s a w th e P ain C hain , “ W ow , y o u k no w u s to o w ell! W e p la y a s ta rrin g r o le i n th at m ovie e v ery s in gle d ay!” And th at’ s th e p oin t. T o g et th e c usto m er to “ o w n” th e s to ry , e nsu re th at th ey s e e u np la nned p urc hase s as a p ro ble m th at a b so lu te ly a p plie s to th em . Now th e tr a nsiti o n i n to s te p 5 , w here G ra in ger c an p ain t th e p ic tu re o f a N ew W ay. To g et to th e a ctu al s o lu ti o n, G ra in ger tr a nsiti o ns fr o m th e p ers o nal to th e o rg aniz a ti o nal: “ N ow , th at’ s th e p ro ble m w ith j u st o ne u np la nned p urc hase i n o ne c ate go ry . T he k ic ker i s , y o u d o th at a gain and a gain a cro ss e v ery c ate go ry o f M RO s p end . S o e v en if y o u w ere a b le to g et y o ur h and s a ro und unp la nned p urc hase s in o ne c ate go ry , th e la rg er p ro ble m is s ti ll th ere . A nd n o c o m pany is s tr u ctu re d to e ffe cti v ely m anage th is s p end a cro ss e v ery c ate go ry . “B ut im agin e if y o u c o uld . T he p ro ble m re p re se nts a h uge o pportu nity if y o u c an g et y o ur h and s aro und it. U np la nned p urc hase s re p re se nt a huge am ount o f unnecessa ry sp end and unnecessa ry in v ento ry c o sts . I t’ s m oney y o u c o uld b e s p end in g o n m ore i m porta nt th in gs. A nd th at’ s a p ro ble m th at Gra in ger— giv en i ts s p ecific c ap ab ility s e t— is u niq uely p ositi o ned to s o lv e f o r y o u.” At th is p oin t, th e c o nv ers a ti o n tu rn s to h o w G ra in ger c an h elp . F in ally , w e’re r e ad y to s ta rt ta lk in g ab out G ra in ger’s s o lu ti o n. If y o u’re a n e xis ti n g c usto m er, th ey’v e g o t y o ur a ctu al d ata a nd c an s ta rt map pin g o ut a p la n. If th ey d on’t w ork w ith yo u m uch, th ey use th is co nv ers a ti o n to su ggest a dia gno sti c o f y o ur u np la nned p urc hase s. E ith er w ay, a ll o f th e h ard w ork th at D eb a nd th e te am d id earlie r to m ap o ut G ra in ger’s u niq ue b enefits is n o w la id o ut, s p ecific ally in te rm s o f h o w th ey h elp custo m ers s o lv e th e u np la nned p urc hase c halle nge th at G ra in ger h as j u st ta ught th em th ey h av e. It’ s a n a b so lu te ly fa nta sti c e xam ple o f C om merc ia l T eachin g b ecause th e h eart a nd so ul o f th e co nv ers a ti o n is a s e t o f in sig hts d esig ned to h elp c usto m ers o pera te m ore p ro fita b ly . T hat s a id , d id yo u s e e w here G ra in ger a nd i ts c ap ab iliti e s f ir s t c o m e u p i n th e c o nv ers a ti o n? N ot u nti l th e v ery e nd . There ’s n o m enti o n o f G ra in ger’s c ap ab iliti e s, s to re s, W eb s ite s, h is to ry , s iz e , p ro duct c ata lo g, e tc ., anyw here a cro ss th e fir s t tw o-th ir d s o f th is c o nv ers a ti o n. T hat’ s b ecause th is is n ’t a sto ry a b out Gra in ger; i t’ s a s to ry a b out th e cu sto m er a nd h o w th ey c an p ut m oney b ack i n to th eir o pera ti n g b ud get th at th ey d id n’t ev en re aliz e th ey w ere w asti n g. F ro m th e custo m er’s p ers p ecti v e, th e fa ct th at Gra in ger h as a s o lu ti o n to th e p ro ble m is m ore a h ap py c o in cid ence. F or th em , th e r e al v alu e o f th e in te ra cti o n i s th e q uality o f G ra in ger’s i n sig ht. Custo m ers c o m e a w ay fr o m th is c o nv ers a ti o n th in kin g v ery d iffe re ntl y n o t o nly a b out th eir M RO sp end , b ut als o ab out th e ro le G ra in ger can p la y in sig nific antl y re d ucin g th at sp end o ver ti m e. Gra in ger is n o lo nger th e p la ce to b uy $ 17 h am mers , b ut r a th er th e p artn er to w ork w ith in o rd er to av oid b uyin g $ 11 7 h am mers . B y p la cin g G ra in ger’s u niq ue s tr e ngth s i n c o nte xt— at th e e nd o f a h ig hly cre d ib le te achin g pitc h— th e co m pany co m ple te ly changes custo m ers ’ dis p ositi o n to w ard th eir offe rin g. B ut to g et th ere , th ere h as to b e a flo w to th e p itc h, a s p ecific “ cho re o gra p hy.” A nd th at’ s re ally th e fu nd am enta l sh ift o f C om merc ia l T eachin g. It’ s a m ove fr o m le ad in g with yo ur uniq ue str e ngth s to o ne w here c are fu lly c o nstr u cte d te achin g i n te ra cti o ns v ery d elib era te ly l e ad th e c usto m er to y o ur u niq ue s tr e ngth s. Y our s o lu ti o n is n ’t th e s u b je ct o f y o ur te achin g b ut th e n atu ra l o utg ro w th o f yo ur te achin g. R em em ber, f r o m th e c usto m er’s p ers p ecti v e, th e r e al v alu e o f th e i n te ra cti o n i s n ’t w hat yo u s e ll, i t’ s th e q uality o f th e i n sig ht y o u p ro vid e a s p art o f th e s a le s i n te ra cti o n i ts e lf. CO M MER CIA L T EA C H IN G C ASE S T U DY # 2: A D P D EA LER S E R VIC ES’ PR O FIT C LIN IC S E M IN AR S ADP D eale r S erv ic es, a d iv is io n o f A uto m ati c D ata P ro cessin g, i s a l e ad in g p ro vid er o f e nte rp ris e s o ftw are to car, tr u ck, and oth er kin d s of vehic le deale rs h ip s aro und th e w orld . W hen K ev in H end ric k, th en th e h ead o f s a le s fo r A DP, fir s t s a w o ur w ork o n C om merc ia l T eachin g in 2 008, th e c o m pany w as f a cin g a r e al p ro ble m . W hile th e e co no m y w as s ti ll i n r e la ti v ely s tr o ng s h ap e, th e te am a t D eale r S erv ic es w as a lr e ad y tr a ckin g a n um ber o f e arly w arn in g s ig ns in th e a uto m oti v e in d ustr y t h at d id n’t b ode w ell fo r th e n ear fu tu re . N ot o nly h ad r e ta il c ar s a le s d eclin ed s te ad ily fo r th e la st t h re e y ears , b ut m ore tr o ub lin g, th e U .S . c ar in d ustr y w as fa cin g a sig nific ant o verp opula ti o n o f d eale rs h ip s, th e n um ber o f w hic h, i n r e sp onse to s h rin kin g d em and , w as n o w d ra m ati c ally d eclin in g. U lti m ate ly , a cro ss th e th re e y ears f r o m 2 007 to 2 010 th e n um ber o f n ew a nd u se d a uto d eale rs h ip s i n t h e U .S . d ecre ase d f r o m 2 1,2 00 to 1 8,4 60. N ow , i f y o u’re a p ro vid er o f e nte rp ris e s o ftw are s o lu ti o ns t o a uto d eale rs h ip s, th in k fo r a m in ute a b out w hat th o se n um bers m ean. In th e c o urs e o f ju st a fe w s h o rt y ears , th e c o m pany w as fa cin g a 1 5 p erc ent d eclin e o f its to ta l a d dre ssa b le m ark et in a k ey m ark et s e gm ent a s p ote nti a l c usto m ers s im ply v anis h ed . Tougher s ti ll, a s p art o f a p ub lic ly tr a d ed c o m pany, A DP D eale r S erv ic es w as n atu ra lly l o okin g to p ost s tr o ng o rg anic g ro w th o ver th at s a m e p erio d. B ut h o w i n th e w orld d o y o u g ro w a c o m pany i n a d eclin in g m ark et? T hat’ s in cre d ib ly diffic ult. R eally , yo u hav e only one cho ic e: A ggre ssiv ely i n cre ase m ark et s h are w hile v ig o ro usly p re v enti n g c usto m er d efe cti o n. In th is w orld , if y o u’re g o in g t o w in n ew b usin ess, y o u’re g o in g to h av e to ta ke i t a w ay f r o m s o m eo ne e ls e . But th at w asn ’t g o in g to b e e asy. W hile d is lo dgin g a n i n cum bent s u p plie r i s a lw ays a c halle nge, th e c o m pany w as sim ulta neo usly battl in g a ris e in sm all co m peti to rs , each co m peti n g aggre ssiv ely a gain st o nly a sp ecific p ie ce o f D eale r S erv ic es’ b ro ad er cap ab ility se t. A s an in d ustr y -le ad in g s u p plie r, A DP o ffe re d a u niq ue v alu e p ro positi o n e nco m passin g te chno lo gy s o lu ti o ns f o r e v ery a sp ect o f a n a uto m oti v e d eale rs h ip , in clu d in g d ig ita l m ark eti n g, v ehic le s a le s, s e rv ic e s a le s, a nd e v en p arts s o lu ti o ns. S m all c o m peti to rs , o n th e o th er h and , fo cuse d o n o nly o ne p ie ce o f th at p uzzle , s u ch a s s o ftw are d esig ned to r u n ju st th e s e rv ic e c ente r, o r ju st th e s a le s o ffic e. T hese v end ors a p pro ached c usto m ers w ith a v ery d iffe re nt k in d o f m essa ge, e m phasiz in g v ast p ote nti a l s a v in gs b y b uyin g “ o nly t h e s o ftw are y o u m ost u rg entl y n eed .” A nd a s y o u m ig ht im agin e, in a w orld o f c o ncern ed c usto m ers l o okin g to s u rv iv e, th at m essa ge w as r e so nati n g s tr o ngly . Put it a ll to geth er a nd A DP D eale r S erv ic es w as lo okin g a t a p ote nti a lly p ain fu l y ear. O n th e o ne h and , th ey w ere l o sin g m arg in to c usto m ers i n cre asin gly f o cuse d o n c o st c o nta in m ent a s th eir i n d ustr y i m plo ded aro und th em . O n th e o th er, th ey w ere lo sin g sa le s to up sta rt co m peti to rs aggre ssiv ely p la yin g o n th o se fe ars to d riv e c usto m ers in to p ric e-b ase d , tr a nsa cti o nal sa le s o f str ip ped -d ow n, s ta nd -a lo ne p ro ducts . Y et th e tr u e ir o ny o f th e s itu ati o n w as th e fa ct th at th e v ery h eart a nd s o ul o f D eale r S erv ic es’ v alu e p ro positi o n w as th eir u niq ue a b ility to h elp d eale rs r e d uce c o st. A nd i f th ere w as e v er a ti m e w hen th is m essa ge s h o uld r e so nate , o ne w ould th in k th at th is w ould h av e b een i t. B ut t h at d id n’t h ap pen. C usto m ers sim ply c o uld n’t se e p ast th e to ta l p ric e ta g. D eale r S erv ic es re p s w ould go in to a sa le s call le ad in g w ith all o f A DP’s uniq ue and p ow erfu l cap ab iliti e s to sa v e c usto m ers m oney, a nd th e d eale rs w ould r e sp ond , “ T hat’ s g re at, b ut I ’ v e g o t a no th er g uy th at s a ys h e c an d o ju st th e p art I n eed rig ht n o w fo r a lo t le ss. I’ d lik e to w ork w ith y o u g uys, b ut o nly if y o u t h ro w a ll th is o th er s tu ff o ut a nd k no ck 3 0 p erc ent o ff th e p ric e o f w hat’ s l e ft.” P ain fu l. It’ s n o w ond er, th en, th at w hen K ev in s a w th e w ork o n C om merc ia l T eachin g h e h ad a b it o f a “lig htb ulb m om ent.” H e r e aliz e d th at a l a rg e p art o f th e p ro ble m w as th at A DP D eale r S erv ic es r e p s were “le ad in g w ith ,” no t “le ad in g to .” If D eale r S erv ic es w as go in g to get custo m ers to th in k diffe re ntl y a b out its b ro ad er s o lu ti o n, th e c o m pany fir s t h ad to g et d eale rs to th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out th e co sts asso cia te d w ith th eir so ftw are cho ic es. Because A DP knew so m eth in g ab out th e im plic ati o ns o f th o se c ho ic es th at c usto m ers th em se lv es d id n’t y et re aliz e : In th eir e ffo rts to s a v e money, a ll o f th eir in v estm ents in o ne-o ff s o ftw are s y ste m s fo r in d iv id ual p arts o f th e b usin ess w ere causin g th em h uge o pera ti o nal in effic ie ncy a nd re d und ancy th at w as u lti m ate ly c o sti n g th em m oney, no t s a v in g i t. With th at in sig ht in m in d , D eale r S erv ic es s e t o ut to b uild a c o m pre hensiv e C om merc ia l T eachin g cap ab ility , s p annin g tw o k ey i n iti a ti v es. The fir s t w as to b uild a b ette r s to ry . W hile th e c o m pany h ad a c le ar u nd ers ta nd in g o f th e u niq ue benefits th at s e t th eir s o lu ti o n a p art, th ey n eed ed m essa gin g l e ad in g to th o se b enefits , r a th er th an with th em . S o th e c o m pany’s s a le s o pera ti o ns a nd m ark eti n g te am s d esig ned a p ow erfu l s to ry c alle d “ T ota l Deale r S pend ,” fe atu rin g a data -b ase d analy sis of th e su rp ris in gly co stl y but hid den im pact of in effic ie nt IT s y ste m s o n o vera ll d eale rs h ip p ro fita b ility . O n a v era ge, th ey fo und , d eale rs h ip s w ork with tw elv e d iffe re nt v end ors , re su lti n g in u p to 4 0 p erc ent re d und ant c o sts — co sts A DP D eale r Serv ic es c o uld e lim in ate th ro ugh th eir s in gle -s u p plie r s o lu ti o n. N ot s u rp ris in gly , lik e th e G ra in ger sto ry , th e c entr a l g o al o f D eale r S erv ic es’ a p pro ach w as to e v oke a n e m oti o nal a s w ell a s a r a ti o nal re sp onse . D eale rs w ere s u rp ris e d — and o fte n d eep ly tr o ub le d — to l e arn th at th ey w ere u nnecessa rily sp end in g h uge a m ounts o f m oney a t a ti m e w hen th ey c o uld l e ast a ffo rd to d o s o . ADP’s s e co nd k ey in iti a ti v e w as to b uild a s e rie s o f c usto m er s e m in ars — calle d P ro fit C lin ic s— desig ned to p ro vid e d eale rs w ith i n -p ers o n i n sig hts i n to h o w to r u n th eir c o m panie s m ore p ro fita b ly . The c lin ic s a re e xactl y w hat th ey s o und lik e— fr e e s e m in ars o ffe re d b y D eale r S erv ic es s p ecific ally desig ned to help custo m ers asse ss th e co sts of in effic ie nt and dup lic ati v e w ork cre ate d by overla p pin g I T s y ste m s. T he f o cus i s s q uare ly o n th e i n sig ht. Of co urs e , as yo u m ig ht im agin e, th e se m in ars are als o co nstr u cte d to fo llo w a C om merc ia l Teachin g c ho re o gra p hy. T he o ne th in g A DP D eale r S erv ic es d oes not ta lk a b out fo r th e fir s t tw o- th ir d s o f th e s e m in ar i s A DP D eale r S erv ic es. I t’ s n o t a b out th e s u p plie r, i t’ s a b out th e c usto m er. J u st lik e G ra in ger, a fte r a W arm er, th ere ’s th e R efr a m e (i.e ., “ T he s o ftw are d ecis io ns y o u’re m akin g in ord er to s a v e m oney a re a ctu ally c o sti n g y o u m oney”), th en th e R ati o nal D ro w nin g a nd E m oti o nal Im pact a s th e c o m pany l a ys o ut h o w d is jo in te d s y ste m s c re ate a ll s o rts o f h id den c o sts d eale rs n ev er re aliz e d th ey h ad . U lti m ate ly th is le ad s to a p ortr a it o f a w orld -c la ss s o lu ti o n a nd a r e v ie w o f h o w Deale r S erv ic es’ u niq ue c ap ab iliti e s c an p ro vid e th at s o lu ti o n b ette r th an a nyo ne e ls e . It’ s a c la ssic case o f l e ad in g to , n o t w ith . Deale rs lo ve th e se m in ars b ecause th ey d eliv er e xactl y w hat’ s a d verti s e d : a cti o nab le , v alu ab le in sig ht th at th ey c an i m med ia te ly e m plo y to s a v e m oney, i n clu d in g a s e t o f s p ecific s ig ns to w atc h o ut fo r to te ll w hen m oney i s b ein g w aste d i n th eir o rg aniz a ti o n. F ro m th e c usto m er’s p ers p ecti v e, th e f a ct th at A DP D eale r S erv ic es h ap pens to h av e a s o lu ti o n a v aila b le to h elp m ake g o od o n th e p ro m is e o f th at i n sig ht i s a lm ost m ore o f a h ap py c o in cid ence. T his k in d o f s u p port i s n o t o nly h ugely v alu ab le to custo m ers , i t’ s h ugely a p pre cia te d . I t m akes th e s e m in ar m em ora b le a nd s ig nific antl y s e ts A DP D eale r Serv ic es a p art f r o m th e c o m peti ti o n i n th e m in d s o f i ts c usto m ers . And th e r e su lts o f th at k in d o f d iffe re nti a ti o n th ro ugh C om merc ia l T eachin g h av e b een s ta ggerin g. I n a y ear w hen n ew c ar s a le s in th e U .S . w ere d ow n 4 0 p erc ent, A DP D eale r S erv ic es’ re v enue w as dow n o nly 4 p erc ent. D id th ey h it th eir g ro w th g o als ? W ell, i n a w ay, y es, g iv en w hat h ap pened to th e auto in d ustr y a cro ss th o se th re e y ears . B ut m ore im porta nt, a t a ti m e w hen th e o nly p ossib le p ath to gro w th w as to i n cre ase o ne’s p ie ce o f th e e v er-s h rin kin g p ie , D eale r S erv ic es d id th at a nd th en s o m e. But j u st a s i m porta nt, th ey w on th e b attl e n o t o nly o f m ark et s h are b ut o f “ m in d s h are ,” s ig nific antl y re in fo rc in g th eir r o le i n th e i n d ustr y a s th e b est s o urc e f o r q uality , m ark et- le ad in g i n sig ht. A ll b ecause th ey s h ifte d fr o m ta lk in g to c usto m ers a b out A DP D eale r S erv ic es’ b usin ess to ta lk in g to c usto m ers ab out th eir b usin ess. M ore r e centl y , T here sa R usse l, h ead o f D eale r S erv ic es’ s a le s o pera ti o ns, to ld us, “E ven w ith th e im pro vem ent in sa le s th ro ugho ut th e auto m oti v e re ta il in d ustr y of la te , th e in fo rm ati o n w e p ro vid e in th ese s e m in ars c o nti n ues to r e so nate . W heth er d eale rs n eed to s u rv iv e o r —bette r s ti ll— gro w th eir b usin ess, th ey a re s ti ll lo okin g fo r in te re sti n g w ays to b ette r m anage th eir busin esse s, a nd th at’ s e xactl y w hat th e s e m in ars p ro vid e.” It’ s a fa nta sti c e xam ple o f C om merc ia l T eachin g: T he sin gle b ig gest in cre m enta l o pportu nity to driv e g ro w th i s n ’t i n th e p ro ducts a nd s e rv ic es y o u s e ll, b ut i n th e q uality o f th e i n sig ht y o u d eliv er a s part o f th e s a le i ts e lf. 6 TA IL O RIN G F O R R ESO NANCE W HY D O ES T H IS id ea o f ta ilo rin g sh o w u p in th e d ata a s o ne o f th e d efin in g a ttr ib ute s o f th e C halle nger r e p ? W e b elie v e th is h as to d o w ith th e i n cre ase i n c o nse nsu s b uyin g ( i.e ., th e n eed to h av e t h e b ro ad er o rg aniz a ti o n o n b oard b efo re m ovin g a head w ith a p urc hase ) th at’ s a ris e n a s a r e acti o n to t h e p ush to s e ll m ore c o m ple x s o lu ti o ns to c usto m ers . T he d ata b ears th is o ut a nd s u ggests th at th is i s n ’t j u st r e p s c o m pla in in g, i t’ s th e n ew r e ality o f s o lu ti o n s e llin g. Y es, th e r e cent f in ancia l c ris is a nd e co no m ic d ow ntu rn e xacerb ate d c usto m er r is k a v ers io n, b ut th e i n cre ase i n c o nse nsu s r e q uir e m ents i s a tr e nd w e w ere tr a ckin g l o ng b efo re th e d ow ntu rn . WHAT D EC IS IO N M AK ER S R EA LLY W AN T E arlie r w e d is c usse d th e fin d in gs fr o m o ur c usto m er lo yalty s u rv ey— sp ecific ally , th at 5 3 p erc ent o f B 2B c usto m er l o yalty i s a p ro duct o f h o w y o u s e ll, n o t w hat y o u s e ll. O ne o f th e f a sc in ati n g th in gs w e w ere a b le to d o in th at s u rv ey w as to s p lit o ut d ecis io n m akers fr o m in flu encers a nd e nd u se rs in o rd er to u nd ers ta nd w hat m akes th ese tw o d iffe re nt ty p es o f s ta keho ld ers l o yal to a c erta in s u p plie r. Let’ s lo ok fir s t a t d ecis io n m akers — defin ed in o ur stu d y a s th e p eo ple w ho a ctu ally sig n th e a gre em ent. T hese in d iv id uals genera lly fa ll in to one of tw o cate go rie s: se nio r executi v es or p ro cure m ent. S o w hat r e ally m atte rs to th ese s e nio r b uyers ? When w e is o la te d ecis io n m akers fr o m th e r e st o f th e s a m ple , a nd th en c o m pare th e im pact o f th e o vera ll s a le s e xp erie nce w ith th at o f th e in d iv id ual r e p s e llin g in to th e a cco unt, w hat w e fin d is th at f o r decis io n m akers , asp ects of th e overa ll sa le s exp erie nce are nea rly tw ic e as im porta nt as i n d iv id ual r e p a ttr ib ute s. D ecis io n m akers th in k o f th em se lv es a s b uyin g f r o m o rg aniz a ti o ns, n o t f r o m i n d iv id uals . S o w hat d oes th at m ean f o r y o ur s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n? S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 6 .1 . S ale s E xp erie nce D riv ers o f C usto m er L oyalty f o r D ecis io n M akers ( In d exed ) Of a ll th e th in gs th at d ecis io n m akers c are a b out, to ppin g th e lis t in fig ure 6 .1 is “ w id esp re ad s u p port fo r th e su p plie r a cro ss m y o rg aniz a ti o n.” O ne w ay to th in k o f th at is th at se nio r d ecis io n m akers s im ply a re n’t w illin g to g o o ut o n a lim b fo r a s u p plie r o n a b ig p urc hase — at le ast n o t o n t h eir o w n. At th e s a m e ti m e, w e fo und th at d ecis io n m akers d on’t w ant y o u to w aste th eir ti m e, e ith er. T hey w ant s u p plie rs to b e a ccessib le , e asy to b uy fr o m , a nd w illin g to c o lla b ora te w ith o th er s u p plie rs w hen n ecessa ry . Fin ally , w hile w e m ig ht h av e a ssu m ed th at th in gs l ik e p ric e a nd w illin gness to c usto m iz e w ould to p t h e l is t f o r d ecis io n m akers , th ey’re s ig nific antl y l e ss i m porta nt th an w id esp re ad s u p port a nd e ase o f d oin g b usin ess. That’ s a h ugely im porta nt fin d in g a nd flie s in th e fa ce o f m ost s a le s tr a in in g th at e m phasiz e s th e need to id enti fy a nd e ngage th e C -le v el b uyer. Y our r e p s s p end s o m uch ti m e a nd e ffo rt tr y in g to g o dir e ctl y to th e s e nio r d ecis io n m aker, th in kin g, “ If w e c an j u st g et i n th at d oor, th at’ s g o in g to h elp u s clo se th e d eal.” B ut th e b est p ath to th e d ecis io n m aker is n ’t d ir e ctl y th ro ugh th at d oor a t a ll. It tu rn s out i t’ s a n in dir e ct p ath th at a r e p n eed s to ta ke to e arn th at d ecis io n m aker’s s u p port, o ne th at l a ys th e gro und w ork w ith th e custo m er’s te am — id enti fy in g, nurtu rin g, and enco ura gin g key custo m er sta keho ld ers a cro ss th e o rg aniz a ti o n. When i t d oes c o m e ti m e to d ecid e, th e d ecis io n m aker w ants to k no w h e’s g o t th e s tr o ng b ackin g o f his te am . In o th er w ord s, th e c o nse nsu s s a le is n ’t s o m eth in g y o u s h o uld b e fig hti n g— it’ s s o m eth in g yo u s h o uld b e a cti v ely pursu in g . Y ou c an’t ju st e le v ate th e c o nv ers a ti o n a nd c ut e v ery o ne e ls e o ut because i t’ s e xactl y th at te am i n p ut th at th e d ecis io n m aker v alu es m ost w hen i t c o m es to l o yalty . One fin al p oin t: W hen w e b ro ke o ut se nio r executi v es and co m pare d th em sid e b y sid e w ith pro cure m ent f o r w hat m akes th em l o yal, w e f o und a lm ost n o d iffe re nce b etw een th e tw o g ro up s. N ot su rp ris in gly , s e nio r e xecs p la ce h ig her v alu e o n r e p k no w le d ge, a nd p ro cure m ent p la ces g re ate r v alu e on re p s’ no t overs ta ti n g th e valu e of th eir pro duct, but th at’ s ab out it. B oth gro up s prio riti z e wid esp re ad s u p port a nd e ase o f u se a b ove a ny s ig nific ant d iffe re nces. If lo yalty a t th e s e nio r le v el is a ll a b out w in nin g w id esp re ad s u p port fr o m th e te am , th en y o u’re go in g to n eed to u nd ers ta nd h o w to g enera te th at w id esp re ad s u p port. Y ou n eed to k no w w hat d riv es lo yalty f o r th e te am , n o t j u st s e nio rm ost d ecis io n m akers . TH E K EY T O G EN ER AT IN G “ W ID ESP R EA D S U PPO RT” J u st a s w e d id w ith d ecis io n m akers , w e c an lo ok a t w hat it is th at d riv es lo yalty fo r e nd u se rs a nd i n flu encers — th o se i n d iv id uals w ho p la y a k ey r o le i n a p urc hase b ut d on’t u lti m ate ly s ig n th e c heck. M anaged w ell, th ese i n d iv id uals a re p ow erfu lly p ositi o ned to a d vocate o n y o ur b ehalf. Fir s t, w hen w e is o la te in flu encers a nd e nd u se rs fr o m th e la rg er s a m ple , a nd c o m pare th e im pact o n th eir l o yalty o f th e o vera ll s a le s e xp erie nce v ers u s th at o f th e i n d iv id ual r e p , w hat w e f in d i s th at — unlik e d ecis io n m akers — th ese i n flu encers p la ce much m ore e m phasis o n th e i n d iv id ual r e p s e llin g t o th em . E nd u se rs d on’t th in k o f th em se lv es a s b uyin g fr o m o rg aniz a ti o ns; th ey b uy fr o m p eo ple . S o w hat i s i t a b out th e p eo ple th ey i n te ra ct w ith th at m akes th em m ore l ik ely to b e l o yal? S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 6 .2 . D riv ers o f S ale s R ep re se nta ti v e L oyalty f o r I n flu encers a nd E nd U se rs ( In d exed ) As y o u l o ok a t f ig ure 6 .2 , y o u’ll n o ti c e th at th e b ig gest d riv er o f e nd -u se r a nd i n flu encer l o yalty i s t h e re p ’s pro fe ssio nalis m . M ost lik ely , th is is th e le gacy of years of re p s overp ro m is in g and u nd erd eliv erin g. Y ou r e m em ber th e in cre ase d c usto m er s k ep ti c is m w e ta lk ed a b out e arlie r? T his is w here it’ s g o tte n y o u. C usto m ers a re s im ply lo okin g fo r a p ro fe ssio nal— so m eo ne th ey c an b elie v e, a nd s o m eo ne th ey c an tr u st. A s o ne m em ber p ut i t, “ W e w ant o ur c usto m ers to th in k o f o ur r e p s a s a n e xte nsio n o f th eir o w n o rg aniz a ti o n . . . to v ie w th em a s a r e so urc e a nd n o t j u st a n uis a nce.” W e r e ally t h in k i t’ s th at k in d o f p ro fe ssio nalis m th at c usto m ers a re th in kin g a b out h ere . But th e b ig ger s to ry lie s in th e n ext s e t o f d riv ers w e fo und , r ig ht b ehin d p ro fe ssio nalis m in th eir p re d ic ti v e p ow er: th e a b ility o f th e r e p to “ o ffe r u niq ue a nd v alu ab le p ers p ecti v es” a nd “ fr e q uentl y e d ucate th e c usto m er o n is su es a nd o utc o m es.” In o th er w ord s, w hat y o u fin d is a w ho le s e t o f h ig h- s c o rin g lo yalty d riv ers a ro und th e re p ’s a b ility to h elp n o n– decis io n m akers re co gniz e p re v io usly u nd era p pre cia te d o r u nd erv alu ed n eed s. Contr a ry to c o nv enti o nal w is d om , m ore tr a d iti o nal se llin g sk ills lik e n eed s a naly sis a re m uch fa rth er d ow n th e lis t w hen it co m es to d riv in g end -u se r and in flu encer lo yalty . S o w hile sa le s org aniz a ti o ns co nti n ue to pour ti m e and m oney in to help in g re p s to ask bette r, m ore in cis iv e questi o ns, th ese s k ills p ro ve to b e much m ore w eakly a sso cia te d w ith lo yalty , a s c usto m ers a re n’t lo okin g fo r r e p s to a nti c ip ate , o r “ d is c o ver,” n eed s th ey a lr e ad y k no w th ey h av e, b ut r a th er to te a ch th em a b out o pportu niti e s to m ake o r s a v e m oney th at th ey d id n’t e v en k no w w ere p ossib le . What th e d ata te lls u s i s th at f o r n o n– decis io n m akers , l o yalty i s much l e ss a b out d is c o verin g n eed s th ey a lr e ad y k no w , a nd m uch m ore a b out te achin g th em so m eth in g th ey d on’t k no w , fo r e xam ple , so m eth in g n ew a b out h o w to c o m pete m ore e ffe cti v ely i n th eir w orld . C usto m ers w ill r e p ay y o u w ith lo yalty w hen y o u te ach th em s o m eth in g th ey v alu e, n o t j u st s e ll th em s o m eth in g th ey n eed . R em em ber, it’ s no t ju st th e p ro ducts and se rv ic es yo u se ll, it’ s th e in sig ht yo u d eliv er as p art o f th e sa le s in te ra cti o n i ts e lf. When y o u th in k a b out it, th ese fin d in gs p ro vid e a v ery c le ar r o ad m ap fo r tu rn in g in flu encers a nd end u se rs in to a ctu al a d vocate s fo r y o ur o rg aniz a ti o n. T his is h o w y o u b uild th e w id esp re ad s u p port th at d ecis io n m akers a re l o okin g f o r— by te achin g e nd u se rs s o m eth in g o f v alu e. Yet w hile a te achin g ap pro ach pre se nts a huge unta p ped opportu nity fo r m anagin g custo m er sta keho ld ers m ore s tr a te gic ally th an y o u h av e i n th e p ast, nea rly tw o-th ir d s o f s u p plie rs r e p ort u sin g custo m er s ta keho ld er i n te ra cti o ns to e xtr a ct i n sig ht, r a th er th an p ro vid e i t. A s y o u m ig ht h av e g uesse d , most r e p s s p end th eir ti m e m in in g i n flu encers f o r m ore i n fo rm ati o n o n d ecis io n-m akin g p ro cesse s a nd prio riti e s, ra th er th an e m pow erin g th eir p ote nti a l sta keho ld ers w ith v alu ab le in sig ht th ey c an ta ke back to th eir o rg aniz a ti o ns. In fa ct, a sk y o urs e lf th is : H ow d oes yo ur sa le s o rg aniz a ti o n c urre ntl y m anage sta keho ld ers a nd in flu encers ? H ow l ik ely i s i t th at th ese i n flu encers w ould f in d i n te ra cti o ns w ith y o ur s a le s r e p s to b e valu ab le a nd m em ora b le ? W ould th ey u se w ord s lik e “ in te re sti n g,” “ new ,” “ th o ught- p ro vokin g,” o r “gam e-c hangin g” to d esc rib e th eir c o nv ers a ti o ns w ith y o ur s a le sp eo ple ? D o y o ur r e p s d eliv er v alu e in e v ery i n te ra cti o n? I f y o u’re a nyth in g l ik e m ost s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns, th e a nsw er i s p ro bab ly n o . Lest w e le av e yo u w ith th e im pre ssio n th at in sig ht is so m eth in g only valu ed by custo m er sta keho ld ers , i t i s w orth n o ti n g th at th is s tr a te gy i s n ’t l o st o n e xecuti v e-le v el d ecis io n m akers e ith er. Yes, th ese s e nio r b uyers c are m ost a b out w id esp re ad s u p port, b ut a s b usin ess l e ad ers , th ey a re j u st as in te re ste d in n ew id eas to s a v e m oney o r m ake m oney a s th eir te am s a re . F ig ure 6 .3 s h o w s th e overla p in lo yalty driv ers betw een decis io n m akers and end use rs . It tu rn s out th at a te achin g ap pro ach is an opportu nity th at se rv es a sa le s org aniz a ti o n w ell re gard le ss of w ho m re p s are engagin g w ith . Senio r d ecis io n m akers d on’t w ant th eir o w n ti m e w aste d n o r d o th ey w ant s a le sp eo ple to w aste th e ti m e o f o th ers in th e o rg aniz a ti o n— th ey w ant w id esp re ad s u p port b efo re p ullin g th e tr ig ger o n a purc hase , b ut th ey w on’t le t a re p g o o ut to b uild th at su p port if th e re p d oesn ’t h av e so m eth in g co m pellin g to s h are . S im ila rly , in s a le s e ffo rts th at s ta rt fa rth er d ow n in th e o rg aniz a ti o n— with th e end u se rs th em se lv es— th ese i n d iv id uals a re h ig hly u nlik ely to g ra nt y o u a ccess to th eir b osse s u nle ss th ey a re s u p re m ely c o nfid ent th at y o u w ill a d d v alu e o nce y o u s it d ow n w ith th em . Sourc e: M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip C ouncil r e se arc h: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 6 .3 . P urc hase E xp erie nce L oyalty D riv ers f o r D ecis io n M akers V ers u s E nd U se rs a nd In flu encers TH E N EW P H YSIC S O F S A LES W hen y o u p ut a ll th is d ata to geth er, it h as fa r-re achin g c o nse q uences fo r s a le s e ffe cti v eness. O ne o f t h e c o nv enti o nal s tr a te gie s f o r b uild in g l o yalty i s to e le v ate th e c o nv ers a ti o n to th e C -s u ite . B ut o f a ll t h e th in gs th at d ecis io n m akers c o uld c are a b out w hen it c o m es to d oin g b usin ess w ith a p arti c ula r s u p plie r, th e m ost im porta nt th in g, a s y o u n o w k no w , is th at th e s u p plie r h as “ w id esp re ad s u p port a cro ss th e o rg aniz a ti o n.” You c an s e e im plic ati o ns o f th at fin d in g m ap ped o ut d ra m ati c ally in fig ure 6 .4 ( p age 1 08). In th e t r a d iti o nal a p pro ach, r e p s p ull in fo rm ati o n fr o m c usto m er s ta keho ld ers in o rd er to p re se nt th e s e nio r d ecis io n m aker w ith a m ore f in ely tu ned p itc h. T he l in k b etw een s ta keho ld ers a nd d ecis io n m akers i s p erc eiv ed a s r e la ti v ely w eak, c o m pare d w ith th e r e la ti o nsh ip th e r e p c an e sta b lis h d ir e ctl y w ith th e d ecis io n m aker, s o i n fo rm ati o n l a rg ely f lo w s c lo ckw is e f r o m a d vocate to r e p to d ecis io n m aker. Sourc e : S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h Fig ure 6 .4 . T he N ew P hysic s o f S ale s The e m erg in g m odel, h o w ev er, flo w s in th e o pposite d ir e cti o n: T he b est w ay y o u s e ll m ore s tu ff over ti m e is n ’t b y g o in g d ir e ctl y to th e p ers o n w ho s ig ns th e d eal, b ut b y a p pro achin g h im o r h er in dir e ctly th ro ugh s ta keho ld ers a b le to e sta b lis h m ore w id esp re ad s u p port f o r y o ur s o lu ti o n. T he l in k betw een s ta keho ld ers a nd th e d ecis io n m aker is s ig nific antl y s tr o nger, w here as th e lin k b etw een th e re p a nd th e d ecis io n m aker is sig nific antl y w eaker— th e re p ’s a b ility to in flu ence th e sa le in th e executi v e s u ite i s n o w here n ear a s s tr o ng a s s ta keho ld ers ’ a b ility to d o th e s a m e th in g. How ev er, ju st a s im porta nt a s th e dir e ctio n o f th e in fo rm ati o n flo w is th e natu re o f th e a ctu al in fo rm ati o n flo w in g th ro ugh th em . In th e tr a d iti o nal m odel, it’ s custo m er-g enera te d in te llig ence valu ab le to th e su p plie r. In th e em erg in g m odel, it’ s su p plie r-g enera te d in sig ht valu ab le to th e custo m er. T his is th e n ew p hysic s o f s a le s— it’ s lik e th e w ho le w orld is s p in nin g in th e o pposite dir e cti o n. A nd th is s h ift b egs a n im porta nt q uesti o n. O ver th e la st s e v era l y ears , h o w w ell h av e y o u bala nced th e ti m e, e ffo rt, a nd m oney y o u’v e in v este d in g ain in g a ccess to th e c usto m er’s e xecuti v e offic e w ith c o m para b le e ffo rts to id enti fy k ey sta keho ld ers a nd e q uip th em to e v angeliz e o n y o ur behalf? F or m ost o rg aniz a ti o ns, th at’ s a h uge m is se d o pportu nity . W hile y o u s h o uld n’t s to p c allin g o n decis io n m akers , y o u n o w k no w th at th o se e ffo rts d o n o t n egate th e h uge i m pact k ey s ta keho ld ers c an hav e on driv in g m ore busin ess over ti m e. A nd th is is so m eth in g yo ur best sa le s re p s, yo ur Challe ngers , d o a s a m atte r o f c o urs e . TA IL O RIN G T H E M ESSA G E F ro m a p ra cti c al s ta nd poin t, w hat a ll o f th is m eans i s th at y o ur r e p s n o w h av e to ta lk to m ore p eo ple t h an e v er j u st to g et th e d eal d one. A nd w e h av e f o und th at o ne o f th e b ig gest o bsta cle s th at c o re r e p s g ra p ple w ith w hen it c o m es to d ealin g w ith a c o nse nsu s-b ase d b uyin g e nv ir o nm ent is h o w to ta ilo r t h e s a le s m essa ge to th ese d iffe re nt s ta keho ld ers i n o rd er to a chie v e m axim um r e so nance. For in d iv id ual c usto m ers , ta ilo rin g ta kes o n m any fo rm s. A g o od w ay to th in k a b out h o w to ta ilo r m essa ges is to s ta rt a t th e b ro ad est le v el— th e c usto m er’s in d ustr y — and to w ork y o ur w ay d ow n, to t h e p ers o n’s c o m pany, th e p ers o n’s r o le , a nd , f in ally , to th at i n d iv id ual p ers o n. F ig ure 6 .5 , w hic h o ur S E C S olu ti o ns g ro up u se s i n i ts C halle nger D ev elo pm ent P ro gra m , s h o w s th ese p ro gre ssiv e “ la yers ” o f ta ilo rin g: S ourc e: S E C S olu ti o ns, S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 6 .5 . L ayers o f T ailo rin g As y o u l o ok a t th at d ia gra m , th in k a b out h o w w ell y o ur c urre nt s a le s a p pro ach r e so nate s a t e ach o f t h ese le v els fo r e ach o f th e m any d iv ers e c usto m er s ta keho ld ers y o ur r e p s n o w n eed to c o nta ct. T he v ast m ajo rity o f s a le s m essa gin g o ut i n th e m ark et i s n o t c o nte xtu aliz e d a t any le v el le t a lo ne a t e ach o f th ese le v els fo r e ach k in d o f s ta keho ld er. T yp ic ally , th at m essa gin g is a b out a s u p plie r a nd th at s u p plie r’s p ro duct a nd s e rv ic es. So a s a s ta rti n g p oin t, m ark eti n g c an a d d a tr e m end ous a m ount o f v alu e s im ply b y h elp in g s a le s r e p s to ta ilo r a t th e in d ustr y a nd c o m pany le v els . T here a re s o m any s o urc es o f in fo rm ati o n— and m any o f th em fr e e— th at c an a id a re p in o ffe rin g, a t th e v ery le ast, so m e in d ustr y a nd c o m pany c o nte xt to th e s a le s p itc h. W hat’ s g o in g o n in te rm s o f in d ustr y tr e nd s a nd c urre nt e v ents ? H as a b ig c o m peti to r r e centl y f o ld ed o r h as th ere b een a m eanin gfu l m erg er? I s th e c usto m er r a p id ly g ain in g o r l o sin g sh are ? W hat ab out re gula to ry changes? W hat d o th e co m pany’s re cent p re ss re le ase s and e arn in gs s ta te m ents s u ggest a b out s tr a te gic p rio riti e s? When a re p c o m es in n o t ju st w ith a sa le s p itc h, b ut w ith a se nse o f w hat’ s g o in g o n in th at custo m er’s c o m pany a nd in d ustr y , y o u’v e g o t th e b egin nin gs o f a ta ilo re d m essa ge. T hese o ute r tw o la yers a re a rg uab ly th e e asie r o nes, a nd w hen y o u s e e ta ilo re d m essa gin g in p ra cti c e, it’ s u su ally a t th is l e v el. M uch r a re r i s m essa gin g th at i s ta ilo re d a t th e l e v el o f a c usto m er s ta keho ld er’s r o le — and ra re r s ti ll i s m essa gin g th at’ s ta ilo re d to t h at i n div id ual , i .e ., th eir p ers o nal g o als a nd o bje cti v es. RED UCIN G V A R IA BIL IT Y M any sa le s le ad ers th in k of th e ab ility to ta ilo r to in d iv id ual sta keho ld ers as so m e so rt of s u p ern atu ra l a b ility fo und o nly a m ong th eir v ery b est s a le sp eo ple . F or th e r e st o f th e s a le s fo rc e, th e b ig gest obsta cle to ta ilo rin g— co m panie s assu m e— is th eir co re re p s’ natu ra l la ck of em path y, s e nsiti v ity , o r l is te nin g s k ills . B ut th at’ s n o t th e c ase . T he b ig gest c halle nge to g etti n g ta ilo rin g r ig ht i s t h at i t s e em s th ere a re so m any d iffe re nt th in gs r e p s n eed to k no w to ta ilo r e ffe cti v ely . S o if y o u c all o n n ew p eo ple a t th e c usto m er a nd y o u w ant to m ake su re y o u d eliv er a s ta ilo re d a m essa ge a s p ossib le , w hat d o y o u fo cus o n? T heir p ers o nality ty p e? T heir ro le ? T heir re gio n? T heir in te re sts ? T he lis t o f p ossib iliti e s s e em s e nd le ss. S o h o w d o y o u n arro w it d ow n? H ow d o y o u g et fr o m th at a m orp ho us c lo ud to a ta ilo re d , r e so nant m essa ge? As y o u’ll re call fr o m c hap te r 2 , tw o th in gs C halle nger re p s ta ilo r to a re th eir k no w le d ge o f a n i n d iv id ual s ta keho ld er’s v alu e d riv ers a nd a n u nd ers ta nd in g o f th e e co no m ic d riv ers o f th at p ers o n’s b usin ess. A C halle nger re p a rriv es a t th e c usto m er w ith a d eep u nd ers ta nd in g o f h o w in d iv id ual s ta keho ld ers fit in to th eir o vera ll b usin ess— what th eir r o le is a nd w hat th ey a re w orrie d a b out— as w ell a s th e s p ecific q uanti fia b le r e su lts th at th o se i n d iv id uals w ant to a chie v e. Challe nger r e p s a re n’t f o cuse d o n w hat th ey a re s e llin g, b ut o n w hat th e p ers o n th ey’re s p eakin g to i s tr y in g to a cco m plis h . M ost s a le s r e p s te nd to d eliv er th e s a m e m essa ge w heth er th ey’re ta lk in g to s e nio r d ecis io n m akers o r m ore ju nio r e nd u se rs , a nd u su ally th at m essa ge is a b out y o ur p ro ducts r a th er th an th e c usto m er’s c halle nges. So h o w d o y o u g et y o ur e nti r e s a le s f o rc e to ta ilo r th eir a p pro ach to e ach i n d iv id ual s ta keho ld er’s m ost p re ssin g n eed s? L et’ s l o ok a t s o m e ta ilo rin g to ols th at c an h elp r e p s s p eak to i n d iv id uals i n th eir l a nguage a b out th eir c o nte xt a nd o utc o m es. Custo m er o utc o m es a re w hat a n in d iv id ual a t th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n is tr y in g to a chie v e— ho w t h ey w ould d efin e s u ccess a s p art o f th eir j o b. These o utc o m es e nco m pass th e a ctu al a cti v ity o r r e sp onsib ility i n n eed o f i m pro vem ent, th e m etr ic u se d to m easu re th at ta sk , and th e d ir e cti o n and m agnitu d e o f th e d esir e d change. E xam ple s o f o utc o m e s ta te m ents m ig ht i n clu d e, “ D ecre ase r e je ct r a te b y 5 p erc ent o n o ur h ig h-c ap acity p ro ducti o n l in e,” o r “ D ecre ase th e n um ber o f c lic ks i t ta kes f o r c usto m ers to f in d a n a nsw er o n o ur W eb s ite .” There a re s o m e s ig nific ant b enefits to a p pro achin g a c usto m er’s n eed s i n th is w ay. F ir s t, c usto m er o utc o m es a re p re d ic ta b le , e sp ecia lly i n te rm s o f a c usto m er’s r o le . I f y o u c an f ig ure o ut w hat C IO s a t f iv e d iffe re nt c o m panie s c are a b out, c hances a re y o u c an u se th at in fo rm ati o n to p re d ic t w hat o th er C IO s a t s im ila r c o m panie s c are a b out a s w ell. S eco nd , th ese o utc o m es ty p ic ally r e m ain f a ir ly s ta b le a cro ss ti m e a nd p eo ple . If a C IO g ets p ro m ote d , h er su ccesso r w ill p ro bab ly h av e sim ila r g o als . T hir d , fo r a ny g iv en ro le , th ey’re fin ite . In o th er w ord s, y o u c an d ev elo p a sh o rt lis t o f d esir e d o utc o m es a nd fo cus o n th e fe w th in gs th at th at p ers o n c are s a b out m ost. A nd la stl y , th e a p pro ach is s c ala b le . O nce y o u’v e l e arn ed i t, y o u c an a p ply th e s a m e c o ncep t a gain a nd a gain a cro ss a c o m pany’s o rg c hart. The b est th in g a b out u nd ers ta nd in g a nd m ap pin g c usto m er o utc o m es is th at y o u d on’t h av e to r e ly o n in d iv id ual re p s to fig ure a ll th is o ut o n th eir o w n. T his is so m eth in g th at c an b e d ete rm in ed c entr a lly — in m ark eti n g o r s a le s o pera ti o ns— and th en g iv en to y o ur r e p s i n th e f o rm o f a to ol. Sola e, a m aker o f s o y-b ase d f o od i n gre d ie nts , h as d one j u st th at. T his c o m pany h as f o und a w ay to f o cus re p s’ co nv ers a ti o ns w ith vario us custo m er sta keho ld ers on th e sp ecific cap ab iliti e s and messa ges th at w ill r e so nate m ost s tr o ngly w ith th at i n d iv id ual. TA IL O RIN G C ASE S T U DY: S O LA E’S M ESSA G E-T O -R O LE M APPIN G R ecentl y , S ola e la unched a n a ggre ssiv e s tr a te gy to s e ll b ig ger, m ore c o m ple x s o lu ti o ns in o rd er to g ro w th eir m ark et b eyo nd tr a d iti o nal a p plic ati o ns. A s h as b een th e e xp erie nce o f m ost c o m panie s th at s h ift fr o m se llin g pro ducts to se llin g so lu ti o ns, th ese effo rts bro ught a m uch w id er ra nge of s ta keho ld ers i n to e ach d eal th an h ad p re v io usly b een th e c ase . S ola e’s s a le s te am w as n o w ta lk in g to C M Os, V Ps o f m anufa ctu rin g, p ro cure m ent o ffic ers , a nd a nyo ne e ls e w ith a s ta ke i n th eir s o lu ti o n. This w as a b ig c hange fo r S ola e’s s a le s re p s. H ow ev er, th e re al p ro ble m w as th at re p s le d o ff t h ese co nv ers a ti o ns w ith th e sa m e pro duct and te chnic al sp ecific ati o ns th ey had use d w ith th e t e chnic al e xp erts th ey h ad m ore tr a d iti o nally d ealt w ith in th e p ast. B ut m ore o fte n th an n o t th ese n ew er s ta keho ld ers h ad n o id ea w hat th e S ola e r e p s w ere ta lk in g a b out. T he r e p m ig ht a s w ell h av e b een s p eakin g a f o re ig n l a nguage. M any o f th ese n o nte chnic al s ta keho ld ers w ould s c ra tc h th eir h ead s a nd s a y, “ S o w hat? ” o nce th e S ola e r e p w as fin is h ed d eliv erin g th e p itc h. T hese c usto m ers c o uld n’t m ake a c o nnecti o n b etw een a ll o f th e te chnic al s p ecific ati o ns o f S ola e’s p ro ducts a nd w hat w as m ost i m porta nt to th em . A nd th at— as y o u c an im agin e— sig nific antl y h am pere d th e c o m pany’s s o lu ti o ns s tr a te gy. Fra m in g t h e P erso nal W in T o b oost r e p s’ a b ility to a p pro ach v ario us c usto m er s ta keho ld ers i n a l a nguage th ey w ere m ore l ik ely t o und ers ta nd , Sola e’s fir s t ste p w as to docum ent fo r th e re p w hat th ese vario us custo m er s ta keho ld ers care d ab out in th e fir s t pla ce. To do th at th ey w ent beyo nd genera l dem ogra p hic i n fo rm ati o n, p ro vid in g th eir r e p s w ith a s e t o f c ard s e xp la in in g w hat e ach s ta keho ld er w as tr y in g to a cco m plis h a s a b usin ess l e ad er. I n s u m , e ach e xp la in s a s ta keho ld ers ’ f u ncti o nal b ia s: th eir p ers o nal v alu e d riv ers a nd th eir e co no m ic c o nte xt. Sourc e: S ola e L LC ; S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h Fig ure 6 .6 C om ponents o f F uncti o nal B ia s The e xam ple fu ncti o nal b ia s c ard in fig ure 6 .6 is fo r a h ead o f m anufa ctu rin g. O n th ese fu ncti o nal bia s c ard s, y o u f in d th in gs l ik e th e h ig h-le v el d ecis io n c rite ria ( o r b usin ess o utc o m es) th at a p ers o n i n th is r o le c are s m ost a b out. R ep s a ls o g et a s e nse o f th e s ta keho ld er’s fo cus, o r th o se th in gs th at th at pers o n m onito rs m ost o fte n in o rd er to achie v e th e hig h-le v el o utc o m es in th e fir s t se cti o n. In ad diti o n, th e to ol c ap tu re s a s ta keho ld er’s k ey c o ncern s— th e q uesti o ns th at th at p ers o n a sk s d ay-to – day to d o th e jo b, th e th in gs th ey w orry a b out m ost. T his is in cre d ib ly fe rti le g ro und fo r b uild in g em path y a nd c re d ib ility . A nd l a stl y , th e to ol c ap tu re s f o r r e p s th e s ta keho ld er’s p ote nti a l v alu e a re as. These a re th e l e v ers th is p ers o n m ig ht p ull to i m pro ve p erfo rm ance. S o i f a s a le s r e p i s g o in g to ta ilo r th e s o lu ti o n to th is p ers o n’s d esir e d o utc o m es, th ese a re th e ty p es o f th in gs th at th at s o lu ti o n is g o in g to h av e to d o. T his i s th e l a nguage y o u u se to s e ll y o ur s o lu ti o n to th is p arti c ula r p ers o n. This is h o w y o u tr a nsla te c usto m er in sig ht in to so m eth in g re p s c an a ctu ally u se to ta ilo r. W ith in fo rm ati o n lik e th is , re p s d on’t n eed to a sk th e c usto m er th e d re ad ed “ W hat’ s k eep in g y o u u p a t nig ht? ” q uesti o n, b ecause th ey a lr e ad y k no w . It’ s rig ht th ere o n th e c ard . It’ s a c le ar, e asy -to -u se fr a m ew ork fo r e ach m ajo r s ta keho ld er’s c o nte xt a nd o utc o m es, a ll la id o ut in a p ow erfu l b ut u se r- fr ie nd ly f o rm at. Gettin g P ast t h e “ S o W hat” T hat sa id , in ad diti o n to th e custo m er o utc o m es card s, S ola e p ro vid es re p s w ith v ery sp ecific g uid ance o n h o w to p ositi o n e ach o f its p rim ary s o lu ti o ns, o r p ro duct b und le s, to d iffe re nt p eo ple a cro ss th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n. Here is w here S ola e m akes ta ilo rin g v ery c o ncre te . T his is e xactl y th e k in d o f h elp r e p s n eed to a d opt m ore o f a C halle nger r e p p ostu re . W hat y o u s e e i n f ig ure 6 .7 i s a h yp oth eti c al ta ilo rin g to ol f o r S ola e’s “ S olu ti o n A ” ( s o m e o f th e in fo rm ati o n is d is g uis e d h ere , g iv en its p ro prie ta ry n atu re ). S ola e u se s th e to ol to s h o w r e p s th e v ario us c usto m er s ta keho ld ers w ho a re r e le v ant f o r S olu ti o n A , a s w ell a s th e h ig h-le v el o utc o m es m ost im porta nt to e ach o f th o se in d iv id uals . T he to ol a ls o sh o w s th e p rim ary m eans b y w hic h th at p ers o n i s l ik ely to a chie v e th o se o utc o m es— fo r i n sta nce, i n cre ase s a le s, i n cre ase m ark et s h are , o r b uild b ra nd im age. F in ally , in th e r e al v ers io n o f th e to ol, S ola e o ffe rs its r e p s so m e sp ecific “sc rip ti n g” ty in g S ola e’s S olu ti o n A d ir e ctl y b ack to w hat th at in d iv id ual is l o okin g to a chie v e. T his s c rip ti n g i s n ’t m eant to b e d eliv ere d v erb ati m . R ath er, i t’ s m eant to s e rv e a s a s e t o f “ co nv ers a ti o nal g uid elin es” to d ir e ct th e r e p to th e s p ecific la nguage th at w ill r e so nate m ost s tr o ngly w ith th at i n d iv id ual. S ourc e: S ola e L LC ; S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 6 .7 . D esir e d O utc o m es a nd S up plie r C ap ab iliti e s M ap ped to F uncti o nal R ole s This is ta ilo rin g a t its b est. U sin g it, a r e p w ill b e s p eakin g to th e c usto m er in th eir o w n la nguage a b out h o w to b ette r a chie v e th e o utc o m es th at th ey c are a b out m ost in th eir c o nte xt. T his is a ls o th e k in d o f th in g th at C halle ngers m ig ht d o in sti n cti v ely , b ut th at th e m ajo rity o f re p s str u ggle w ith m ig hti ly — and th at’ s r e ally th e b eauty o f a to ol lik e th is : It’ s a ta ilo rin g “ cheat s h eet” to h elp th e r e st o f th eir r e p s s o und m ore lik e th e o nes w ho d o th is w ell. It’ s s im ple , it’ s c o ncre te , a nd it’ s b ase d o n c o nte xt a nd o utc o m es. W hat’ s m ore , it p ro vid es m anagers w ith a w ay to s c ale ta ilo rin g a cro ss th e s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n. MAK IN G T A IL O RIN G H APPEN S ti ll, to e nsu re th at th at ta ilo re d m essa ge re m ain s fr o nt a nd c ente r w ith e ach c usto m er s ta keho ld er t h ro ugh th e e nti r e s a le s p ro cess, S ola e g o es o ne s te p fu rth er. O nce a d eal h as p ro gre sse d fa r e no ugh a lo ng th e s a le s p ro cess, a nd th e S ola e a cco unt te am h as d ev elo ped a p ro je ct p ro posa l fo r c usto m er r e v ie w , th eir r e p s u se a te m pla te s im ila r to th e o ne y o u s e e in fig ure 6 .8 to b oth w in a nd d ocum ent c usto m er b uy-in to th e p ro je ct. S ourc e: S ola e L LC ; S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 6 .8 . V alu e P la nnin g T ool a s S ta ge-G ate B etw een P ro je ct D ev elo pm ent a nd E xecuti o n The te m pla te c ap tu re s th e a gre ed -u p on h ig h-le v el p ro je ct o bje cti v e— la id o ut s p ecific ally i n te rm s o f w hat th e c usto m er g ets a nd th e m ajo r s ta keho ld ers a cro ss w ho m S ola e n eed s to b uild c o nse nsu s. T hen, fo r each sta keho ld er, Sola e docum ents th e sp ecific outc o m e th at th e pro pose d so lu ti o n a d dre sse s f o r th at i n d iv id ual. F or e xam ple , f o r m ark eti n g, th e g o al i s to “ m ain ta in o r i m pro ve p ro duct q uality a nd ta ste d esp ite c utti n g c o sts .” A nd th en, fo r e ach ro le , S ola e d ocum ents in w riti n g th at p ers o n’s s tr o ngest c o ncern o r o bje cti o n a nd th e s p ecific c ap ab iliti e s o r a cti o ns S ola e w ill e m plo y to o verc o m e th o se o bje cti o ns. The m ost im pre ssiv e th in g a b out th is a p pro ach is th at all o f th is is m ap ped o ut with th e c usto m er. T his i n fo rm ati o n i s d ete rm in ed th ro ugh c o nv ers a ti o ns a nd th en c ap tu re d u sin g th e to ol. T ho ugh i t’ s n o t r e q uir e d , S ola e’s v ery b est r e p s a ctu ally a sk th at s ta keho ld er to sig n o ff o n th e c o lu m n i n d ic ati n g th eir a gre em ent w ith th e p la n. T hat w ay e ach s ta keho ld er i s a gre ein g, i n a d vance, to th e v alu e y o u’re g o in g t o c re ate fo r th em a s a n in d iv id ual a nd h o w th at v alu e is g o in g to b e m easu re d a cro ss th e life o f th e d eal. A s a r e su lt, w hen i t c o m es ti m e f o r th is p ers o n to d ecid e w heth er o r n o t th ey’re g o in g to s u p port th e d eal, th ey’re n o t m akin g th at d ecis io n b ase d o n s o m e v ague s e nse o f w heth er th e d eal i s “ go od f o r th e c o m pany.” In ste ad , th ey c an lo ok a t th is s h eet a nd s e e e xactl y h o w it’ s ta ilo re d to th eir s p ecific go als . A nd y o u c an im agin e w hat h ap pens w hen th e re p u lti m ate ly sits d ow n w ith th e to p-le v el decis io n m aker to c lo se th e d eal a nd h e c an la y th is d ocum ent o n th e ta b le . T here ’s y o ur c o nse nsu s rig ht th ere — all c ap tu re d o n a s in gle p ie ce o f p ap er. In fa ct, e v en if y o u u se it o nly fo r in te rn al p urp ose s, th is to ol s ti ll r e p re se nts a n e sse nti a l a nd y et ty p ic ally m is sin g p age i n a ny g o od a cco unt p la n: a c o ncre te , c o ncis e s u m mary o f h o w y o u’re g o in g to deliv er y o ur s o lu ti o n i n a w ay th at d oesn ’t j u st m eet o vera ll e xp ecta ti o ns, b ut i n d iv id ual o nes a s w ell. In th e e nd , S ola e’s a p pro ach re p re se nts a s im ple y et e le gant m eans to c ap tu re o n p ap er w hat y o ur Challe nger re p s d o in th eir h ead s e v ery d ay— ad dre ss e ach c usto m er sta keh old er a s if h e o r sh e actu ally w as th e c u sto m er . B ecause in to day’s w orld o f c o nse nsu s-b ase d s e llin g, th at’ s e xactl y w ho sta keho ld ers a re . 7 TA KIN G C O NTR O L O F T H E S A LE S O F A R, W E’V E c hecked o ff tw o o f th e th re e k ey a ttr ib ute s o f th e C halle nger p ro file , te achin g a nd t a ilo rin g. O ur n ext s to p is a lo o k a t th e th ir d d is ti n guis h in g c hara cte ris ti c o f C halle nger re p s: th eir a b ility to ta ke c o ntr o l o f th e s a le . Acco rd in g to th e d ata , th is a b ility c o m es fr o m tw o th in gs: C halle nger re p s a re n atu ra lly m ore c o m fo rta b le ta lk in g a b out m oney, a nd th ey’re a b le to “ p ush ” th e c usto m er. W hat w e’re r e ally ta lk in g a b out h ere i s th e C halle nger’s a b ility to d em onstr a te a nd h o ld f ir m o n v alu e a nd th e a b ility to m ain ta in m om entu m a cro ss th e s a le s p ro cess. C halle ngers a re c o m fo rta b le d is c ussin g m oney b ecause th ey a re c o nfid ent i n th e v alu e th ey w ill p ro vid e to th e c usto m er. T here ’s r e ally n o th in g th at i n sti lls c o nfid ence l ik e k no w in g th at y o u w ill d eliv er su p erio r v alu e to y o ur c usto m ers — and C halle ngers h av e th at c o nfid ence i n s p ad es. T his m eans th at th e C halle nger h as n o p ro ble m r e sp ectf u lly p ush in g b ack w hen t h e c usto m er a sk s fo r a d is c o unt, lo ose r te rm s, o r in cre ase d s c o pe w ith o ut a c o m mensu ra te in cre ase i n p ric e ( i.e ., “ fr e eb ie s” ). Rem em ber, th e v alu e th at th e C halle nger p ro vid es is b uilt o n th e C om merc ia l T eachin g m essa ge. T his is n ’t th e s a m e c o nfid ence o ne fe els k no w in g th eir c o m pany’s p ro ducts a nd s e rv ic es a re n um ber o ne in th e m ark et. It’ s c o nfid ence b uilt o n th e k no w le d ge th at y o u’v e ta ught th e c usto m er a b out a p ro ble m th ey d id n’t p re v io usly k no w th ey h ad . T here ’s n o w a b urn in g p la tf o rm — one y o u c re ate d — a nd i t j u st s o h ap pens th at y o u s e ll th e o nly s o lu ti o n to th at p ro ble m . B ein g n um ber o ne i n th e m ark et i s g re at, b ut u nfo rtu nate ly i t i s n ’t a nyth in g y o ur c usto m ers r e ally c are a b out. Challe ngers a ls o c re ate m om entu m . T heir d eals d on’t g et stu ck n early a s o fte n in “ no -d ecis io n l a nd ” th e w ay ty p ic al c o re r e p s’ d eals te nd to . T his is b ecause a C halle nger w ill p ush th in gs a lo ng, a lw ays th in kin g a head to th e n ext s te p . W hen R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers c o m e to th e e nd o f a c usto m er m eeti n g, th ey w on’t p ush hard o n next ste p s fo r fe ar o f ru in in g w hat w as o th erw is e a p ositi v e i n te ra cti o n. B ut C halle ngers u nd ers ta nd th at th e g o al is to s e ll a d eal, n o t ju st h av e a g o od m eeti n g; t h ey a re f o cuse d o n m ovin g a head . T his i s a ls o c lo se ly ti e d to th e C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h. Y ou’v e c re ate d m om entu m because yo u’v e cre ate d urg ency aro und a pre v io usly unkno w n— or perh ap s u nd erv alu ed — opportu nity o r p ro ble m . N ow i t’ s ti m e to p re ss. S ound s s tr a ig htf o rw ard e no ugh, r ig ht? As a ny s a le s le ad er k no w s, th ese th in gs ( i.e ., c o m fo rt d is c ussin g m oney, p re ssu rin g th e c usto m er) a re e asie r s a id th an d one f o r th e a v era ge s a le s r e p . T hat’ s w hy C halle ngers c an b e s o h ard to f in d . A s h um an b ein gs, o ur natu ra l in clin ati o n is to se ek clo su re , no t p ostp one it, to re d uce te nsio n, no t i n cre ase it. F or s a le s re p s, th is tr a nsla te s in to a te nd ency to a gre e w ith th e c usto m er, n o t p re se nt a d iffe re nt— and p ote nti a lly u nse ttl in g— poin t o f v ie w . Y et C halle nger r e p s h av e l e arn ed to d o j u st th at. Yet g iv en o ur n atu ra l p ro pensiti e s a s p eo ple , h o w i n th e w orld d o y o u i n cre ase th e w illin gness a nd a b ility of yo ur sa le s re p s— esp ecia lly th o se re p s m ost pre d is p ose d to re d ucin g te nsio n, yo ur R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers — to ta ke co ntr o l? In th is chap te r, w e’ll sh o w yo u so m e very pra cti c al a p pro aches to h elp in g re p s u nd ers ta nd th e b est w ays o f ta kin g c o ntr o l. B ut fir s t, le t’ s e xp lo re th is n o ti o n o f ta kin g c o ntr o l i n m ore d ep th . TH REE M IS C O NCEPTIO NS A BO UT T A K IN G C O NTR O L W e’v e s p ent a fa ir b it o f ti m e e arlie r d is p ellin g fa ls e n o ti o ns a ro und s o m e o f th e c o ncep ts in th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel, b ut n o w here i s th ere m ore c o nfu sio n th an a ro und th e i d ea o f ta kin g c o ntr o l. W e g enera lly e nco unte r th re e m ain m is c o ncep ti o ns: 1. T akin g c o ntr o l i s s y no nym ous w ith n ego ti a ti o n. 2. R ep s o nly ta ke c o ntr o l r e gard in g m atte rs o f m oney. 3. R ep s w ill b eco m e to o a ggre ssiv e i f w e te ll th em to “ ta ke c o ntr o l.” Let’ s ta ke th ese o ne a t a ti m e. F ir s t, th e c o m mon p erc ep ti o n— giv en th at th e d ata su ggests th at C halle ngers a re c o m fo rta b le d is c ussin g m oney— is th at ta kin g c o ntr o l i s s y no nym ous w ith n ego ti a ti o n a nd th at i t i s ty p ic ally d one a t th e en d o f th e s a le s p ro cess. T his c o uld n’t b e f u rth er f r o m th e tr u th . Mis c o nce ptio n # 1: T ak in g C ontr o l I s S ynonym ous w it h N egotia tio n O ne o f th e b ig gest m is c o ncep ti o ns a b out ta kin g c o ntr o l is th at it’ s a b out n ego ti a ti o n s k ills . B ut S E C r e se arc h s h o w s th at C halle gers ta ke c o ntr o l a cro ss th e e nti r e ty o f th e s a le s p ro cess, n o t j u st a t th e e nd . I n f a ct, o ne o f th e p rim e o pportu niti e s f o r ta kin g c o ntr o l i s a ctu ally r ig ht a t th e b egin nin g o f th e s a le . Challe ngers k no w m any s a le s o pportu niti e s th at a p pear v ia b le o n th e s u rfa ce a re littl e m ore th an v eile d “ v erific ati o n e ffo rts ” b y a c usto m er. In o th er w ord s, th ey a re c ase s in w hic h th e c usto m er h as a lr e ad y c ho se n a v end or to p artn er w ith , b ut fe els th e n eed to d o s o m e d ue d ilig ence— to m ake s u re t h ey’re g etti n g th e b est d eal th ey c an— so th ey e nte rta in c o nv ers a ti o ns w ith o th er v end ors e v en th o ugh t h ey h av e l ittl e i n te nti o n o f c hangin g th eir m in d s. I n c ase s l ik e th is , w hic h o ur r e se arc h s h o w s c an b e n early 2 0 p erc ent o f a ll s a le s o pportu niti e s, th e c usto m er w ill a ssig n a m ore ju nio r m em ber o f th eir o rg aniz a ti o n to fie ld a n R FP a nd m eet w ith o th er p ossib le v end o rs . B ut a gain , b ecause th e c usto m er h as n o in te nti o n o f a ctu ally b uyin g fr o m th ese o th er s u p plie rs , th ey o nly a llo w r e p s to m eet w ith th e j u nio r c o nta ct, n ev er p erm itti n g a ccess to m ore s e nio r d ecis io n m akers . For m ost r e p s, th is is n ’t s e en a s a p ro ble m . In fa ct, m ost r e p s lo ve th ese o pportu niti e s. W hat’ s n o t t o l o ve? A fte r a ll, th e c usto m er ca lle d u s ! The ty p ic al r e p r e sp onse i s to c o nti n ue to s p end ti m e w ith th e j u nio r c o nta ct i n th e h o pes o f tu rn in g t h at in d iv id ual in to a n a d vocate , e v entu ally c la w in g o ne’s w ay in to th e c o rn er o ffic e. W hat w e o fte n h ear fr o m r e p s is s o m eth in g a lo ng th e lin es o f, “ W e k no w m oney is g o in g to b e s p ent if th ere is a n R FP o ut th ere , so it’ s stu p id fo r us to no t p ut o urs e lv es in to co nsid era ti o n— we at le ast hav e a c hance!” But e v en in th is e arly sta ge o f th e sa le , C halle ngers k no w b ette r. T hey sn iff o ut th ese “ fo ils ” i m med ia te ly a nd p re ss th e c o nta ct fo r e xp and ed a ccess in e xchange fo r c o nti n ued d ia lo gue. W hen t h ese c o nta cts d on’t g ra nt th e a ccess C halle nger re p s k no w w ill b e c riti c al to c o m ple ti n g th e s a le , t h eir re sp onse is to cut th e sa le s effo rt sh o rt and m ove o n to th e next o pportu nity . It se em s so c o unte rin tu iti v e to th e a v era ge re p — afte r a ll, y o u’v e g o t a c usto m er th at h as p ut a n R FP o ut fo r a s o lu ti o n y o u c an p ro vid e, s o y o u k no w th ere ’s f u nd in g f o r th e p urc hase . T hey’v e a ls o a gre ed to m eet w ith th e r e p , a nd c usto m er fa ce ti m e is s o h ard to g et th ese d ays. W hy w ould y o u e v er w ant to w alk a w ay f r o m a s itu ati o n l ik e th is ? B ut th at’ s e xactl y w hat a C halle nger d oes. C halle nger r e p s k no w th eir t i m e i s b ette r s p ent e ls e w here . One S E C m em ber, a glo bal busin ess se rv ic es pro vid er, has in sti tu ti o naliz e d th is C halle nger b ehav io r a cro ss its e nti r e s a le s fo rc e. T his c o m pany te aches its re p s to p ush fo r e xp and ed a ccess r ig ht fr o m th e g et- g o . S in ce m uch o f th eir b usin ess is d one th ro ugh R FPs, th ey a re a lm ost a lw ays s ta rti n g th eir sa le s c o nv ers a ti o ns w ith lo w er-le v el fu ncti o narie s w ith in th e c usto m er o rg aniz a ti o n, o fte n o n p ro cure m ent. T hey te ll th eir r e p s th at a n e arly l itm us te st o f h o w s e rio us a g iv en c usto m er i s a b out partn erin g is w heth er th ey w ill agre e to gra nt th e su p plie r’s sa le s re p access to key s ta keho ld ers . It’ s p ro ven to b e a r e m ark ab ly a ccura te “ te ll” fo r a c usto m er’s r e al in te nti o ns a nd h as h elp ed th e c o m pany’s r e p s to a v oid w asti n g ti m e. Their re p s a re ta ught, a t th e c lo se o f th e fir s t in te ra cti o n, to s a y, “ Y ou k no w , ty p ic ally w hen w e e ngage w ith a c usto m er f o r th is s o rt o f s o lu ti o n, w e n eed c erta in k ey e xecuti v es to b e i n v olv ed i n th e p urc hase d ecis io n. Is th at th e c ase h ere ?” W hen th e c usto m er s a ys y es, th e r e p a sk s w hen s h e’ll b e a b le to m eet w ith th o se i n d iv id uals . I f th e c o nta ct h em s a nd h aw s o r g iv es a n u ncle ar a nsw er, th e r e p p ush es a nd e xp la in s th at i f th ey c an’t g uara nte e ti m e w ith th o se k ey l e ad ers , s h e’ll b e u nab le to c heck th at e v ery b ody i s a lig ned o n th e v alu e o f th e s o lu ti o n, a nd th ere fo re i t d oesn ’t m ake s e nse to c o nti n ue engagin g i n f u rth er d is c ussio ns. Neil R ackham s h are d w ith u s a s im ila r s to ry fr o m h is r e se arc h. “ A b ig p ro ble m ,” h e e xp la in ed to us, “ is th e c usto m er w ho in v ite s a s a le sp ers o n to c o m e in , a naly ze a p ro ble m , a nd g enera te c re ati v e so lu ti o ns. M any sa le s org aniz a ti o ns w ill sp end w ell in to th e six fig ure s to purs u e a co m ple x opportu nity . A ll to o o fte n, th o ugh, th e c usto m er e nco ura ges th is fr e e c o nsu lti n g w ork u nti l th e b est so lu ti o n b eco m es c le ar, a t w hic h p oin t th ey g o s h o ppin g f o r th e c heap est s u p plie r.” This is a co re d iffe re nce b etw een R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers and C halle ngers , in N eil R ackham ’s asse ssm ent. “ In m y o w n r e se arc h, I s a w s o m e r e p s l o sin g m ore c usto m ers to c heap er s u p plie rs l a te i n th e sa le because th ey fa ile d to ta ke co ntr o l early on. T hey ste ere d cle ar of hav in g a to ugh co nv ers a ti o n a b out th e c o m merc ia l s id e o f th e in te ra cti o n, fe arin g it w ould d am age th e r e la ti o nsh ip . Oth er r e p s, h o w ev er, c o nfr o nte d th e c usto m er e arly i n th e s a le , s a yin g, ‘ It’ s g o in g to c o st u s $ 200K to put o ur b est th in kin g i n to y o ur p ro ble m . W e’re w illin g to d o i t, b ut w e n eed s o m e a ssu ra nce th at i f w e in v est i n y o u, y o u’ll i n v est i n u s.’ T hese r e p s h ad f a r f e w er c usto m ers s w itc h to c heap er s u p plie rs l a te in th e s a le s p ro cess.” This k in d o f ta cti c s e em s to b e a h allm ark o f s a le s h ig h p erfo rm ers . A r e cent S E C s tu d y r e v eale d th at w hile all re p s sta rt th eir sa le s effo rts by m ap pin g out sta keho ld ers w ith in th e custo m er org aniz a ti o n, co re perfo rm ers th en m ove to w hat w ould se em lik e th e lo gic al next ste p — und ers ta nd in g n eed s a nd m ap pin g s o lu ti o ns a gain st th o se n eed s. B ut h ig h p erfo rm ers d o s o m eth in g very d iffe re nt. T hey e xte nd th is p art o f th e s a le s p ro cess b y d ig gin g i n to th ese i n d iv id ual s ta keho ld ers ’ vary in g go als and b ia se s, as w ell as b usin ess and p ers o nal o bje cti v es. A s w e d is c usse d in th e ta ilo rin g c hap te r, th ey m ap o ut n o t j u st who th e k ey s ta keho ld ers a re , b ut what th ese s ta keho ld ers c are ab out a nd why th ey c are a b out th ese th in gs. B y d oin g th is , th e C halle nger i s i n a m uch b ette r p ositi o n to b e a b le to ta ke c o ntr o l r ig ht f r o m th e b egin nin g. Challe ngers fin d m any o th er o pportu niti e s to ta ke c o ntr o l d urin g th e s a le — again , w ell in a d vance of a rriv in g a t th e n ego ti a ti n g ta b le . E ven if a r e p ca n s u ccessfu lly v erify a c usto m er’s r e al in te nti o ns at th e b egin nin g o f th e s a le s p ro cess, m any d eals w ill g et b ogged d ow n n ev erth ele ss. C halle ngers dis ti n guis h th em se lv es by build in g m om entu m w ith in th e custo m er org aniz a ti o n— mom entu m th at enab le s th em to d riv e to a c o nclu sio n f a ste r th an th e ty p ic al r e p . In o ur i n te ra cti o ns w ith C halle nger r e p s, i t’ s c le ar th at th ey h av e a b ette r-th an-a v era ge a p pre cia ti o n fo r h o w h ard it is to b uy fr o m th eir c o m panie s in g enera l. T his c o m ple xity in th e b uyin g p ro cess h as le ss to d o w ith b ure aucra ti c h urd le s s u p plie rs p ut in th e w ay o f c usto m ers — th o ugh th at s u re ly is a n is su e in m any c o m panie s— but w ith th e fa ct th at c usto m ers o fte n d on’t k no w h o w to b uy. O f c o urs e , custo m ers d on’t l a ck th e b asic k no w -h o w o f b uyin g a c o m ple x s o lu ti o n f r o m a s u p plie r, b ut s ta nd ard purc hasin g p ro cesse s a nd p ro to co ls b re ak d ow n w hen e v ery so lu ti o n is u niq ue, to uchin g d iffe re nt parts o f th e o rg aniz a ti o n. Avera ge r e p s s e e th is c o m ple xity to o, b ut th eir te nd ency— esp ecia lly f o r R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers — is to “ le arn a nd r e act.” T hey l e t th e c usto m er ( w ho , a gain , i s l ik ely to b e c o nfu se d b y th e c o m ple xity o f purc hasin g th e s o lu ti o n) ta ke th e le ad . B ette r to d efe r to th e c usto m er th an to r o ck th e b oat. T he r e p ask s q uesti o ns a b out w ho m to g et in v olv ed a nd w hat s te p s to ta ke, b ut th e c usto m er is a s lo st a s th e re p . Challe ngers , b y c o ntr a st, “ le ad a nd s im plify .” R ath er th an a ssu m in g th at th e c usto m er k no w s h o w to execute th e p urc hase o f a c o m ple x so lu ti o n— whic h c an b e a fa ulty a ssu m pti o n w hen it c o m es to so lu ti o n se llin g— th ey te a ch th e cu sto m er h ow to b uy th e so lu ti o n. T hey extr a p ola te fr o m p ast su ccessfu l sa le s effo rts and ap ply w hat th ey’v e le arn ed to help th e custo m er w ork th ro ugh th eir purc hase pro cess. In ste ad of ask in g, “W ho need s to be in v olv ed ?” C halle nger re p s co ach th e cu sto m er o n w ho s h o uld b e i n v olv ed . Sound s fa m ilia r, d oesn ’t it? T he C om merc ia l T eachin g a p pro ach, a s y o u re call, is a b out g etti n g aw ay fr o m th e “ W hat’ s k eep in g y o u u p a t n ig ht? ” q uesti o n a nd in ste ad b rin gin g u niq ue in sig ht to th e custo m er a b out w hat s h o uld b e k eep in g th em u p a t n ig ht. I t’ s th e s a m e i d ea h ere . None o f th is i s to s u ggest th at ta kin g c o ntr o l d oesn ’t h ap pen a t th e e nd o f th e s a le , w hen b oth p arti e s are s itti n g a cro ss fr o m e ach o th er a t th e n ego ti a ti n g ta b le . O f c o urs e it h ap pens th ere . W e k no w fr o m th e d ata th at C halle ngers s h in e i n n ego ti a ti o n s e tti n gs. I n f a ct, w e’ll s tu d y th is v ery th in g i n m ore d ep th when w e lo ok a t a n ego ti a ti o n tr a in in g b est p ra cti c e fr o m D uP ont la te r in th is c hap te r. T hat b ein g sa id , i t’ s a m is ta ke to e q uate “ ta kin g c o ntr o l” w ith “ nego ti a ti n g.” I t i s f a r m ore a ccura te to th in k o f th e la tte r a s a s m all, a lb eit i m porta nt, s u b se t o f th e f o rm er. What’ s m ore , a C halle nger k no w s th at th e a v era ge s a le s r e p w ill s e ek to ta ke c o ntr o l o nly a t th e end o f th e sa le — at th e nego ti a ti n g ta b le — and so C halle ngers d iffe re nti a te th em se lv es b y ta kin g co ntr o l f r o m th e s ta rt. C usto m ers v alu e th is b ecause th ey s e e th e C halle nger a s a c o nfid ent p artn er i n th e s a le s p ro cess, n o t a n erv ous r e p c ro ssin g th eir f in gers i n th e h o pe o f m akin g a s a le . Mis c o nce ptio n # 2: R eps T ak e C ontr o l R egard in g O nly M atte rs o f M oney T he d ata te lls u s th at C halle ngers a re “ ab le to push th e c usto m er.” S ure , th ey c an p ush th e c usto m er o n f in ancia l te rm s a nd a sp ects o f th e s e llin g/ b uyin g p ro cess, b ut m ore i m porta nt, th ey p ush th e c usto m er i n te rm s o f h o w th ey th in k a b out th eir w orld a nd th eir c halle nges— as w ell a s th e s o lu ti o n to th o se c halle nges. T his i s th e e sse nce o f C om merc ia l T eachin g, w hic h w e d is c usse d e arlie r i n th e b ook: th e a b ility to r e fr a m e th e w ay th e c usto m er th in ks a b out th eir w orld . Why i s i t i m porta nt to ta ke c o ntr o l a ro und i d eas? B ecause i t’ s e xtr e m ely u nlik ely th at a c usto m er— e sp ecia lly a s e aso ned e xecuti v e— is g o in g to ro ll o ver a nd a ccep t th e re fr a m e th at th e C halle nger d eliv ers w ith o ut a h ealth y d oes o f s k ep ti c is m . M ore l ik ely , h e’ll p ush b ack. H e’ll a sk w hy. H e’ll a sk t o se e th e su p porti n g d ata . H e’ll sa y h is c o m pany is d iffe re nt. T hese a re th e q uesti o ns th at m ake R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers ’ knees go w eak. S eekin g to d efu se te nsio n, th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er w ill a cq uie sc e, c av in g o n th e a rg um ent a nd h o pin g to s a lv age w hat’ s le ft o f th e c o nv ers a ti o n, in th e e nd r e le gati n g h im se lf to a p ric e-d riv en c o nv ers a ti o n a b out p ro ducts a nd s u rv iv al ra te s ra th er th an th e b ig ger, m ore v alu ab le s o lu ti o n th at c o uld h av e b een. But it’ s th is k in d o f d ia lo gue th at th e C halle nger liv es fo r. T he C halle nger w ill u se c o nstr u cti v e t e nsio n to h er a d vanta ge. In ste ad o f g iv in g in a t th e fir s t sig n o f re sis ta nce to h er a rg um ent, th e C halle nger push es back: “Y ou’re rig ht, yo ur co m pany su re ly is diffe re nt, but so are th e oth er o rg aniz a ti o ns w e w ork w ith . . . a nd I c an te ll y o u th at th is i n sig ht h as h elp ed th em to r e th in k th e w ay t h ey r u n th eir o pera ti o ns. W ith y o ur p erm is sio n, le t’ s e xp lo re th is id ea in m ore d ep th a nd th en c ir c le b ack to m ake s u re I ’ v e a d eq uate ly a d dre sse d a ny c o ncern s y o u m ig ht h av e.” Com merc ia l T eachin g p uts th e C halle nger i n a p ositi o n to ta ke c o ntr o l b y b rin gin g n ew i d eas to th e t a b le — id eas th e custo m er had n’t th o ught of befo re . B ut custo m ers are sa v vy and co nv enti o nal w is d om d id n’t g et to b e c o nv enti o nal b y b ein g e asy to to pple . T here w ill b e p ush b ack, e v en if th e C halle nger is a rm ed w ith c o m pellin g in sig hts a nd s u p porti n g d ata . T he C halle nger’s r e sp onse w hen c o nfr o nte d w ith th is p ush b ack, h o w ev er, i s to ta ke c o ntr o l o f th e d eb ate . But ta kin g c o ntr o l o f th e d eb ate a ro und i d eas i s c riti c al n o t j u st b ecause i t s h o w s th at th e s a le s r e p i s n ’t g o in g to b e a p ush o ver, b ut a ls o b ecause th o se id eas th e C halle nger b rin gs to th e ta b le ( i.e ., th e n ew p ro ble m s o r o pportu niti e s th e r e p h as ta ught th e c usto m er to v alu e) a re d ir e ctl y c o nnecte d to th e s o lu ti o ns th at th e s u p plie r c an o ffe r to th e c usto m er. If th e r e p is n ’t w illin g to c o nv in ce th e c usto m er t h at th e p ro ble m i s u rg ent, th en h e w on’t b e a b le to c o nv in ce th e c usto m er i t’ s w orth s o lv in g. Mis c o nce ptio n # 3: R eps W ill B eco m e T oo A ggre ssiv e I f W e T ell T hem t o “ T ak e C ontr o l” P eo ple a ls o c o nfu se ta kin g c o ntr o l— th at i s , th e C halle nger’s te nd ency to b e a sse rti v e d urin g th e s a le — with a ggre ssiv eness. B ut th ese a re a ctu ally tw o v ery d iffe re nt th in gs. T his is th e la st, b ut a rg uab ly m ost c riti c al, m is c o ncep ti o n to a d dre ss. If w e th in k a b out s a le s r e p b ehav io r a lo ng a s p ectr u m , w e c an a rra y i t a s y o u s e e i n f ig ure 7 .1 , w ith “ p assiv e” b ehav io r o n o ne e nd a nd “ aggre ssiv e” b ehav io r o n th e o th er. Passiv e b ehav io r, o f c o urs e , is re la ti v ely se lf- e xp la nato ry . T he re p g iv es in to th e d em and s o f o th ers , u se s a cco m modati n g la nguage, a nd a llo w s h is p ers o nal b ound arie s to b e b re ached b y th e c usto m er. S ound fa m ilia r? T hese a re th e h allm ark s o f th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er. T he p assiv e re p ’s p rim ary g o al i s to ple a se th e c usto m er. T hat d esir e i s s o p ow erfu l th at R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers w ill d o t h in gs th at a re n o t i n th eir b est i n te re sts o r i n th eir c o m pany’s b est i n te re sts — fo r i n sta nce, p ro acti v ely o ffe rin g a d is c o unt w hen th e c usto m er h asn ’t e v en a sk ed f o r o ne. S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 7 .1 . R ep B ehav io r S pectr u m , P assiv e to A ggre ssiv e There ’s littl e c o nfu sio n a m ong s a le s le ad ers a b out w hat p assiv e b ehav io r is ; th e r e al c o nfu sio n is b etw een a sse rti v e a nd a ggre ssiv e. The p rim ary d iffe re nce b etw een th e tw o is o ne o f p ostu re . W hile a ggre ssiv e p eo ple w ill p urs u e t h eir g o als b y a tta ckin g o th ers a nd u sin g a nta go nis ti c la nguage, a sse rti v e in d iv id uals a re m uch m ore c o nstr u cti v e, u sin g s tr o ng l a nguage, p erh ap s, b ut n o t s o s tr o ng th at i t’ s o ff- p utti n g o r o ffe nsiv e. S o th e r e p p ush es th e c usto m er, b ut d oes s o w ith r e sp ect a nd s e nsiti v ity to h o w th e c usto m er i s r e acti n g. T he r e p d oesn ’t b lin d ly p urs u e his o w n agend a, b ut in ste ad m oves p urp ose fu lly , alw ays se nsin g and r e sp ond in g. Take th e e xam ple o ne o f o ur m em bers s h are d w ith u s. O ne o f h is c o m pany’s s a le s r e p s w as s e llin g p ain t to a l a rg e p ro ducti o n l in e i n e arly 2 009. H is c o m pany h ad p oor m arg in s d ue to th e c o m peti ti v e e nv ir o nm ent e xacerb ate d b y ra p id e sc ala ti o ns in ra w m ate ria l c o sts . T he re p fo r th e p ain t s u p plie r s e nt a p ric e i n cre ase l e tte r to p urc hasin g a nd f o llo w ed u p w ith a v is it to d is c uss th e j u sti fic ati o n a nd t o g ain a gre em ent fo r a p ric e m ove a t th e b egin nin g o f th e n ext q uarte r. T he p urc hasin g m anager, h o w ev er, f la tl y r e fu se d to ta ke a p ric e i n cre ase o n th e b asis th at b usin ess w as b ad ( w hic h i t w as). B ut t h e C halle nger r e p d id n o t r o ll o ver o n h is p ric e. H e s to od h is g ro und d urin g th e i n iti a l v is it a nd tw o o th ers , c iti n g th e d ra m ati c ally i m pro ved p ro ducti v ity a t th e p ain t p la nt d ue to th e s u p plie r’s i n sta lle d eq uip m ent a nd d ed ic ate d s ta ff. D esp ite th re ats f r o m p urc hasin g o f d ir e c o nse q uences f o r th e i n cre ase (s e nio r l e ad ers h ip i n v olv em ent, c ancella ti o n o f a l o ng-te rm c o ntr a ct, e tc .) , th e r e p d id n’t c av e. The re p m ad e a n a p poin tm ent w ith th e p la nt m anager o f th e fa ciliti e s a ffe cte d b y th e in cre ase , whic h w ere a ls o th e m ain c o nsu m ers o f th e p ain t a nd th e b enefic ia rie s o f th e s e rv ic e. H e l a id o ut th e is su e and th e need fo r th e in cre ase . H e th en re v ie w ed all o f th e p ro je cts th at his co m pany had co m ple te d to im pro ve p ro ducti v ity a t th e s ite s. T he p la nt m anager c alle d in h is le ad ers h ip te am to co nfir m w hat th e s a le s r e p w as te llin g h im . T hey s u p porte d h is v alu e c la im s. T he r e p th en a sk ed th e pla nt m anager to s e t u p a jo in t m eeti n g w ith th e r e p a nd p urc hasin g to g ain s u p port fo r th e in cre ase . He d id s o a nd th e i n cre ase w as u lti m ate ly a ccep te d . In th is c ase , th e r e p s to od h is g ro und a nd w as e xtr a o rd in arily a sse rti v e, b ut n o t a ggre ssiv e. W hile he w as c erta in ly c lo se to th e e d ge w ith p urc hasin g, h e m ad e h is v alu e c ase a nd s tu ck w ith i t. Now , w hat’ s in te re sti n g a b out th is c o nti n uum is h o w c o ncern ed s a le s le ad ers a re th at th eir s a le s re p s a re g o in g to d rift to o f a r to th e a ggre ssiv e e nd o f th e s p ectr u m . T he g enera l f e ar i s th at i f y o u te ll yo ur re p s to ta ke c o ntr o l b y b ein g m ore a sse rti v e, th ey’re g o in g to ju m p o ver th e m id dle o f th e co nti n uum a nd m ove s tr a ig ht to a ggre ssiv e. But in re ality , w e fin d th at alm ost nev er hap pens. M ore o fte n th an no t, re p s w ill co nti n ue to gra v ita te to th e p assiv e e nd o f th e c o nti n uum ra th er th an m ove to th e rig ht a t a ll. T hey g et stu ck se ekin g to r e so lv e te nsio n w ith th e c usto m er, r a th er th an m ain ta in i t. Why does th is hap pen? Fir s t, th ere is a perc eiv ed pow er im bala nce in th e re p -c usto m er re la ti o nsh ip . R ep s th in k th at th e c usto m er h as s ig nific antl y m ore p ow er i n th e r e la ti o nsh ip . T here fo re , th ey g iv e in to c usto m er d em and s fo r b ette r te rm s a nd c o nd iti o ns b ecause th ey fe el th ey h av e n o cho ic e. T hey o fte n b ack d ow n b efo re th ey e v en u nd ers ta nd fu lly why th e c usto m er is m akin g th e re q uest! F or th e av era ge re p , it’ s eith er acq uie sc e q uic kly o r lo se th e d eal. B ut as re al as th at perc ep ti o n m ay b e, i t tu rn s o ut th at r e ality i s to ta lly d iffe re nt. A r e cent s u rv ey b y B ayG ro up In te rn ati o nal o f s a le s r e p s a nd p ro cure m ent o ffic ers d ete rm in ed th at 75 p erc ent o f re p s b elie v e th at p ro cure m ent has m ore p ow er, w hile 7 5 p erc ent o f p ro cure m ent offic ers b elie v e th at r e p s h av e m ore p ow er! A t th e v ery l e ast, th is d ata te lls u s th at i f r e p s a re g iv in g in b ecause th ey b elie v e th e c usto m er to h av e m ore p ow er, th ey’re ju st p la in w ro ng. A gain , th is is so m eth in g C halle nger re p s s e em to in sti n cti v ely k no w . T hey d on’t b ack d ow n in th e s a le , b ecause th ey k no w th ere ’s a lw ays m ore ro om to n ego ti a te th an a c o re p erfo rm er w ould e v er b elie v e. T he Challe nger j u st k no w s h o w to f in esse — or ta ilo r— it th e r ig ht w ay. We fin d th at m any sa le s pro fe ssio nals und erv alu e th eir co ntr ib uti o n to th e custo m er. T hey marg in aliz e th e tr e m end ous v alu e o f th eir co m pany’s re so urc es— no t ju st te chnic al exp erti s e , b ut im ple m enta ti o n a nd c hange m anagem ent k no w -h o w — and o vere sti m ate th e v alu e o f e v ery o bje cti o n ra is e d b y th e c usto m er. T his i s o fte n a n a h-h a! m om ent f o r s a le s r e p s w hen w e d eliv er o ur C halle nger tr a in in g. W e te ll r e p s to th in k a b out th e r e so urc es th ey h av e a t th eir d is p osa l to h elp th eir c usto m ers get b ette r. T o q uo te o ne o f o ur S E C S olu ti o ns fa cilita to rs : “ T hin k a b out it. Y ou a re te achin g y o ur custo m ers th in gs th at th ey d id n’t k no w b efo re . Y ou h av e p ra cti c al e xp erie nces fr o m h und re d s, if n o t th o usa nd s, o f im ple m enta ti o ns, w hile th is m ay b e th e fir s t s u ch im ple m enta ti o n fo r y o ur c usto m er. Takin g c o ntr o l m eans th at y o u kn ow th e v alu e o f th o se re so urc es a nd y o u don’t b rin g th em to b ear willy -n illy o n a c usto m er w ho is n ’t s e rio us a b out th e d ecis io n. If th e c usto m er a sk s fo r a c ase s tu d y, or to ta lk to a r e fe re nce, a R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er s a ys, ‘ Y es!’ A C halle nger s a ys, ‘ S ure , b ut l e t m e a sk yo u if th is is th e v ery la st c o nfir m ati o n y o u n eed b efo re w e a gre e to w ork to geth er a nd y o u s ig n th e pap erw ork .’ W hy? B ecause th e C halle nger is c o nfid ent in th e v alu e h e a nd h is c o m pany b rin g to th e custo m er.” Ano th er r e aso n m ost r e p s n atu ra lly g ra v ita te to a m ore p assiv e p ostu re is a p erc eiv ed e ro sio n o f co ntr o l in th e su p plie r-c usto m er re la ti o nsh ip genera lly sp eakin g. T his is m ore of a te m pora l pheno m eno n, b ro ught o n b y c halle ngin g e co no m ic c o nd iti o ns. In a to ugh e co no m y, a r e p is h ap py to ta ke a ny b usin ess. T he la st th in g th ey’re g o in g to d o w hen a d eal is o n th e ta b le is p ush b ack o n pric in g. T he r e p ju st w ants to g et th e th in g c lo se d b efo re th e c usto m er c hanges th eir m in d a lto geth er. In d iffic ult eco no m ic ti m es, no rm ally asse rti v e re p s b ehav e m ore p assiv ely — and re p s w ho are no rm ally p assiv e to b egin w ith c av e a lto geth er. I t’ s a b uyer’s m ark et i n l a rg e p art b ecause r e p s m ake it s o b y c re ati n g f a v ora b le n ego ti a ti n g c o nd iti o ns th at ti p th e s c ale s w ell i n to th e c usto m er’s f a v or. A s e co nd r e aso n th at w e s e e r e p s b eco m in g m ore p assiv e w ith c usto m ers — and th is o ne h its c lo se to h o m e— is th at y o u’v e to ld th em to a ct th is w ay. H ow s o ? A s it tu rn s o ut, m anagem ent s tr a te gie s exacerb ate th e te nd ency fo r m ost r e p s to “ go p assiv e.” If m anagers te ll r e p s to fo cus o n s e rv in g th e custo m er a nd a d vocati n g f o r th eir n eed s— to “ sit o n th e c usto m er’s s id e o f th e ta b le ”— th is m essa ge i s ofte n i n te rp re te d b y s a le sp eo ple a s “ giv e th e c usto m er w hate v er th ey w ant.” We’re h earin g n o w m ore th an e v er b efo re th at s a le s l e ad ers a re u rg in g th eir s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns to “p la ce th e custo m er fir s t.” T he te rm “custo m er-c entr ic ity ” is back in a dra m ati c fa sh io n. T he assu m pti o n i s th at i f c o m panie s w ant to g ro w c o m in g o ut o f th e r e cent d ow ntu rn , th ey’re g o in g to h av e to e nsu re th at e v ery th in g th ey d o d eliv ers m axim um c usto m er v alu e. T he p ro ble m , h o w ev er, is th at while c o m panie s h av e b een e m phati c a b out th eir c usto m er-c entr ic ity , th ey’v e b een e q ually v ague w ith th eir sa le s o rg aniz a ti o ns a b out h o w to a ctu ally d o th at. T here a re se v era l w ays to b e “ custo m er- centr ic ” th at a re a ctu ally bad fo r b usin ess. T w o e xam ple s o f th is th at w e h ear fr e q uentl y fr o m o ur mem bers a re d is c o unts (o r o th er te rm s a nd c o nd iti o ns th at u nd erm in e p ro fita b ility in e xchange fo r littl e lo ng-te rm g ain ) a nd a ssu m in g a n o rd er-ta ker p ostu re w ith th e c usto m er (i.e ., ta kin g s h o rt- te rm ord ers w hen th e c usto m er is p ush in g fo r th em , in ste ad o f g etti n g th e c usto m er to th in k a b out lo nger- te rm b usin ess). T hese a re th in gs th at d riv e c o m panie s c ra zy, b ut th e m essa ges th ey s e nd o ut to th eir sa le s fo rc e d o littl e to d is su ad e re p s fr o m th e n o ti o n th at th ese a re g o od th in gs to b e d oin g fo r custo m ers . These d riv ers o f o verly p assiv e r e p b ehav io r a re th e th in gs th at s a le s l e ad ers n eed to o verc o m e i f th ey w ant to b uild C halle nger r e p s c ap ab le o f ta kin g c o ntr o l o f th e s a le . T he r e al q uesti o n is n ’t h o w to s to p r e p s f r o m b ein g to o a sse rti v e, b ut r a th er h o w to get th em to b e a sse rti v e e no ugh. EQ UIP PIN G R EPS T O T A K E C O NTR O L H ow d o c o m panie s s h ake r e p s o ut o f th eir p assiv e p ostu re ? G etti n g th is r ig ht r e q uir e s th at th ey ta ckle t h e m ain o bsta cle th at g ets in th e w ay o f th e a v era ge re p ’s b ein g a b le to e ffe cti v ely ta ke c o ntr o l: a s tr o ng d esir e f o r c lo su re . Rep s natu ra lly se ek clo su re . Lik e m ost peo ple , th ey are fu nd am enta lly unco m fo rta b le w ith a m big uity , parti c ula rly because it’ s th at am big uity th at ty p ic ally sta nd s betw een th em and th eir c o m mis sio n c hecks. T here is a n atu ra l h um an te nd ency— one th at re p s h av e to o verc o m e— to w ant c lo su re in unco m fo rta b le situ ati o ns. S uccum bin g to th is te nd ency is o ne th at ab so lu te ly kills th e a v era ge r e p . Challe ngers , b y c o m paris o n, th riv e i n a m big uity . T hey k no w h o w to n av ig ate i t a nd u nd ers ta nd h o w i t c an b e l e v era ged to th eir a d vanta ge. T hey d is p la y a r e m ark ab le l e v el o f c o m fo rt w ith s ile nce d urin g t h e c usto m er c o nv ers a ti o n, a s w ell a s w ith k eep in g n ego ti a ti o n p oin ts a nd c usto m er o bje cti o ns o pen a nd o n th e ta b le lo nger th an o ne n o rm ally w ould . It m ig ht b e a b it o f a n o vers ta te m ent to s a y th ey “ lik e” te nsio n, b ut i t p ro bab ly i s n ’t th at f a r f r o m th e tr u th . Adm itte d ly , th is is a to ugh b arrie r to o verc o m e. It is n ’t re alis ti c to e xp ect re p s w ho d o n o t lik e t e nsio n a nd a m big uity to s u d denly s ta rt lik in g th ese th in gs. A t s o m e le v el, th is s o rt o f re sp onse is h ard w ir e d i n m ost o f u s. E ith er w e a re c o m fo rta b le w ith th ese th in gs o r w e a re n’t. A nd i f w e a re n’t, w e’ll l o ok f o r a ny e xcuse to a v oid th em . B ut w hile y o u c an’t r e alis ti c ally c hange h um an b ehav io r, y o u c a n h elp m ake r e p s a w are o f th eir n atu ra l te nd encie s a nd g iv e th em s o m e p ra cti c al to ols fo r m akin g s u re th at th ey d on’t p re m atu re ly c av e w hen it c o m es to in te nse v alu e d is c ussio ns. T his is w here th e D uP ont p ra cti c e c o m es in . T hey’v e d ev elo ped s o m e re ally s m art n ego ti a ti o n tr a in in g a nd to ols fo r h elp in g r e p s to a v oid p re m atu re c lo su re . TA K IN G C O NTR O L C ASE S T U DY: D UPO NT’S C O NTR O LLED NEG OTIA T IO N R O AD M AP A s w e g o th ro ugh th e D uP ont c ase , b ear in m in d th at th is p ra cti c e fo cuse s e xclu siv ely o n ta kin g c o ntr o l in n ego ti a ti o n se tti n gs. W hile C halle ngers ta ke c o ntr o l th ro ugho ut th e sa le , th e n ego ti a ti n g t a b le is s ti ll a g re at p la ce to s tu d y th is n o ti o n. A nd D uP ont o ffe rs a te rrific e xam ple o f h o w to e q uip r e p s to p ush c usto m ers i n a n a sse rti v e b ut n o t a ggre ssiv e m anner. Takin g c o ntr o l is a ll a b out c re ati n g c o nstr u cti v e te nsio n— ab out c halle ngin g th e w ay a c usto m er s e es th eir w orld , a nd p ush in g b ack c o nstr u cti v ely i n to ugh n ego ti a ti o ns. A t D uP ont, th ey’v e e m plo yed s o m e p ow erfu l to ols to h elp r e p s o verc o m e th eir n atu ra l in clin ati o n to g iv e in to c usto m er d em and s t o o e arly i n th e s a le . D uP ont w ork ed w ith n ego ti a ti o n tr a in in g v end or B ayG ro up I n te rn ati o nal, th o ugh i t is w orth n o ti n g th at s e v era l v end ors o ffe r ro bust n ego ti a ti o n tr a in in g p ro ducts th at S E C m em bers h av e b een h ap py w ith . The g o al in D uP ont’ s c ase is v ery str a ig htf o rw ard . T his is a b out ta kin g c o ntr o l— th e th ir d k ey i n gre d ie nt to b uild in g C halle nger r e p s— and a n a re a w here w e c an h av e a h uge i m pact i f w e f o llo w a r e cip e l ik e th is . Purp ose fu l P la nnin g D uP ont is th e p ro vid er o f a w id e ra nge o f in no vati v e p ro ducts and se rv ic es so ld acro ss m any i n d ustr ie s, in clu d in g a gric ultu re , e le ctr o nic s, tr a nsp orta ti o n, c o nstr u cti o n, a nd s a fe ty a nd p ro te cti o n. T he k ey to D uP ont’ s a p pro ach to e q uip pin g r e p s to ta ke c o ntr o l a t th e n ego ti a ti n g ta b le i s th is : Y ou’v e g o t to h av e a p la n. T he o nly w ay th at r e p s a re g o in g to h av e th e c o nfid ence to n o t b ack d ow n fr o m c halle ngin g th e c usto m er i s i f th ey’v e b uilt a s tr a te gy f o r d oin g th at i n a d vance o f th e s a le s c all i ts e lf. DuP ont p ro vid es re p s w ith a sim ple te m pla te fo r p re nego ti a ti o n p la nnin g b ase d o n B ayG ro up I n te rn ati o nal’s Situ atio nal S ale s N eg otia tio n ™ (S SN ™ ) m eth o dolo gy. T he S SN te m pla te its e lf is b rie f, b ut th e r a nge a nd v alu e o f i n fo rm ati o n th at’ s c o lle cte d i s w hat’ s c riti c al h ere ( s e e f ig ure 7 .2 ) a s a ll o f th is in fo rm ati o n to geth er p ro vid es p ow erfu l p ers p ecti v e, a nd p uts th e re p in a sig nific antl y b ette r p ositi o n w hen i t c o m es ti m e to n ego ti a te . This to ol i s a ll a b out e nsu rin g th at r e p s h av e th e s k ills a nd to ols to n ego ti a te e ffe cti v ely r a th er th an g iv e in w hen th e c usto m er a sk s fo r c o ncessio ns. T he S SN te m pla te a sk s re p s to n o te th e re la ti v e “ p ow er positi o ns” of th e su p plie r— ev ery th in g fr o m pro ducts to bra nd , pric in g, se rv ic e, and r e la ti o nsh ip s. T he id ea h ere is to g et d ow n o n p ap er a ll o f th e a re as in w hic h w e h av e re la ti v e s tr e ngth s w ith th e c usto m er a nd a ll th e w ays th at w e h av e r e la ti v e w eaknesse s. D one w ell, th e d eta il i n th is fir s t s e cti o n a lo ne w ill p ro vid e th e re p w ith a b ette r s e nse o f th e la rg er v alu e h er c o m pany b rin gs to th e ta b le a nd w ill b uild th e r e p ’s c o nfid ence to d em and a g re ate r p ric e f o r th at v alu e. S ourc e: S SN N ego ti a ti o n P la nner™ and © 2 009; B ayG ro up In te rn ati o nal, In c., S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 7 .2 . N ego ti a ti o n A naly sis a nd A cti o n P la n The S SN te m pla te a ls o fo rc es D uP ont re p s to th in k in a d vance a b out a ll o f th e in fo rm ati o n th ey n eed to g et f r o m th e c usto m er a nd to l is t th e s p ecific q uesti o ns th ey’re g o in g to a sk to f in d th o se th in gs o ut. L ik ew is e , i t a sk s th e r e p to d eta il th e i n fo rm ati o n th e c usto m er i s l ik ely g o in g to w ant to k no w s o t h at th e r e p i s r e ad y i n th e m eeti n g to p ro vid e i t o r p ro te ct i t, a s th e c ase m ay b e. Next, w hat d iffic ult q uesti o ns a nd o bje cti o ns is th e re p lik ely to g et fr o m th e c usto m er a nd h o w exactl y d oes th e r e p p la n to r e sp ond ? I t’ s a lw ays b ette r to p re p are a nsw ers i n a d vance, r a th er th an b e fo rc ed to c o m e u p w ith a r e sp onse o n th e fly , b ecause th at a lm ost in ev ita b ly le ad s to g iv in g in w ay to o e arly to c usto m er d em and s. T his i s f o llo w ed b y a n e xam in ati o n o f th e s p ecific th in gs th e s u p plie r is lo okin g fo r in th e d eal— th in gs th ey can nego ti a te o n and a se rie s o f hyp oth ese s aro und th e custo m er’s n eed s a s w ell. Fin ally , th e S SN te m pla te a sk s re p s to d o a n a naly sis o f p ossib le c o ncessio ns to o ffe r to th e custo m er a nd c o ncessio ns to r e q uest fr o m th e c usto m er. F or e xam ple , th e c usto m er m ig ht a sk th e r e p to g iv e in o n p ric e a nd th e re p m ig ht a sk th e c usto m er to g iv e in o n so m e o f th eir c usto m iz a ti o n dem and s. H ere , th e te m pla te a sk s th e re p to s c o re th e v alu e o f th o se c o ncessio n ite m s fo r b oth th e su p plie r and custo m er. F or exam ple , th e re p m ig ht d ete rm in e th at o ffe rin g th e custo m er a p ric e co ncessio n r e fle cts a 5 i n te rm s o f c o st to th e s u p plie r, p erh ap s b ecause th ey r u n o n v ery th in m arg in s, but o nly a 2 to th e c usto m er in te rm s o f v alu e, s in ce th ey’re p rim arily c o ncern ed n o t w ith p ric e b ut with th e q uality a nd w ork ab ility o f th e p ro duct. As y o u c o nsid er th is p la nnin g m eth o d, a sk y o urs e lf h o w m any o f y o ur r e p s ta ke th e ti m e to m ap o ut th is k in d o f i n fo rm ati o n prio r to a n ego ti a ti o n, p arti c ula rly o ne w here p ric e i s l ik ely to c o m e u p a s a sti c kin g p oin t. R em em ber, w in nin g th o se c o nv ers a ti o ns is w hat r e ally s e ts th e C halle nger a p art. T he Challe nger r e p h as a s c o re card l ik e th is w ir e d i n to h er b ra in . T his i s h o w s h e s e es th e w orld , a nd i t’ s what a llo w s h er to p ush b ack o n th e c usto m er w hen th e ti m e c o m es. P ut a no th er w ay, th e S SN te m pla te is a p ro xy fo r w hat C halle nger re p s d o n atu ra lly . T his is h o w y o u c ap tu re th e m agic o f Challe nger r e p p re -c all p la nnin g a nd p ut i t o n o ne s h eet o f p ap er. Ask in g y o ur r e p s to u se a to ol lik e th is p uts y o u o ne s te p c lo se r to g iv in g th em th e c o nfid ence to hang to ugh w hen th e c o nv ers a ti o n tu rn s m ore d iffic ult. It a ls o fo rc es th em to p la y o ut th e n ext fe w in te ra cti o ns in th e nego ti a ti o n. S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil re se arc h sh o w s th at one of th e big gest diffe re nti a to rs o f h ig h-p erfo rm in g re p s is th e a m ount o f ti m e th ey s p end p la nnin g— th is is a p rim e exam ple . L ik e a g re at c hess p la yer, h ig h p erfo rm ers a re fo cuse d n o t ju st o n th e c urre nt m ove, b ut o n th e s c enario s th at w ill p la y o ut s e v era l m oves a head . Dup ont f o und th at f o r m ost r e p s, b ein g a sse rti v e ta kes p ra cti c e a nd p la nnin g. T his i s h o w y o u p ut a str u ctu re a ro und b oth . If y o u w ere to g iv e th is s h eet to te n o f y o ur r e p s n ext w eek— rig ht b efo re th ey calle d o n a c usto m er— would th ey b e a b le to fill it o ut? If th e a nsw er is tr o ub lin g, c hances a re extr e m ely go od th at yo ur re p s are giv in g in to custo m er d em and s to o early b ecause th ey’re no t eq uip ped to p ush b ack i n th e m om ent. T hey’re n o t e q uip ped to c halle nge. What e ls e c an y o u d o to e q uip r e p s to c halle nge th e c usto m er’s d em and s o nce th ey’re in th e s a le s call i ts e lf a nd th e c usto m er s ta rts p la cin g d em and s o n th e d eal? Anato m y o f a S ucce ssfu l N egotia tio n N av ig ati n g to ugh c usto m er c o nv ers a ti o ns is o ne o f th o se th in gs th at a lw ays se em s a littl e b it lik e m agic . S om e p eo ple ju st s e em to b e a b le to d o it in cre d ib ly w ell— but it’ s n ev er c o m ple te ly c le ar h o w . B ut w hat ta ngib le s te p s c an y o u ta ke to h elp r e p s ta ke c o ntr o l i n th e c o nv ers a ti o n i ts e lf? DuP ont has dem ysti fie d th e pro cess by boilin g it dow n to a fo ur-s te p fr a m ew ork base d on B ayG ro up In te rn ati o nal’s m eth o dolo gy a nd th en u se d th e fr a m ew ork to p ut re p s th ro ugh a tw o-d ay S itu atio nal S ale s N eg otia tio n w ork sh o p fo cuse d o n b re akin g sa le s re p s’ te nd ency to g iv e in to o s o on. 1. A ckno w le d ge a nd D efe r 2. D eep en a nd B ro ad en 3. E xp lo re a nd C om pare 4. C onced e A cco rd in g to P la n Thin k o f th is a s a r o ad m ap fo r m ain ta in in g c o nstr u cti v e te nsio n w ith in a n ego ti a ti o n. T his is th e k in d o f s tu ff y o ur C halle ngers d o n atu ra lly a nd th e p la ce w here e v ery o ne e ls e n eed s e xactl y th is k in d o f c o ncre te g uid ance. How d oes i t a ll w ork ? L et’ s s ta rt w ith A ckno w le d ge a nd D efe r. How d o y o u d efe r a c usto m er d em and f o r a c o ncessio n— sa y a p ric e d is c o unt— with o ut th re ate nin g t h e d eal? H ere , D uP ont h as d one s o m eth in g v ery s m art a nd v ery s tr a ig htf o rw ard . T hey’v e g iv en r e p s t h e a ctu al w ord s to s a y w hen th at m om ent c o m es. While i t d oesn ’t h av e to b e v erb ati m , r e p s a re e nco ura ged to s a y s o m eth in g l ik e, “ I u nd ers ta nd th at p ric e is s o m eth in g w e n eed to a d dre ss, b ut b efo re w e d o, I’ d lik e to ta ke a m om ent to m ake s u re I c o m ple te ly u nd ers ta nd y o ur n eed s— so w e c an m ake s u re w e’re d oin g e v ery th in g w e c an to m ake th is d eal a s v alu ab le a s p ossib le f o r y o u. I s th at a ll r ig ht? ” It’ s a re la ti v ely s im ple re q uest, b ut th ere ’s a lo t g o in g o n h ere . T he re p h as p ro m is e d c lo su re — w hic h th e c usto m er w ants j u st a s m uch a s th e r e p — but h as a ls o w on p erm is sio n to p ro ceed , a ssu m in g s h e g ets it. A nd th at’ s im porta nt, b ecause y o u h av e to w in th e c usto m er’s p erm is sio n to d efe r. If y o u d on’t, th ey’re n o t g o in g to lis te n to a nyth in g y o u s a y n ext. T his is a k ey m is ta ke n o n-C halle nger r e p s m ake a ll th e ti m e— th ey ra re ly s e ek to d efe r a t a ll. A nd if th ey d o, it’ s w ith o ut c usto m er c o nse nt, w hic h m eans th ey r is k c o m in g a cro ss a s d is m is siv e, o r w ors e , a ggre ssiv e. Once s h e h as p erm is sio n to c o nti n ue, th e r e p i s o n to th e n ext tw o s te p s: D eep en a nd B ro ad en a nd E xp lo re a nd C om pare , w hic h w e’ll e xam in e i n p ara lle l. At th is p oin t, th e r e p h as b ought s o m e ti m e b ut h as a ls o c re ate d s o m e te nsio n in th e c o nv ers a ti o n. S o n o w th e r e p n eed s a w ay to m anage th at te nsio n a nd h av e th e c o nfid ence to p ush f o rw ard . D uP ont t r a in s r e p s o n a s p ecific te chniq ue to g et th e d eal to a b ette r p la ce w hen a c usto m er p ush es b ack o n p ric e. A s w e g o th ro ugh it, y o u’ll s e e th at w hat m akes it s o p ow erfu l is th at it’ s a s tr a ig htf o rw ard , r e p eata b le te chniq ue th at c an b e c o pie d a nd l e arn ed b y n o n-C halle nger r e p s. For D eep en and B ro ad en, D uP ont pro vid es re p s w ith ta cti c s fo r unco verin g th e custo m er’s u nd erly in g need s, and fo r E xp lo re and C om pare , re p s are tr a in ed o n ta cti c s fo r co m parin g and e v alu ati n g th e a d diti o nal n eed s i d enti fie d d urin g th e c o nv ers a ti o n. The p rim ary id ea h ere is to e xp and th e c usto m er’s v ie w o f th e th in gs th at a re im porta nt to th em . W hat e ls e b esid es p ric e m atte rs ? M ayb e i t’ s th e w arra nty , o r th e s e rv ic e p la n, o r e xp ed ite d s h ip pin g, o r i n sta lla ti o n. G et i t a ll o ut o n th e ta b le s o th at p ric e i s n o l o nger th e o nly n ego ti a b le i n p la y. D urin g th e D eep en a nd B ro ad en p hase , th e D uP ont s a le s r e p o fte n s ta rts w ith g etti n g th e c usto m er to s im ply re sta te th in gs th e r e p a lr e ad y k no w s th e c usto m er l ik es a b out th e D uP ont o ffe rin g. Once th e r e p h as b ro ad ened th at u niv ers e a s m uch a s p ossib le , s h e c an s ta rt to s h rin k i t b ack d ow n, co m in g b ack to p ric e, b ut i n a v ery s p ecific m anner. I n th is te chniq ue, r e p s d on’t r u n d ir e ctl y to “ I c an giv e y o u 1 0 p erc ent, n o t 2 0 p erc ent.” In ste ad , th e c o nv ers a ti o n s ta rts w ith , “ W hat a re y o u lo okin g to achie v e w ith a 2 0 p erc ent p ric e r e d ucti o n?” T he i d ea i s to u nco ver th e r a ti o nale f o r th e r e q uest, a s th e ap pro pria te r e sp onse w ill d ep end o n th at r a ti o nale . Ofte n th e r e aso n f o r th e r e q uest i s s o m eth in g th at c an b e a d dre sse d i n s o m e o th er w ay— as i t’ s o fte n driv en le ss b y e co no m ic n eed a nd m ore b y th e c usto m er’s d esir e to a chie v e a sp ecific b usin ess outc o m e, s u ch a s p ro ducti o n c o st r e d ucti o ns. So l o ok a t w hat y o u’re n ego ti a ti n g o ver n o w . I t’ s n o t j u st p ric e, b ut a ll o f th e o th er w ays i n w hic h th e s u p plie r c re ate s v alu e f o r th e c usto m er a nd h elp s to s o lv e th eir k ey c halle nges. D oin g th is , th e r e p has s ig nific antl y e xp and ed th e o pti o ns fo r n ego ti a ti o n. T he r e p ’s n o w in a m uch b ette r p la ce to o ffe r co ncessio ns th at are le ss p ain fu l to th eir to p-lin e re v enue— and p ote nti a lly o pti o ns th e custo m er valu es m ore . A s th ey m ove to c o m parin g v ario us tr a d e-o ffs w ith th e c usto m er, th is is w here a ll th e pre p w ork th ey d id w ith th e p re -c all p la nnin g to ol b eco m es s o in cre d ib ly im porta nt. If th ey’v e d one th eir h o m ew ork w ell, th ey k no w th e c o st- to -v alu e tr a d e-o ff fo r e ach o ne o f th e s o lu ti o n e le m ents fo r th eir c o m pany. This b rin gs u s to th e f in al m ile o f n ego ti a ti o n: C onced e A cco rd in g to P la n. T his i s n ’t j u st a f u n p la y on w ord s. R ep s a re ta ught th e i m porta nce o f p ro ceed in g a cco rd in g to a c are fu lly p la nned n ego ti a ti o n str a te gy th at tr a d es a w ay l o w -v alu e s o lu ti o n e le m ents f ir s t b efo re d efa ulti n g to p ric e. I n o th er w ord s, dete rm in in g what y o u’re w illin g to c o nced e i s i m porta nt . . . b ut w hat i s o fte n o verlo oked i s how a nd when in th e n ego ti a ti o n th o se c o ncessio ns s h o uld b e g iv en. T here a re m any d iffe re nt w ays to m ake co ncessio ns to a c usto m er; e ach c an s e nd a v ery d iffe re nt m essa ge to th e c usto m er, e v en w hen y o u ulti m ate ly a chie v e th e e xact s a m e r e su lts . DuP ont te aches th eir re p s to av oid certa in co ncessio n patte rn s— su ch as sta rti n g w ith sm all co ncessio ns a nd th en o ffe rin g b ig ger o nes a s th e n ego ti a ti o ns p ro gre ss, o r p utti n g a “ ta ke it o r le av e it” o ffe r o n th e ta b le — because th ese a p pro aches a re n o t j u st r is k y, th ey c an l e av e th e c usto m er f e elin g cheate d . In ste ad th ey te ach r e p s to c o nced e n ego ti a b le s in a n o rd er a nd a n a m ount th at e nsu re s b oth parti e s fe el th ey’re w in nin g. F or in sta nce, th ey te ach r e p s to s ta rt w ith a m eanin gfu l c o ncessio n a nd th en to o ffe r s m alle r a nd s m alle r c o ncessio ns a s n ego ti a ti o ns c o nti n ue. Techniq ues lik e th is help D uP ont re p s m anage te nsio n in a co nstr u cti v e m anner. T hat’ s no t so m eth in g n o n-C halle nger re p s w ould h av e k no w n h o w to d o o th erw is e . T he p oin t h ere is to g iv e th em th e i n fo rm ati o n th ey n eed to m ake b ette r c ho ic es w hen i t c o m es to n ego ti a ti o n a nd to u nd ers ta nd th e i m plic ati o ns a nd p ossib le r e p erc ussio ns o f e m plo yin g o ne o f th ese s tr a te gie s v ers u s a no th er. T his is h o w y o u s e t th em u p f o r s u ccess w hen th ey c halle nge. To re ally g et th e fe el fo r th e d iffe re nce, d urin g th e S itu ati o nal S ale s N ego ti a ti o n sk ill- b uild in g work sh o ps D uP ont r e p s r o le -p la y d iffe re nt c o ncessio n p atte rn s a nd th en d is c uss h o w th ey fe el w hen th e n ego ti a ti o n e nd s. T his s e rv es to i llu str a te th e e ffe ct th at d iffe re nt c o ncessio n p atte rn s w ill h av e o n custo m ers and ulti m ate ly giv es re p s th e co nfid ence th at th ey hav e a sm art p la n to getti n g to an agre em ent— one th at w ill l e av e th e c usto m er f e elin g th at th ey w on, r a th er th an th at th ey g o t c heate d . A W ORD O F C AU TIO N W hile th e D uP ont c ase fo cuse s o n ta kin g c o ntr o l w ith in th e n ego ti a ti o n p hase o f th e s a le , a n e arlie r p oin t i n th is c hap te r b ears r e p eati n g h ere : T akin g c o ntr o l h ap pened th ro ughout th e s a le s p ro cess, n o t j u st th e e nd o f i t. I n o ur C halle nger D ev elo pm ent P ro gra m , m uch o f th e “ ta kin g c o ntr o l” m odule i s n o t f o cuse d o n n ego ti a ti o n a t a ll. It’ s a p oin t w e re ally h am mer h o m e: T akin g c o ntr o l has to hap pen t h ro ugho ut th e sa le , le st it end up fe elin g “fa ke” (o r, w ors e , d is in genuo us o r o ff- p utti n g) to th e c usto m er. We s h are s e v era l p ra cti c al e xam ple s a nd te chniq ues f o r d oin g th is . O ne o f th e b asic te chniq ues w e f o cus o n is m akin g p ow erfu l re q uests , w hic h s h o uld b e d one th ro ugho ut th e s a le . M akin g p ow erfu l r e q uests h elp s th e c usto m er u nd ers ta nd th at th e r e p is h ere to m ove th in gs fo rw ard ; it is a g re at to ol f r o m th e C halle nger’s “ ta kin g c o ntr o l” to olk it. How d oes it w ork ? H ere ’s a q uic k e xam ple : A r e p h as s h o w ed h is c usto m er th at th ey a re w asti n g m illio ns o n fa ciliti e s c o sts b ecause o f th eir in effic ie nt se rv er m anagem ent. T he p ro pose d so lu ti o n w ill s a v e th e c usto m er a g o od d eal o f m oney, b ut o th ers n eed to b e i n v olv ed i n th e p urc hase d ecis io n i f it’ s to m ove fo rw ard . A p ow erfu l r e q uest m ig ht s o und s o m eth in g lik e th is : “ F ro m o ur d is c ussio n, w e’v e a gre ed th at th e im ple m enta ti o n o f a r a ck-b ase d s e rv er s o lu ti o n w ould s a v e y o u $ 5 m illio n a y ear. F or y o u to re ap th ese sa v in gs in th e c urre nt fis c al y ear, w e re ally n eed to in sta ll th e n ew h ard w are s o on. S o to g et s ta rte d , I w ill n eed a s ig ned c o ntr a ct fr o m D av e b y n ext w eek, w hic h w ill a llo w u s to b rin g th e i m ple m enta ti o n e ngin eers o nsite a nd s ta rt th e p ro cess s o y o u c an h it y o ur s a v in gs t a rg et.” T his i s j u st o ne e xam ple , w hic h i s f o cuse d o n c lo sin g, b ut th ere a re m any o th ers th at h elp r e p s u nd ers ta nd h o w to ta ke c o ntr o l e v en e arlie r i n th e s a le s p ro cess. PU LLIN G I T A LL T O GETH ER T akin g c o ntr o l is th e o ne p illa r o f th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel th at s tr ik es m ost s a le s le ad ers a s m ore natu re th an nurtu re . B ut w hile it’ s tr u e th at it help s fo r re p s to hav e b een b orn w ith th e “ asse rti v eness g ene,” it is b y n o m eans a re q uir e m ent fo r th em to b e su ccessfu l. T he so lu ti o n to o verc o m in g p assiv ity i s s tr a ig htf o rw ard : T each r e p s th e i m porta nce o f c la rity o f d ir e cti o n o ver q uic k c lo su re , a nd te ach th em h o w to c re ate re al v alu e w ith in th e s a le s p ro cess. W hen c o m bin ed , th ese s k ills c an h elp a ny s a le s r e p to c re ate a p ow erfu l p ro xy f o r n atu ra l a sse rti v eness. 8 TH E M ANAGER A ND T H E C HA LLEN GER S ELLIN G M ODEL S O F A R W E’V E f o cuse d o n th e r e p s k ills a nd o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab iliti e s r e q uir e d to i m ple m ent th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel. B ut a nyb ody w ho ’s e v er a tte m pte d to e xecute l a rg e-s c ale c hange w ith in a s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n w ill k no w th ere ’s o ne g la rin g o m is sio n to th is s to ry : th e f r o ntl in e s a le s m anager. As a re se arc h o rg aniz a ti o n d ev ote d to im pro vin g s a le s p erfo rm ance, w e’v e s tu d ie d n early e v ery t o pic in th e s a le s w orld , a nd th e m essa ge in th e d ata is a lw ays th e s a m e: If y o u d on’t g et fr o ntl in e s a le s m anagers o n b oard , th e in iti a ti v e w ill fa il. W heth er it’ s changes to co m p p la ns, th e C RM s y ste m , th e s a le s p ro cess, o r m ore b asic s k ills a nd b ehav io rs , it a lw ays c o m es b ack to th e m anager. T he fr o ntl in e s a le s m anager in a ny s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n is th e fu nd am enta l lin k b etw een s tr a te gy a nd e xecuti o n— th is i s w here c hange i n iti a ti v es a nd s a le s f o rc e tr a nsfo rm ati o ns l iv e o r d ie . Im ple m enti n g th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel i s n o d iffe re nt. Y ou c anno t e xp ect to s u ccessfu lly b uild a C halle nger s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n i f y o ur f r o ntl in e s a le s m anagem ent l a yer i s b ro ken. I t’ s th e l in chp in i n t e rm s o f m akin g th e m odel w ork . W hile th is p oin t m ay b e o bvio us to th e s e aso ned s a le s l e ad er, w hat s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns c an a ctu ally d o to b oost m anager e ffe cti v eness is le ss s o . W hile th ere is ra th er b ro ad c o nse nsu s th at m anager q uality is th e m ost im porta nt le v er fo r d riv in g r e p p erfo rm ance, s a le s l e ad ers te nd to v ie w m anager e ffe cti v eness a s a s o rt o f e nig m a. A s o ne o f o ur m em bers to ld u s, “ I k no w th at m anager s u ccess is c ru cia l to m y o vera ll s u ccess; p ro ble m is , I d on’t k no w w hat to d o a b out i t.” And th at c o ncern is w id esp re ad , e sp ecia lly a s s a le s le ad ers lo ok to th e fu tu re . In fa ct, w hen w e a sk ed S E C m em bers a b out m anager c ap ab ility , a s h o ckin g 6 3 p erc ent r e p orte d th at th eir m anagers d o n o t h av e th e s k ills a nd c o m pete ncie s th ey n eed a s th eir s a le s m odel e v olv es, to s a y n o th in g o f th e 9 p erc ent o f m anagers w ho d on’t e v en h av e th e s k ills r e q uir e d to b e s u ccessfu l in th eir r o le cu rre n tly . T hre e-q uarte rs o f o ur m em bers s e lf- id enti fy a s h av in g m anagers w ho a re n’t g o in g to p erfo rm in th e n ew e nv ir o nm ent. A nd th at’ s d eep ly tr o ub lin g. W hile l e ad ers a gre e o n th e f u nd am enta l i m porta nce o f t h e r o le , v ery fe w fe el c o nfid ent a b out th e a ctu al p eo ple c urre ntl y o ccup yin g th at r o le , a nd m ost a re e v en l e ss c o nfid ent s ti ll a b out w hat to d o a b out i t. PO RTR AIT O F A W ORLD -C LA SS S A LES M AN AG ER I n a n e ffo rt to id enti fy th e k ey a ttr ib ute s o f a w orld -c la ss s a le s m anager— th e s k ills , b ehav io rs , a nd a tti tu d es th at m atte r m ost fo r s a le s m anagem ent e xcelle nce— we c re ate d a s u rv ey w e c all th e S ale s L ead ers h ip D ia gno sti c . A t la st co unt, m ore th an six ty -fiv e co m panie s hav e ad m in is te re d th is d ia gno sti c (to m ore th an 1 2,0 00 re p s), a nd w e h av e c o lle cte d d ata o n m ore th an 2 ,5 00 in d iv id ual f r o ntl in e s a le s m anagers . As w ith a ny s u rv ey w e c o nd uct, th e d ata i s a s tr o ng, r e p re se nta ti v e s a m ple o f e v ery m ajo r i n d ustr y , g eo gra p hy, a nd g o -to -m ark et m odel a cro ss th e C ouncil’s m em bers h ip . I n th e s u rv ey, w e a sk ed r e p s to a sse ss th eir m anager’s p erfo rm ance a cro ss six ty -fo ur d iffe re nt a ttr ib ute s o f p erfo rm ance, so m e o f w hic h y o u s e e i n th e f o ur b ro ad c ate go rie s i n th e ta b le o n p age 1 41 a nd a b ove. Fir s t, w e a sk ed a b out m anagem ent fu nd am enta ls — th in gs lik e in te grity , r e lia b ility , r e co gniti o n, a nd t e am -b uild in g sk ills . T hese v aria b le s a re n’t n ecessa rily sp ecific to sa le s, b ut th ey a re in cre d ib ly i m porta nt. S o w e i n clu d ed th em i n o ur a naly sis to u nd ers ta nd h o w th ey c o m pare to o th er a ttr ib ute s i n t e rm s o f d riv in g m anager p erfo rm ance. S eco nd , w e lo oked at attr ib ute s re la te d to actu al se llin g a b ility . W hile w e d on’t w ant o ur m anagers s e llin g fo r th eir r e p s, i t s ta nd s to r e aso n th at th ey p ro bab ly d o n eed to k no w h o w to s e ll if th ey’re g o in g to h elp o th ers to d o it b ette r. H ere , w e a sk ed a b out a ttr ib ute s lik e n ego ti a ti o n s k ills a nd w heth er th e m anager o ffe rs th e c usto m er u niq ue p ers p ecti v es. Thir d , w e ask ed ab out th e m anager’s co achin g sk ills . D o m anagers pre p are fo r and custo m iz e co achin g i n te ra cti o ns? D o th ey f o llo w th ro ugh o n th eir d ev elo pm ent c o m mitm ents ? L astl y , w e l o oked at s a le s-s p ecific a sp ects o f le ad ers h ip — th in gs lik e a cco unt p la nnin g, te rrito ry m anagem ent, a nd th e le v el o f i n no vati o n th e m anager s h o w s i n p ositi o nin g o ffe rs to c usto m ers . Next, to e nsu re th at w e w ere n’t a llo w in g o ne u nhap py r e p to s k ew o ur r e su lts , w e e xclu d ed th o se managers fr o m th e a naly sis fo r w ho m w e h ad d ata fr o m fe w er th an th re e re p s. T hen, to m ake th e re su lts m anageab le , w e a p plie d fa cto r a naly sis to th e d ata , b oilin g it d ow n to th e s m alle st p ossib le num ber o f s ta ti s ti c ally s ig nific ant g ro up s o r c ate go rie s. T he fa cto r a naly sis to ld u s th at th o se s ix ty – fo ur v aria b le s f a ll i n to f iv e d is ti n ct c ate go rie s. F in ally , to u nd ers ta nd h o w i m porta nt e ach c ate go ry i s re la ti v e to th e o th er fo ur, w e ra n a re gre ssio n analy sis o f th o se fa cto rs again st actu al m anager perfo rm ance— as d ete rm in ed b y b oth th e r e p s a nd th e c o m panie s. A nd th at a llo w ed u s to d ete rm in e, of a ll th e th in gs a m anager co uld b e g o od a t, w hic h o f th ese s ix ty -fo ur s k ills a nd b ehav io rs m atte r most fo r a ctu al m anager p erfo rm ance— as a sse sse d b y th e r e p s w ho o bse rv e th o se b ehav io rs e v ery sin gle d ay a s w ell a s b y c o m panie s, w hic h h av e a b ro ad er s e nse o f h o w th o se m anagers m ain ta in a nd gro w th eir te rrito rie s o ver ti m e. U lti m ate ly , th is e xerc is e g enera te d th e a nsw er to th e k ey q uesti o n o f manager perfo rm ance, i.e ., th e th e sm alle st num ber of sta ti s ti c ally sig nific ant— and dis ti n ct— cate go rie s th at, w hen c o m bin ed , e xp la in f r o ntl in e s a le s m anager e xcelle nce. To in te rp re t w hat w e fo und , le t’ s sta rt b y se p ara ti n g m anagem ent fu nd am enta ls , lik e re lia b ility , in te grity , a nd lis te nin g sk ills , fr o m th e m ore sa le s-s p ecific d riv ers o f m anager p erfo rm ance. A s it tu rn s o ut, m anagem ent fu nd am enta ls a cco unt fo r r o ughly o ne-fo urth o f s a le s m anager s u ccess. T hese are th e fo und ati o nal sk ills th at a re n ecessa ry fo r su ccess in any m anagem ent jo b, ir re sp ecti v e o f fu ncti o n. Y et in te re sti n gly , w e a ls o fo und th at p erfo rm ance o n th ese a ttr ib ute s d oes n o t fa ll a lo ng a sp ectr u m b ut te nd s to b e b in ary . E ith er y o u’re r e lia b le o r y o u’re n o t. Y ou h av e i n te grity o r y o u d on’t. And th at i n tu rn te lls u s th at th ese a re i n here nt tr a its y o u s h o uld b e l o okin g f o r i n th e p eo ple y o u h ir e , no t s k ills y o u w ant to b e d ev elo pin g i n y o ur s ta ff o ver ti m e. Put a no th er w ay, g re at r e p s d on’t n ecessa rily m ake g re at m anagers . Y ou c an’t j u st e xcel a t s a le s to be a g re at s a le s m anager, y o u’v e a ls o g o t to e xcel a t managem en t a s w ell. Y et th at is e xactl y h o w most c o m panie s sti ll so urc e n ew fr o ntl in e m anagem ent ta le nt. T his a p pro ach to h ir in g is th e ro ot cause o f m any o rg aniz a ti o ns’ h ig h m anager fa ilu re ra te s. N ot s u rp ris in gly , o ur a naly sis o f m anager perfo rm ance i n d ic ate s th at a h and fu l o f m anagers ( ro ughly 4 p erc ent i n o ur s a m ple ) f a il o n a t l e ast o ne of th ese m anagem ent fu nd am enta ls . S o o ne o f th e fir s t re co m mend ati o ns w e m ake to S E C m em ber co m panie s c o m ple ti n g th e S ale s L ead ers h ip D ia gno sti c is th at th ey fin d n ew p ositi o ns fo r m anagers who fa ll in to th is 4 p erc ent. B ecause w e h av en’t e v en g o tte n to th e sa le s-s p ecific a ttr ib ute s o f a world -c la ss m anager, a nd th ese p eo ple h av e a lr e ad y f a ile d to m eet th e m anager b ar. Sourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .1 . M anagem ent F und am enta ls A re th e E sse nti a l B ase o f S ale s M anager S uccess On th e o th er h and , w hile a s ta r r e p tr a ck r e co rd i s n o t a r e lia b le i n d ic ato r o f m anagem ent p ote nti a l, an a lte rn ati v e lie s in th e d ata p re se nte d in th is c hap te r. A rm ed w ith a n u nd ers ta nd in g o f th e sta r manager p ro file , o rg aniz a ti o ns c an a d ap t th eir c and id ate a sse ssm ent p ro to co ls to lo ok fo r c and id ate s who are lik ely to d em onstr a te b ehav io rs kno w n to d riv e su c cessfu l co m merc ia l o utc o m es. A nd kno w in g th at s o m e o f th ese a ttr ib ute s a re d iffic ult ( if n o t i m possib le ) to d ev elo p o ver ti m e— no ta b ly , managem ent fu nd am enta ls lik e in te grity and re lia b ility — th ese are cle arly p la ces w here it m akes se nse to s c re en u p f r o nt. How ev er, tr a d iti o nal, in te rv ie w -b ase d asse ssm ent m eth o ds can be unre lia b le in d ic ato rs of cand id ate p ote nti a l a nd b asic m anagem ent a b ility . A s a r e su lt, w e f in d th at p ro gre ssiv e c o m panie s u se a v arie ty o f e xp erie nti a l “ liv e fir e ” a sse ssm ent m eth o ds th at le t th em se e a c and id ate do th e jo b befo re g iv in g h im th e jo b. F or e xam ple , o ne la rg e h ig h-te ch m anufa ctu re r u se s a fu ll- d ay s im ula ti o n- base d sk ills asse ssm ent to pre certi fy exte rn al cand id ate s’ managem ent cap ab iliti e s befo re em plo ym ent offe rs are exte nd ed . A co nstr u cti o n m ate ria ls su p plie r use s a sim ila r ap pro ach fo r in te rn al c and id ate s— its p re -p ro m oti o n s a le s m anager s c re enin g e nsu re s th at c and id ate s p osse ss a nd dem onstr a te th e c o re c o m bin ati o n o f s k ills n ecessa ry to s u cceed a s s a le s m anagers . The S ale s S id e o f S ale s M anager E xce lle nce I n th e A rm y, th ere ’s a n o ld s a yin g th at a p plie s e q ually w ell to s a le s: “ N o p la n s u rv iv es e ngagem ent w ith th e enem y.” N o m atte r ho w care fu lly o ne p la ns fo r b attl e , ru nnin g th ro ugh ev ery p ossib le s c enario o f w hat m ig ht h ap pen a nd w hat m ig ht g o w ro ng, th e r e ality o n th e fie ld w ill in ev ita b ly b e d iffe re nt. As a re su lt, A rm y le ad ers hav e ad opte d a sty le o f le ad ers h ip kno w n as C om mand er’s In te nt. C om mand er’s In te nt is ju st th at: a cle ar, co ncis e sta te m ent o f th e sp ecific go al a co m mand er is l o okin g to a chie v e. S om eth in g lik e, “ C ap tu re a nd h o ld th at h ill u nti l re in fo rc em ents a rriv e.” In th is a p pro ach to le ad ers h ip , A rm y le ad ers hav e sto pped giv in g ste p -b y-s te p in str u cti o ns on ho w to a ctu ally g o a b out c ap tu rin g th e h ill, b ecause th ey’v e l e arn ed th at o nce th eir tr o ops g et o ut i n th e f ie ld a nd engage in battl e , th ey’re go in g to hav e to quic kly ad ap t to th e situ ati o n on th e gro und in u nanti c ip ate d w ays. Not su rp ris in gly , th en, th e fie ld le ad ers w ho e xcel in th e A rm y a re th e o nes w ho a re c re ati v e, i n no vati v e, and ab le to ad ap t to th eir cir c um sta nces. T yp ic ally , th ey’re th e o nes w ho re co gniz e p ossib le c o urs e s o f a cti o n th at n o o ne b ehin d th e fr o nt w ould h av e r e co gniz e d in a d vance a nd th en g uid e th eir tr o ops to v ic to ry th ro ugh c re ati v e i n te rp re ta ti o n o f th eir c o m mand er’s i n te nt. I t’ s p ro ven to b e a p ow erfu l m anagem ent p hilo so phy th at m atc hes p ro cess o n th e o ne h and w ith e m pow erm ent a nd i n no vati o n o n th e o th er. W hen v ic to ry i s o n th e l in e, p ut th e b attl e i n th e h and s o f y o ur b est f ie ld -b ase d l e ad ers — th e o nes w ho id enti fy a w id e ra nge o f cho ic es and d ev elo p an in no vati v e o pti o n th at s p ecific ally m atc hes th at p arti c ula r s itu ati o n. As it tu rn s o ut, w hen w e stu d ie d th e sa le s sid e o f m anagem ent excelle nce, th e attr ib ute s th at a cco unt f o r th e r e m ain in g th re e-q uarte rs o f a s a le s m anager’s s u ccess, w e f o und th e s a m e th in g to b e t r u e. F ig ure 8 .2 s h o w s th e s a le s a ttr ib ute s th at m atte r m ost f o r m anager e xcelle nce. H ere i s w here o ur s to ry s h ifts f r o m p re v enti n g f a ilu re to p ro m oti n g s u ccess. When w e r a n th e a naly sis , w e f o und th at th e a ttr ib ute s c o ntr ib uti n g to m anager e xcelle nce f a ll i n to t h re e h ig h-le v el c ate go rie s— and th ey’re a b out w hat y o u m ig ht e xp ect: s e llin g, c o achin g, a nd o w nin g. T his la st c ate go ry is a ll a b out th e v ario us a sp ects o f b usin ess o w ners h ip th at s e nio r le ad ers lik e to s e e i n m anagers — th e e xte nt to w hic h th ey r u n th eir te rrito ry a s i f i t w ere th eir o w n b usin ess. Sourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .2 . A ttr ib ute s A ffe cti n g F ro ntl in e S ale s M anager P erfo rm ance Fig ure 8 .2 r e p re se nts th e s ta ti s ti c ally s ig nific ant f a cto rs th at d efin e th e s a le s s id e o f s a le s m anager excelle nce ( re calib ra te d to 1 00 p erc ent, a s th ey r e p re se nt 1 00 p erc ent o f th e s a le s s id e o f th e jo b). The fir s t th in g w e c an s a y a b out th is s id e o f th e m anager jo b is th at s e llin g s ti ll m atte rs . T o b e s u re , th ese r e su lts a re n’t s a yin g th at y o ur b est m anagers s p end 2 5 p erc ent o f th eir ti m e s e llin g, b ut th ey d o in d ic ate th at i f w e w ere to e xp la in w hat m akes y o ur b est m anagers s o m uch b ette r th an e v ery o ne e ls e , ro ughly 2 5 p erc ent o f th e r e aso n w ould b e b ecause o f th eir g re at s e llin g s k ills . As a ll s a le s le ad ers k no w , s e llin g s k ills a re n ecessa ry a t ti m es s in ce m anagers a re o fte n a sk ed to co ver v acant s a le s te rrito rie s, to h elp c lo se th e l a rg est s a le s, o r j u st to f ill i n f o r a r e p w ho m ay b e o n le av e. B ut m ore to th e p oin t, m anagers a re a ls o e xp ecte d to b e a b le to m odel g re at s e llin g b ehav io rs fo r th eir te am s. What’ s esp ecia lly in te re sti n g ab out th e “S ellin g” bar on th is chart, ho w ev er, is th e sp ecific attr ib ute s th at r o se to th e to p in sid e th at c ate go ry . H ere , w e s e e th at th e s a m e s k ills th at m atte r m ost fo r m anager s u ccess a re th e e xact sa m e s a le s s k ills w e f o und to m atte r m ost f o r r e p s u ccess: “ O ffe rs th e c usto m er u niq ue p ers p ecti v es,” “ T ailo rs th e o ffe r to th e n eed s o f c usto m ers ,” “ Is c o m fo rta b le dis c ussin g m oney.” T his im plie s th at yo ur best m anagers are lik ely go in g to co m e fr o m yo ur Challe nger r a nks, a nd it h elp s e xp la in w hy to p-p erfo rm in g m anagers a re h eav ily s o ught a fte r fo r th e su p port th ey c an p ro vid e o n th e la rg est, m ost c o m ple x d eals — deals w here C halle nger s k ills , a s w e hav e s e en, a re m ost n eed ed . This b rin gs u s to th e se co nd d riv er, c o achin g, w hic h a cco unts fo r 2 8 p erc ent o f fr o ntl in e sa le s manager effe cti v eness. T he siz e of th is im pact te lls yo u w hat yo u pro bab ly exp ect: C oachin g ab so lu te ly m atte rs w hen it c o m es to s a le s m anagem ent. It is a k ey e le m ent o f m anager e ffe cti v eness and , a s w e h av e l o ng a d vocate d to o ur m em bers , a h uge d riv er o f r e p p erfo rm ance a s w ell. Unlik e s e llin g, h o w ev er, w hic h is a b out a m anager’s a b ility to be a r e p w hen n eed ed , c o achin g is ab out th e m anager w ork in g s id e b y s id e w ith r e p s to s h are h is k no w le d ge, i n sig ht, a nd e xp erie nce to dia gno se a nd c o rre ct s p ecific r e p b ehav io rs k no w n to h in d er h ig h p erfo rm ance. When w e lo ok a t th e sp ecific a ttr ib ute s o f e ffe cti v e c o achin g, w e fin d th at th e fo cus o f th ese co achin g e ffo rts , a t l e ast f o r w orld -c la ss m anagers , i s a gain th e s a m e C halle nger s k ills w e s a w i n th e se llin g cate go ry : “G uid in g re p s to ta ilo r effe cti v ely ,” “S ho w in g re p s ho w and w hen to asse rt co ntr o l,” “ H elp in g re p s th ro ugh c o m ple x n ego ti a ti o ns . ” C oachin g is su ch a n im porta nt p art o f th e manager e ffe cti v eness s to ry th at w e’ll s p end a g o od p orti o n o f th is c hap te r d is c ussin g i t. That s a id , it’ s n o t th e w ho le s to ry . W hile m any s a le s le ad ers h av e c o m e to s im ply e q uate g o od managem ent w ith g o od c o achin g, i t tu rn s o ut th at m anager e xcelle nce i s a m atte r o f p ro vid in g n o t ju st co achin g b ut le ad ers h ip , d ir e cti o n, a nd g uid ance m ore g enera lly . It’ s a b out d em onstr a ti n g e ffe cti v e ow ners h ip o f th e b usin ess. In d eed , o ur a naly sis s h o w s th at m ore th an 4 5 p erc ent o f s a le s m anager excelle nce i s a f u ncti o n o f e xcellin g a t m anagin g th e o vera ll b usin ess. W hile g re at s a le s m anagers a re fa nta sti c at co achin g th eir re p s, th ey’re ev en b ette r at b uild in g th eir b usin ess. G re at co achin g is im porta nt, b ut i t’ s s ti ll o nly p art o f th e s to ry . Yet i f w e w ere to h av e g uesse d , w e w ould h av e s a id th at b ein g a n e ffe cti v e s a le s l e ad er i s m ostl y ab out h o w o ne a llo cate s r e so urc es— th in gs l ik e d riv in g p ro cess c o m plia nce, c o rre cti n g a cti o ns o ut o f ste p w ith th at p ro cess, a nd m anagin g r e so urc es a cro ss th e te rrito ry a s e ffic ie ntl y a s p ossib le . B ut it tu rn s o ut th at’ s n o t th e c ase . A ll o f th ese s k ills a re c ap tu re d in th e re so urc e a llo cati o n c ate go ry — whic h a t ju st o ver 1 6 p erc ent is th e sm alle st b ar o n th e c hart. W hat th at te lls u s is th at re so urc e allo cati o n i s n ’t th e m ost i m porta nt p art o f a s a le s m anager’s j o b. I n f a ct, i t’ s th e le a st im porta nt p art of th e m anager’s j o b. So if “ sa le s le ad ers h ip ” is n ’t a b out re so urc e a llo cati o n, w hat is it a b out? W ell, it tu rn s o ut th at sa le s l e ad ers h ip i s m ostl y a b out h o w i n no vati v e s a le s m anagers a re . Now “ in no vati o n” is a d m itte d ly a lo ad ed te rm th at c an m ean m any th in gs to m any p eo ple . W hat we’re re fe rrin g to h ere is m anagers c o lla b ora ti n g w ith re p s to u nd ers ta nd a s d eep ly a s p ossib le what’ s h o ld in g u p a d eal, fig urin g o ut w hy a nd w here a d eal is r u nnin g in to tr o ub le a t th e c usto m er, and th en fin d in g in no vati v e w ays to m ove it fo rw ard . It’ s im porta nt th at in no vati o n in th is c o nte xt is em phati c ally not a b out c re ati n g a n ew v alu e p ro positi o n o r in v enti n g a n ew s e t o f c ap ab iliti e s o r pro duct fe atu re s. T his is ab out cre ati v ely co nnecti n g th e su p plie r’s exis tin g cap ab iliti e s to each custo m er’s u niq ue e nv ir o nm ent a nd th en p re se nti n g th o se c ap ab iliti e s to th e c usto m er th ro ugh th e sp ecific l e ns o f w hate v er c usto m er o bsta cle i s k eep in g th at d eal f r o m c lo sin g. This is C om mand er’s In te nt a p plie d to th e w orld o f s a le s. It is a b out c re ati v ely m odify in g d eal- le v el s a le s s tr a te gy to a d ap t to th e s p ecific c usto m er c o nte xt— th e “ re ality o n th e g ro und ,” a s i t w ere . What th is “ S ale s In no vati o n” fa cto r te lls u s is th at s ta r-p erfo rm in g m anagers h av e a n u ncanny a b ility to u nsti c k s tu ck d eals a nd g et th em c lo se d . Noti c e h o w d iffe re nt th is is fr o m c o achin g. C oachin g is a b out d riv in g p erfo rm ance a ro und k no w n behav io rs . I t’ s a p erfe ct a p pro ach to s a le s m anagem ent i n a w orld c hara cte riz e d b y a p re d ic ta b le p ath to s u ccess. I n no vati o n, o n th e o th er h and , i s a b out d riv in g p erfo rm ance th ro ugh u nfo re se en o bsta cle s. It’ s b est s u ite d to a w orld o f d ynam ic a nd u nexp ecte d e v ents . I n c o achin g, th e m anager a lr e ad y k no w s th e a nsw er a nd i m parts i t to th e r e p . I n i n no vati o n, n eith er th e r e p n o r th e m anager k no w s th e a nsw er, so in ste ad th ey c o lla b ora te th ro ugh th e m anager’s le ad ers h ip to d is c o ver a n e ffe cti v e p ath fo rw ard . You c an’t c o ach w hat y o u d on’t k no w , b ut y o u ca n i n no vate . Arg uab ly th e b ig gest f in d in g f r o m a ll o f o ur w ork o n s a le s m anagers i s j u st h o w i m porta nt th is s k ill re ally is . A t 2 9 p erc ent, s a le s in no vati o n is th e s in gle b ig gest s a le s-re la te d a ttr ib ute c o ntr ib uti n g to world -c la ss s a le s m anager p erfo rm ance— more i m porta nt th an s e llin g s k ills a nd m uch m ore i m porta nt th an a m anager’s a b ility to a llo cate r e so urc es. While c o achin g i s a c lo se s e co nd a t 2 8 p erc ent, w hat’ s s o i n te re sti n g a b out s a le s i n no vati o n i s th at, unlik e sa le s c o achin g, w hic h h as re ceiv ed a huge a m ount o f ti m e a nd a tte nti o n o ver th e la st fiv e years , it is n ’t so m eth in g th at m ost sa le s le ad ers h av e e v er re ally th o ught a b out in a ny sy ste m ati c fa sh io n b efo re . If g iv en a b la nk s h eet o f p ap er a nd a sk ed to l is t th e f o ur to f iv e a ttr ib ute s th at a cco unt f o r m anager su ccess, h o w m any o f u s, u np ro m pte d , w ould h av e i n clu d ed a nyth in g o th er th an s e llin g, c o achin g, a nd re so urc e a llo cati o n o n th at l is t? A nd y et th e d ata te lls u s th at s a le s i n no vati o n i s a d is ti n ctl y i m porta nt se t o f a ttr ib ute s. I n th eir s u rv ey r e sp onse s, r e p s o fte n r a nked a m anager h ig h o n c o achin g a ttr ib ute s b ut lo w o n s a le s i n no vati o n a ttr ib ute s, o r v ic e v ers a . T he tw o s k ills m oved i n d ep end entl y o f o ne a no th er. Sale s i n no vati o n i s th e m is sin g l in k i n te rm s o f f u lly r e aliz in g th e b enefits o f th e C halle nger S ellin g Model. E ven a rm ed w ith th e b est te achin g p itc hes a nd h o ned c ap ab iliti e s fo r ta ilo rin g a nd ta kin g co ntr o l— ev en w ith str o ng sa le s m anagers w ho co ach to th ese behav io rs and can m odel th e Challe nger se llin g b ehav io rs th em se lv es— many d eals w ill sti ll n o t h ap pen. W hile th e C halle nger model i n cre ase s th e l ik elih o od th at d eals w ill m ove th ro ugh th e f u nnel, b eati n g th e s ta tu s q uo i s a h ard ta sk . C usto m ers a re r e lu cta nt to c hange. T he r e q uir e m ents f o r c o nse nsu s c o nti n ue to e xp and . D ecis io n makers w ill co nti n ue to cho ose “no decis io n” ev en over a good decis io n. T his is w here th e in no vati v e m anager c o m es in . A rm ed w ith th e a b ility to in no vate a t th e d eal le v el, th e m anager c an help th e r e p to a v oid “ no -d ecis io n l a nd ” m ore o fte n th an th e r e p — ev en a C halle nger r e p — can o n h er ow n. It’ s a c riti c al c ap ab ility in th e b attl e to s e ll in cre asin gly c o m ple x s o lu ti o ns to u nd ers ta nd ab ly ev er m ore r e lu cta nt c usto m ers . For m ost s a le s l e ad ers o n a m is sio n to i m pro ve th e e ffe cti v eness o f th eir f r o ntl in e s a le s m anagers , th ese d ata re v eal a h uge u nta p ped o pportu nity to d ra m ati c ally im pro ve s a le s m anager p erfo rm ance. Because o f th at, w e’re g o in g to s p end s o m e ti m e in th is c hap te r d ig gin g in to th is c o ncep t o f s a le s in no vati o n to u nd ers ta nd w hat it is , h o w it w ork s, a nd , m ost im porta nt, h o w w e c an b uild it m ore sy ste m ati c ally i n to o ur e nti r e s a le s m anager p opula ti o n. Befo re w e g et in to th is n o ti o n o f s a le s in no vati o n in m ore d eta il, h o w ev er, it fir s t m akes s e nse to engage i n a d eep er d is c ussio n a ro und s a le s c o achin g. F orm aliz e d s a le s c o achin g r e p re se nts o ne o f th e big gest o pportu niti e s to im pro ve r e p p erfo rm ance in a c o m ple x s a le s e nv ir o nm ent, b ut it is a ls o o ne of th e m ost m is u nd ers to od a nd m is m anaged p ro ducti v ity l e v ers . CO AC H IN G T O T H E K NO W N T o u nd ers ta nd w hy c o achin g is o fte n m is m anaged b y sa le s o rg aniz a ti o ns, w e n eed to sta rt w ith a d efin iti o n o f c o achin g. This is th e d efin iti o n o f co achin g th at w e’v e esta b lis h ed w ith th e help o f a w ork in g te am o f m em bers : “ A n o ngo in g a nd d ynam ic s e rie s o f jo b-e m bed ded in te ra cti o ns b etw een a s a le s m anager a nd d ir e ct r e p ort, d esig ned to d ia gno se , c o rre ct, a nd r e in fo rc e b ehav io rs s p ecific to th at i n d iv id ual.” T his d efin iti o n l a ys o ut th e f o und ati o n o f c o achin g, a nd a ls o h o w i t d iffe rs f r o m tr a in in g. There a re a fe w p oin ts w e a lw ays e m phasiz e w ith o ur m em bers in te rm s o f th is d efin iti o n. F ir s t, c o achin g is ongoin g —it’ s c o nti n uo us a s o ppose d to a o ne-o ff e v ent o r se rie s o f tr a in in g e v ents . S eco nd , it in v olv es d ia gno sis s p ecific to th e in d iv id ual re p — so c o achin g is cu sto m iz e d . W here as t r a in in g ty p ic ally in v olv es a o ne-s iz e -fits -a ll a p pro ach o f d eliv erin g th e s a m e te achin g in th e s a m e f o rm at to e v ery o ne, c o achin g i s c o m ple te ly ta ilo re d to a n i n d iv id ual r e p ’s s p ecific n eed s. A nd f in ally , c o achin g is beh avio ra l —it’ s n o t ju st a b out o bta in in g s k ill a nd k no w le d ge; it’ s a b out d em onstr a te d a p plic ati o n o f th at s k ill a nd k no w le d ge. None o f th is is to su ggest th at tr a in in g h as n o v alu e. T ra in in g is g o od fo r sh arin g k no w le d ge. C oachin g is a b out a cti n g u p on it. T he u niq ue a d vanta ges o f c o achin g s te m fr o m h o w it’ s ta ilo re d to t h e in d iv id ual a nd s y ste m ati c ally d eliv ere d a t th e p oin t o f n eed . M any o rg aniz a ti o ns d efin e c o achin g s im ply a s “ in fo rm al tr a in in g,” b ut o ur re se arc h h as s h o w n th at e ffe cti v e c o achin g is , in fa ct, v ery f o rm al. I t’ s h ig hly s tr u ctu re d a nd r e gula rly s c hed ule d . In th e c o nv ers a ti o ns w e h av e w ith o ur m em bers o n th is to pic , th ere i s a no th er i m porta nt d is ti n cti o n w e m ake, w hic h is h o w c o achin g d iffe rs fr o m managin g . W hile m ost fr o ntl in e m anagers w e s p eak w ith m ain ta in th at th ey d o c o ach, fo r m any, th o se e ffo rts a m ount to littl e m ore th an m anagin g. W e “ te ll” r a th er th an “ ask ,” w e “ d o” r a th er th an “ guid e.” The B usin ess C ase f o r S ale s C oach in g F ig ure 8 .3 ( p age 1 52)— whic h is o ne o f th e fin d in gs th e C ouncil is b est k no w n fo r— sh o w s th e h uge i m pact th at e ffe cti v e c o achin g c an h av e o n a s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n. When yo u im pro ve co achin g q uality , th e p erfo rm ance curv e d oesn ’t sh ift, it tip s . T he m id dle m oves, b ut th e f e et d on’t. W hat e xactl y d oes th at i m ply ? F ir s t, m ovin g f r o m b elo w -a v era ge to a b ove- a v era ge co achin g ap pears to hav e littl e im pact on our w eakest perfo rm ers , w hic h se em s c o unte rin tu iti v e. Y ou’d i m agin e th at th ese r e p s w ould b e th e e asie st p eo ple to g et a p erfo rm ance p op f r o m i f y o u j u st c o ached th em a l ittl e b ette r. B ut th e b otto m l e ft o f th at c hart te lls u s j u st th e o pposite . Y ou c an’t c o ach a w ay a b ad f it f o r a j o b. S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .3 . D is tr ib uti o n o f R ela ti v e S ale s R ep P erfo rm ance b y C oachin g E ffe cti v eness Lik ew is e , th e sh ift fr o m w eak to str o ng co achin g doesn ’t hav e m uch of an im pact on sta r p erfo rm ers e ith er. T his fin d in g is a ls o a b it c o unte rin tu iti v e, s in ce y o u’d lik e to th in k th at c o achin g c o uld m ake s ta rs e v en m ore s te lla r. T he a nalo gy w e u se is a p ro fe ssio nal g o lfe r. M any o f th em h av e s w in g c o aches a nd th ey w ork w ith th em a ll th e ti m e. B ut i n th e e nd , th ey a re h o pin g to s h av e mayb e a s tr o ke o ff th eir a v era ge. T hey’re a lr e ad y h ig h p erfo rm ers ; th ey a re o nly l o okin g f o r s lig ht, i n cre m enta l i m pro vem ents b eyo nd th eir c urre nt l e v el o f p la y. But if y o u’re a c o re p erfo rm er, th e q uality o f th e c o achin g y o u r e ceiv e h as a s ig nific ant im pact o n y o ur p erfo rm ance. T he d ata f r o m o ur r e se arc h s u ggests th at th e m ed ia n p erfo rm ers o n y o ur s a le s f o rc e c o uld se e a p erfo rm ance b oost o f a s m uch a s 1 9 p erc ent g iv en a sig nific ant im pro vem ent in th e c o achin g th ey r e ceiv e. T he i m pact o f s im ply m ovin g f r o m th e b otto m th ir d to th e to p th ir d o f c o achin g e ffe cti v eness w ould s ti ll r e su lt in a p erfo rm ance g ain o f b etw ee n 6 a nd 8 p erc ent fo r th e c o re o f th e s a le s f o rc e. N ot m any i n v estm ents c an d eliv er th at s o rt o f p ro ducti v ity l ift to a s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n. This is n ’t ju st th eo re ti c al im pact; it’ s r e al. W e’v e s e en th is fr o m th e m ajo rity o f th e o rg aniz a ti o ns w e w ork w ith th at h av e e m bark ed o n th is c o achin g jo urn ey. O ne o f o ur m em bers , a m ajo r p la yer in th e in su ra nce in d ustr y , s a w a r e su lt s im ila r to w hat o ur d ata s u ggests : a 1 0 p erc ent im pro vem ent in re p p erfo rm ance fo r th o se re p s w ho p arti c ip ate d in th e c o m pany’s n ew c o achin g p ro gra m v ers u s th o se w ho d id n’t. Coachin g m atte rs . F orm aliz e d c o achin g r e p re se nts a h uge p erfo rm ance i m pro vem ent o pportu nity i n a c o m ple x s a le s e nv ir o nm ent. It c an m ake th e d iffe re nce b etw een h itti n g o r m is sin g g o al fo r th e b ulk of yo ur sa le s fo rc e. O ur str o ng re co m mend ati o n to our m em bers lo okin g to im pro ve sa le s perfo rm ance is to d o a w ay w ith c o achin g d em ocra ti c ally — th at is to s a y, c o achin g e v ery o ne e q ually —and in ste ad sh ift th e m ajo rity o f th eir c o achin g fo cus a w ay fr o m lo w a nd sta r p erfo rm ers a nd to w ard th e c o re . What’ s m ore , it tu rn s o ut th at c o achin g is n ’t ju st a h uge d riv er o f s a le s p erfo rm ance— it’ s a ls o a majo r f a cto r i n e m plo yee r e te nti o n a nd w hat w e c all “ d is c re ti o nary ,” o r e xtr a , e ffo rt. T his w as o ne o f th e b om bsh ell f in d in gs f r o m o ur o rig in al q uanti ta ti v e s tu d y o n th is to pic , a s i t s h o w ed j u st h o w m uch im pact c o achin g q uality c an h av e o n e m plo yee m ora le . W hat th e d ata te lls u s is th is : G ood c o aches make p eo ple w ant to sta y. B ad co aches, o n th e o th er hand , cre ate a fu nd am enta lly d em ora liz in g env ir o nm ent a nd d riv e p eo ple fr o m th e o rg aniz a ti o n. T his is tr u e n o t ju st fo r o ur lo w p erfo rm ers b ut als o f o r o ur c o re a nd s ta r p erfo rm ers . To c o rro bora te th is f in d in g, w e a ls o c ut th e d ata b y d is c re ti o nary e ffo rt. W e i n clu d ed a q uesti o n i n our s u rv ey th at a sk ed ju st h o w m uch e ffo rt p eo ple p ut in to th eir w ork in g d ay in s a le s. E sse nti a lly , what w e fo und is th at b ad c o achin g a nd b ad m anagers m ake p eo ple w ant to g iv e u p . F ro m lo w – perfo rm in g re p s to o ur su p ers ta rs , n o ne o f th em c an b e b oth ere d if th ey d on’t fe el th ey’re g etti n g effe cti v e c o achin g f r o m th eir m anagers . C oachin g q uality m atte rs . Giv e S ale s M anagers S om eth in g t o C oach T o W hen it c o m es to d eliv erin g q uality c o achin g, th e k ey le sso n w e’v e le arn ed fr o m s e v era l y ears o f r e se arc hin g th is to pic i s th at m anagers c an’t c o ach e ffe cti v ely u nle ss th ey h av e s o m eth in g to c o ach to . Y ou c an’t j u st s a y, “ G o f o rth a nd c o ach.” Y ou h av e to m ake i t c o ncre te f o r y o ur m anagers . T hey n eed t o h av e s o m eth in g to c o ach to : a c le ar u nd ers ta nd in g o f w hat “ go od” lo oks lik e in y o ur o rg aniz a ti o n w hen i t c o m es to s a le s ( i.e ., a h yp oth esis ). While w e’v e d ocum ente d a w ho le ra nge o f c o achin g b est p ra cti c es, to ols , a nd te m pla te s a t th e C ouncil, o ne o f th e s m arte st ta cti c s w e’v e s e en e m plo yed f o r b oo sti n g s a le s c o achin g q uality c am e to u s f r o m o ne o f o ur m em bers i n th e f in ancia l s e rv ic es i n d ustr y . T hey b uilt th eir n ew c o achin g p ro cess d ir e ctl y on to p of th eir exis ti n g sa le s pro cess, so th at m anagers ’ co achin g effo rts are dir e ctl y e m bed ded i n to th e s a le s a cti v iti e s th ey’re a lr e ad y p urs u in g w ith th eir s a le s te am . In fig ure 8 .4 , y o u s e e a g eneric iz e d v ers io n o f w hat th is c o m pany b uilt fo r th eir s a le s m anagers . E ach s a le s p ro cess s ta ge h as a d iffe re nt s e t o f o bje cti v es. T hese a re th e b ehav io rs c riti c al to th at s ta ge th at th e c o m pany w ants to re in fo rc e. T he to ol a ls o o ffe rs a n um ber o f sa m ple q uesti o ns a m anager m ig ht ask to engage his re p s in a co achin g co nv ers a ti o n aro und th e o bje cti v es o f th at p arti c ula r s ta ge. If y o u lo ok a t th e fir s t s ta ge, “ O pportu nity C re ati o n,” a s a n e xam ple , th e m anager c an c o nsu lt th is c hart to v erify th e s p ecific o bje cti v es a nd a cti v iti e s a sso cia te d w ith th is s ta ge in th e s a le s p ro cess. T hin gs lik e s e tti n g a nd c o nfir m in g a c le ar o bje cti v e fo r th e s a le s c all, a nd c o m ple ti n g s u ffic ie nt p re – c all r e se arc h— th in gs y o ur h ig h p erfo rm ers a re p ro bab ly a lr e ad y d oin g. T hen, b elo w th at, y o u s e e th e q uesti o ns th e m anager c an u se to e lic it h o w th e r e p i s p urs u in g th o se o bje cti v es: f o r e xam ple , “ W hat i s y o ur p rim ary o bje cti v e f o r th is c all? ” We’v e fo und th at w hat o fte n h ap pens is th at m anagers fo cus o n o utc o m es r a th er th an b ehav io rs in c o achin g c o nv ers a ti o ns, s a yin g th in gs l ik e, “ Y our c o nv ers io n r a te i s w ay d ow n. W hat’ s th e p ro ble m ? A re n’t y o u f o llo w in g th e p ro cess? ” T hat’ s n o t r e ally w hat y o u s h o uld b e a fte r. S om e m em bers l ik e to c all th at “ sp re ad sh eet c o achin g.” I t’ s f o cuse d o n b usin ess r e su lts , n o t b ehav io rs , a nd i t’ s d eliv ere d i n a o ne-s iz e -fits -a ll m anner— ev ery b ody g ets th e e xact sa m e tr e atm ent. B ut d one w ell, c o achin g is a b out b ehav io rs , n o t o utc o m es. A nd th at’ s e xactl y w hat m akes th is to ol s o e ffe cti v e. E ven b ette r, a ll o f th is is c ap tu re d o n a o ne-p age r o ad m ap th at is r e ally n o t m uch m ore c o m plic ate d th an w hat y o u s e e h ere . In fa ct, th is c o m pany’s s a le s m anagers c arry la m in ate d v ers io ns o f th is p age w ith th em in t h eir b ags. Sourc e : S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h Fig ure 8 .4 . S ale s P ro ces-A lig ned C oachin g G uid e This is th e p erfe ct c heat s h eet to ju m p-s ta rt c o achin g c o nv ers a ti o ns— with o ut r e q uir in g a b unch o f pro ced ura l h o ops, tr a in in g, a nd a d m in . In a w orld w here m ost m anagers a re , a t b est, s k ep ti c al a b out co achin g, a to ol lik e th is g o es a lo ng w ay b y g iv in g m anagers a p ra cti c al, n o nin -tr u siv e fr a m ew ork fo r c o achin g th at is n ’t o vere ngin eere d a nd th at d oesn ’t re q uir e th em to d ra m ati c ally c hange th eir behav io r. In a p pend ix A , w e’v e p ro vid ed a n e xcerp t o f o ur m anager c o achin g g uid e b uilt s p ecific ally to h elp re in fo rc e th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel ( y o u c an d ow nlo ad th e fu ll v ers io n a t o ur W eb s ite ). T his is th e sa m e to ol our Solu ti o ns gro up use s in its Challe nger D ev elo pm ent Pro gra m . Lik e th e afo re m enti o ned s a le s p ro cess– alig ned c o achin g g uid e o n p age 1 55, i t m ap s to th e p illa rs o f th e m odel —te achin g, ta ilo rin g, a nd ta kin g c o ntr o l— pro vid in g m anagers w ith g uid ance a ro und w hat “ go od” lo oks lik e fo r e ach o f th ese c riti c al b ehav io rs , a s w ell a s sta rte r q uesti o ns to fa cilita te c o achin g dis c ussio ns. Help M anagers t o “ PA USE ” f o r E ffe ctiv e C oach in g T he im porta nce o f th e m anager— and , sp ecific ally , th e m anager’s ro le as co ach— in m akin g th e C halle nger m odel s ti c k is a lm ost im possib le to o vers ta te . G iv en th e im porta nce o f g o od c o achin g to d riv in g b ehav io r c hange o f th is so rt, w e te ll o ur m em bers to sta rt fr o m th e a ssu m pti o n th at th eir c o achin g p ro gra m i s p ro bab ly n o t w ork in g a s w ell a s i t s h o uld b e. In our S E C ’s S olu ti o ns gro up , w e’v e w ork ed w ith doze ns of co m panie s to help th eir sa le s m anagers im pro ve th eir co achin g ab iliti e s, te ach d eal in no vati o n sk ills , and o th erw is e ra is e th e q uality o f th e fr o ntl in e m anager c o rp s. O ne o f th e k ey c o m ponents o f o ur M anager D ev elo pm ent P ro gra m is “H yp oth esis -B ase d C oachin g,” w hic h w e th in k ad dre sse s th e m ost perv asiv e is su e c o m panie s s tr u ggle w ith w hen it c o m es to c o achin g: g etti n g m anagers to e xecute th e “ d oub le ju m p,” f r o m pro duct- s e llin g re p to so lu ti o n-s e llin g manager, beco m in g exp erts in obse rv in g sa le s i n te ra cti o ns a s w ell a s e xp erts in c o achin g b ase d o n th o se in te ra cti o ns. H ence, H yp oth esis -B ase d C oachin g, w here m anagers e nte r c o achin g c o nv ers a ti o ns w ith a c le ar h yp oth esis o f w hat “ go od” l o oks l ik e. Hyp oth esis -B ase d C oachin g l e v era ges a p ow erfu l f r a m ew ork c alle d “ PA USE ,” a nd i t’ s s o m eth in g w e e nco ura ge a ll o f o ur m em bers to u se w ith th eir m anagers . H ere ’s w hat P A USE s ta nd s f o r: • Pre p ara tio n fo r th e C oach in g C onversa tio n: M anagers need to d o p ro per and th o ro ugh pre p ara ti o n in a d vance o f a ny c o achin g s e ssio n. T his p ro vid es c o nti n uity b etw een c o achin g ev ents . A nd b y th in kin g th ro ugh w hic h s ta ge o f th e s a le s p ro cess th e r e p is in , m anagers c an te ll w hat b ehav io rs a re g o in g to b e c riti c al, w hic h is th e fir s t s te p to s o lv in g th e o bse rv ati o n pro ble m o f s itu ati o nal v aria ti o n. • Affir m t h e R ela tio nsh ip : I f th e r e p i s n ’t r e ad y to h ear th e c o achin g a nd b uy i n to th e m anager’s ro le as co ach, th e co achin g effo rt w ill be w aste d . M anagers need to be ta ught ho w to em phasiz e d ev elo pm ent b y s e p ara ti n g p erfo rm ance m anagem ent f r o m c o achin g i n te ra cti o ns— th ere i s a lw ays a g ra y l in e, b ut i t i s p ossib le to c re ate “ sa fe ” s itu ati o ns f o r c o achin g to o ccur. • Understa nd Exp ecte d (O bse rv ed ) Beh avio r: The challe nge fo r many managers is und ers ta nd in g w hat th ey are se ein g and w hat to lo ok fo r w hen obse rv in g th eir re p s. If managers u nd ers ta nd w hat s h o uld b e h ap penin g in a m eeti n g, it’ s m uch e asie r to k no w if it is hap penin g. • Specify B eh avio r C hange: If m anagers k no w w hat d efin es c riti c al b ehav io rs a nd h av e a n obje cti v e s ta nd ard fo r ju d gin g th o se b ehav io rs , it’ s v ery e asy fo r th em to p ro vid e s p ecific obje cti v e fe ed back. T his p re v ents c o achin g fr o m b ein g g eneric , su b je cti v e, ill fo cuse d , o r overw helm in g. • Em bed N ew B eh avio rs: T he p urp ose h ere i s to m ove a c o achin g p ro gra m a w ay f r o m b ein g a ll ab out th e c o achin g m om ent a nd i n ste ad m ake i t a n i n sti tu ti o naliz e d p ro cess. C om panie s s h o uld pro vid e to ols th at a llo w m anagers to c re ate a cti o n p la ns f o r e ach o f th eir r e p s, g iv e c o nti n uity to m anagers ’ c o achin g c o nv ers a ti o ns, a nd g iv e s e co nd -lin e s a le s m anagers a q uanti ta ti v e a nd qualita ti v e v ie w i n to th eir m anagers ’ c o achin g a cti v iti e s a nd a b iliti e s. Again , w e lik e th is fr a m ew ork b ecause it su rm ounts so m e o f th e b ig o bsta cle s to d eliv erin g c o achin g e ffe cti v ely . W e a ls o f in d th at th e n o ti o n o f P A USE c an b e p ow erfu l f o r th e m anager b ecause it su ggests th is id ea o f slo w in g d ow n a nd th in kin g th ro ugh th e in te nt a nd p urp ose o f th e c o achin g in te ra cti o n a s o ppose d to m akin g it a “ check th e b ox” a cti v ity a s m ost ti m e-p re sse d s a le s m anagers are natu ra lly in clin ed to do. T his ap pro ach help s ensu re th at one co achin g co nv ers a ti o n is a co nti n uati o n o f th e l a st. I t h elp s m anagers to k eep c o achin g o bje cti v e a nd p re sc rip ti v e a s i t f o cuse s o n docum ente d d ev elo pm ent o pportu niti e s. G etti n g c o achin g rig ht is h ard w ork , b ut ig no rin g it is fa r more p ain fu l— esp ecia lly f o r a n o rg aniz a ti o n tr y in g to i n sta ll a n a m biti o us c hange l ik e th e C halle nger Sellin g M odel— th an ta kin g th e ti m e to m ake s u re i t’ s p ro perly d esig ned a nd e xecute d . We’v e s p ent a f a ir a m ount o f ti m e ta lk in g a b out c o achin g b ecause i t a b so lu te ly i s a p illa r o f w orld – cla ss sa le s m anagem ent. H ow ev er, if w e go back to th e re su lts of our analy sis of m anager effe cti v eness fr o m earlie r in th is chap te r, o ne o f th e su rp ris e s to o ur m em bers is o fte n th at th e co achin g b ar i s n ’t a ctu ally big ger . B efo re w e r e le ase d th ese r e su lts , m any o f o ur m em bers s p ecula te d th at a g o od 5 0 p erc ent o r m ore o f m anager e xcelle nce w ould b e a ttr ib uta b le to w heth er th ey p ro vid e th at c o achin g e ffe cti v ely . That’ s n o t th e c ase . I t’ s f u nd am enta lly i m porta nt, o f c o urs e , b ut w hile c o achin g i s c erta in ly c ru cia l fo r re p e xcelle nce, w e n o w k no w th at th ere ’s m uch m ore to th e s to ry o f m anager e xcelle nce. L et’ s ta ke a l o ok a t th e l a st e le m ent o f m anager e ffe cti v eness, s a le s i n no vati o n. IN NO VA T IN G A R O UND T H E U NK NO W N If s a le s in no vati o n is th e m anager a ttr ib ute th at m atte rs m ost, w hat d oes th at m ean s a le s m anagers s h o uld a ctu ally d o i n o rd er to i n no vate ? Fig ure 8 .5 s h o w s th e n in e a ttr ib ute s th at ro se to th e to p a s m ost im porta nt in d efin in g th e s a le s i n no vati o n fa cto r. A s y o u c an se e, th ese a ttr ib ute s su m in to th re e k ey sa le s in no vati o n a cti v iti e s: i n v esti g ate , c re ate , a nd s h are . In v esti g ati n g is a ll a b out th e m anager’s a b ility to d ete rm in e w hat e xactl y is g etti n g in th e w ay o f a d vancin g a s a le . W ho ’s i n v olv ed ? W hat d ecis io n c rite ria w ill th ey c o nsid er? W hat k in d o f f in ancia l c o ncern s m ig ht g et in o ur w ay? T he in no vati v e m anager w ork s c lo se ly w ith re p s to m ap o ut, in a s m uch d eta il a s p ossib le , th e c usto m er’s d ecis io n-m akin g p ro cess f o r a ny g iv en d eal— parti c ula rly o ne t h at’ s s ta lle d s o m ew here a lo ng th e l in e. S ourc e : S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .5 . C om ponents o f S ale s I n no vati o n This is im porta nt, n o t ju st b ecause m ost su p plie rs h av e o nly m in im al in fo rm ati o n o n h o w th eir c usto m ers m ake decis io ns, but because yo ur custo m ers ofte n are n’t su re th em se lv es ho w th eir o rg aniz a ti o n m akes d ecis io ns. A dd to th at y o ur o w n e ffo rts to s e ll m ore c o m ple x s o lu ti o ns to b oth n ew a nd e xis ti n g c usto m ers a nd y o u’re le ft fa cin g a n in fin ite ly c o m ple x a rra y o f p ossib le d eal- le v el o bsta cle s. T his i s th e b attl e fie ld w here th e i n no vati v e m anager r e ally th riv es: c o lla b ora ti n g w ith r e p s t o c re ati v ely i d enti fy w here a s p ecific d eal i s b ogged d ow n a nd th en d ete rm in e h o w to s h ake i t l o ose . The s e co nd w ay i n no vati v e m anagers s ta nd o ut i s b y c re ati n g s o lu ti o ns. W e a re n o t s u ggesti n g th at y o u sh o uld em pow er fr o ntl in e sa le s m anagers to co bble to geth er new so lu ti o ns or in v ent new s e rv ic es. R em em ber, th is is n ’t pro duct in no vati o n, it’ s sa le s in no vati o n. B ut th at sti ll le av es i n no vati v e m anagers s ig nific ant l a ti tu d e to i n no vate a t th e d eal l e v el. T his m ig ht i n clu d e r e p ositi o nin g t h e su p plie r’s c ap ab iliti e s to b ette r c o nnect to th e c usto m er’s c halle nges o r sh ifti n g ris k fr o m th e c usto m er to th e s u p plie r in e xchange fo r a lo nger-te rm c o ntr a ct o r a ccess to a d diti o nal c ro ss-s a le o pportu niti e s. All o f y o ur m anagers sp end a lo t o f ti m e w ith re p s w ork in g o n d eals , b ut m ost o f th at ti m e is pro bab ly s p ent c heckin g in o n th eir w ork : “ D id y o u c all th em b ack?” “ D id y o u s e nd th e p ro posa l? ” “D id y o u m enti o n th e o pti o nal s e rv ic e p ackage?” T hat’ s n o t s o lu ti o n c re ati o n, it’ s d eal in sp ecti o n, and w e’d v entu re to s a y i t ta kes u p a g o od 7 0 to 8 0 p erc ent o f th e ti m e y o ur m anagers s p end w ith th eir re p s. B y c o ntr a st, in no vati o n is n ’t a b out c heckin g u p o n th e r e p . It’ s a b out c o -c re ati o n ( i.e ., th o ught partn ers h ip ) w ith o ut v alu e ju d gm ent, a b out w ork in g to geth er c o lla b ora ti v ely to fin d a b ette r w ay to ad vance a d eal. A t th e e nd o f th e d ay, y o u’ll w ant y o ur m anagers f o cusin g th eir i n no vati o n e ffo rts o n th o se d eals w here th e s ta kes a re th e h ig hest— in o th er w ord s, w here th eir i n no vati o n ti m e a nd e ffo rt i s lik ely to p ay th e b ig gest re tu rn s. A nd if yo u th in k ab out it, w e all hav e a fe w tr u ly in no vati v e managers . T hey’re th e o nes w ho a lw ays f in d a w ay to g et a d eal d one— ev en th e o nes th at l o oked a s th o ugh th ey h ad n o c hance a t a ll o f m akin g it. A nd it’ s th e s o lu ti o ns th ey c o m e u p w ith th at o fte n beco m e th e s tu ff o f i n te ro ffic e l e gend a cro ss th e s a le s te am . “ D id y o u h ear h o w B ob m anaged to h elp Cin d y c lo se th e S m ith a cco unt? ” “ Y eah, th at w as b rillia nt! H ow d oes h e c o m e u p w ith th is s tu ff? ” One o f o ur m em bers c alle d th ese m anagers “ sa le s n in ja s.” I t’ s a f u nny te rm , b ut w hen y o u th in k a b out it, i t k in d o f f its . T hese p eo ple a re m aste rs o f e v ery to ol o f th e tr a d e. T hey c an f in d a w ay i n w hen n o one e ls e c an. Fin ally , i n no vati v e m anagers e agerly a nd a cti v ely s h are th e f r u it o f th eir i n no vati o n e ffo rts . T here ’s huge v alu e in b ein g a b le to re p lic ate th e a p plic ati o n o f th at in no vati o n e ls e w here if y o u c an ju st cap tu re it in w ays th at o th ers c an le arn fr o m . T his is h o w y o u g et s c ale fr o m a ll th o se in no vati o n effo rts . In no vati v e m anagers a re a ll a b out s h arin g b est p ra cti c es, d ev elo pin g a nd s u sta in in g a s tr o ng re la ti o nsh ip n etw ork in sid e th e o rg aniz a ti o n, a nd p assin g n ew id eas a nd s o lu ti o ns to th e re st o f th e te am . So n o w th at w e’v e g o t a b ette r se nse o f w hat sa le s in no vati o n is a ll a b out, le t’ s g o b ack a nd co m pare it w ith th e o th er p art o f th e o w ners h ip c ate go ry o f m anager e xcelle nce. T here a re so m e re ally im porta nt im plic ati o ns w e w ill d is c uss re gard in g ho w w ell re so urc e allo cati o n and sa le s in no vati o n c an p eacefu lly c o exis t. World s in C onflic t W hen w e d is c usse d th e “ p ortr a it o f a w orld -c la ss s a le s m anager” e arlie r i n th is c hap te r, y o u’ll r e call t h at th e re q uir e d p ro file o f th e s a le s m anager h as re ally c hanged to b eco m e m ore o f a le a dersh ip p ro file . W orld -c la ss m anagers to day a re d efin ed n o t j u st b y th eir a b ility to c o ach to th e kn ow n , b ut b y t h eir a b ility to i n no vate a ro und th e unkn ow n . This is criti c ally im porta nt fo r an org aniz a ti o n purs u in g th e C halle nger m odel. Even w ith C halle ngers a rm ed w ith e ffe cti v e te achin g p itc hes a nd th e r ig ht s k ills to ta ilo r a nd ta ke c o ntr o l o f th e s a le , o verc o m in g th e c usto m er’s s ta tu s q uo i s n o t g o in g to h ap pen 1 00 p erc ent o f th e ti m e. M any d eals w ill s ti ll g o o ff th e r a ils a nd g et b ogged d ow n. H ere ’s w here a n i n no vati v e m anager c an m ake a ll th e d iffe re nce b etw een c lo sin g a d eal a nd c halk in g u p a no th er l o ss to “ no d ecis io n.” Unfo rtu nate ly , y o u’ll a ls o r e call th at w hen it c o m es to b oosti n g m anager e ffe cti v eness, m ost s a le s l e ad ers te nd to p la ce th eir b ig gest b et o n re so urc e a llo ca tio n —th at is , d ir e cti n g fr o ntl in e sa le s m anagers to m ore e ffic ie ntl y m anage th eir l im ite d r e so urc es th ro ugh b ette r te rrito ry m anagem ent, d eal q ualific ati o n, a nd s a le s p ro cess c o m plia nce. W hen y o u th in k a b out i t, th at’ s w hat r e so urc e a llo cati o n i s a ll a b out: e ffic ie ncy. S ale s i n no vati o n, o n th e o th er h and , i s v ery m uch a b out e ffe cti v eness. Yet a s f ig ure 8 .6 ( p age 1 62) s h o w s, w hen y o u l o ok a t th e i m pact o f a n e ffic ie ncy f o cus o n m anager p erfo rm ance c o m pare d w ith a n e ffe cti v eness fo cus, y o u fin d th at a n e ffe cti v eness fo cus h as n early t w ic e th e i m pact o f a n e ffic ie ncy a p pro ach. S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .6 . T he R ela ti v e I m pact o f R eso urc e A llo cati o n a nd S ale s I n no vati o n o n M anager Effe cti v eness Now , ju st to b e c le ar, w e w ould n ev er s a y th at d riv in g p ro cess e ffic ie ncy is w ro ng fo r a s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n. B ut e ffic ie ncy is a ll a b out d oin g w hat y o u alr e a dy k n ow h ow to d o b ette r a nd b ette r. L et’ s g et th e r ig ht r e p s c hasin g th e r ig ht c usto m ers , e ngaged in th e r ig ht a cti v iti e s. A nd le t’ s d o th at a gain a nd a gain a nd a gain . I f p ossib le , f a ste r e ach ti m e. But th at k in d o f s in gle -tr a ck f o cus o n e ffic ie ncy o nly w ork s i f e v ery d eal i s th e s a m e. I f y o u l iv e i n a w orld o f k no w ab le n eed s, fin d ab le b usin ess, a nd p re d ic ta b le c usto m er b ehav io r, th en lo ck d ow n p ro cess a nd c o ach th e h eck o ut o f it. F or m ost s a le s m anagers , th at’ s a p re tty a ccura te d esc rip ti o n o f t h eir w orld s fiv e o r s ix y ears a go , w hen s tr a ig htf o rw ard p ro duct s e llin g w as s ti ll a r e la ti v ely la rg e p art o f th eir b usin ess. B ut th at’ s n o t th e w orld m ost s a le s l e ad ers a re l iv in g i n to day. I f th ey’re g o in g t o g ro w r e v enue i n to day’s e nv ir o nm ent, d riv in g e ffic ie ncy a ro und th e kn ow n m ust g iv e w ay— in p art a t l e ast— to a n a b ility to c o lla b ora ti v ely i n no vate a ro und th e unkn ow n . A s o ne m em ber to ld u s, “ If w e h ad r e lig io usly f o llo w ed o ur s a le s p ro cess l a st y ear, o ur th re e b ig gest d eals w ould h av e n ev er g o tte n done.” Sale s s u ccess to day is m uch le ss a b out g etti n g b ette r a t w hat y o u a lr e ad y k no w a nd m uch m ore ab out c re ati n g a n a b ility to ta ckle w hat y o u don’t k n ow . I n o rd er to th riv e i n th at w orld , y o u’re g o in g to hav e to b uild a sa le s o rg aniz a ti o n— and a sa le s cultu re — th at enab le s th at kin d o f in no vati o n acti v ity . A w orld w here e ffe cti v eness i s e le v ate d a b ove e ffic ie ncy. H ow ev er, w e f in d th at m ost s a le s org aniz a ti o ns h av e a l o ng w ay to g o o n th at f r o nt— lo ok a t f ig ure 8 .7 . Sourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .7 . S ale s M anager R esp onse to Q uesti o n “ D o y o u th in k th at s e nio r m anagem ent a t y o ur co m pany i s m ore o r l e ss l ik ely to e nco ura ge a nd s u p port th e f o llo w in g?” In a r e cent s u rv ey o f f r o ntl in e s a le s m anagers , w e a sk ed r e sp ond ents h o w th ey w ould c hara cte riz e th e c urre nt s tr a te gy o f th eir s e nio r l e ad ers h ip te am b ase d o n a r a nge o f a ttr ib ute s a nd b ehav io rs . A nd th e a nsw er w as v ery c le ar. M ost m anagers to ld u s th ey c urre ntl y o pera te i n a n e nv ir o nm ent d om in ate d by a s tr o ng e m phasis o n e ffic ie nt e xecuti o n o f th e s a le s p ro cess. M eanw hile , a lm ost no m anagers agre ed w ith th e s ta te m ent th at “ le ad ers h ip e m pow ers m anagers to s e t th eir o w n c o urs e o f a cti o n.” Y et in th at s a m e s u rv ey, m anagers a ls o to ld u s th at th ey b elie v e th at e m pow erm ent— or fr e ed om to m ake decis io ns— is in fa ct th e most im porta nt fa cto r in th eir c urre nt s u ccess. A nd o ur o w n s tu d y o f s a le s manager e ffe cti v eness w ould s u ggest th ey’re r ig ht. Now , to b e s u re , e v ery o rg aniz a ti o n h as to h av e e nfo rc eab le r u le s. C erta in ly , w e n eed to s e t ta rg ets aro und s p ecific b usin ess o utc o m es a nd p ush to a tta in th em . B ut w ith in th at c o nte xt, w e s ti ll n eed to fin d a w ay to e m pow er m anagers to p urs u e th o se e nd s w ith in no vati v e m eans. Y et fe w c o m panie s ap pear to h av e th e k in d o f c ultu re i n p la ce to a llo w th at to h ap pen. T his i s th e r a th er s o berin g m essa ge of th is s e em in gly in no cuo us fin d in g: A t a ti m e w hen s a le s le ad ers n eed to “ get b ack to g ro w th ,” th e gro w th e ngin e fo r m ost o rg aniz a ti o ns is b uilt a to p th e w ro ng c hassis . Y our o rg aniz a ti o n is d esig ned fo r e ffic ie ncy a t a ti m e w hen e ffe cti v eness i s g o in g to w in th e d ay. W hat th e d ata s u ggests i s th at m ost org aniz a ti o ns h av e a l o ng w ay to g o to b uild a c ultu re w here s a le s i n no vati o n c an th riv e. While s h ifti n g f r o m a n e ffic ie ncy- to a n e ffe cti v eness-fo cuse d s a le s c ultu re i s a l o ng-te rm m ig ra ti o n fo r a ny c o m pany, th e g o od n ew s is th at th ere a re c erta in ly th in gs th at y o u c an d o r ig ht a w ay to h elp eq uip y o ur s a le s m anagers to b e m ore i n no vati v e a t th e d eal l e v el. Help in g M anagers t o U ndersta nd T heir B ia se s A s it tu rn s o ut, th e k in d o f th in kin g m anagers r e ly o n e v ery d ay to d o m any o th er a sp ects o f th eir jo b w ell is o ne o f th e b ig gest o bsta cle s to th eir b ein g in no vati v e. In fig ure 8 .8 , y o u s e e th at w e c all th is k in d o f th in kin g “ narro w in g th in kin g.” N arro w in g th in kin g i s a ll a b out l o okin g a t a c o m ple x p ro ble m , w eig hin g e xis ti n g o pti o ns, a nd p ro ducin g a s in gle s o lu ti o n. I t’ s i n cre d ib ly v alu ab le i n a w orld w here m anagers m ust m ake to ugh, r a p id d ecis io ns o n th in gs lik e a llo cati n g s c arc e r e so urc es. U nfo rtu nate ly , a t th e sa m e ti m e, narro w in g th in kin g als o se v ere ly lim its m anagers ’ ab ility to d ev elo p cre ati v e s o lu ti o ns to hard -to -s o lv e custo m er challe nges, as it’ s fo cuse d on elim in ati n g opti o ns fr o m c o nsid era ti o n r a th er th an g enera ti n g n ew o nes f o r c o nsid era ti o n. S ourc e: M org an D . J o nes, “ T he T hin ker’s T oolk it” ; S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .8 . M odes o f M anager T ho ught The a lte rn ati v e is “ o penin g th in kin g,” w hic h is c hara cte riz e d b y th e g enera ti o n a nd v etti n g o f a s m any alte rn ati v e opti o ns as possib le . W hile narro w in g th in kin g m ay be bette r fo r re so urc e m anagem ent, o penin g th in kin g is b ette r fo r d eal in no vati o n. If yo u’re go in g to b uild in no vati v e m anagers , y o u’ll h av e to o verc o m e m anagers ’ n atu ra l i n clin ati o n— and d ay-to -d ay p re ssu re — to th in k n arro w ly , a nd e q uip th em w ith to ols a nd fr a m ew ork s to th in k o penly , a t le ast a t th o se ti m es w hen s a le s in no vati o n is calle d fo r. T o d o th at w ell, th e fir s t th in g an o rg aniz a ti o n need s to d o is to e ffe cti v ely r a is e th eir a w are ness o f w hat’ s g etti n g i n th e w ay o f o penin g th in kin g i n th e f ir s t p la ce. Decad es o f r e se arc h i n to h um an b ehav io r h as u nco vere d a n um ber o f h um an b ia se s th at c o m monly h in d er o penin g th in kin g. T he s ix m ost c o m mon a re : • P ra cti c ality b ia s: I d eas th at s e em u nre alis ti c s h o uld b e d is c ard ed . • C onfir m ati o n b ia s: U nexp la in ab le c usto m er b ehav io rs c an b e i g no re d . • E xp orta b ility b ia s: I f i t d id n’t w ork h ere , i t w on’t w ork a nyw here . • L egacy b ia s: T he w ay w e’v e a lw ays d one i t m ust b e b est. • F ir s t c o nclu sio n b ia s: T he f ir s t e xp la nati o n o ffe re d i s u su ally th e b est o r o nly c ho ic e. • P ers o nal b ia s: I f I w ould n’t b uy i t, th e c usto m er w on’t e ith er. These b ia se s a re n o t in here ntl y “ b ad .” In fa ct, th ese a re m enta l to ols w e a ll u se e v ery d ay to h elp us ra p id ly so rt th ro ugh la rg e a m ounts o f in fo rm ati o n a nd m ake d ecis io ns m ore q uic kly . T hese a re basic ally filte rs th at a llo w a ll o f u s— and e sp ecia lly ti m e-s tr a p ped s a le s m anagers — to m ake ra p id decis io ns i n th e f a ce o f c o m ple xity . T his a b ility i s c riti c ally i m porta nt to th eir s u ccess. At th e s a m e ti m e, h o w ev er, e ach o f th ese b ia se s e ffe cti v ely c uts o ff c erta in p ath s o f in q uir y . T hey help u s to m ake d ecis io ns q uic kly , b ut a t th e s a crific e o f m akin g d ecis io ns th o ro ughly , a s e ach o f th ese bia se s le ad s u s to v ie w th e w orld e xclu siv ely fr o m o ur o w n p ers p ecti v e. T hat c an b e d ead ly in th e world o f s a le s, a s i t m eans m anagers o fte n f a il to p la ce th em se lv es i n th e s h o es o f th eir c usto m er, n o t because th ey’re b ad m anagers , b ut b ecause th ey’re h um an. T hey s it d ow n w ith a r e p , lo ok a t a d eal th at ap pears ho pele ssly sta lle d , and se e th e w orld th ro ugh th ese bia se s, fa ilin g to unco ver an in no vati v e w ay to m ove th at d eal f o rw ard . There a re tw o s im ple m eans o f h elp in g m anagers o verc o m e th ese b ia se s a nd o pen u p th eir th in kin g. The f ir s t i s s im ply to m ake m anagers a w are o f th ese b ia se s i n th e f ir s t p la ce. J u st i n fo rm in g m anagers th at th e b ia se s e xis t— and r e m in d in g th em o n a n o ngo in g b asis — can s ig nific antl y r e d uce th eir n atu ra l te nd ency to s e lf- c enso r in th is m anner. S eco nd , w e c an tr a in m anagers to a sk th em se lv es ( a nd th eir re p s) s p ecific q uesti o ns to p ro m pt th in kin g f r o m a lte rn ate p ers p ecti v es. Let’ s d ig i n to th is i d ea o f “ p ro m pti n g q uesti o ns” i n a l ittl e b it m ore d eta il to r e ally u nd ers ta nd h o w it w ork s. Hold in g B ia se s a t B ay S im ply p ut, p ro m pti n g q uesti o ns a re a fo rc in g m echanis m to e xp and y o ur th in kin g. G ood p ro m pti n g q uesti o ns e nco ura ge u s to d o o ne o f th re e th in gs w hen c o nsid erin g a p ro ble m o r s itu ati o n: d eep en o ur u nd ers ta nd in g, b ro ad en o ur p ers p ecti v e, o r e xp and o ur i d eas. S ourc e: S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .9 . C hara cte ris ti c s o f E ffe cti v e P ro m pti n g Q uesti o ns Many p ro m pti n g q uesti o ns a re d esig ned to h elp u s fu lly e xp lo re o ur u nd ers ta nd in g o f a n is su e b efo re d ra w in g c o nclu sio ns. F or i n sta nce, “ W hat’ s th e b ig ger p ic tu re th at th is c usto m er s itu ati o n f a lls i n to ?” o r “ W hat e ls e m ust b e g o in g o n b ehin d th e s c enes f o r th is to b e tr u e?” T hese ty p es o f q uesti o ns a re g re at f o r h elp in g m anagers a v oid d efa ulti n g to o q uic kly to a o ne-s iz e -fits -a ll a nsw er. Seco nd , th ere a re q uesti o ns th at fo rc e u s to c o nsid er a lte rn ate v ie w poin ts . Q uesti o ns lik e, “ If y o u w ere th e c usto m er’s C FO , h o w w ould y o u v ie w th is o ffe rin g?” o r “ W hat’ s th e h ead o f m ark eti n g g o in g to th in k w hen h e s e es th is p ro posa l? ” a re e sp ecia lly u se fu l q uesti o ns f o r m anagers w ho te nd to b elie v e th ey’v e g o t a ll th e a nsw ers a lr e ad y. Fin ally , th ere a re q uesti o ns th at e nco ura ge u s to te m pora rily s e t a sid e p ra cti c ality c o ncern s th at l im it o ur th in kin g. A g o od q uesti o n h ere m ig ht b e, “ W hat w ould y o u d o d iffe re ntl y if y o u h ad m ore b ud get to p urs u e th is c usto m er? ” T hese a re g re at q uesti o ns f o r m anagers w ho r u n to o q uic kly to a ll o f t h e r e aso ns w hy w e ca n’t d o s o m eth in g, r a th er th an e xp lo re h o w w e co uld d o s o m eth in g. How c o uld s o m eth in g lik e th is w ork in p ra cti c e w ith s a le s m anagers ? T ake a lo ok a t th e to ol in f ig ure 8 .1 0. Sourc e: M ic hal M ic halk o , “T hin kerto ys: A H and book o f C re ati v e T hin kin g T echniq ues” (2 006); Sale s E xecuti v e C ouncil r e se arc h. Fig ure 8 .1 0. S C A M MPE R R F ra m ew ork At th e C ouncil, w e’v e pulle d to geth er an enti r e lib ra ry of pro m pti n g questi o n to ols fo r our mem bers , b ut th is i s o ne o f o ur f a v orite s a nd o ne th at a n um ber o f o ur m em bers h av e p ut to g o od u se in th eir o w n s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns. I t’ s c alle d th e “ S C A M MPE R R F ra m ew ork ”— th e n am e c o m es f r o m th e fir s t le tte r of each w ord dow n th e fir s t co lu m n— and it’ s a cla ssic to ol use d to fa cilita te bra in sto rm in g e xerc is e s. What’ s b eauti fu l a b out th is to ol is h o w s im ple it is . It’ s a v ery s tr a ig htf o rw ard w ay to e q uip y o ur managers to s y ste m ati c ally p ro be a d eal fo r in no vati o n p ote nti a l w ith o ut h av in g to s o m eho w r e w ir e th eir b ra in s o r p ut th em th ro ugh y ears o f tr a in in g. A s y o u r e ad th ro ugh th is , n o ti c e th at w hile th e to ol its e lf m ay b e u nfa m ilia r, y o u’ll p ro bab ly r e co gniz e m uch o f th is a s e xactl y th e k in d o f th in g y o ur s ta r- perfo rm in g m anagers d o a uto m ati c ally a lm ost e v ery d ay. Let’ s s a y th at a m anager i s w ork in g w ith a r e p to a d vance a d eal th at h as b eco m e b ogged d ow n d ue to th e c usto m er’s str o ng re sis ta nce to a p ric e in cre ase . O f c o urs e , y o u k no w h o w th e re p w ould pro pose m ovin g th at d eal f o rw ard . I f p ric e i s th e p ro ble m , th en th e p ric e i s to o h ig h. Y ou s h o uld o ffe r th em a d is c o unt. Rath er th an n arro w in g im med ia te ly to th at s o lu ti o n, h o w ev er, th e in no vati v e m anager w ill u se a to ol lik e th is to b ro ad en th eir th in kin g o n w hat to d o next. U sin g th e to ol, a sa le s m anager can arti c ula te a s e rie s o f w ays i n w hic h th is d eal m ig ht b e r e p ositi o ned i n o rd er to m ake i t m ore p ala ta b le to th e custo m er w ith o ut hav in g to m odify th e pric e. P ro m pti n g questi o ns lik e “W hat m ig ht w e su b sti tu te ?” o r “ H ow m ig ht w e c o m bin e th is o ffe r w ith o th ers ? ” o r “ W hat id eas th at h av e w ork ed els e w here c an b e a d ap te d to th is s itu ati o n?” fo rc e th e m anager a nd re p to th in k m ore e xp ansiv ely befo re r u nnin g to o ffe r a d is c o unt. In k eep in g w ith th e e xam ple , u nd er “ M odify ,” p erh ap s w e c an s e ll th e c usto m er s m alle r q uanti ti e s with g re ate r fr e q uency. O r u nd er “ E lim in ate ,” m ayb e w e c an g et rid o f u nnecessa ry o r c usto m iz e d packagin g in o rd er to o ffs e t p ric e in cre ase s. It’ s n o t n ecessa ry to a nsw er e v ery q uesti o n fo r th e SC A M MPE R R to ol to w ork . T he f r a m ew ork i s s im ply a f o rc in g m echanis m to h elp m anagers e xp and th e u niv ers e o f p ossib le a cti o ns. A gain , th is i s o ne o f th e m any i n no vati o n to ols w e’v e d ev elo ped f o r our m em bers a t th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil. BR IN G IN G I T H OM E N ow th at w e’v e d is c usse d th e i m porta nt r o le o f th e f r o ntl in e m anager i n th is s to ry , i t’ s ti m e to tu rn to s o m e o f th e im ple m enta ti o n le sso ns th at w e’v e le arn ed fr o m h elp in g c o m panie s to b uild th eir o w n C halle nger s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns. 9 IM PLEM EN TA T IO N L ESSO NS F R O M T H E E A RLY A DO PT ER S S in ce u nv eilin g th e C halle nger fin d in gs in 2 009, o ur te am a t th e C ouncil a nd o ur s is te r c o nsu lti n g p ra cti c e, S E C S olu ti o ns, h as b een h elp in g s a le s a nd m ark eti n g l e ad ers to a d opt th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel in th eir o w n o rg aniz a ti o ns. W e’v e le arn ed a lo t fr o m th e e xp erie nces o f th ese e arly a d opte rs . T his c hap te r p ro vid es im ple m enta ti o n le sso ns fo r s a le s, m ark eti n g, a nd s e nio r le ad ers in fo rm ed b y o ur e xp erie nce i n th e f ie ld . LESSO NS F O R S A LES L EA D ER S Not E very H ig h P erfo rm er I s a C halle nger I t’ s easy fo r executi v es to slip in to th e tr a p o f assu m in g th at all th eir hig h p erfo rm ers are , b y d efin iti o n, C halle ngers . T here a re lo ts o f th in gs th at a ll h ig h p erfo rm ers d o, b ut o nly s o m e o f th em ( ro ughly 4 0 p erc ent, a cco rd in g to o ur d ata ) g et th ere b y te achin g, ta ilo rin g, a nd ta kin g c o ntr o l. Part o f th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel is in sti tu ti o naliz in g w hat y o ur C halle ngers d o n atu ra lly — s tu d yin g th e w ay th ey te ach, ta ilo r, a nd ta ke c o ntr o l w ith in y o ur s p ecific in d ustr y , w ith y o ur s p ecific c usto m ers , a nd s h arin g th at k no w le d ge w ith y o ur e nti r e s a le s f o rc e. T o d o th is e ffe cti v ely , y o u n eed to b e s u re y o u a re n’t m is ta kenly d ocum enti n g th e ta cti c s a nd h ab its o f a h ig h-p erfo rm in g R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er o r L one W olf. It’ s a b so lu te ly c riti c al th at c o m panie s fir s t c o rre ctl y id enti fy th eir C halle ngers b efo re th ey c an o bse rv e h o w th eir C halle ngers a re s e llin g to c usto m ers rig ht n o w . J u st a sk in g m anagers to id enti fy t h eir C halle ngers w on’t w ork , a s th ey’re m ore lik ely to p ic k th eir h ig h p erfo rm ers , re gard le ss o f a ctu al s e llin g s ty le . Our S olu ti o ns g ro up u se s a d ia gno sti c f o r o ur c lie nts th at i s b uilt o ff th e o rig in al C halle nger s u rv ey; i t a sk s th e s a m e s e t o f q uesti o ns th at w e u se d to c re ate th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel. Y ou c an f in d a s im plifie d v ers io n i n a p pend ix B to g iv e y o u a s e nse o f w hat th at d ia gno sti c l o oks l ik e. Ju st as ev ery hig h p erfo rm er is no t necessa rily a C halle nger, no t ev ery C halle nger is a hig h p erfo rm er. W e’v e fo und s o m e o rg aniz a ti o ns w ith “ in acti v e” C halle ngers — th ey h av e th e rig ht s k ills b ut a re n’t a w are o f h o w to a p ply th em . O nce th ey a re e xp ose d to th e f r a m ew ork o f te achin g, ta ilo rin g, a nd ta kin g c o ntr o l, th ese s k ills b eco m e “ acti v ate d ” i n a n ew a nd p ow erfu l w ay. Bew are t h e C all o f t h e L one W olf C lo se o bse rv ers o f o ur r e se arc h c o uld m ake th e a rg um ent th at L one W olv es a ctu ally h av e th e h ig hest p ro bability o f b ein g h ig h p erfo rm ers — and , te chnic ally , th ey w ould b e c o rre ct. W hile L one W olv es r e p re se nt th e s m alle st p erc enta ge o f th e o vera ll s a m ple o f s a le s r e p s ( a t 1 8 p erc ent) , a f u ll 2 5 p erc ent o f a ll h ig h p erfo rm ers f a ll i n to th e L one W olf p ro file — in o th er w ord s, o f a ll th e p ro file s, th e c hances a re g re ate st th at a L one W olf p ulle d o ut o f a c ro w d w ould a ctu ally b e a h ig h p erfo rm er. B ut j u m pin g f r o m th is o bse rv ati o n to th e c o nclu sio n th at a ll r e p s s h o uld b e L one W olv es i s a f o lly . An a ll– L one W olf s a le s fo rc e fo llo w s n o p atte rn . B y d efin iti o n, L one W olv es d on’t fo llo w a ny p ro cess o r s e t o f r u le s a sid e fr o m th eir o w n. T hat m akes it im possib le to m odel a nd r e p lic ate th eir b ehav io rs a cro ss th e s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n. T he to p p erfo rm ers i n th is k in d o f e nv ir o nm ent m ay d o w ell, b ut th ere ’s n o w ay to b rin g y o ur c o re p erfo rm ers u p to th eir l e v el i n th e s a m e m anner. Lone W olv es a ls o s tr u ggle in th e c o lla b ora ti v e, te am -b ase d e nv ir o nm ents r e q uir e d to b rin g m ore c o m ple x s o lu ti o ns to c usto m ers . A s a V P o f s a le s fr o m a h ig h-te ch c o m pany r e centl y to ld u s, “ In o ur o rg aniz a ti o n, w e a re m ovin g r a p id ly to h av in g to s e ll a s a te a m in ste ad o f s e llin g in d iv id ually . L one W olv es a re a c ancer i n a n e nv ir o nm ent l ik e th is .” W hile i n d iv id ual L one W olv es c an b e e ffe cti v e o n t h eir o w n, a te am o f th em i s a te am th at d oesn ’t s e ll a nyth in g. We h av e a ls o fo und th at s a le s r e p p ro file s a re in p art a fu ncti o n o f th eir e nv ir o nm ent. R ep s w ill g enera lly p urs u e th e a p pro ach th at w ill m ake th em th e m ost m oney— whate v er th eir c o m pany r e w ard s a nd c ele b ra te s. If L one W olv es d om in ate a s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n, th is is m ost lik ely b ecause th o se r e p s a re b ein g to ld , e xp lic itl y o r im plic itl y , to tr y to fig ure o ut w hat w ork s o n th eir o w n. In th is k in d o f e nv ir o nm ent, th e co m pany lo se s all cre d ib ility and is se en b y re p s no t as an auth o rity o n w hat c usto m ers valu e— a so urc e of in te llig ent guid ance and co unse l— but as a ro ad blo ck to a re p ’s s u ccess. T he c o m pany, in th e L one W olf s a le s fo rc e, is a n e nti ty to b e a v oid ed b ecause it a d ds n o v alu e to a s a le sp ers o n. T he th in gs th e c o m pany h as d ev elo ped , lik e tr a in in g, s a le s p ro cess, C RM , t o ols , a nd m any m ore , a re o f l ittl e v alu e to th e L one W olf. W hile r e p s m ay h it q uo ta i n a n o rg aniz a ti o n l ik e th is , i t i s i n s p ite o f, n o t b ecause o f, th e s u p port a nd g uid ance p ro vid ed b y m anagem ent. Sta rt R ecru it in g f o r C halle ngers Y este rd ay W e b elie v e str o ngly th at C halle ngers c an b e b uilt. A s w e ro ll o ut o ur C halle nger tr a in in g, w e’re f in d in g th at r e p s a re excite d to p la y th is r o le w ith th eir c usto m ers , a nd o nce th e m odel i s u nlo cked f o r t h em , th ey can sta rt challe ngin g th eir custo m ers rig ht aw ay. H ow ev er, it als o m akes se nse fo r c o m panie s to sta rt re cru iti n g C halle ngers to re p la ce a ny re p s w ho n atu ra lly tu rn o ver w ith in th e o rg aniz a ti o n o r to f ill n ew p ositi o ns m ad e a v aila b le a s th e o rg aniz a ti o n g ro w s. Hir in g fo r C halle ngers r e q uir e s a d iffe re nt a p pro ach to in te rv ie w in g a nd s c re enin g. W e p ro vid e a C halle nger H ir in g G uid e to h elp w ith th e p ro cess (y o u c an fin d it in a p pend ix C ). T he g uid e is o rg aniz e d aro und th e key co m pete ncie s of th e C halle nger re p . It offe rs sa m ple questi o ns an i n te rv ie w er m ig ht a sk , s ti p ula te s w hat th e e v alu ati o n s ta nd ard s h o uld b e fo r e ach c o m pete ncy, a nd t h en o ffe rs s o m e r e d f la gs to l o ok o ut f o r. For i n sta nce, o ne o f th e c o m pete ncie s o f th e C halle nger i s th e a b ility to o ffe r a u niq ue p ers p ecti v e t o th e c usto m er. A n in te rv ie w er c an p ro be fo r th is b y a sk in g q uesti o ns lik e, “ H ow d o y o u u su ally o pen a s a le s c o nv ers a ti o n w ith a c usto m er? ” o r “ C an y o u d esc rib e a ti m e w hen y o u g o t a c usto m er to t h in k o f th eir p ro ble m o r need d iffe re ntl y ?” T he in te rv ie w ee’s p itc hes sh o uld hig hlig ht custo m er b enefits b efo re s u p plie r s tr e ngth s a nd , i d eally , o ffe r u niq ue i n sig hts th at p ro m pt th e c usto m er to th in k d iffe re ntl y a b out th eir w orld . T he k ey re d fla gs to w atc h o ut fo r a re fe atu re – a nd b enefit- fo cuse d p itc hes. This to ol h as b een s u ccessfu lly a d opte d b y m any o f o ur m em bers . O ne o f th e c o m panie s w e w ork w ith in th e b ev era ge in d ustr y re p orts th at th eir n ew re p s, re cru ite d u sin g th e C halle nger g uid e, a re “ ru nnin g c ir c le s a ro und th e e xis ti n g s a le s te am .” While w e’v e a ls o h eard s o m e s u ccess s to rie s f r o m m em bers u sin g c o m merc ia lly a v aila b le p re hir e s c re enin g to ols to i d enti fy C halle ngers , th is h as c o m e m ain ly f r o m r e tr o fitti n g e xis ti n g to ols to “ se arc h f o r” C halle ngers o ut i n th e l a b or m ark et. W hile th ere a re m any p re hir e a sse ssm ent to ols a v aila b le f o r s a le s, n o ne h av e b een b uilt s p ecific ally to id enti fy C halle ngers . U nti l s o m eb ody o ffe rs a fix fo r th is p ro ble m , w e r e co m mend th at s a le s le ad ers u se c auti o n w hen le v era gin g e xis ti n g p re hir e a sse ssm ent t o ols to s c re en f o r a p ro file th ey w ere n’t a ctu ally d esig ned to i d enti fy . In div id ual S kill a nd O rg aniz atio nal A bilit y A re B est D evelo ped in P ara lle l W hile i t’ s c le ar th at c o m panie s m ust i n v est i n b oth o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab iliti e s a nd i n d iv id ual s k ills to g et th e fu ll benefit of th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel, it’ s le ss cle ar w heth er th ere is a pro per s e q uencin g o f th o se i n v estm ents . S ho uld c o m panie s f ir s t b uild o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab iliti e s o r d ev elo p r e p sk ills ? T his is a questi o n w e hear ofte n fr o m our m em bers . O ur answ er is th at th e best o rg aniz a ti o ns w ill i n v est i n b oth e le m ents o f th e m odel c o ncurre ntl y . We h av e h eard fr o m c o m panie s th at a tte m pte d to d ev elo p C om merc ia l T eachin g m essa ges w ith o ut a ls o b oosti n g sa le s re p a w are ness a nd sk ills th at th eir re p s re je cte d th e n ew te achin g m essa ges, p re fe rrin g to go b ack to w hat th ey’re co m fo rta b le and fa m ilia r w ith . S im ila rly , co m panie s th at i n v este d in r e p s k ills b ut n o t in o rg aniz a ti o nal c ap ab iliti e s le ft r e p s fe elin g th at th ey la cked th e to ols t o tr u ly e xecute o n th e m odel a s i t w as i n te nd ed to b e e m plo yed . B y c o ntr a st, o rg aniz a ti o ns th at p urs u e b oth tr a cks s im ulta neo usly a re p rim ed f o r e ffe cti v e, d ynam ic c o lla b ora ti o n. R ep s, s e ein g th e p ow er o f t h e C halle nger a p pro ach, c re ate p ull- th ro ugh d em and fo r te achin g m essa ges fr o m m ark eti n g, w hile m ark eti n g, h av in g sim ila rly b ought in to th e v is io n o f th e C halle nger a p pro ach, e nlis ts sa le s a s a p ow erfu l so urc e of in sig ht ra w m ate ria ls (i.e ., m essa ges bein g deliv ere d by hig h-p erfo rm in g C halle ngers r ig ht n o w ). Don’t J ust C hange t h e T ra in in g, C hange W hat H appens B efo re a nd A fte r O uts id e o f c o m pensa ti o n, s a le s tr a in in g r e p re se nts o ne o f th e b ig gest d is c re ti o nary s p end in g a re as f o r a s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n. It a ls o re p re se nts o ne o f th e b ig gest ti m e a nd m oney s in ks. R ese arc h b y N eil R ackham h as s h o w n th at 8 7 p erc ent o f s a le s tr a in in g c o nte nt i s f o rg o tte n b y r e p s w ith in th ir ty d ays. The C halle nger S ellin g M odel r e q uir e s la rg e-s c ale b ehav io r c hange fr o m r e p s, p utti n g h eig hte ned p re ssu re o n s a le s L & D (le arn in g a nd d ev elo pm ent) fu ncti o ns to d eliv er c hange a nd s u sta in it o ver t i m e. C oachin g is a p rin cip al le v er fo r b oosti n g tr a in in g sti c kin ess. B ut th ere a re o th er im porta nt c o nsid era ti o ns a s w ell. In a r e cent S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil s tu d y, w e fo und th at s o m e o f th e b ig gest o pportu niti e s fo r im pro vin g sa le s tr a in in g co nte nt re te nti o n hav e littl e to d o w ith im pro vin g th e t r a in in g its e lf. In ste ad , it’ s w hat co m panie s can d o b efo re and afte r tr a in in g th at re ally m akes a d iffe re nce. Lead in g co m panie s are doin g th re e th in gs to sig nific antl y boost th e R O I of th eir tr a in in g i n v estm ents : F ir s t, th ey a re b oosti n g r e p d em and fo r c hange a nd g enera ti n g tr a in in g b uzz b efo re it is r o lle d o ut; s e co nd , th ey a re e ngin eerin g h ig h-q uality e xp erie nti a l le arn in g th at g iv es r e p s a s e nse o f “ sa fe pra cti c e” fo cuse d on re al acco unts ; and th ir d , th ey are cre ati n g su sta in ed behav io ra l c erti fic ati o n p ro gra m s to r e in fo rc e l e arn in g o ver ti m e. This is o ne o f th e b ig d iffe re nces in th e w ay o ur S olu ti o ns g ro up h as d esig ned o ur C halle nger D ev elo pm ent P ro gra m . W hile th e c o nte nt o f th e tr a in in g is o bvio usly u niq ue s in ce it is b uilt a ro und t h e C halle nger b ehav io rs , it’ s a ls o a b out h elp in g m em ber c o m panie s g enera te th e so rt o f “ so cia l d em and ” th ey n eed i n o rd er to a v oid th e p erc ep ti o n th at th e tr a in in g i s j u st a no th er to p-d ow n m and ate . I n a d diti o n, w e f o cus h eav ily o n th e c o ncep t o f “ sa fe p ra cti c e,” d eliv erin g e xp erie nti a l l e arn in g i n th e c la ssro om th at’ s l e d b y f o rm er s a le s l e ad ers f r o m c o m panie s l ik e D uP ont, M erc k, N ik e, I B M , B ank o f N ew Y ork M ello n, a nd P ro cte r a nd G am ble . A nd i t’ s i m porta nt th at w e g et b eyo nd th e u su al “ d id y o u l e arn a nyth in g?” a sse ssm ents th at m ost c o m panie s f o cus o n a s a w ay to g auge w heth er tr a in in g “ stu ck” a t a ll w ith r e p s, a nd in ste ad fo cus o n a s tr u ctu re d a p pro ach to r e in fo rc in g th e tr a in in g o n a n o ngo in g b asis ( s p end in g a l o t o f ti m e w ith m anagers , w ho w ill d riv e th is c hange th ro ugh o ngo in g c o achin g) s o t h at w e c an c erti fy th at r e p s a re a ctu ally pra ctic in g th e n ew b ehav io rs th ey le arn ed in th e c la ssro om a nd a chie v in g th e i n te nd ed s a le s r e su lts . These p rin cip le s a re s m art to a d here to . W e a d vis e a ll o f o ur m em bers to th in k h ard a b out th e “ b efo re a nd a fte r” o f th eir tr a in in g s o th at th ey c an m ake s u re th ere ’s d em and f o r i t a m ong r e p s a nd s o t h at th ey k no w th ey’re g etti n g a r e tu rn o n th is i m porta nt i n v estm ent. LESSO NS F O R M AR K ETIN G L EA D ER S Sto p T ellin g t h e W orld H ow “ C usto m er-c e ntr ic ” Y ou A re M ore th an e v er b efo re , s u p plie rs a re e m phasiz in g h o w th ey p ut “ th e c usto m er fir s t.” T he a ssu m pti o n i s th at if y o u w ant to g ro w c o m in g o ut o f th e re cent d ow ntu rn , y o u’re g o in g to h av e to e nsu re th at e v ery th in g y o u d o d eliv ers m axim um c usto m er v alu e. B ut th ere a re s e v era l w ays to b e “ custo m er- c entr ic ” th at a re a ctu ally b ad fo r b usin ess. T w o e xam ple s o f th is th at w e h ear fr e q uentl y fr o m S E C m em bers a re ( 1 ) d is c o unts a nd o th er te rm s a nd c o nd iti o ns th at u nd erm in e p ro fita b ility i n e xchange f o r l ittl e lo ng-te rm g ain , a nd (2 ) a ssu m in g a n o rd er-ta ker p ostu re w ith th e c usto m er (i.e ., ta kin g s h o rt- t e rm o rd ers w hen th e c usto m er i s p ush in g f o r th em , i n ste ad o f g etti n g th em to th in k a b out l o nger-te rm b usin ess). We h av e h eard th e te rm “ custo m er-c entr ic ity ” so o veru se d th at it h as b een c o m ple te ly w ate re d d ow n. J u st b ecause y o u in v olv e c usto m ers in y o ur R & D p ro cess, fo r e xam ple , d oes n o t m ean y o ur a v era ge sa le s re p u nd ers ta nd s, a s o ne o f o ur m em bers p ut it, “ w hat y o ur k ey c usto m er d oes a nd s tr u ggle s w ith f o r te n h o urs a d ay i n th eir o ffic e.” T hat i s c usto m er-c entr ic ity i n th e s a le s w orld — and i t’ s v ery r a re th at r e p s h av e th is . The b otto m lin e is v ery s im ple : If y o u tr u ly w ant to b uild a “ custo m er-c entr ic ” o rg aniz a ti o n, th en y o u’re actu ally go in g to hav e to b uild an in sig ht- c en tr ic o rg aniz a ti o n— a co m merc ia l ente rp ris e s p ecific ally d esig ned to g enera te n ew -to -th e w orld in sig hts th at te ach c usto m ers to th in k d iffe re ntl y n o t a b out y o ur p ro ducts a nd s o lu ti o ns, b ut a b out th eir b usin ess. There I s N o S id este ppin g t h e “ D eb O le r Q uestio n” “ W hy s h o uld y o ur c usto m ers b uy fr o m y o u in ste ad o f y o ur c o m peti to rs ? ” If y o u c an’t a nsw er th is q uesti o n, y o u d on’t h av e a C halle nger S ellin g M odel. The C halle nger a p pro ach is a b out r e fr a m in g th e c usto m er’s w orld vie w , g iv in g th em a n ew w ay to t h in k a b out h o w to s a v e o r m ake m oney. T here a re lo ts o f id ea s fo r s a v in g a nd m akin g m oney th at y o ur c usto m ers m ig ht v alu e, b ut m ost o f th ese a re n’t g o in g to lin k b ack to c ap ab iliti e s w here y o u o utp erfo rm th e c o m peti ti o n. I f y o u c an’t s a y w hat d iffe re nti a te s y o u— why y o ur c usto m ers s h o uld b uy f r o m y o u i n ste ad o f a c o m peti to r— yo u c an’t te ach th em to v alu e w hat m akes y o u d iffe re nt. Every c o m pany h as so m e u niq ue d iffe re nti a to r, o th erw is e th ey p ro bab ly w ould n’t e xis t. T hat s a id , w hen it c o m es to th e in sig hts th at le ad to th o se u niq ue b enefits , th ere ’s n o n eed to s ta rt fr o m s c ra tc h. S av vy m ark eti n g o rg aniz a ti o ns und ers ta nd th at th ey hav e C halle ngers o ut in th e fie ld rig ht no w t e achin g c usto m ers n ew in sig hts th at c an ju m p-s ta rt th eir o w n e ffo rts to b uild m ore s c ala b le — and s u sta in ab le — Com merc ia l T eachin g c ap ab iliti e s. Never P ut T hese T en W ord s in Y our P it c h D eck T ake a c lo se l o ok a t y o ur s ta nd ard p itc h d eck, th e “ ab out u s” s e cti o n o n y o ur c o rp ora te h o m e p age, o r y o ur PR m ate ria l. H ig hlig ht ev ery in sta nce of th e w ord s “le ad in g,” “uniq ue,” “so lu ti o n,” or “ in no vati v e.” I n p arti c ula r, g o f in d a ll i n sta nces o f th e p hra se “ W e w ork to u nd ers ta nd o ur c usto m ers ’ u niq ue n eed s a nd th en b uild c usto m s o lu ti o ns to m eet th o se n eed s.” T hen h it th e d ele te k ey. B ecause e v ery ti m e y o u u se o ne o f th o se b uzzw ord s, y o u a re te llin g y o ur c usto m ers , “ W e a re e xactl y th e s a m e a s e v ery o ne e ls e .” Ir o nic ally , th e m ore w e tr y to p la y u p o ur d iffe re nces, th e m ore th in gs so und th e sa m e. P ub lic r e la ti o ns e xp ert A dam S herk re centl y a naly ze d th e te rm s u se d in c o m pany c o m munic ati o ns, a nd th e r e su lts a re d ev asta ti n g. H ere a re th e to p te n: By d efin iti o n, th ere c an b e o nly o ne le ad er in a ny in d ustr y — and 1 61,0 00 c o m panie s e ach th in k t h ey’re it. M ore th an 7 5,0 00 c o m panie s th in k th ey’re th e “ b est” o r th e “ to p”; 3 0,4 00 th in k th ey’re “ uniq ue.” “ S olu ti o n” a ls o m akes a n a p peara nce a t n um ber s e v en— so if y o u th in k th at c allin g y o ur o ffe rin g a “so lu ti o n” d iffe re nti a te s yo u, th in k again . If ev ery o ne’s sa yin g th ey o ffe r th e “le ad in g s o lu ti o n,” w hat’ s th e c usto m er to th in k? W e c an te ll y o u w hat th eir r e sp onse w ill b e: “ G re at— giv e m e 1 0 p erc ent o ff.” W e d on’t m ean to b e u nsy m path eti c h ere . Y ou’ll f in d i t’ s h ard to a v oid th ese te rm s— h eck, w e c all o ur o w n c o nsu lti n g a rm “ S E C S olu ti o ns” ! In all o f o ur ti m e at th e C ouncil, w e hav e nev er o nce m et a m em ber w ho d oesn ’t th in k her c o m pany’s v alu e p ro positi o n b eats th e s o cks o ff th e c o m peti to rs ’. A nd it’ s u nd ers ta nd ab le . A fte r a ll, w hy w ould w e w ant to w ork f o r a c o m pany w ho se p ro duct i s s e co nd -ra te — esp ecia lly w hen o ur j o b i s to se ll th at p ro duct? B ut w hat th e u tte r sa m eness o f la nguage h ere te lls u s is th at, ir o nic ally , a s tr a te gy o f m ore p re cis e ly d esc rib in g o ur p ro ducts ’ a d vanta ges o ver th e c o m peti ti o n’s is d esti n ed to h av e th e e xact o pposite e ffe ct— we s im ply e nd u p s o und in g l ik e e v ery o ne e ls e . Our m em bers ’ c usto m ers to ld u s th e s a m e th in g: A s g re at a s y o ur p ro ducts a re , th ey’re n o t th at m uch d iffe re nt fr o m th e c o m peti ti o n. N o m atte r h o w m uch y o u te ll c usto m ers , “ W e’re h ere to c re ate q uanti fia b le b usin ess v alu e,” k eep i n m in d th at th e n ext s a le s r e p th ro ugh th e d oor i s s a yin g th e e xact s a m e th in g. W e o nce s p oke to a p ro cure m ent e xecuti v e a t a f o od c o m pany w ho to ld u s, “ E very ti m e I hear th e w ord ‘v alu e,’ m y d efe nse s g o u p , b ecause th at’ s w hen I k no w th ey’re tr y in g to se ll m e so m eth in g.” J u st a s a p are nt c an te ll tw in s a p art i n a w ay n o o ne e ls e c an, y o u c an s e e o ur p ro ducts ’ nuances a nd th eir u niq ueness— but y o ur c usto m ers p ro bab ly c an’t. That s a id , it is p ossib le to d iffe re nti a te y o urs e lf fr o m th e c o m peti ti o n. T he tr ic k is n o t to d esc rib e yo ur d iffe re nces, b ut to m ake c usto m ers v alu e th em . A nd to d o th at, r e m em ber th ese tw o th in gs: F ir s t, be m em ora b le , n o t a gre eab le . I t’ s n ic e to h av e a b usin ess c o nv ers a ti o n a b out p ro fits a nd c ap ab iliti e s, or a r e la ti o nsh ip c o nv ers a ti o n a ro und s p orts a nd k id s, b ut u nle ss y o u f r a m e y o ur c o nv ers a ti o n a ro und an e d gy o r u niq ue in sig ht, th e c usto m er w ill fo rg et e v ery th in g y o u s a id a s s o on a s y o u w alk o ut th e door. B ein g d iffe re nt s o und s r is k y, b ut i t’ s b ette r th an b ein g f o rg etta b le . Seco nd , b uild a p itc h th at le ad s to yo ur so lu ti o n, no t with it. B efo re ev en ta lk in g ab out yo ur cap ab iliti e s, te ach c usto m ers a b out a p ro ble m th ey d id n’t e v en k no w th ey h ad — one th at y o u c an so lv e b ette r th an yo ur co m peti to rs . O nly th en sh o uld yo u le ad in to th e d eta ils o f yo ur sp ecific so lu ti o n. LESSO NS F O R A LL S E N IO R L EA D ER S Tole ra te ( L im it e d) R eje ctio n o f t h e M odel O ne o f th e q uesti o ns w e g et fr e q uentl y is a b out h ig h p erfo rm ers w ho a re n’t C halle ngers . S ho uld o rg aniz a ti o ns fo rc e re p s w ho beat quo ta — but are m ore natu ra lly dis p ose d to a diffe re nt, no n- C halle nger se llin g a p pro ach— to c hange h o w th ey e ngage w ith c usto m ers ? O ur a nsw er is n o , y o u s h o uld n’t, b ut th ere a re s o m e i m porta nt c av eats h ere . One o f th e le sso ns w e’v e le arn ed ab out any ty p e o f change in th e sa le s o rg aniz a ti o n is th at c o m panie s s h o uld n’t s h o ot fo r 1 00 p erc ent a d opti o n. W e’v e fo und th at th e b est c o m panie s s h o ot fo r 8 0 p erc ent a d opti o n o f a ny c hange— wheth er a n ew sk ill, to ol, p ro cess, o r sy ste m . T he fin al 2 0 p erc ent is a lw ays h ugely p ain fu l to a tta in . E xem pla rs sh o ot fo r 8 0 p erc ent a nd le t th e re st o f th e o rg aniz a ti o n c o m e a lo ng a t th eir o w n p ace, p ro vid ed th ese re p s a re b eati n g g o al (a nd n o t b ein g d etr im enta l to th e b ro ad er tr a nsfo rm ati o n e ffo rt) . The sa m e ru le a p plie s fo r d riv in g th e C halle nger a p pro ach a m ong sa le s re p s. S om e re p s w ill s im ply b uck th e jo urn ey a nd p oin t to th eir p erfo rm ance a s e v id ence th at th ey d on’t n eed to c hange. T his i s f in e, b ut o nly a s l o ng a s th ey c o nti n ue to b eat g o al. T he w ay w e th in k a b out i t i s th is : W hen a n ew s ta nd ard fo r s a le s e xcelle nce h as b een d efin ed b y th e o rg aniz a ti o n ( in th is c ase , th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel) , th o se w ho r e fu se to m ake th e jo urn ey a re e ffe cti v ely th e n ew L one W olv es. A nd a s w e d is c usse d e arlie r i n th is b ook, th e r u le o f th um b f o r m anagin g a L one W olf i s “ liv e b y th e s w ord , d ie b y th e sw ord .” T he m in ute th eir p erfo rm ance slip s, th ey n eed to a d opt th e n ew a p pro ach o r r e lin q uis h th eir s e at i n th e o rg aniz a ti o n to s o m eb ody e ls e w ho w ill. Hig h perfo rm ers sh are a co m mon co de— th ey are alw ays eager to und ers ta nd ho w th ey can i m pro ve th eir o w n p erfo rm ance. T here fo re , th ey a re u su ally th e fir st re p s to w ant to tr y s o m eth in g n ew . T hin k o f th ese r e p s a s y o ur e lite a th le te s. A th le ti c h ig h p erfo rm ers a re a lw ays lo okin g fo r th at e xtr a e d ge. If th ere is a n ew te chno lo gy th at h elp s, th ey a d opt it. If th ere ’s a n ew tr a in in g a p pro ach t h ey b elie v e in , th ey in co rp ora te it. If th ere is a n ew s k ill th at’ s b een s h o w n to y ie ld b ette r r e su lts , t h ey w ant it. H ig h-p erfo rm in g s a le sp eo ple a re n o d iffe re nt. T hey a re th e o nes w ho w ill re ad u p o n s a le s ( m any o f th em h av e p ro bab ly b eate n y o u to th e p unch i n r e ad in g th is b ook). T hey a re a lw ays o n t h e l o oko ut f o r m essa gin g, to ols , a nd w ays to p ositi o n d eals th at h av e b een tr ie d s u ccessfu lly b y th eir p eers . But lik e e lite a th le te s, h ig h-p erfo rm in g r e p s a re h ig hly d is c rim in ati n g. If th ey d on’t s e e v alu e in a n ew ap pro ach, th ey w ill re je ct it. There fo re , if co m panie s can id enti fy th eir hig h-p erfo rm er C halle ngers ( a s w ell a s h ig h-p erfo rm er m anagers w ho e xhib it C halle nger s k ills ) a nd tu rn th em in to c ham pio ns e arly o n, th e r e st o f th e o rg aniz a ti o n i s l ik ely to f o llo w . Rig ht n o w , th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel i s a n o vel a p pro ach, b ut s o on i t w ill b eco m e th e s ta nd ard . T ho se w ho r e fu se to a d opt it w ill fin d it in cre asin gly d iffic ult to e ngage w ith c usto m ers w hen th o se v ery c usto m ers a re b ein g e ngaged b y re p s fr o m o th er c o m panie s w ho are em plo yin g C halle nger m eth o ds. T he s ta te o f th e a rt m oves a nd e v olv es. A dvanta ges a ccru e to th e e arly a d opte rs , to b e s u re , b ut e v entu ally a d opti o n i s n ’t a n o pti o n a nym ore ; i t’ s a r e q uir e m ent. For s a le s le ad ers s tr u gglin g w ith th at “ fin al 2 0 p erc ent” w ho r e fu se to m ake th e jo urn ey n o w , it’ s r e ally j u st a m atte r o f ti m e. I f th ese r e p s a re b eati n g q uo ta , l e t th em s e ll th eir w ay. B ut th ey’ll f in d th at o verp er-fo rm ance h ard er to a tta in y ear a fte r y ear, w ill g et fr u str a te d a s o th ers in th e o rg aniz a ti o n d is p la ce th em o n th e P re sid ent’ s C lu b r a nkin gs, a nd th ey’ll g iv e th e n ew m eth o ds a s h o t to o. Expect C asu alt ie s S om e o f yo ur re p s— in o ur exp erie nce, b etw een 2 0 and 3 0 p erc ent— pro bab ly w on’t m ake th e t r a nsiti o n to th e C halle nger m odel. M ayb e th ey’re ju st to o s tu ck in th eir w ays, o r m ayb e w hen th ey s e e th e C halle nger p ro file , th eir r e acti o n i s , “ W ho a, th at’ s n o t w hat I s ig ned u p f o r.” This d oesn ’t m ean th ey’re b ad e m plo yees. B ut it a ls o d oesn ’t m ean y o u’d w ant th em in a q uo ta – c arry in g ro le , e sp ecia lly o n y o ur m ore c o m ple x a cco unts . M any o f o ur m em bers h av e fo und th ese i n d iv id uals to b e e xtr e m ely w ell s u ite d , fo r e xam ple , to a c usto m er s e rv ic e ro le , o r p erh ap s e v en m ore in tr ig uin g, fo r a m ark eti n g o r p ro duct sp ecia lis t ro le — pla ces w here th ey k no w th e fr o ntl in e b usin ess w ell, b ut a re n’t o n th e h o ok to fa ce o ff w ith c usto m ers in a c halle ngin g m anner in th e s a m e w ay a s a le s r e p w ill n eed to . Eith er w ay, k eep i n m in d th at i f 2 0 to 3 0 p erc ent o f y o ur s a le s f o rc e ca n’t m ake th e tr a nsiti o n, th at m eans th at 7 0 to 8 0 p erc ent ca n . A nd th at’ s r e ally g o od n ew s f o r s a le s l e ad ers . R em em ber, th is i s n ’t a b out r e w ir in g p eo ple ’s D NA o r c hangin g w ho th ey a re a s a p ers o n. It’ s a b out e q uip pin g th em w ith t h e s k ills , to ols , a nd c o achin g th ey n eed to act l ik e a C halle nger w hen th ey’re i n f r o nt o f th e c usto m er — and th at’ s s o m eth in g m any r e p s n o t o nly a re a b le to d o, b ut a ls o a re e xcite d to tr y . It o ffe rs th em a w ho le n ew a nd m uch m ore c o ncre te p ath to p ro fe ssio nal s u ccess th an th ey’v e e v er h ad in th e p ast. W e’re n o t a sk in g r e p s to c hange who t h ey a re , j u st h o w th ey s e ll. Consid er P ilo tin g B efo re B ro adly L aunch in g W . W . G ra in ger, In c., p ro file d in c hap te r 5 , to ok a v ery c are fu l, p ilo t- b ase d a p pro ach to r o llin g o ut t h eir n ew s a le s m odel a nd te achin g c o lla te ra l. M ost c o m panie s p ilo t n ew to ols to u nd ers ta nd w hat m odific ati o ns s h o uld b e m ad e b efo re l a unchin g th em to th e e nti r e o rg aniz a ti o n, b ut G ra in ger g o es o ne s te p fu rth er. T hey p ilo t to ols to u nd ers ta nd w hen a nd w hy a d opti o n w ill p la te au. T hey’re a fte r fo ur q uesti o ns, s p ecific ally : 1. H ow b ig is th e e arly a d opte r g ro up fo r th is to ol (i.e ., w hen is th e a d opti o n c urv e lik ely to pla te au)? 2. W ho a re th e e arly a d opte rs , a nd h o w a re th ey d iffe re nt f r o m n o nad opte rs ? 3. W hat m etr ic s c an w e tr a ck to m ore a ccura te ly p re d ic t th e i m pact o f th is to ol? 4. W hat c an w e le arn fr o m th is e xp erie nce to im pro ve to ol im pact a nd p ush g re ate r a d opti o n am ong th e m ajo rity w ho d on’t a d opt? By a nsw erin g th ese q uesti o ns, G ra in ger’s s a le s o pera ti o ns te am c an b uild a p la n f o r h o w to b re ak t h ro ugh a d opti o n p la te aus w hen th ey o ccur. Gra in ger fin d s th at re p s n atu ra lly c lu ste r in to o ne o f th e fo llo w in g ti m e-b ase d se gm ents w hen d ecid in g w heth er to a d opt a to ol: e arly a d opte rs , m ajo rity , l a ggard s, a nd n aysa yers . P ush in g to o e arly f o r a d opti o n to a g iv en se gm ent b efo re su ccessfu lly w in nin g o ver th e p re v io us se gm ent c an b e a w aste o f o rg aniz a ti o nal e nerg y. F or e xam ple , th e m ajo rity p opula ti o n w aits to o bse rv e e arly to ol s u ccess, w hile th e l a ggard s n eed to s e e s u ccess f r o m a p eer c lo se r to th eir s e gm ent b efo re a ccep ta nce w ill o ccur. T arg eti n g th e c o rre ct p opula ti o n a t th e rig ht ti m e w ith th e a p pro pria te a d vocate s a nd t h ro ugh th e r ig ht c hannels i s th e k ey to d riv in g a d opti o n b eyo nd th e “ chasm ” th at c o m panie s n o rm ally h it o nce th e e arly a d opte rs h av e a ll a d opte d — very s im ila r to r o llin g o ut a n ew p ro duct to th e m ark et. One ad diti o nal no te ab out th e G ra in ger ad opti o n p ra cti c e: P ro xim ity m atte rs . S om eth in g sa le s m anagers lo ve to d o is to te ll th eir a v era ge p erfo rm ers to d o w hat th eir h ig h p erfo rm ers d o. B ut m odelin g s ta r-p erfo rm in g s a le s b ehav io r a s a w ay o f “ se llin g” c hange in te rn ally c an a ctu ally le ad to f a ilu re . In te rm s o f p re sc rib in g th e r ig ht a cti o ns, fo llo w in g h ig h-p erfo rm er b ehav io r is th e r ig ht p la y — and th is b ook g o es in to so m e d eta il a b out o ur p ers p ecti v e o n a sp ecific se t o f h ig h-p erfo rm er b ehav io rs th at y o u s h o uld r e p lic ate — but w hen i t c o m es ti m e to r o ll th is c hange o ut, th is a p pro ach o f “ d o w hat th e h ig h p erfo rm ers a re d oin g” c an a ctu ally d o m ore h arm th an g o od. Why? P eo ple d on’t s ta rt u sin g to ols o r p ra cti c in g c erta in b ehav io rs b ecause s ta r p erfo rm ers h av e s u ccess— th ey u se th em b ecause p eo ple ju st l ik e t h em a re h av in g s u ccess. T o r o ll th is n ew a p pro ach o ut to th e bro ad er sa le s fo rc e, yo u als o need to lo ok fo r and docum ent exam ple s of avera ge p erfo rm ers i n d iffe re nt m ark ets o r w ith d iffe re nt p ro duct p ortf o lio s w ho w ent f r o m n o n-C halle nger to C halle nger a nd h ad s u ccess d oin g i t. A nd th at o bvio usly c an’t h ap pen w ith o ut th e r ig ht ty p e o f p ilo t. Term in olo gy M atte rs W e k no w th at th e te rm “ C halle nger” c an ru b p eo ple th e w ro ng w ay. W e’v e h eard e v ery m anner o f p ush b ack h ere y o u c an im agin e. S om e c o m panie s fe ar it w ill m ake th eir re p s th in k it’ s o kay to b e a ggre ssiv e o r b ru ti s h i n th e m ark et. O th ers f e ar th at d ra w in g a c o ntr a st w ith th e R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er w ill m ake r e p s th in k th at r e la ti o nsh ip s a re n o l o nger i m porta nt to y o ur b usin ess. Som e o f o ur m em bers h av e a sk ed u s w hy w e w ould n’t in ste ad c all th e C halle nger th e “ N ew R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er” if, in fa ct, w e are sa yin g th at th e C halle nger actu ally build s str o nger r e la ti o nsh ip s w ith custo m ers . The re aso n is sim ple : N obody care s ab out “N ew R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers .” I n c ase y o u d on’t b elie v e u s, a sk y o urs e lf th is : W ould y o u h av e b ought th is b ook i f i t w as a b out h o w to b uild “ N ew R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers ” ? T he a nsw er i s a lm ost c erta in ly n o . In o rd er to g et th e o rg aniz a ti o n to p ay a tte nti o n to th e c hange y o u a re d riv in g, y o u m ust c re ate c o gniti v e d is so nance. T here m ust b e a m om ent w hen re p s u nd ers ta nd , v ery c le arly , to “ d o th is , n o t t h at.” I f th e n ew m odel f e els l ik e a tw eak o n th e o ld . . . w ell, w hy b oth er c hangin g? C hange, a fte r a ll, i s h ard w ork . I f r e p s s e e a c le ar A -to -B m ove ( v ers u s a n A v 1.0 -to -A v 2.0 ), th ey a re f a r m ore l ik ely t o s e e th is a s d iffe re nt i n ste ad o f a f la v or o f th e w eek, o r w ors e , m ore o f th e s a m e. Don’t w ate r d ow n th e m essa ge. P art o f th e p ow er o f th is r e se arc h ( a s c o nfir m ed b y e arly a d opte rs o f th e m odel its e lf) is th e co ntr a st it o ffe rs b etw een th e o ld w ay a nd th e n ew , m ore e ffe cti v e w ay to s e ll. A lig nin g th e m essa ge to th e o ld w ay o f se llin g m eans th at re p s may a d ju st b ehav io r a t th e m arg in s, b ut m ost w ill fa il to s e e it fo r w hat it is a nd w on’t d o a nyth in g d iffe re ntl y a s a r e su lt. T he b est g auge o f th e p ow er o f y o ur m essa ge to th e o rg aniz a ti o n is h o w m any p eo ple dis a gre e w ith y o u a nd w ant to d eb ate — th is is p ro bab ly tr u e o f a nyth in g, b ut it’ s e sp ecia lly tr u e w hen y o u’re ta lk in g a b out d riv in g c hange i n th e s a le s o rg aniz a ti o n, w ho se i n erti a a ro und l e gacy w ays o f d oin g th in gs c an b e h ard to b re ak, to p ut i t m ild ly . If y o u a re a s a le s le ad er o r a tr a in in g p ro fe ssio nal, in o th er w ord s, y o u n eed to b e a C halle nger y o urs e lf. T each r e p s to v alu e th e c hange y o u a re s e llin g to th em . P ic kin g a gre eab le te rm s th at d on’t r u ffle fe ath ers m ig ht m ake ev ery b ody in th e org aniz a ti o n fe el go od, but re st assu re d , fe w w ill r e m em ber w hat y o u s a id a nd y o u w ill b e fa r le ss lik ely to c o m pel c hange a s a re su lt. A nd , a s w e k no w , th e sa m e is tr u e fo r re p s p re se nti n g to custo m ers — it is th e C halle ngers ’ d esir e to cre ate c o nstr u cti v e te nsio n ( o fte n w ith s p ecific l a nguage a nd d ata th at r e fr a m e th e c usto m er’s v ie w o f th in gs) t h at c re ate s a d iffe re nti a te d s a le s e xp erie nce, o ne th at u lti m ate ly b uild s m ore l o yal c usto m ers . Bew are t h e “ C halle ngin g W on’t W ork H ere ” T ra p A questi o n w e get fr o m our m em bers w ho opera te glo bal sa le s org aniz a ti o ns is w heth er th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel is ap pro pria te fo r no n-W este rn m ark ets . T he ro ot of th is questi o n is t y p ic ally b ase d o n th e co ncern th at in certa in m ark ets , nam ely in A sia -P acific , “challe ngin g” is s o m eti m es s e en a s a ggre ssiv e, a rro gant, a nd p ote nti a lly o ffe nsiv e to c usto m ers . We a rg ue th at o ne o f th e fu nd am enta l p re cep ts o f th e C halle nger m odel— th at c usto m ers re w ard t h o se o rg aniz a ti o ns a nd th o se s a le s r e p s w ho b rin g in sig ht to th e ta b le — is tr u e r e gard le ss o f w here y o u s e ll o r to w ho m y o u s e ll. T his i s c o rro bora te d n o t o nly b y o ur o w n c usto m er l o yalty s tu d y, w hic h i n clu d ed c usto m ers fr o m a ro und th e w orld , b ut a ls o b y o ur m em bers , m any o f w ho m h av e y ears o f e xp erie nce m anagin g s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns in o vers e as m ark ets . T he d esir e fo r n ew id eas to h elp s a v e m oney o r m ake m oney i s n o t l im ite d to W este rn c usto m ers . How ev er, so m e co ncep ts lik ely need to be fin esse d so sa le s re p s and m anagers in certa in g eo gra p hic m ark ets lik e A sia -P acific d on’t r e je ct th em o ut o f h and . W e h av e fo und th at s o m e A sia n s a le s o rg aniz a ti o ns b alk a t th e te rm “ C halle nger” a nd d on’t lik e th e n o ti o n o f “ te achin g” c usto m ers . B oth th e p ro ble m a nd th e s o lu ti o n a re s e m anti c in n atu re . W hile w e w ould a rg ue fo r n o t w ate rin g d ow n th e C halle nger m essa ge b y g iv in g it a d iffe re nt n am e, it is re la ti v ely e asy to s h ift te rm s lik e “ te achin g” to “ sh arin g a nd d eliv erin g i n sig hts .” One o f o ur m em bers s h are d h er e xp erie nces p re se nti n g th e C halle nger w ork to h er s a le s te am s in C hin a. S he w as s u rp ris e d a t th e u nenth usia sti c re sp onse to h er fir s t fe w p re se nta ti o ns. A fte r th re e s u ch s e ssio ns w ith lo cal s a le s te am s, s h e p ulle d o ne o f h er lo ngti m e d ir e ct r e p orts a sid e to a sk w hy t h e s a le s m anagers a nd r e p s d id n’t s e em e xcite d a b out th e C halle nger c o ncep t— afte r a ll, th eir p eers i n th e U nite d S ta te s a nd in E uro pe w ere r e ally fir e d u p a b out it. H er d ir e ct r e p ort e xp la in ed th at th e s a le s te am s did f in d th e r e se arc h i n te re sti n g, b ut th ey w ere c o ncern ed a b out s o m e o f th e l a nguage. H e s u ggeste d a slig ht m odific ati o n: A dd th e w ord “ re sp ectf u lly ” b efo re sh e sa id th in gs lik e “ te ach,” “ challe nge,” o r “ ta ke c o ntr o l.” In th e n ext s e ssio n, w ith th is s lig ht m odific ati o n, s h e fo und th e s a le s t e am s much m ore e ngaged th ro ugho ut th e d is c ussio n— ask in g q uesti o ns a nd ta lk in g o penly a b out h o w t o “ re sp ectf u lly c halle nge” th eir c usto m ers ’ th in kin g b y b rin gin g n ew i n sig hts to th e d is c ussio n. While c halle ngin g h o ld s in n o n-W este rn m ark ets , th e way in w hic h o ne c halle nges is p ro bab ly a l ittl e d iffe re nt. T he w ay th at id eas a re in tr o duced to a nd d is c usse d w ith th e c usto m er c o uld v ary b ase d o n c ultu ra l p atte rn s o f b ehav io r, b ut th is is n o d iffe re nt fr o m th e w ay s e llin g h as a lw ays b een d one. W hile th e b asic p rin cip le s a re th e s a m e fo r e v ery c ultu re , th e e xecuti o n v arie s to m eet lo cal n o rm s o f b ehav io r a nd d ia lo gue. I n o th er w ord s, c halle nge b ut ta ilo r a cco rd in gly ! Sta rt N ow W e s a id i t b efo re , b ut w e’ll s a y i t a gain . I f y o u a re l o okin g f o r a q uic k f ix , l o ok e ls e w here . W e h av e s e en q uic k w in s fr o m r o llin g o ut th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel— one c o m pany w e h elp ed im ple m ent t h e m odel re p orte d 6 p erc ent m ark et sh are g ro w th in tw elv e m onth s, a nd a no th er b ro ught in th eir l a rg est- e v er d eal w ith in a q uarte r o f ro llin g o ut C halle nger tr a in in g— but g etti n g it fu lly “ in sta lle d ” w on’t h ap pen o vern ig ht. The C halle nger S ellin g M odel is a c o m merc ia l tr a nsfo rm ati o n. G etti n g it r ig ht r e q uir e s s ig nific ant c hanges to th e w ay s a le s a nd m ark eti n g in te ra ct, to th e k in d o f to ols y o u a rm y o ur r e p s w ith , th e s o rt o f r e p s y o u r e cru it, th e k in d o f tr a in in g y o u d eliv er to th em , a nd th e w ay m anagers i n te ra ct w ith th em . G etti n g th is r ig ht— all o f it— is h ard . T he m ajo rity o f th e c o m panie s p ro file d in th is b ook w ould te ll y o u th at th is tr a nsfo rm ati o n to ok n o t m onth s, b ut y ears , a nd th at th eir w ork c o nti n ues to th is d ay. A s w e sa id earlie r in th is book, th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel is a new opera ti n g sy ste m fo r th e c o m merc ia l o rg aniz a ti o n, n o t j u st a no th er “ b olt- o n” a p plic ati o n to th e e xis ti n g s y ste m . It’ s n o t a ll b ad n ew s, h o w ev er. M ovin g n o w m eans c hangin g th e w ay y o ur re p s in te ra ct w ith c usto m ers b efo re y o ur c o m peti to rs d o— and th e d ata i s v ery c le ar a b out w hat c usto m ers w ant. W hile t h e c o m peti ti o n s e nd s o ut R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers e q uip ped to h av e o nly fa ct- , fe atu re – a nd b enefit- f o cuse d co nv ers a ti o ns, yo ur C halle nger re p s are le ad in g w ith in sig hts , te achin g custo m ers ab out p ro ble m s th ey d id n’t e v en k no w th ey h ad . T he c o m peti ti o n’s r e p s w ill e arn g la nces a t th e c lo ck a nd d is in genuo us o ffe rs to “ get b ack to th em o n th eir p ro posa ls .” Y our r e p s w ill e arn m ore ti m e f r o m th e c usto m er, o pen in v ita ti o ns to c o m e b ack, a nd s in cere p ro m is e s to ta ke a cti o n. W hile th e c o m peti ti o n f o cuse s i ts e nerg ie s o n fin din g c usto m ers , y o u w ill b e o ut th ere makin g c usto m ers . AFTER W ORD CHA LLEN GIN G B EY O ND S A LES T H E O BSE RVA T IO N C AM E u p a t a l u nch b re ak a t o ne o f o ur m em ber m eeti n gs i n l a te 2 009. W e’d j u st f in is h ed p re se nti n g th e C halle nger f in d in gs to th e th ir ty m em bers o r s o i n a tte nd ance, a nd th e h ead o f s a le s f r o m a h ig h-te ch c o m pany l e aned o ver a nd s a id , “ Y ou k no w , I f in d th is C halle nger s tu ff r e ally f a sc in ati n g— no t b ecause o f w hat it s a ys a b out s a le sp eo ple , w hic h is in te re sti n g, b ut m ore b ecause i t’ s th e s to ry o f m y c are er a t th is c o m pany.” Puzzle d , w e a sk ed w hat h e m eant. “ I h av en’t a lw ays b een in s a le s,” h e e xp la in ed . “ I g re w u p in e ngin eerin g b ut th en s p ent ti m e i n th e I T d ep artm ent, H R, a nd m ark eti n g. S ale s i s a ctu ally a n ew th in g f o r m e. W hat’ s i n te re sti n g i s th at I w ould th in k th e C halle nger a p pro ach w ould a p ply to a lm ost a ny o f t h ese f u ncti o ns.” H e c o nti n ued , “ W hen I w as i n I T , w e w ere a lw ays ta lk in g a b out h o w to i m pro ve th e a b ility o f o ur fo lk s to d eliv er va lu e to o ur in te rn al b usin ess c usto m ers . . . y o u k no w , to g et o ut o f ‘ o rd er ta ker’ m ode a nd b e s e en a s a tr u ste d a d vis e r, a c o nsu lta nt to th e lin e, th at s o rt o f th in g. T hen, w hen I w ent to H R, i t w as th e s a m e d is c ussio n. D itto f o r m ark eti n g. T hat’ s r e ally w hat C halle nger i s a ll a b out . . . a nd th at’ s n o t a p ro ble m o nly fo r s a le s r e p s. H av e y o u g uys th o ught o f lo okin g a t th is m odel i n a n o n-s a le s s e tti n g?” In f a ct, w e h ad n’t, b ut o ur c o lle agues h ere a t th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard h av e. One o f th e g re at th in gs a b out b ein g p art o f a c o m pany lik e o urs is th at w e h av e h und re d s o f c o lle agues a ro und th e w orld p ro ducin g c utti n g-e d ge c o nte nt f o r e v ery c o rp ora te f u ncti o n i m agin ab le . T he S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil i s p art o f o ur b ro ad er s a le s a nd m ark eti n g p ra cti c e, b ut w e a re j u st o ne o f f iv e m ajo r p ra cti c e a re as a cro ss th e c o m pany. W e a ls o h av e p ra cti c es i n h um an r e so urc es, f in ance a nd s tr a te gy, le gal a nd c o m plia nce, a nd in fo rm ati o n te chno lo gy. A ll to ld , o ur c o m pany s e rv es m ore t h an 2 00,0 00 b usin ess le ad ers a cro ss ro ughly 4 ,8 00 o rg aniz a ti o ns in o ver fifty c o untr ie s. T hat’ s a p re tty w id e a ngle to g et o n a ny b usin ess i s su e. S o w e p ic ked u p th e p ho ne a nd a sk ed a n um ber o f o ur s e nio r r e se arc h c o lle agues a nd e v en s o m e o f o ur m em bers , “ D oes th e C halle nger m odel a p ply i n y o ur w orld ?” What w e l e arn ed w as f a sc in ati n g a nd s u ggests th at th is m em ber m ig ht b e o n to s o m eth in g. IN TER NAL B U SIN ESS C UST O M ER S W AN T I N SIG HT T O O B y th is p oin t in th e b ook, o ne th in g th at s h o uld b e v ery c le ar is th at w hat c usto m ers w ant m ore th an a nyth in g e ls e i s f o r th eir s u p plie rs to d eliv er i n sig ht to th em — new i d eas f o r s a v in g m oney a nd m akin g m oney th at th ey’d n o t p re v io usly c o nsid ere d . It s h o uld c o m e a s n o s u rp ris e th at in te rn al b usin ess c usto m ers w ant— or p erh ap s m ore a p pro pria te ly , e xp ect— th e s a m e th in g o f th e c o rp ora te fu ncti o ns t h ey w ork w ith . Take, fo r e xam ple , H R. O ur s is te r p ra cti c e th at s e rv es h ead s o f r e cru iti n g, C LC R ecru iti n g, fo und t h at o f a ll o f th e th in gs th at co uld a cco unt fo r r e cru ite r e ffe cti v eness, it w as th e r e cru ite r’s a b ility to b e a s tr a te gic a d vis e r th at a cco unte d fo r 5 2 p erc ent o f e ffe cti v eness, c o m pare d w ith 3 3 p erc ent th at w as d riv en b y p ip elin e m anagem ent a nd o nly 1 5 p erc ent b y th e a b ility to m anage th e re cru iti n g p ro cess. T hat’ s a str ik in g fin d in g. B ut w hat w as m ore in te re sti n g w as th at only 19 perc ent of r e cru ite rs w ould c urre ntl y q ualify a s tr u e ta le nt a d vis e rs to th e b usin ess p artn ers , a cco rd in g to h ead s o f r e cru iti n g. We’v e h eard s o m eth in g v ery s im ila r fr o m o ur c o lle agues in th e C EB IT p ra cti c e. L ast y ear, o ur p ro gra m th at s e rv es C IO s, th e C IO E xecuti v e B oard , lo oked a t th e q uesti o n o f h o w to im pro ve th e v alu e th at IT b usin ess lia is o ns (th e IT sta ff w ho in te rfa ce w ith lin e executi v es) d eliv er to th eir i n te rn al c usto m ers . H is to ric ally , th is h as b een a n a re a w here I T d ep artm ents h av e a l o t o f o pportu nity t o i m pro ve. The C IO E xecuti v e B oard fo und th at b etw een 2 007 a nd 2 009, th e p erc enta ge o f b usin ess le ad ers r a ti n g th eir IT d ep artm ents as “effe cti v e” at ap ply in g IT cap ab iliti e s to b usin ess need s actu ally d eclin ed . I n 2 007, 3 1 p erc ent o f b usin ess l e ad ers r a te d I T a s “ effe cti v e,” b ut th at n um ber s h ra nk to 2 6 p erc ent i n 2 009. A nd i t’ s n o t j u st s e nio r l e ad ers w ho th in k I T h as r o om to i m pro ve; i t’ s e nd u se rs to o. I n a 2 009 s u rv ey o f m ore th an 5 ,0 00 e nd u se rs , w e f o und th at a s tu nnin g 7 6 p erc ent dis a gre ed w ith th e s ta te m ent th at th eir j o b p erfo rm ance h ad i m pro ved b ecause o f a n ew s y ste m d eliv ere d b y I T . What w e’v e fo und in IT is v ery s im ila r to w hat w e’v e fo und in re cru iti n g a nd , o f c o urs e , s a le s. B usin ess c usto m ers w ant th eir IT b usin ess lia is o ns to b rin g th em n ew id eas fo r h o w th ey c an u se t e chno lo gy to s a v e m oney o r m ake m oney. E ffic ie nt s e rv ic e d eliv ery is a ll w ell a nd g o od, b ut w hat t h e b usin ess r e ally v alu es i s i n sig ht i n to h o w th ey c an c o m pete m ore e ffe cti v ely . Thin k a b out th e p ara lle ls h ere . In o ur s tu d y o f b usin ess c usto m ers , w e fo und th at 5 3 p erc ent o f l o yalty w as d riv en b y th e s a le s e xp erie nce— nam ely th e s u p plie r’s a b ility to d eliv er u niq ue i n sig ht to t h e c usto m er. T hese a re v ery s im ila r re su lts to w hat w e le arn ed m akes re cru ite rs a nd IT b usin ess l ia is o ns e ffe cti v e in th eir jo bs. W e a ls o fo und th at th e re p s w ho c an d eliv er th e u niq ue in sig hts c usto m ers a re l o okin g f o r— th e C halle nger r e p s— re p re se nt o nly 2 7 p erc ent o f a ll s a le sp eo ple . A gain , t h is i s v ery s im ila r to w hat o ur c o lle agues i n r e cru iti n g a nd I T f o und . BR EA K IN G O UT O F O RDER -T A K ER M ODE T he c o ro lla ry to b ein g a R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er a s a s a le sp ers o n is to b e s e en a s a n “ o rd er ta ker” in o th er f u ncti o nal a re as. W e h eard th is ti m e a nd a gain i n o ur d is c ussio ns w ith o ur C EB c o lle agues. Our co rp ora te co m munic ati o ns pra cti c e, th e C om munic ati o ns E xecuti v e C ouncil, to ld us th at c o m munic ato rs hav e lo ng b een fig hti n g to m ove up str e am in th e v alu e chain w ith th eir b usin ess c usto m ers . T hey w ant to m ove f r o m “ m anagin g th e m essa ge” to “ m anagin g th e d eb ate ,” b ut i n o rd er to d o th is , th ey need to pra cti c e so m eth in g calle d “ta cti c al deafn ess.” In oth er w ord s, head s of c o m munic ati o ns tr y to g et th eir te am s to p urp ose fu lly ig nore th e s p ecific ta cti c a b usin ess c usto m er i s a sk in g f o r ( e .g ., “ W e n eed a p re ss r e le ase o n X ”) s o th at th ey c an i n ste ad d ig f o r th e s tr a te gic r e aso n d riv in g th e r e q uest ( “ W e n eed to m ake s u re o ur c o m peti to rs s e e th at w e’v e m oved in to th is s p ace”). D oin g th is , a s a v vy c o m munic ato r w ill o fte n i d enti fy o pportu niti e s to d eliv er m uch g re ate r v alu e th an w hat c o uld h av e b een a cco m plis h ed j u st b y “ ta kin g th e o rd er.” One o f th e b est p ra cti c es w e te ach m em bers i n o ur c o m munic ati o ns p ro gra m c o m es f r o m th e V P o f c o m munic ati o ns a t a n a uto m anufa ctu re r. S he ta ught h er te am to p ra cti c e a f iv e-s te p p ro cess d esig ned t o enfo rc e rig o ro us criti c al th in kin g ab out p artn ers ’ b usin ess p ro ble m s. T he p ro cess ensu re s th at c o rp ora te c o m munic ati o ns’ s o lu ti o ns ta rg et th e m ost s ig nific ant d riv ers o f p artn ers ’ p erfo rm ance g ap s. C om munic ati o ns’ u se o f th e p ro ble m -s o lv in g p ro cess h as s tr e ngth ened th e q uality a nd im pact o f its s o lu ti o ns to p artn ers ’ b usin ess p ro ble m s and has in cre ase d th e tr a nsp are ncy o f co m munic ati o ns’ c o ntr ib uti o n to p erfo rm ance i m pro vem ents . I n th is w ay, th is p ra cti c e h as h elp ed p ositi o n th e f u ncti o n a s a c o nsu lta ti v e p artn er c ap ab le o f d riv in g b usin ess r e su lts . Som eti m es th e s ta kes a re e v en h ig her. C om panie s r e ly o n c entr a l f u ncti o ns l ik e s tr a te gy, R & D, a nd p ro cure m ent n o t ju st to ta ke o rd ers , b ut to m ake s u re th e b usin ess is th in kin g th ro ugh its a ssu m pti o ns r ig o ro usly — wheth er th o se a ssu m pti o ns p erta in to a n ew m ark et o pportu nity o r th e p ric e to b e p aid f o r c riti c al i n p uts a nd m ate ria ls . Our p ro cure m ent p ro gra m , th e P ro cure m ent S tr a te gy C ouncil, re centl y lo oked a t h o w P urc hasin g l e ad ers c an e q uip th eir m anagers to e ffe cti v ely c halle nge lin e c usto m ers ’ d eep ly h eld b elie fs . “ In o rd er to g enera te tr u ly in no vati v e id eas,” o ur c o lle agues e xp la in ed to u s, “ p ro cure m ent m ust b e a b le t o u nd ers ta nd th e s tr a te gy a nd — more im porta nt— und ers ta nd th e a ssu m pti o ns th at u nd erlie it. W ith t h is k no w le d ge, p ro cure m ent c an g o b eyo nd a naly zin g s p end d ata to f in d o th er a re as th at c o uld b enefit f r o m p ro cure m ent’ s e xp erti s e . A fte r le arn in g th e a ssu m pti o ns th at u nd erlie th e b usin ess’s str a te gy, p ro cure m ent sh ould p ush b ack o n w eak p oin ts to d ete rm in e w hic h p arts o f th e s tr a te gy a re b ase d o n f a ls e o r q uesti o nab le p re m is e s. Challe n gin g th ese id eas a nd c o m in g b ack to th e b usin ess w ith a s u p erio r a lte rn ati v e w ill g enera te s ig nific ant i m pro vem ents to th e c o m pany.” R& D is als o an are a w here q uesti o nin g assu m pti o ns and d eep ly held b elie fs is o f p ara m ount i m porta nce, le st th e o rg aniz a ti o n e nd u p b lin d sid ed b y u nse en ris k s o r b e h eld c ap ti v e b y its o w n b ia se s. T o h elp th em e m erg e s u ccessfu lly fr o m th e c urre nt w obbly e co no m y, c o m panie s a re lo okin g f o r “ tr a nsfo rm ati o nal i n no vati o n” f r o m th eir R & D g ro up s— in o th er w ord s, th ey’re l o okin g to f e ed th e f r o nt e nd o f th e i n no vati o n p ip elin e. T he p ayo ff f o r g etti n g th is r ig ht i s h uge f o r a c o m pany: O ur R & D p ra cti c e, th e R ese arc h a nd T echno lo gy E xecuti v e C ouncil ( R TEC ), f o und th at R & D o rg aniz a ti o ns th at e xcel a t s e ed in g th e g ro w th p ortf o lio w ith tr a nsfo rm ati o nal id eas g enera te double th e n ew p ro duct s a le s re la ti v e to p eers . In ad diti o n, tr a nsfo rm ati o nal id eas hav e d ev elo pm ent cycle s th at are 11 p erc ent f a ste r th an th eir c o m peti to rs ’, s in ce i d eas th at a re w ell s c o ped a nd c o nnecte d to m ark et n eed s r e q uir e l e ss r e w ork . Our c o lle agues f o und th at o f a ll o f th e c o m pete ncie s f o r a n R & D d ep artm ent to p osse ss, “ str a te gic in flu ence”— th at i s , th e a b ility o f R & D to i n flu ence c o rp ora te a n d b usin ess s tr a te gie s— deliv ere d th e gre ate st r e tu rn in te rm s o f e nab lin g th ese tr a nsfo rm ati o nal id eas. A t th e s a m e ti m e, n early 7 0 p erc ent of R & D h ead s o ur c o m pany s u rv eyed r e p orte d th at th eir te am s l a cked th is i m porta nt c ap ab ility . The i s su e h ere , f o r m ost o rg aniz a ti o ns, i s th at th e f r o nt e nd o f th e i n no vati o n f u nnel i s w here m any go od i d eas g o to d ie . C om panie s, i t tu rn s o ut, f r e q uentl y m is s o ut o n tr a nsfo rm ati o nal i n no vati o ns d ue to R & D’s in ab ility to c o nv in ce b usin ess p artn ers o f a n id ea’s m erit. T he re aso n s o fe w id eas a re su ccessfu l in th e m ark et is o fte n b ecause R & D s c o pes o ut g o od id eas, fa ils to c o nv in ce th e b usin ess of th e r e le v ance o f i d eas, o r i s u nab le to c o nnect i d eas to m ark et n eed s. In r e sp onse , o ur R TEC c o lle agues h av e p ulle d to geth er a s e rie s o f b est p ra cti c es— no t u nlik e w hat we’v e d eliv ere d i n s u p port o f th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel. T he p ra cti c es th ey’v e b een o ut te achin g th eir m em bers hav e to d o w ith new w ays o f arm in g th e R & D te am to challe nge th e entr e nched assu m pti o ns o f th e b usin ess, a v oid k nee-je rk r e je cti o n o f n ew o pportu niti e s, a nd c o m pre ss th e ti m e i t ta kes to c o lle ct f e ed back o n e arly -s ta ge i d eas. SP EA K IN G T H E L A N G UAG E O F T H E B U SIN ESS A co m mon, th o ugh v ery ta cti c al, p itf a ll w e se e in te rn al b usin ess fu ncti o ns str u ggle w ith is th eir i n ab ility to c o m munic ate to b usin ess p artn ers in te rm s th ey u nd ers ta nd . M ore o fte n th an n o t, th is is b ecause fo lk s at th e co rp ora te cente r are exp erts in th eir sp ecific d om ain are a, and w hile th eir k no w le d ge o f th eir f u ncti o ns— be i t l e gal, I T , o r H R— in sti lls c o nfid ence i n b usin ess p artn ers , i t d oes l ittl e to a ssis t th ese f u ncti o nal e xp erts i n c o m munic ati n g c o m pellin g i d eas a nd i n sig hts . One fin ancia l se rv ic es c o m pany w e w ork w ith in o ur c usto m er se rv ic e p ro gra m , th e C usto m er C onta ct C ouncil, d esc rib ed fo r u s w hat is a n e v erg re en p ro ble m fo r c usto m er s e rv ic e: g etti n g th e b usin ess to ta ke a cti o n o n c usto m er c o m pla in ts . H is to ric ally , th ey h ad p re se nte d c o m pla in t d ata in “ call cente r te rm s,” th at is to sa y, in te rm s of num ber of calls , to ta l ti m e re q uir e d to hand le c o m pla in ts , e tc . B ut th ey f o und i t d iffic ult to b re ak th ro ugh w ith b usin ess c usto m ers . I n r e sp onse , th ey d ev elo ped a “co m pla in t- to -m ark et im pact” m odel th at help ed th em calc ula te , fo r any custo m er c o m pla in t, w hat th e lik ely fin ancia l im pact w ould b e fo r th e c o m pany. S ud denly , b usin ess c usto m ers w ere a ll e ars . A cco rd in g to th e V P o f c usto m er s e rv ic e, “ T here a re a lw ays c usto m er is su es th at e nd u p i n gra in ed i n th e o rg aniz a ti o n. T his d ata — because i t’ s i n c le ar te rm s y o u c an’t i g no re — re ally p uts t h e is su es rig ht in y o ur fa ce. It h elp s u s fin d s y ste m ati c is su es a nd c o nv in ce o th ers th at it’ s w orth p artn erin g w ith u s to f ix th em .” One o f th e w ors t o ffe nd ers w hen it c o m es to te chnic al ja rg o n is le gal, a s te chnic al a fu ncti o n a s e xis ts w ith in th e la rg e c o rp ora te e nte rp ris e . O ne m em ber o f o ur le gal p ro gra m , th e G enera l C ounse l R ound ta b le , to ld u s th at it’ s a n a re a w here h e s p end s a fa ir b it o f ti m e a nd e nerg y d ev elo pin g h is t e am : “ S kills a tto rn eys l e arn i n l a w s c ho ol a re n’t th e o nes th at w ill m ake th em e ffe cti v e i n a b usin ess s e tti n g. A s la w s tu d ents , a tto rn eys le arn to w rite lo ng, te chnic al b rie fs . T hese a re g re at fo r a ju d ge, b ut th ey’re te rrib le fo r a b usin essp ers o n. W e s p end a lo t o f ti m e o n h o w y o u c o m munic ate to y o ur b usin ess p artn ers . I ev en b rin g in a co m munic ati o ns co ach to help th em sto p sa yin g th in gs lik e ‘ w here as’ a nd ‘ h ere to fo re ’ i n th eir p re se nta ti o ns. T hey’v e g o t to b e a b le to e ngage w ith th e b usin ess i f t h ey’re g o in g to b e s u ccessfu l i n a n i n -h o use l e gal s e tti n g.” This p arti c ula r g enera l c o unse l g o es o n to e xp la in th at it’ s n o t ju st te chnic al ja rg o n th at g ets in th e w ay of atto rn eys’ bein g effe cti v e in dealin g w ith busin ess custo m ers ; it’ s als o th eir natu ra l p re d is p ositi o n to w ant to “ call b alls a nd s tr ik es” r a th er th an g iv e th e b usin ess o pti o ns th at w ill h elp t h em m ake d ecis io ns: “A tto rn eys lik e to giv e gra y answ ers — th is d ecis io n ‘m ig ht go fo r yo u o r a gain st yo u’— but th at’ s no t help fu l to o ur custo m ers . T hey can’t m ake in fo rm ed d ecis io ns w ith g uid ance lik e th at.” T o h elp g et h is a tto rn eys o ut o f th is m in d se t, h e a ctu ally e nlis ts th e h elp o f a n o uts id e e xp ert w ho te aches liti g ati o n ris k p ro je cti o ns. “ W e d on’t h av e a c ry sta l b all,” h e e xp la in s, “ b ut w e c an g iv e p ro bab iliti e s o n d ecis io ns a nd e sti m ate s fo r p ote nti a l d am ages. T hat’ s a lo t m ore h elp fu l to o ur b usin ess p artn ers th an s a yin g a j u d gm ent ‘ c o uld g o e ith er w ay.’ ” EA R NIN G A S E AT A T T H E T A BLE J u st g etti n g r id o f ja rg o n a nd s p eakin g in b usin ess te rm s m ig ht m ake th e b usin ess lis te n to w hat y o u h av e to s a y, b ut it’ s u nlik ely to e arn y o u a n in v ita ti o n to c riti c al s tr a te gy m eeti n gs o r m ake y o u a “ m ust- h av e” v oic e a t h ig h-ris k d ecis io n p oin ts . It’ s a w ay to n o t g et ig no re d , b ut p ro bab ly n o t a w ay t o g et so ught o ut. T o e arn a “ se at a t th e ta b le ,” c o rp ora te c ente r sta ff n eed to d eliv er c o m pellin g i n sig hts , a nd th ere a re n’t a l o t o f s e co nd a nd th ir d c hances g iv en o ut h ere b y b usy l in e e xecuti v es. One o f o ur fa v orite ta cti c s fo r p ic kin g th o se o ccasio ns to “ p la nt th e fla g” a nd m ake y o ur te am a n i n d is p ensa b le b usin ess p artn er is fr o m o ur m ark et r e se arc h p ro gra m , th e M ark et R ese arc h E xecuti v e B oard . M ark et r e se arc hers s tr u ggle w ith a ll o f th e p ro ble m s w e’v e d is c usse d s o fa r— th ey h av e, in m ost c o m panie s, p ro pagate d th eir o w n re p uta ti o ns a s n o th in g m ore th an “ o rd er ta kers ,” a nd th ey s tr u ggle to r e la te to b usin ess p artn ers b ecause o f h o w s te ep ed th ey te nd to b e in th eir o w n te chnic al d om ain s. The p ra cti c e in q uesti o n c o m es fr o m a h ig h-te ch c o m pany w ho se r e se arc h le ad er h ad id enti fie d a n um ber o f o pportu niti e s fo r m ark et r e se arc h to s u b sta nti a lly in fo rm s tr a te gic d eb ate s g o in g o n a t th e h ig hest le v els of th e co m pany. T he pro ble m w as th at th e m ark et re se arc h fu ncti o n w as new ly c entr a liz e d i n th e c o m pany a nd h ad n’t y et e arn ed a s e at a t th e ta b le w ith th ese o th er s e nio r l e ad ers . A s t h e h ead o f r e se arc h a t th e ti m e e xp la in ed , “ W e w ere a b le to i d enti fy a re as w here w e c o uld a d vis e th e f ir m s tr a te gic ally b ut w ere n o t y et in a p ositi o n to b e h eard b y m anagem ent. T hey fir s t n eed ed to e xp erie nce e xactl y w hat a str a te gic a d vis e r is c ap ab le o f d oin g, so th e c halle nge w as fin d in g th e o pportu nity to s h o w m y g ro up ’s a b iliti e s.” To m ake s u re th at h is g ro up p ut i ts b est f o ot f o rw ard , h e e sta b lis h ed a h and fu l o f c rite ria th at w ould e nsu re th ey w ould n’t w aste a n o pportu nity to m ake th e r ig ht fir s t im pre ssio n w ith s e nio r le ad ers h ip : ( 1 ) T he p ro je ct h ad to c o rre sp ond to a n is su e o f s ig nific ance o n m anagem ent’ s a gend a; ( 2 ) th ere h ad t o b e a h ig h l ik elih o od th at th e r e se arc h te am w ould u nco ver s ig nific ant i n sig hts ; ( 3 ) th e p ro je ct h ad to b e w ith in th e g ro up ’s e xp erti s e ; ( 4 ) th ere h ad to b e a h ig h p ro bab ility o f r e so lu ti o n to th e is su e; a nd ( 5 ) th e p ro je ct h ad to h av e lo w re so urc e re q uir e m ents . S ound fa m ilia r? T he c rite ria o f th e h ead o f m ark et re se arc h b ear a re al re se m bla nce to w hat m akes fo r a g o od te achin g p itc h. In fa ct, s o m e o f t h em a re i d enti c al to th e S A FE -B O LD F ra m ew ork w e d is c usse d i n c hap te r 5 . The c rite ria h elp ed th e r e se arc h d ep artm ent d eliv er c o m pellin g i n sig hts i n th eir f ir s t p re se nta ti o n to t h e m anagem ent te am , ulti m ate ly doub lin g th e num ber of str a te gic pro je cts th ey w ere ask ed to c o m ple te a nd in cre asin g th e d ep artm ent’ s b ud get b y 6 5 p erc ent. “ T he tr ic k,” th e d ir e cto r o f th e te am e xp la in ed , “ is f in d in g th e r ig ht i s su e. O nce y o u a chie v e th o se e arly s u ccesse s, d oors s ta rt o penin g a nd e xecuti v es m ake ti m e fo r th e g ro up b ecause th ey k no w w e a re g o in g to h av e s o m eth in g im porta nt to s a y.” A P ER M AN EN T R ESE T? A t th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard , w e o ffe r a n um ber o f sim ila r tr a in in g p ro gra m s fo r c o rp ora te c ente r s ta ff a cro ss o ur m em bers h ip s. O ur H R a nd F in ance L ead ers h ip A cad em ie s, fo r in sta nce, a re h eav ily fo cuse d o n b uild in g c o nsu lta ti v e s k ills fo r h ig h p erfo rm ers w ith in th ese d iffe re nt c o rp ora te f u ncti o ns a t o ur m em ber c o m panie s. S im ila rly , o ur m ark et r e se arc h p ro gra m o ffe rs c o nsu lta ti v e s k ills a nd p re se nta ti o n s k ills tr a in in g. A ll o f th ese o ffe rin gs a re c o nsis te ntl y s o ld o ut, s u ggesti n g th at th is i s — at l e ast f o r n o w — a p re ssin g i s su e f o r f u ncti o nal l e ad ers . B ut w ill d em and f o r th ese k in d s o f s k ills a nd c ap ab iliti e s f a d e? It’ s h ard to p re d ic t w hat s k ills w ill b e in v ogue in fiv e o r te n y ears in la rg e c o m panie s, b ut w e w ould a rg ue th at it’ s u nlik ely th at b usin ess c usto m ers w ill lo w er th e b ar a nyti m e so on fo r th eir c o rp ora te c ente r c o lle agues. In te rn al c usto m ers , lik e o uts id e o nes, w ill c o nti n ue to b e o pen to n ew i d eas f o r s a v in g m oney o r m akin g m oney a nd th ey w ill r e w ard s u p plie rs — wheth er e xte rn al s u p plie rs o r th e c o rp ora te fu ncti o ns th at su p port th em in te rn ally — who b rin g in sig ht to th e ta b le . W hile th e b usin ess m ay h av e n o o pti o n but to w ork w ith a n in te rn al s u p plie r, th ey o fte n h o ld th e p urs e s tr in gs, a nd th e g ap b etw een fu nd in g to k eep th e lig hts o n a nd fu nd in g fo r la rg e-s c ale p ro je cts a nd s o lu ti o ns c an b e q uite w id e i n d eed . We s u sp ect th at th e C halle nger c o ncep t r e so nate s s o w ell w ith o th er f u ncti o nal a re as b eyo nd s a le s b ecause it s u ggests a p ro m is in g a lte rn ati v e to th e c urre nt s ta te in w hic h m any fu ncti o nal le ad ers fin d t h em se lv es to day. J u st l ik e th e s u p plie r f ig hti n g f o r a c usto m er’s l o yalty , f u ncti o nal l e ad ers w ant— fo r t h em se lv es a nd th eir te am s— a s e at a t th e ta b le w here th e b ig gest b usin ess d ecis io ns a re m ad e. T he C halle nger m odel o ffe rs a t le ast a s ta rti n g p oin t fo r th ese te am s to s ta nd u p a nd b e c o unte d in a w ay t h at i s f u nd am enta lly d iffe re nt f r o m th e r e acti v e, o rd er-ta kin g w orld . AC K NO W LED G M EN TS P R IN CIP A L C O NTR IB U TO RS W hile th is b ook h as tw o a uth o rs o n th e c o ver, it is , lik e a ll C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard s tu d ie s, th e p ro duct o f a n e no rm ous te am u nd erta kin g. A t th e to p o f th e lis t o f c o ntr ib uto rs a re th re e in d iv id uals w ho , a lo ng w ith th e a uth o rs , f o rm ed th e c o re o f th e r e se arc h te am b ehin d th is w ork : K are n F re em an K are n s e rv ed a s re se arc h d ir e cto r o f th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil fr o m 2 008 to 2 010 a nd w as th e d riv in g f o rc e a nd p rin cip al th o ught l e ad er b ehin d th e o rig in al C halle nger s tu d y, Rep lic a tin g th e N ew H ig h P erfo rm er, in 2 009 as w ell as th e fo llo w -o n m anager effe cti v eness stu d y, Build in g Sale s M anagers fo r a R etu rn to G ro w th in 2 010. It w as h er u nfa ilin g c o m mitm ent to d eliv erin g th e m ost p ow erfu l a nd p ro vocati v e r e se arc h p ossib le — in e ffe ct, h er a m biti o n to p ush th e th in kin g o f e v en o ur m ost p ro gre ssiv e m em bers — th at ulti m ate ly m ad e th e C halle nger stu d y th e m ost su ccessfu l ev er d eliv ere d b y th e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil. K are n h as a ls o s e rv ed a s r e se arc h d ir e cto r o f S E C ’s s is te r p ro gra m , th e M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip C ouncil, a nd w as a r e cip ie nt o f th e “ F orc e o f Id eas” a w ard , o ne o f th e h ig hest h o no rs b esto w ed o n a C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard e m plo yee, in 2 010. S he is c urre ntl y m anagin g d ir e cto r o f l e arn in g a nd d ev elo pm ent f o r th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard . T im ur H ic yilm az Tim ur h as s e rv ed a s S E C ’s h ead o f q uanti ta ti v e r e se arc h s in ce 2 005. I n th is c ap acity , h e h as b een th e quant “ v is io nary ,” s u rv ey d esig ner, a nd p rin cip al m odele r a nd d ata a naly st b ehin d a ll o f S E C ’s m ajo r re se arc h i n iti a ti v es, i n clu d in g a ll o f th e m ajo r q uanti ta ti v e s tu d ie s th at u nd erp in th e f in d in gs d is c usse d in th is b ook. T im ur’s k een q uanti ta ti v e s k ills a re s e co nd o nly to h is i n cre d ib le c ap acity f o r u sin g d ata to r e fr a m e th e w ay m anagers th in k a b out th eir o rg aniz a ti o ns a nd h is a m azin g d ep th o f k no w le d ge in B2B s a le s a nd m ark eti n g. T im ur c urre ntl y s e rv es a s a s e nio r d ir e cto r w ith in th e s a le s a nd m ark eti n g pra cti c e o f C EB , w here h e c o nti n ues to o vers e e a ll o f th e q uanti ta ti v e r e se arc h fo r S E C , M LC , a nd th eir sis te r p ro gra m s. T o th is d ay, h e is o ne o f o ur m ost so ught- a fte r re se arc hers fo r e ngagin g in mem ber c o nv ers a ti o ns, e sp ecia lly a ro und l a rg e-s c ale s tr a te gic i s su es. To dd B urn er Todd B urn er s e rv ed a s th e d ay-to -d ay p ro je ct m anager o n b oth th e 2 009 Rep lic a tin g s tu d y a s w ell a s th e 2 010 Build in g stu d y. A s te am le ad er, T odd d ev ote d m ore ti m e to th ese re se arc h stu d ie s— in clu d in g c o untl e ss e arly m orn in g, la te e v enin g, a nd w eekend h o urs — th an a nyb ody o n th e te am . A perfe cti o nis t at heart, T odd held his te am to an in cre d ib ly hig h b ar, kno w in g th at o nly th e m ost in sig htf u l c o nte nt w as w orth y o f o ur m em bers ’ ti m e a nd a tte nti o n. W ith o ut T odd’s in te lle ctu al r ig o r, co m mitm ent to e xcelle nce, a nd d ed ic ati o n to h is te am , it is d oub tf u l th at th ese s tu d ie s w ould h av e been d eliv ere d o n ti m e, le t a lo ne a t th e s ta nd ard th ey w ere . A g ifte d b usin ess le ad er, T odd c urre ntl y se rv es as re se arc h dir e cto r fo r th e IT L ead ers h ip E xchange, th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard ’s pro gra m f o r m id dle -m ark et C IO s. WIT H S IN CER E T H ANKS Beyo nd th e p rin cip al c o ntr ib uto rs to th is r e se arc h, th ere i s a l o ng l is t o f i n d iv id uals a nd o rg aniz a ti o ns with o ut w ho se c o m mitm ent a nd s u p port th is r e se arc h a nd th is b ook w ould n ev er h av e s e en th e l ig ht o f day. Fir s t, w e o w e a tr e m end ous d eb t o f g ra ti tu d e to th e l e ad ers h ip o f o ur f ir m , e sp ecia lly o ur c hair m an and C EO , T om M onahan, a nd th e g enera l m anager o f th e s a le s a nd m ark eti n g p ra cti c e, H anie l L ynn. I t was th eir c o m mitm ent to o ur c o m pany’s c o re v alu es, e sp ecia lly w hat w e c all th e “ F orc e o f Id eas,” th at k ep t th e o rg aniz a ti o n ste ad fa stl y fo cuse d o n d eliv erin g m ajo r, g ro und bre akin g re se arc h to o ur mem bers , e v en in th e d ep th s o f th e r e cessio n w hen it m ig ht h av e b een e asie r a nd m ore e xp ed ie nt to fo cus r e so urc es e ls e w here . With th e su p port of Tom , H anie l, and our co m pany’s se nio r le ad ers h ip , w e w ere ab le to co ncentr a te th e fir e p ow er of a tr u ly aw eso m e re se arc h te am on dis c o verin g and defin in g th e Challe nger S ellin g M odel. S pecific ally , w e w is h to th ank curre nt S E C and M LC re se arc h te am mem bers Ja m ie K le in erm an, V ic to ria K oval, P atr ic k L oftu s, P atr ic k S penner, a nd Jo sh S etz e r; w e als o w is h to th ank c urre nt S E C re se arc h d ir e cto r N ic k T om an, w ho h as c o nti n ued to le ad th e S E C te am in exp lo rin g th e C halle nger Sellin g M odel and build in g re so urc es to help our m em bers im ple m ent i t w ith in th eir o w n o rg aniz a ti o ns. We a ls o o w e a tr e m end ous a m ount to a n um ber o f f o rm er S E C a nd M LC r e se arc hers w ho e ach h ad a p ro fo und im pact o n th e re se arc h th at w ent in to th is b ook: M ary D ette ric k, B ria nna G oode, J a so n Grim m, R ob H am sh ar, H ad le y H effe rn an, A nd re w K ent, A aro n L otto n, A sh o k N achnani, L aure l Nguyen, W oody P aik , T om S vrc ek, A le x T se re lo v, a nd B arry W in er. Beyo nd th e r e se arc h te am , w e a re s u p porte d b y a n a ll- s ta r c ast o f e xecuti v e a d vis e rs w ho b rin g th e co nte nt to l ife f o r o ur m em bers . T he a d vis o ry f u ncti o n, w hic h i s h ead ed b y T om D is a nti s i n S E C a nd Kath erin e E vans i n M LC , p la ys a c riti c al r o le i n th e r e se arc h p ro cess a t C EB . I n a d diti o n to T om a nd Kath erin e, a d vis e rs w ho ’v e h eav ily in flu enced th is w ork in clu d e D av e A nd ers o n, A nth o ny A nti c o le , Anth o ny B ello ir, J o nath an D ie tr ic h, M ic hael H ub ble , D oug H utto n, M eta K ara gia nni, R ic k K arlto n, Matt K ie l, T ed M cK enna, P ete r P ic kus, a nd S ta cey S m ith . Where o ur m em ber a d vis e rs le av e o ff, o ur o w n c o nsu lti n g g ro up , S E C S olu ti o ns, p ic ks u p . A s we’v e p oin te d o ut in th is b ook, th e S E C S olu ti o ns te am is re sp onsib le fo r p ro vid in g c usto m iz e d engagem ent- le v el s u p port to m em ber c o m panie s lo okin g to im ple m ent a ny a nd a ll o f th e e le m ents o f th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel. L ed b y E xecuti v e D ir e cto r N ath an B la in , P ra cti c e L ead er S im on Fre w er, a nd M em ber S erv ic es L ead er S ean C arr, th e S E C S olu ti o ns te am i s a w orld -c la ss o utf it, a nd th e o ffe rin g th ey h av e c re ate d in th is s p ace, th e C halle nger D ev elo pm ent P ro gra m , is th e e nv y o f th e in d ustr y . Beyo nd th ese th re e in d iv id uals , m any S E C S te am m em bers — in clu d in g Jo e B is a gna, C harlie Dorrie r, a nd J a so n R obin so n— pro vid ed o ngo in g fe ed back o n th is w ork . O n th is p oin t, o ne S E C S te am m em ber— Je ssic a C ash — dese rv es a s p ecia l th ank-y o u fo r s p end in g c o untl e ss h o urs w ith th is manusc rip t, h elp in g u s to s ig nific antl y s h arp en th e te achin g a nd in sig hts c o nta in ed h ere in . W e a ls o ow e a tr e m end ous a m ount to th e S E C S olu ti o ns f a cilita to r te am — fo rm er s a le s a nd m ark eti n g l e ad ers fr o m o ur m em ber c o m panie s, su ch a s T yro ne E dw ard s, fo rm er h ead o f N orth A meric an sa le s a t Merc k, a nd D re w P ace, fo rm er h ead o f s a le s a t B ank o f N ew Y ork M ello n— who h av e c o nti n ued to help u s s p re ad th e w ord a b out th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel a nd r e fin e o ur th in kin g o n w hat i t m eans to ta ke c o ntr o l o f th e c usto m er c o nv ers a ti o n. Ours i s a u niq ue c ra ft a nd w e a nd o ur te am s r e ly h eav ily o n th e th o ught l e ad ers h ip a nd m ento rs h ip of th o se i n o ur c o m pany w ho a re b est a t w hat w e d o. E ric B ra un i s th e s a le s a nd m ark eti n g p ra cti c e’s head o f r e se arc h a nd h as b een i n ti m ate ly i n v olv ed i n th e C halle nger r e se arc h, a lte rn ate ly s e rv in g n o t ju st a s c hie f o f r e se arc h q uality c o ntr o l b ut a s in sig ht “ Z en m aste r” to o ur te am . H is fin gerp rin ts a re all o ver th is r e se arc h, a nd th e e nd r e su lt i s m uch b ette r f o r i t. Befo re E ric a ssu m ed th is r o le , w e h ad th e p riv ile ge o f s tu d yin g u nd er s e v era l r e se arc h l e gend s a nd maste rs o f th e “ C EB W ay,” i n clu d in g P ope W ard , T im P olla rd , D ere k v an B ev er, a nd C hris M ille r. A t diffe re nt p oin ts in ti m e o ver th e p ast d ecad e, th ese in d iv id uals ta ught u s w hat it m eans to d eliv er re se arc h a nd i n sig ht w orth y o f o ur m em bers ’ ti m e a nd a tte nti o n. Last b ut n o t le ast, w e a re in d eb te d to o ur o w n c o m merc ia l te am a t C EB . V ery e arly o n, w e w ere fo rtu nate to b e a b le to ta p in to th e e xp erie nces a nd in sig hts o f o ur o w n “ ho m egro w n” C halle ngers su ch a s K ev in H art a nd K ris te n R achin sk y. T hese in d iv id uals le t u s s it in o n th eir s a le s c alls a nd end ure d o ur m any q uesti o ns a b out w hy th ey s e ll th e w ay th ey d o. Outs id e o f C EB , w e o f c o urs e o w e th anks to N eil R ackham , a uth o r o f SP IN S ellin g a nd n um ero us oth er r e no w ned w ork s in th e fie ld , fo r h is ti m e a nd th o ughtf u l c o nsid era ti o n th ro ugho ut th is p ro je ct. We a re h o no re d to b e a sso cia te d w ith N eil, th e “ p ro fe sso r e m eritu s” o f th e s a le s w orld . All o f o ur w ork a t th e C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard is in sp ir e d b y o ur m em bers . T hey d ir e ct u s to th eir m ost p re ssin g is su es, giv e genero usly o f th eir ti m e so th at w e can le arn ho w th ese is su es manife st fo r th em a nd th eir c o m merc ia l o rg aniz a ti o ns, a llo w u s to s u rv ey th eir re p s, m anagers , a nd ev en custo m ers , and , w hen calle d up on, to p ro file th eir b est p ra cti c es and ta cti c s so th at o th er mem bers m ig ht a v oid r e in v enti n g th e w heel. With in a m em bers h ip th at n o w s p ans h und re d s o f c o m panie s a nd th o usa nd s o f i n d iv id ual s a le s a nd mark eti n g le ad ers , w e w ould lik e to s p ecific ally th ank a fe w o f o ur c urre nt a nd fo rm er m em bers fo r th eir a b ove-a nd -b eyo nd c o ntr ib uti o ns to th is r e se arc h: Deb O le r, v ic e p re sid ent a nd g enera l m anager o f G ra in ger B ra nd , h as b een o n th e C halle nger jo urn ey s in ce l o ng b efo re i t h ad a n am e. H er o rg aniz a ti o n’s m any a cco m plis h m ents a nd c o ntr ib uti o ns to th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel h av e b een d is c usse d i n d eta il i n th is b ook, a nd D eb h ers e lf h as b een unfa ilin gly g enero us w ith h er ti m e s in ce w e f ir s t s tu m ble d u p on h er g ro und bre akin g s a le s a p pro ach i n la te 2 007. A tr u e “ guru ” in h er p ro fe ssio n, s h e h as c o nti n ued to c halle nge u s to fu rth er d efin e th e Challe nger m odel a nd a sk w hat’ s n ext f o r B 2B s a le s a nd m ark eti n g. Kev in H end ric k is s e nio r v ic e p re sid ent o f s a le s fo r A DP’s N orth A meric an E m plo yer S erv ic e busin ess. A tr u e fir s t m over, K ev in h as ta ken th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel a nd a p plie d it to h is org aniz a ti o n a s q uic kly a s w e’v e b een a b le to tu rn o ut th e r e se arc h. T he tr e m end ous s u ccess h e’s s e en with th e m odel a sid e, K ev in h as b een a n i n v alu ab le r e so urc e to o ur te am . H av in g a m em ber w ho i s s o eager to a p ply th e i n sig hts f r o m o ur w ork a nd r e p ort b ack w hat h e’s l e arn ed h as h elp ed to e nsu re th at th is w ork sta ys gro und ed in th e re aliti e s o f B 2B sa le s and m ark eti n g and th at its le sso ns sta y pra cti c al, a s o ppose d to s im ply th eo re ti c al. Fin ally , w e w is h to th ank D an J a m es, fo rm er C SO o f D uP ont, w ho h as b een a g uid in g lig ht fo r u s fr o m d ay o ne o f th is jo urn ey. A s o ne o f o ur le ad in g m em bers , D an h as g iv en c o untl e ss h o urs o f h is ow n ti m e to h elp g uid e th is r e se arc h a nd p ro vid e fe ed back o n it. W hile C SO , D an g av e u s a ccess to his r e p s, m anagers , a nd c usto m ers . H e a ls o a gre ed to b e p ro file d f o r s e v era l b est p ra cti c es h e a nd th e DuP ont te am had ar-c hite cte d . S in ce his re ti r e m ent fr o m D uP ont, D an has se rv ed as o ne o f th e prin cip al fa cilita to rs o f th e C halle nger a nd M anager D ev elo pm ent p ro gra m s o ffe re d b y o ur S E C Solu ti o ns g ro up a nd h as b een a n o ngo in g a d vis e r o n th is b ook, c o nd ucti n g n um ero us in te rv ie w s, help in g u s th in k th ro ugh s o m e o f th e tr ic kie r i m ple m enta ti o n i s su es i n th e C halle nger m odel, a nd e v en ed iti n g th e e arly m anusc rip t o f th e b ook i ts e lf. Speakin g o f e d iti n g, w e w ould b e r e m is s fo r n o t a ckno w le d gin g th e fa nta sti c s u p port o f th e m any ta le nte d and d ed ic ate d p ro fe ssio nals w ho help ed sh ep herd th is b ook th ro ugh each p hase o f th e jo urn ey: o ur a gent, Jill M ars a l o f M ars a l- L yo n; th e te rrific te am a t P ortf o lio , in clu d in g o ur v ery ta le nte d e d ito r, C ourtn ey Y oung, a nd h er e d ito ria l a ssis ta nt, E ric M eyers ; o ur v ery p ati e nt g ra p hic desig ner, T im B ro w n; o ur o w n e xcelle nt m ark eti n g a nd P R te am a t C EB , in clu d in g R ory C hanner, Ayesh a K um ar-F la herty , a nd L eslie T ullio ; a nd la st b ut n o t le ast, G ard in er M ors e , s e nio r e d ito r a t Harv a rd B usin ess R evie w , f o r h is s u p port i n h elp in g u s to u nv eil th e C halle nger S ellin g M odel to th e bro ad er b usin ess c o m munity . The f in al th ank-y o u i s th e m ost i m porta nt o ne. T his r e se arc h a nd th is b ook w ould n ev er h av e b een possib le w ere it n o t fo r th e s u p port a nd e nco ura gem ent o f o ur fa m ilie s. A nyb ody w ho h as w ritte n a book k no w s th at it’ s a b ig u nd erta kin g a nd th at th e p ric e fo r th e ti m e it ta kes to g et it d one is o fte n paid b y th o se c lo se st to th e a uth o r. Matt’ s b eauti fu l a nd ta le nte d w ife , A my, a nd th eir fo ur w ond erfu l c hild re n, A id an, E th an, N ora h, and C la ra , sh o w ed n o th in g b ut p ati e nce a nd lo ve fo r th eir fa th er a nd h elp ed k eep h im sa ne a nd gro und ed th ro ugho ut th is p ro je ct. H is o nly re gre t is th at The C halle n ger S ale is unlik ely to b e in clu d ed i n th e Magic T re e H ouse s e rie s, a nd th us i s l ik ely to g o u nre ad b y th e D ix o n c hild re n f o r th e fo re se eab le f u tu re . Bre nt c an o nly w ond er a t h is a m azin g w ife , U te , w ho se p ati e nc e k no w s n o b ound s d esp ite b ein g so re ly te ste d a t ti m es, a nd h is tw o b eauti fu l d aughte rs , A llie a nd K ie ra , w ho c halle nge h im to s e e th e world a new e v ery s in gle d ay. M ay y o u g ro w u p to b e C halle ngers i n w hate v er y o u c ho ose to d o. B ut fir s t . . . w e’re g o in g to D is n ey W orld . APPE N DIX A Excerp t f ro m th e C halle n ger C oach in g G uid e T EA CH P re -c a ll P la nnin g Q uestio ns • W hat b usin ess p ro ble m w ill y o u b e f o cusin g o n w ith th is c usto m er? H ow d o y o u k no w th at th is is o f criti c al im porta nce to th em ? H ow hav e yo u se en sim ila r co m panie s ap pro ach th is pro ble m ? • H ow n ew /in tr ig uin g w ill th is i n sig ht b e to th e c usto m er? W hy h asn ’t th e c usto m er f ig ure d i t o ut alr e ad y? P ost-c a ll D ebrie fin g Q uestio ns • H ow i n tr ig ued o r p ro voked w as y o ur c usto m er w ith th e i n sig ht( s ) y o u s h are d ? H ow c o uld y o u te ll? C halle nger C oach in g E xerc is e U ndersta nd th e co nte xt: Sele ct one custo m er/p ro sp ecti v e acco unt and answ er th e fo llo w in g q uesti o ns: • W hat a re th e c o m pany’s s tr a te gic o bje cti v es f o r th e n ext o ne to th re e y ears ? • W here a re th ey s tr o ngest a gain st th eir c o m peti ti o n? W here a re th ey l a ggin g? • H ow does th e ro le of yo ur co nta ct/ ta rg et im pact th e co m pany’s str a te gic obje cti v es and str e ngth s/w eaknesse s? As th e c o ach, p artn er w ith th e s a le s p ro fe ssio nal to i d enti fy o pportu niti e s to c o nnect th e c usto m er’s b usin ess opportu niti e s w ith yo ur co m pany’s str e ngth s to cra ft a more co m pellin g te achin g c o nv ers a ti o n. T A IL O R P re -c a ll P la nnin g Q uestio ns • W hat a re s o m e o f th e la te st tr e nd s in th is c usto m er’s in d ustr y ? H ow w ould th o se tr e nd s a ffe ct th e c usto m er’s c o m pany? • W hat is uniq ue ab out th is co m pany’s positi o n in th e m ark etp la ce? W here are th ey m ost vuln era b le ? P ost-c a ll D ebrie fin g Q uestio ns • W hat d id y o u l e arn a b out th e c usto m er’s e co no m ic d riv ers ? • W hat g o als , m oti v ati o ns, o r in fo rm ati o n d id y o u e nco unte r th at y o u h ad n’t e xp ecte d ? H ow d id yo u r e sp ond ? TA KE C O NTR O L Pre -c a ll P la nnin g Q uestio ns • W hat a re y o ur n ext s te p s to e nsu re th at th e p urc hase p ro cess m oves f o rw ard ? • W hat i s y o ur u nd ers ta nd in g o f th e c usto m er’s b uyin g p ro cess? Post-c a ll D ebrie fin g Q uestio ns • W hat d id th is c o nv ers a ti o n d o to m ove th e s a le f o rw ard ? • D urin g m om ents o f te nsio n, w as y o ur g ut fe elin g to d efu se th e te nsio n o r p re ss o n? W hat d id yo u d o? • W hat a re y o ur n ext s te p s? Dow nlo ad a m ore c o m pre hensiv e g uid e a t www.t h ech alle ngersa le .c o m In clu d in g: • C oachin g a nd d ev elo pm ent e xerc is e s • D eta ile d C halle nger b ehav io r g uid es • M ore p re – a nd p ost- c all q uesti o ns • T ip s to b uild a C halle nger te am • T eam m eeti n g e xerc is e s • Y our r o le a s a C halle nger l e ad er Onlin e m ate ria ls g uara nte ed a v aila b le u nti l N ovem ber 1 0, 2 016. APPE N DIX B Sellin g S ty le S elf -D ia g n ostic I N ST R UCTIO NS C onsid erin g e ach o f th e s ta te m ents b elo w , s c o re e ach o ne a cco rd in g to y o ur a gre em ent w ith h o w w ell i t d esc rib es h o w y o u s e ll to y o ur c usto m ers . 1 = S tr o ngly d is a gre e 2 = D is a gre e 3 = N eutr a l 4 = A gre e 5 = S tr o ngly a gre e S C O RIN G G UID E • A dd u p y o ur s c o re f o r q uesti o ns 2 a nd 3 . W rite th at n um ber i n th e “ T eaches f o r D iffe re nti a ti o n” box b elo w . • A dd u p y o ur s c o re f o r q uesti o ns 5 a nd 6 . W rite th at n um ber i n th e “ T ailo rs f o r R eso nance” b ox belo w . • A dd u p y o ur s c o re f o r q uesti o ns 8 a nd 9 . W rite th at n um ber i n th e “ T akes C ontr o l” b ox b elo w . If yo u ra te d yo urs e lf hig hly o n q uesti o ns 1 , 4 , 7 , o r 1 0, th is m eans th at yo u hav e natu ra l sa le s te nd encie s i n o th er s a le s p ro file s. ( 1 i s R ela ti o nsh ip B uild er, 4 i s L one W olf, 7 i s P ro ble m S olv er, 1 0 is H ard W ork er) In e ach b ox: • 8 o r A bove: S ound s lik e y o u’re o ff to a g re at s ta rt; k eep lo okin g fo r w ays to c halle nge y o ur custo m ers ’ th in kin g. • 5 to 7 : Y ou h av e a g o od fo und ati o n to b uild o n; ta rg et a n a re a fo r d ev elo pm ent a nd sta rt push in g y o urs e lf to c halle nge m ore . • 4 o r B elo w : T his m ay b e a s lig htl y n ew a p pro ach f o r y o u; th in k a b out th e a re a w here y o u f e el most c o m fo rta b le a nd s ta rt y o ur p ers o nal d ev elo pm ent th ere . APPE N DIX C Challe n ger H ir in g G uid e: K ey Q uestio ns to A sk in th e I n te rv ie w IN DEX A dam so n, B re nt A DP D eale r S erv ic es challe nges f a cin g C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h co m pany i n fo rm ati o n P ro fit C lin ic s su ccess o f A ggre ssio n vers u s a sse rti o n. se e A sse rti v eness ele m ents o f A lte rn ati v es, q uesti o ns to e nco ura ge A sse rti v eness of C halle ngers and c o ntr o llin g s a le ele m ents o f fo rm s o f A ssu m pti o ns o f c usto m er, c halle ngin g B ayG ro up I n te rn ati o nal, S itu ati o nal S ale s N ego ti a ti o n m eth o d B ia se s as o bsta cle s to i n no vati o n overc o m in g B ra in sto rm in g, S C A M MPE R R f r a m ew ork B und le d g o ods/s e rv ic es, a nd s o lu ti o n s e llin g B urn er, T od B uyin g b ehav io r, tr e nd s r e la te d to C halle nger D ev elo pm ent P ro gra m co achin g g uid e id enti fy in g C halle ngers , H ir in g G uid e ta kin g c o ntr o l to olk it tr a in in g C halle ngers am big uity , a ccep ta nce o f asse rti v eness o f chara cte ris ti c s o f co ntr o llin g s a le s k ill o f eco no m ic c lim ate a nd p erfo rm ance vers u s h ig h p erfo rm ers id enti fy in g f o r h ir in g positi v e p erfo rm ance o f pric e d is c ussio ns b y re fr a m in g s k ill o f R FP, a p pro ach to se llin g m odel b ase d o n. se e C halle nger S ellin g M odel su ccess, b asis o f tr a in in g f o r uniq ue s k ills o f C halle nger S ellin g M odel co achin g i n co ntr o llin g s a le i n im ple m enti n g. se e C halle nger S ellin g M odel a d opti o n in no vati o n i n in te rn al b usin ess f u ncti o n a p plic ati o ns org aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility , b uild in g i n pilla rs o f ta ilo rin g f o r r e so nance i n te achin g f o r d iffe re nti a ti o n i n ti m e f a cto rs i n See a ls o C ontr o llin g s a le ; T ailo rin g f o r r e so nance; T eachin g f o r d iffe re nti a ti o n C halle nger S ellin g M odel a d opti o n C halle nger te rm in o lo gy, u sin g custo m er-c entr ic ity , d ro ppin g D eb O le r q uesti o n, a sk in g fu ll a d opti o n, d iffic ulty o f and g lo bal o pera ti o ns fo r h ig h p erfo rm ers a s i s su e id enti fy in g/h ir in g C halle ngers org aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility b uild in g i n pilo t p ro gra m f ir s t pitc h, w ord s to a v oid re aso ns f o r and s a le s m anager e ffe cti v eness tr a in in g, a p pro ach to Chin a, C halle nger S ellin g M odel i n CIO E xecuti v e B oard CLC R ecru iti n g Coachin g basic e le m ents o f busin ess i m pact o f Challe nger C oachin g G uid e defin ed dem ocra ti c a p pro ach to and d is c re ti o nary e ffo rts , i n cre ase i n Hyp oth esis -B ase d C oachin g vers u s m anagin g PA USE f r a m ew ork by s a le s m anagers Colle cto rs , r o le o f Com mand er’s I n te nt Com merc ia l T eachin g cata ly zin g a cti o n co ntr o l o f i d eas a s e sse nce o f custo m er r e acti o ns to e xp ect custo m er’s a ssu m pti o ns, c halle ngin g Deb O le r q uesti o n, u sin g defin ed effe cti v eness, r e aso ns f o r Hyp oth esis -B ase d S ellin g i n in sig ht- c usto m er c o nnecti o n, m akin g in sig ht- s u p plie r c o nnecti o n, m akin g re fr a m in g i n RO I c alc ula ti o ns, f o cus o f ab out s e gm enta ti o n ab out u niq ue c usto m er s tr e ngth s Com merc ia l T eachin g p itc h by A DP D eale r S erv ic es ( c ase s tu d y) build in g p itc h, o rd er o f co nstr u cti n g, te am a p pro ach co m pare d to c o nsu lta ti v e s e llin g cre d ib ility , b uild in g i n custo m er c ap ab iliti e s, e num era ti n g custo m er c halle nges, a sse ssin g Em oti o nal I m pact i n as “ le ad in g to ” v ers u s “ le ad in g w ith ,” 7 7, 9 6 New W ay i n org aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility b uild in g i n Rati o nal D ro w nin g i n Refr a m e i n re sis ta nce to u se and S A FE -B O LD f r a m ew ork sim plic ity o f Solu ti o n i n ste p s i n ( d ia gra m ) su p plie r, f ir s t r e fe re nce to su p porti n g d ata , p re se nti n g Warm er i n “w e’re d iffe re nt” o bje cti o n, c o unte rin g word s to a v oid by W . W . G ra in ger ( c ase s tu d y) Com munic ati o ns E xecuti v e C ouncil Com munic ati o ns p ro gra m s, i n sig ht, n eed f o r Com peti ti o n, b eati n g, w ith u niq ue c usto m er s tr e ngth s Com pla in t- to -m ark et i m pact m odel Concessio ns hand lin g, D uP ont m eth o d patte rn s to a v oid Confid ence, o f C halle ngers Confir m ati o n b ia s Conse nsu s-b ase d s a le , r is e o f Consu lta nts Challe ngers a s. se e T eachin g f o r d iffe re nti a ti o n to c usto m ers , i n p urc hase d ecis io ns Consu lta ti v e s e llin g, c o m pare d to C halle nger m eth o d Contr o llin g s a le asse rti o n v ers u s a ggre ssio n as C halle nger s k ill co ncessio ns, h and lin g diffic ulty o f DuP ont, c ase s tu d y exam ple s o f mis c o ncep ti o ns a b out pre p arin g r e p s f o r re fr a m in g i n and R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers and s a le s p ro cess Corp ora te E xecuti v e B oard su rv ey o f. se e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil ( S E C ) s u rv ey tr a in in g o ffe rin gs o f Cre d ib ility , b uild in g i n p itc h Custo m er-c entr ic ity defin ed negati v e i m pact o f Custo m er C onta ct C ouncil Custo m er n eed s analy sis , i n l o yalty s u rv ey Challe nger’s a p pro ach to custo m iz a ti o n n eed s and H yp oth esis -B ase d S ellin g outc o m e-o rie nte d a p pro ach se gm enta ti o n b ase d o n so lu ti o n s e llin g a p pro ach Custo m er o bje cti o ns co ncessio ns, h and lin g “w e’re d iffe re nt” o bje cti o n, c o unte rin g Custo m ers Challe nger s k ills r e la te d to and c o nse nsu s-b ase d s a le FU D f a cto r key c halle nges, a sse ssin g lo yalty s u rv ey need s. se e C usto m er n eed s obje cti o ns o f. se e C usto m er o bje cti o ns re sp ond in g v ers u s d efe nd in g o f ris k a v ers io n o f se gm enta ti o n and s o lu ti o n s e llin g Custo m er s e rv ic e co m pla in t- to -m ark et i m pact m odel in sig ht, n eed f o r Custo m iz a ti o n, c usto m er d em and f o r D ata , p re se nti n g, i n C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h D ecis io n m akers ite m s o f i m porta nce to in l o yalty s u rv ey new p hysic s o f s a le s f o r ro le o f D iffe re nti a ti o n te achin g b y C halle ngers . se e T eachin g f o r d iffe re nti a ti o n w ord s to a v oid D is c o unts . See C oncessio ns D is c re ti o nary e ffo rts , c o achin g a nd i n cre ase i n D ix o n, M att D uP ont co m pany i n fo rm ati o n co ncessio ns, h and lin g co ntr o llin g s a le b y nego ti a ti o n w ork sh o p S itu ati o nal S ale s N ego ti a ti o n ( S SN ) m eth o d E co no m ic d eclin e and C halle ngers p erfo rm ance and p erfo rm ance g ap and s o lu ti o n s e llin g E m oti o nal I m pact in C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h em oti o nal c o nnecti o n, m akin g obje cti o ns, c o unte rin g in W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h E nd u se rs , i n l o yalty s u rv ey E xp orta b ility b ia s F acto r a naly sis F in ance L ead ers h ip A cad em y F ir s t c o nclu sio n b ia s F re em an, K are n F U D f a cto r F uncti o nal b ia s c ard G enera l C ounse l R ound ta b le G lo bal o pera ti o ns, C halle nger S ellin g M odel i n H ard W ork ers chara cte ris ti c s o f positi v e a sp ects o f in S E C s u rv ey H end ric k, K ev in See a ls o A DP D eale r S erv ic es H ic yilm az, T im ur H ir in g C halle nger H ir in g G uid e S ellin g S ty le S elf- D ia gno sti c H um an r e so urc es ( H R), i n sig ht, n eed f o r H yp oth esis -B ase d C oachin g H yp oth esis -B ase d S ellin g I n flu encers , i n l o yalty s u rv ey I n no vati o n bia se s a s o bsta cle s to co m ponents o f im porta nce o f narro w in g v ers u s o penin g th in kin g questi o ns to e nco ura ge in s a le s c o nte xt by s a le s m anagers S C A M MPE R R f r a m ew ork and th e u nkno w n I n sig hts in C om merc ia l T eachin g im porta nce to c usto m ers in sig ht- c usto m er c o nnecti o n in sig ht- s u p plie r c o nnecti o n, m akin g in te rn al b usin ess f u ncti o ns, n eed s o f m ark eti n g p arti c ip ati o n pre se nti n g. se e R efr a m in g in W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h I T c ap ab iliti e s, i n sig ht, n eed f o r J a rg o n, te chnic al, a v oid in g K PM G, a nd S A FE -B O LD f r a m ew ork “ L ead in g to ,” v ers u s “ le ad in g w ith ” m eth o d L egacy b ia s L egal p ro fe ssio n, i n sig ht, n eed f o r L one W olf chara cte ris ti c s o f negati v e a sp ects o f positi v e p erfo rm ance o f in S E C s u rv ey L oyalty s u rv ey decis io n m aker b ehav io r i n end u se r b ehav io r i n in flu encer b ehav io r i n lo yalty , d riv ers o f sa le s e xp erie nce, i m porta nce o f se nio r e xecuti v e b ehav io r i n sta keho ld er l o yalty , a naly sis o f to p a ttr ib ute s i n to pic s c o vere d M anagers . See S ale s m anagers M ark eti n g C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h, c o nstr u cti n g as i n sig ht g enera ti o n m achin e -s a le s c o lla b ora ti o n M ark eti n g L ead ers h ip C ouncil r e se arc h, p re fe rre d c o m panie s, c usto m er v ie w o f M ark et r e se arc h, i n sig ht, n eed f o r M ark et R ese arc h E xecuti v e B oard M om entu m , c re ate d b y C halle ngers N arro w in g th in kin g defin ed vers u s o penin g th in kin g N eed s, c usto m er. See C usto m er n eed s N ego ti a ti o n vers u s c o ntr o llin g s a le S itu ati o nal S ale s N ego ti a ti o n m eth o d N ew p ers p ecti v e, p re se nti n g. se e R efr a m in g N ew p hysic s o f s a le s N ew W ay in C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h in W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h O bje cti o ns. See C usto m er o bje cti o ns O le r, D eb ra D eb O le r q uesti o n positi o n o f See a ls o W . W . G ra in ger O penin g th in kin g bia se s a s o bsta cle s defin ed and i n no vati o n questi o ns to e nco ura ge O rd er-ta kers O rg aniz a ti o ns cap ab ility b uild in g, a nd C halle nger s e llin g in te rn al f u ncti o ns, n eed f o r i n sig ht te chnic al j a rg o n, u se o f O utc o m es to c usto m er n eed s, m ap pin g fu ncti o nal b ia s c ard ta ilo rin g f o r r e so nance P assiv e b ehav io r vers u s a sse rti o n. se e C ontr o llin g s a le ele m ents o f re aso ns f o r R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers P A USE , c o achin g f r a m ew ork P ers o nal b ia s P itc h, te achin g. se e T eachin g p itc h “ P ow er o f P la nnin g th e U np la nned , T he,” P ra cti c ality b ia s P ric e C halle nger’s a p pro ach to co ncessio ns, h and lin g P ric e-to -v alu e r a ti o and c usto m er l o yalty and p ric e i n cre ase P ro cure m ent. See P urc hasin g P ro cure m ent S tr a te gy C ouncil P ro ducers , r o le o f P ro fit C lin ic s, A DP D eale r S erv ic es P ro je ct p ro posa l te m pla te , ta ilo re d to c lie nt P ro m pti n g q uesti o ns, to e nco ura ge i n no vati o n P sy ch olo gy o f S ellin g, T he ( S tr o ng) P urc hasin g ease , i m porta nce to c usto m ers in sig ht, n eed f o r re se arc h, h is to ry o f th ir d -p arty c o nsu lta nts f o r tr e nd s r e la te d to R ackham , N eil R ati o nal D ro w nin g in C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h in W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h R eacti v e P ro ble m S olv er chara cte ris ti c s o f in S E C s u rv ey R efr a m in g as C halle nger s k ill in C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h custo m er r e acti o ns to e xp ect fa cts to s u p port, p re se nti n g im porta nce o f R FP, r e sh ap in g f o r s u p plie rs and R O I d is c ussio n su ccess, b asis o f as ta kin g c o ntr o l o f s a le in W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers chara cte ris ti c s o f co nnecti o n, o ver-e m phasis o n lo w p erfo rm ance o f passiv e b ehav io r o f ta kin g c o ntr o l, l im ita ti o ns o f te achin g p itc h, s a fe R ela ti o nsh ip s e llin g, d eclin e o f R eq uests f o r p ro posa ls ( R FP) best d eal, c usto m er b ehav io r C halle nger’s a p pro ach to as f r e e a d vic e to c usto m er re sh ap in g f o r s u p plie r R ese arc h a nd d ev elo pm ent ( R & D) in sig ht, n eed f o r str a te gic i n flu ence c o m pete ncy R ese arc h a nd T echno lo gy E xecuti v e C ouncil ( R TEC ), b est p ra cti c es R eso urc e a llo cati o n, b y s a le s m anagers R is k , a nd te achin g p itc h R is k a v ers io n, c usto m ers R O I c alc ula ti o ns C halle nger’s a p pro ach to fa cts to s u p port, p re se nti n g ty p ic al a p pro ach to S A FE -B O LD F ra m ew ork S afe p ra cti c e, a nd tr a in in g S ale s -m ark eti n g c o lla b ora ti o n new p hysic s o f S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil ( S E C ) s u rv ey are as n o t s tu d ie d fa cto r a naly sis i n in sig hts o f lo yalty s u rv ey sa le s f o rc e p erfo rm ance g ap sa le s f o rc e p ro file s i n sa m ple s iz e so lu ti o n s e llin g, f in d in gs o n varia b le s te ste d S ale s e xp erie nce, i m porta nce to c usto m ers S ale s L ead ers h ip D ia gno sti c fin d in gs, a p ply in g varia b le s te ste d S ale s m anagers co achin g b y effe cti v eness, l a ck o f excelle nce, e le m ents o f hir in g, b asis o f in no vati o n b y re so urc e a llo cati o n b y S ale s L ead ers h ip D ia gno sti c se llin g s k ills o f S ale s p erfo rm ance re se arc h, h is to ry o f S E C s u rv ey. se e S ale s E xecuti v e C ouncil ( S E C ) s u rv ey S C A M MPE R R f r a m ew ork S egm enta ti o n C om merc ia l T eachin g o n need s-b ase d tr a d iti o nal S ellin g S ty le S elf- D ia gno sti c S enio r e xecuti v es, i n l o yalty s u rv ey S herk , A dam S itu atio nal S ale s N eg otia tio n ( S SN ) m eth o d pro cess o f work sh o p o n Sola e challe nges f a cin g co m pany i n fo rm ati o n fu ncti o nal b ia s c ard sc rip ti n g, u se o f sta keho ld er i n fo rm ati o n, u se o f ta ilo rin g f o r r e so nance b y ta ilo rin g to ol Solu ti o ns in C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h and i n no vati o n in W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h Solu ti o n s e llin g bund le d o ffe rin gs i n custo m er b urd en i n custo m er n eed s i n in d ow n m ark et fo cus o f gro w th o f perfo rm ance g ap sa le s r e p b urd en i n so lu ti o ns f a ti g ue Sta keho ld ers in l o yalty s u rv ey and n ew p hysic s o f s a le s ta ilo rin g m essa ge f o r Str o ng, E . K . Sup plie rs Challe nger a p pro ach. se e C halle nger S ellin g M odel custo m er b usin esse s, k no w le d ge o f Deb O le r q uesti o n in sig ht- s u p plie r c o nnecti o n, m akin g pre fe rre d c o m panie s, c usto m er v ie w o f pric e v ers u s u niq ueness a p pro ach und iffe re nti a te d , c ho osin g T ailo rin g f o r r e so nance basis o f as C halle nger s k ill co ncre te a p pro ach to exam ple s o f la yers o f ta ilo rin g obsta cle s to outc o m e, f o cus o n pro je ct p ro posa l te m pla te sc rip ti n g, u se o f by S ola e, c ase s tu d y varia b ility , r e d ucin g T eachin g f o r d iffe re nti a ti o n basis o f as C halle nger s k ill exam ple s o f im porta nce to c usto m ers in sig hts , s h arin g org aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility , b uild in g i n R FP, r e sh ap in g f o r s u p plie rs sa le s c o nv ers a ti o n to a v oid sa le s e xp erie nce, i m porta nce o f te achin g m eth o d. se e C om merc ia l T eachin g te achin g p itc h. se e C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h T eachin g p itc h of C halle ngers . se e C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h of R ela ti o nsh ip B uild ers S A FE -B O LD F ra m ew ork sim plifie d a p pro ach su ccessfu l, e le m ents o f w ord s to a v oid T eam s, C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h, c o nstr u cti n g T ra in in g C halle nger D ev elo pm ent P ro gra m of C halle ngers vers u s c o achin g C orp ora te E xecuti v e B oard p ro gra m s co sts o f enhancin g, g uid elin es f o r sa fe p ra cti c e Situ ati o nal S ale s N ego ti a ti o n m eth o d U nkno w n, i n no vati o n a ro und U np la nned p urc hase s, c o st o f. See W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h V alu e pla nnin g to ol, ta ilo re d to c lie nt and p ric e i n cre ase . se e P ric e-to -v alu e r a ti o W arm er in C om merc ia l T eachin g p itc h in W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h W ork sh o ps, n ego ti a ti o n w ork sh o p W . W . G ra in ger challe nges f a cin g C om merc ia l T eachin g, c ase s tu d y. se e W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h co m pany i n fo rm ati o n pilo t s a le s p ro gra m uniq ue c ap ab iliti e s, d is c o verin g W . W . G ra in ger te achin g p itc h custo m er a s f o cus D eb O le r q uesti o n E m oti o nal I m pact i n N ew W ay i n org aniz a ti o nal c ap ab ility , b uild in g “P ow er o f P la nnin g th e U np la nned , T he,” R ati o nal D ro w nin g i n R efr a m in g i n S olu ti o n i n W arm er i n

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