We’ve been talking about Matt Dixon’s book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation. Dixon was featured recently on the Harvard Business Review Ideacast, talking about his HBR article, “The End of Solution Sales”. He talks about why solution sales died, and why the Challenger salesperson has arisen to fill in the gap.
Why are we interested here at CaroleGaudet.com? The Challenger salesperson is especially key for disruptive technologies and solutions, like clean energy and clean technology. In this world, you must push the customer to take a leap of faith and take some risk.
What exactly is the Challenger doing differently? He or she
- delivers insights and teaches customers how to understand their world
- tailors a value proposition to make it resonate with a wide range of stakeholders: the CFO, the CMO, the CSO, the CIO, the end user
- takes control in a way that is not obnoxious. It’s assertive. And Challengers hold their ideas in terms of pricing and conditions as well.
How should organizations begin to make this kind of change in their sales culture? We’ve got to teach it. Our managers must coach to it.
But we’ve also got to build our organization’s ability to deliver these insights to our sales people, so that they can go out and be Challengers, helping to change the way customers think about their world.
Organizations must come up with these insights, and package them in such a way that the average sales person can deliver them in true Challenger fashion.
The customer is increasingly well-equipped and well armed to make their own decisions. But the Challenger evens out the balance, coming to the conversation even better equipped. That requires organizations to do the hard work of coming up with valuable, just-over-the-horizon insights.