The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

37: The Fundamentals of Challenger Selling with Challenger Author, Brent Adamson

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we talk to Brent Adamson, who co-authored the foundational sales book, The Challenger Sale, and who has recently released The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results.  Brent walks us through the key foundational elements of Challenger concepts and gives us the tools we need to get started with a new approach to sales.

One two one twe three Fo eeverybody welcome to the saleshackerpodcast. It's your host Sam Jacobs, I'm the founder of the revenue. Collectivewe've now got chapters in Boston, Denver, Toronto, London, Amsterdam andNew York. So we are becoming the largest global community for commercialexecutives at highgrowth companies in the world, and I am also the chief forov, an officer of behavox. But today, as you know, I am hosting the PODCASTand we're focused on an interview with somebody that we all should know aboutit's Brend, Adam son, so Brend Adamson was the coauthor of the Challenger saleand also the newly released the challengeer customer, which the fulltitle is the Challenger customer selling to the hidden influencer. Whocan multiply your results? frents a frequent contributor on sales topics atHBR, Harvard Business Review He's been published in Bloomberg Business Week.Forbes and selling power he's been a gardener, originally CorporateExecutive Board for fifteen years, and we are talking with literally the guywho wrote the book. One of the guys who wrote the book on the entire Challengerconcept, starting with the challengeor sale and two thousand and eight and nowwith t e, newly released challenge or customer, which was a really importantbook that ive recently just finished reading and super important for sort ofmultistake, holder, complex and our price sale cycles, of which I amtypically involved. Now before we get started, we want to think our sponsorsis always. The first is air call. Air Call is te phone system designed forthe modern sales team they seamlessly integrate into your crm. They areeluminating data entry for your reps and they give you greater visibilityinto your teams for performance through advance reporting. When it's time toscale, you can add new lines, ind minutes and use in call coaching toreduce ramtime for you, new reps visit ar called O io forward sales hacker.That's air called dot, io forward, slash, sale, psycher type that intocomputer right now buy something from them so that we can keep making thepodcast and see why a bunch of other amazing companies areall using air call.Our second sponsors also outreach outreachd dot. Io is deleading salesengagement platform, outreach, triples the productivity of sales teams andempowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth byprioritizing the right activities and scaling custom engagement withintelligent automation, outreach makes customer facing teams more effectiveand improves his ability into what really drives results so go over tooutreach. Dadyo forward, slash sales hacker where you can see how thousandsof customers, including clouddar glass door, Pandora Zilo, all rely onoutreach to deliver and finally, finally want to think some fans outthere that have been emailing me and reaching out to me on Linkdin, Rachel,Grey Brend geony. I hope I pronounced his last name correctly: Laura Gera,Alice and Creager Walsh, Timothy Hartnett, Harrison, Johnson, nate,Gugia and then Oran Friedman, who was emailing me back and forth. We weretalking about podcast concepts and he said that he's hoping for somethinglike an hour and a half long like Joe Rogan. If you guys are interested insomething of that length really going deep with he particular interview.Subject: DROPD ME Aline and Linkedin, and let me know so- that's been a longpreample. Let's get to the heart of the matter, which is an amazingconversation with Frent Adamson, the CO author of the Challenger Sal, thecoauthor of the Challenger customer and a really respected and acclaimed authorand speaker and facilitator from Gartner. So let's listen, everybody its Sam Jacobs, the host ofthe Sales Hacker podcast Ha'm, also, the founder, the revenue collective andthe chief Rovan offic Er, O company called behavox. Today we are extremelyexcited we're talking to one of the CO authors of not just a series of books,but really a methodology and of philosophy that has really transformedhow people sell over the last fifteen twenty years and t's. The first book,which I'll mentioned, had a big impact on me and then the second book which actually just read, had an even bigger impact because I'm in the middle of acompany who sells exactly the way that that this book describes so withoutfurther do let's talk about who we're...

...going to be talking to right now, BrentAdamson is a distinguished vice president. At Gartner he's the COauthor of the Challenger Sale, taking control of the customer conversationand the newly released the challengeer customer selling to the hiddeninfluencer. Who can multiply your results? In addition, Brents a frequentcontributor, OT sales topics on Harvard business reviews blog as well as beingpublished in Bloomburg business, wage forbs and selling power breadspinth thecompany for fifteen years through the acquisition of Corporate ExecutiveBoard that then became Ceb into Gardner, and then before that many many yearsago he was, he was teaching German. I think at Michigan State University, anLensing Michigan, so he's been doing this for fifteen years, been doing thisfor a long time. Welcome Brent, Hey, SAAM's great to be with you andeveryone. It's should be a fun conversation looking forward to it. Ithink we're first of all we're just honored to have you, but there'sprobably three people in the world that aren't familiar with the challengeersale at this point and so for their benefit. Even though you know the restof the eght billion are walk us through that first critical, almostrevolutionary. You know it's a book, but, as I mentioned it's a philosophy,it's it's a way of life and talk to us about what the central tenants of thechallengeer sale ar before we dive into the challenger Customer Butshure Sam,absolutely AF, BEU hapy. Do the I've never eally thought of it as a way oflife before, but I kind of like that yeah for what it's worth my perspective,what I really think about as more ananything else of for that matter. Thechallenge o customer s well is is research, and- and that's that's thatif you go back fifteen years in my so weird background as an academic, youknow I've essentially built a twenty five. Thirty Year career of researchingand teaching that kind of things, and for the last fifteen years it's been bbsales and marketing, and so, if you go back to about Twothousanda, eight twothousand nine, your me, you remember, two thousand eight Sam things were notso good if you were selling back in two thousand, an eight, because even if youwere selling nobody was buying right, the ECONOM was about to go off a cliffthings were really dire and if you talked the heads of sales around theworld, as we did back then- and we continue to the one thing you heardover and over again what you heard two things: one was we're not sellinganything and it was near Batter Bot panic, but a lot of concern obviously,is just you demand drit up, but the thing that was the second thing weheard was really intriguing to all of us, including heads of sales, who weresharing it with us, was how is it that inarguably the single worst economy, anrecent memory? If not ever, I still have these wine or two people in myteam who are crushing their number, who are still at o. You know everyone elseis a forty percent of goal and I get these two people at a hundred and fortypercent of Goll. How is that even possible, and so that that led us on ajourney through a huge amount of research that continues on to the stay,in fact to try to figure out what sets those very different and very activesales professionals apart from eeryone else and and in doing that, work.That's what led, ultimately, to a challenger sale and the premise andreally the findings at the work is largely based on this idea that when westudied what originally was about six osand sales, dreps is now well over ahundred munitsof somewhere between one and two hundred sand reps the last timeI checked all over the world across Geographie's Goo to market models,channels, industries, you name it and we try to understand what sets the bestpart from everyone else and low behold, not something We'ad originally plannedon studying, but it turned out and we can come back tot. The Methodology Sam,if you want, but just very briefly, it turns out virtually every salesprofessional. Is this tendency to fall into one of five distinct profiles?There's a a relationship builder, a challenger, a hard worker, and so Iknow what was really interesting is when we step back and looked at thesefive profiles and is at went and compared them to actual performance. Wefound one of the five was performing head and shoulders above the other fourone of them was falling dramatically behind and I was pretticallyinteresting particlarly back. You know in two thousand and eight when weshowed these results, t o had to sales, they would tell you wha, it's actuallykind of hard to look at, because we're placing our biggest bed on the profileleast likely to win, and so the profold most likely doing was this challengerRap and the one least likely to in was in fact what we've ultimately comes, arelationship builder and it's Letus on this journey of trying to understandwho are these challengers? What are they doing? That is so different? Whatabout these relationship? Boldhers do relationships matter in sales. I thinkwe'd all agree relationships absolutely...

...do matter in sales, although even thatis changing, but it all comes back down to this very fundamental question,which is: What is the relationship that you're seeking to establishwithyouryour customers? What is it built on? Is it built on purelyfamiliarity, or is it built on something? We've come to call insightyour ability to come to your custome end challenge their thinking. That'sthe name. Challenger teach them a new way to think not about your company,but to think about their company and a new way to make money. Save money,mitigate risk and ways that they didn't even know where possible and as thosefor sales professionals who can diplomatically professionallyculturally correctly challenge the thinking of their customer to get thatcusomer think differently about what they're doing, how they're runningtheir business a new way to be more competitive, that they Havn't fullyappreciated, they're the ones that are most likely to win so that theChallengero story is all about. Who are these individuals? How can we replicatethose behaviors? What are the skills byind it? What does that insight? Looklike you name it. You know. One of the things that I've noticed in the in mytravels is that a lot of people haven't really read the book, but they see thename, the Challenger and they they say. Oh yeah, we do challengeer and whatthey mean a sort of like this aggressive, confrontational style. Ithink t oflike being adversarial with thecustomer, which is which is not what it means. What it means is what you justsaid, which is challenge he thinking and sort of bring commercial insightand commercial teaching into the conversation so that you can teach themh w how to think about a new, a new way of thinking about their business. Whatwas it in your research that? How do you do that, like? How do you figureout? What are the insights that you should bring? I'm sure it's aconversation that could last hours, but what are some of the highlights interms of developing the right tool so that a repcan can move fromrelationship allertic to challenger it's interesting, F, R, R. by the way Iacaly real quickly, the the thing that I think is funny is I even Ali, I'm alittle Concerne ofh people say we do Challenger. We did read a book becausethere's so much, we've learned since we wrote that book about the world and theworld that we're all selling into and and much of it actually is in factcaptured in book number. Two. The challenge a customer which is then thedirect answer to your question, which is how do we go about challenging thecustomer in the way, not that they think about us, but they think abouttheir own business and and so actually raise reall ingin question sand, whichwe explore N in significant depth, an book number two, which is if you're,going to change the way your customer thinks about their business an what'sthe first thing you got to understand. What do you think? What do I think?Well, I have to one of the things I need to help them understand is thatthe status quo is untenable. Yeah, that's good! I like Reaing Sarten, butlet me Beme, but there's a real specific answer is questions bit of atrick question to its a little one. Verry putch on the spot is Lauingi, getrogotit right, but I'm going to back up a stepand, just a and really boil itdown to brass tax, which is, if you're, going to change a way a customer thinksabout their business. What's the first thing you have to understand and mostpeople to answer that questions Woll, I cgot t understand their business andit's almost drape, but not quite which is it's not so much. You have tounderstand their business, but if you can change away a customer thinks abouttheir business. The first thing you have to understand is how they thinkabout their business. You have to understand what we've come to call amental model, and this is what we break down tond get into a lot of detailandcar pocal chapters. Ind Book Number Two is: How does that customer thatperspective customer that current customer think about their business?What do they prioritize? What do they think is important? What are theycurrently running after what are their priorities? What are their goals and ofsourse? Of course you know in the old sort of classic solution, sellingapproach we used to say well, yeah. You have to understand this subsice just go.Ask Him all those questions Etn. What are you working on? What's keeping upand what are you prior hesaid? Nobody has the time or the patience to answerall those questions are be interrogated by as sales rep, but nonetheless thatis the starting point. So there's a there's, a lot of work. Thet men non,not just the individual of wet the organizational role where they supplyour organization. You know collaboratively, can sit down and saywhat do we know about a customer not just this customd, but a customer likethis. How do how do organizations like this typically operate? What do theytypically consider to be important in working with other companies like that?What are we found to be their key challenges and then step Ba k, and onceyou lay all that out, so te lay out that mental model that sort of step one?How does that customer think about their business? What do they think isimportant and his step too? Is this US something really sort of cantrarianwhich US sit back and say: okay, what they miss. Would they get wrong? Sonormally we ask US questions to find...

...out. What do you think? Okay, if that'swhat you think here's I can deliver health, but Ratherad, step to in theChallenger world is okay. If that's what you think, what are youoverlooking? What did you miss? Where might your logic be faulty orincomplete again, not with a view towards correcting them or fixing themper se, but adding to their knowledge, helping them understand the world andfrom perspective they haven't fully appreciated on their own, so so wethink about in terms of building a mental model and then breaking a mentalmodel so build a model. How do they think about the world and then breakthat model? How can how can we help them think about it in a more effectiveway than they're doing on their own right now? Do we have to read the booksin sequence? Is it helpful? What are the key differences? Obviously oneostensibly is about the rap and about the qualities of a proper sale cycle,and the second is about understanding the customer better, but should we readthem in sequence and what are the key distinctions between the Challengersale and the challenge of customer? But you know I think in manyways the bookI'd read. First, is the book I'm written yet, which is the third onewhich is up in my head? So it's not doing anybody any good right now, butthe because I think all of the context within which all of this is happeningis changing really fast and it's a context is not on the selling side.It's on the buying size. We just see, customers be to be, customers engageing, just radically different sets of buyind Bavier than the were even on orraider screen. When you first wrote the book either one of them, but that's nota very helpful answer so because all that shows up in our articles and ourblogs and things like that, an our meetings and that material now but theplace I start, I guess, would be when I never read any book completely.So I guess I'd skimbook one I'd read the first couple chapters, maybe thefirst three chapters, one I'd, Skim them and then I dive into pook numbertwo for what it's worth. If, for my own personal belief, I think book numbertwo is a better book, it is richer. It is more detailed, a its more practical,and it also is just it's better only because we just knew so much more whenWeo Book Number Two, then when we wrote the number one now we there's a quickreview of the Challenger concepts and book number two to the Challengercustomer, but but I think I think in many ways book number two is moreinteresting and where research continues to push, because it's notreally about selling at all as much as we're talking about selling right nowand the books are stensibly or about selling book number two, the Challengercustomers. Actually, as you know, Sams more about buying and I'll tell youhonestly, over the last about seven or eight years. This is where we've turnedalmost all of our tension at Gartner in the sales and marketing practice is notso much sutdying. How can we sell more effectively or market more effectively,but how are customers buying today and what is that shifting bind beaver meanfor how we need to sell going forward, and I think one of the reasons why thatmatters so much is because you know I've, traveled, Oun the world andshared the ideas of Challenger, and you know big stages and small around theworld. I find that, particularly when youwere working with veterans cellsales professionals, people a e, been selling for twenty thirty years andbeet doing an incredibly successfully they'll offen kind of sit in the backof the room with their arms cross and hi kind of gruff angry. Look on theirfacees staring to me like WHO's. This guy think he knows that he's doingright, particularly if they get win to the fact that I usedto be a Germanprofessor, like what does that mean? Where did that COJE IK ow? U, who areyou to Stayn on the stage and tell me how to sell differently Wen? In fact,I've got thirty year track record of doing amazing things. I've been toKancun for the last. You know. Twenty years in row on the presence club trip,I got more loosite trophies O my credenza than anyone else. The companysaying I'm the top sales professional a and so what we find is that the onlyway to really have that conversation with that individual who's, incrediblyskeptical of anything new, is to come at it not from a you're selling wrong,and I'm here to fix you perspective, which is completely nonproductive, isjust a nonstarter, and that's really now how I think about it anyway, ratherto come out from the perspective of irrespective of whether or not you'vebeen successful in the past, the world that we are selling into today is justdifferent. It is, customers are acting different they're engaged in adifferent set of behaviors they're operating in a different context. Ancontext at you know denominated in information and run by the Internet andthat changes everything. And so, when you startthinking about it as sort of, let me...

...show you what happens when you take theold rorld of selling and run it into the teeth, Os the new world and buyingand show you how things fall apart. This is a more productive way to thinkabout it and that's where you won't catch much of that in the original book.The challenge, your sale, because we just weren't thinking about that at thetime, but I think the challengeer customer kind of picks up. At least itbegins to pick up on a lot of those themes o just how buying is differentand what it means for all of us before we dive into the Challenger customer.Because, again to the point I just read: It and I'V got tons of questions yeah,it's great to have you on the phone, if you're a relationship fuilder if you'resomebody that has been identified as sort of you know, a rep or our profileor set of attributes or behaviors that is ill equipped to handle the modernselling environment. Is it? Did your research? Tell you that it's possibleto change? Can you become a challenger or are these patterns sort of ingrainedin some way? That makes it very difficult to evolve? It's actually theformer so, which is to say we believe that anyone can adopt this set ofBehavioris enfect, that the entire research project from beginning in andcontinuing on today is always built around behaviors, as opposed to saytalents, or you know the great work that Gallop has done over the years.For example, thet, just the INA traits that were all sort of born with wetherbe charisma, or something like that. What we find that stuff reallyinteresting, we didn't want to study only because we didn't want to land ona story that you could do nothing about it's like. Well, I guess your there's,no hope for you is, is not a very you know, elpful or optimistic sort of idea.So so what we studied was behavior skills, knowledge attitudes, all ofwhich can be changed through training through coaching through just motof.You know just best studying practice, and so what we find is that in anygiven organization anywhere between Ater finding is most heads of sales.Have Gone Down thint journey and there's been many many many salesorganazions arout the world have invested pretty heavily in this stuff.These ideas over the years and what we find us it's anecdotal, but on averageheads of sales will tell us, somewhere between twenty to thirty percent oftheir sales, for either cannot or will not go on the challengeof journey, nomatter how much help you give them to matter how much training you provide,how much coaching you you support him with they just don't seem to be cut outfor that. But if you fliped out on its head Sam, that means you know seventyeighty percent of sales forest can in fact, and does get there and and whatwhat I often find is that the bigger challenge is not skill, but in fact,will it's goes back to the you know. I think I know what I'me doing just getout of my way. Let me do my job or well. You want me to kind of challenge thecustomers thinking that feels a little provocative. That feels a little tough,and I just I just kind of want to be everybody's friend and that's not tosay that challengers are unfriendly because in fact they can be incrediblyfriendly. I think I think, if you take in fact I'll tell you somethine say IM.It is interesting when you dig into the data, you know what the second bestthing Tho most world class challenges are great at their greatup relationshipbuilding, so that there's nothing to say that these two things have to B.Exclusive, in fact, is the opposite. I'd say that most great challengers arein fact fantastic at relationships. It's just theyre, basing thatrelationship not so much unfamiliarity. Oh, my kids went to that same college.That's awesome right, but rather they're basing that convertationinteraction on on insights and ideas, which is what your customers ultimatelylooking for anyway, yeah. Well, I mean it's encouraging to hear that it'spossible to evolve so, let's tave into the challenger Cossmorm. So what Iwanted to do is I wanted to sort of like articulate the stereotypical orthe Classic Enterprise Sale Cycle and then have you just character, shreds based on the research that you've done.So you know typically what we see right, what we're taught- and maybe this isgoing even further back when it really wasn't so much multistakeholder, butfirst of all you use banc or some kind of qualification methodology that tellsyou do they have budget authoric authority need timing and authorityiesa key one right. So what you're taught in an enterprice sale cyclisyu need toget above the power line. You need to speak to power and you need to bedealing with the people that ultimately sign the checks and those are the onlypeople that make decisions, and so the sales process is about, as youmentioned before, you have like a medic or medical or medipic cars, or you knowsome acronum. That basically is a checklist for the REP yeah crossoff. Interms of that, they need to get questions they need answered and theytake that list, probably as high as they can get it to the chief, somethingor other officer that they're selling...

...to and they fill out all theinformation. And then you know at some point they moved through Procura, anEtca, etc, but so walk us through. Why that doesn't really work anymore andwalk US frough. The key concepts that we should be familiar with as itrelates to the challenger customer, well see. You know over the years s asvirtually every large bee to be, and as os small for that matter or salesorganizations move towards the possure of selling some kind of. Let's call itsolution right, so whether you sell an individual product on individualservice, largely vadded, more capabilities, more services, moreproducts around that one original package to alsoly form what we all kindof collectively come to call a solution and we're all trying to sell thesebroader solutions which had more value to the customer organization. Th at ahigher price point. At a you know, a bigger margin and of coursewe're doingthis. Not just because it's better price point better margin, but alsobeas. It allows us to differentiate ourselves from the competition right ifyou're selling an individual product that's easily replicable, it's veryquickly, commoditizable at the same time, so tha the way you escaped thatcommodidization trap. Of course, is you offer you know broader solution thatoffers more value to more people across customr organization. Now the thinkingoriginally in solution selling and probably was a right at some point. Iguess, but was, if you're going to sell this bigger, broader solution with awider footprint and arguably the higher price point, then the only way toreally get that sold into an organization is that y. You got to gethigh up in that organization. You got to Claw Your whip to the corner office.You got to get into the CSETE YOU GOT TA sell. The veto ther is that you gotto find that really important person that has the altitude the scope, theauthority to look down across that Broder solution and say absolutely,let's go, and so that that's been the you know, there's kind of two sort ofmarching orders. We've all received over the years and selling these kindsof solutions is number one get as high as you can and number two. You got tofind a champion right, so a senior, so the ultimate Unicorn is like thatsenior advocate right that senior executive who's going to take your flagand champion you across the the customer organization and say you wegotta buy. These guys are awesome and what we fot is that for many differentways and from any to t reasons that person first of all doesn't exist. But,more importantly and here's why I think wel there's a couple of reasons. Why?But I think the thing that is specially important to acknowledge now is that,even if you were to find that person that very senior c set officer wholoves your solution and wants to integrate that it technology or thatnew hrm solution, or that you know that that consulting Gageng whatever it isacross the organization we're finding. Even those senior individuals areunwilling to buy that solution on their own and, frankly, they're smart not tobe willing to buy that on their own, because they know they've come torealize that these solutions have become big enough and broad enough andand integrate enough ino other parts of organization. Lots of different peoplehave to sign off on this and so iin many ways, the heart and soul of thesort of the launching pad of the challengeer customer was this very specific datapoint, which wediscovered in studying how these solutions actually get purchased andand when we study thousands and thousands of individual individuals,state quoters all involved in some purchase of a large, complex solution.wesimply asked all these individuals how many people in your organizationare typically involved in the officially in this purchase and have toultimately sign off on it's on its on its purchase and implementation, andthen number came back at at five point: Four, so that entire book, theChallenger customes all written about the five point. Four, the five point:Four, the five point: Four individual stakehuilders across an organizationwho all ultimately have to sign off on a deal to get. It done now a couplethings about that SAM. That's interesting that that five point fournumber is since that book came out n this whay. I talk about our more recentresearch and since we first did the research that sits in that book, theChallengeer Customer we've rerun that research every year. We continue to askevery year, you know somewhere between two and fourthousand individuals,stayholders all invelvement, O complex purchase of a BTB solution. How manypeople are involved in the purchase? The the next year went the NIXT yeare.We got the databack one from five point, four up to six point: Eight, for itwent from six point eight up to seven point something. This year we got Thodate bout, it's over nine, so it's a huge huge number and I think itactually. It might be worthwhile to...

...talk about why that number is so high,but Jou, say anicdotally. It's really interesting. I did a meeting of chiefsales officers back in June and Chicago, and I was sharing our latest date onthat number. There's ad of sales there sa you know, look it just. This isbecause it's honestly, it's gone up so fast and so much Sam that we actuallyEder as a research organization, have begun to doubt our Methodologi's, likehow cound this number be so hig. How can the exact same methodology returnsuch a dramatically and rapidly increasing number? A We actually had abig meeting here in our office is Narlington Virginia about whether ornot we still trust the number, and we should report it publicly and at's. Nowwe reported as a range of six to ten, but ahead of sales in Chicago SA Thi tone of ourchief sailes offs ere meetings is funny. You said, because Ithink you're right. You should doubt that number nut, because it's too high,but because it's too low these arthe- oh I'm, not I'm not at I'm, notdoubting and I'm depressed about it right. You know he saidhe recently wentout and did a closing call, and it was a multimillion dollar deal and they'vebeen the thing Ha' been in the pipeline for like eighteen months. Right is notlike, they didn't know what was going on and they had they had the championthey had that senior advocate who wanted their solution. They were, infact they were so sure that this deal was going to close, that they flew upthe senior leadership of their company on the corporate jet with the contractin the hand and the mobl pen and ready to sign the Contera was all excited n,their their best suits and Ther Cup flinks and ready to go ready to go andthey walk in the door of the custom organization. And I kick you not.There's literally sixteen different people sitting around the conferencetable all waiting for that meeting and and they thought it was Ga, be like oneguy 's going to sign off on the deal and everyone's Gonnao be happy, andinstead that meeting started with those sixteen individuals all introducingthemselves to each other Itoh your pop porcurement. I never menton great toput a name with a face: we've only met on email Y, say and which his led us toby the way conclude the single rule of sales. It is you know, you're not goingto close a deal when the meeting the Customr meeting begins with customersintroducing themselves to each other, but this is what hearpens in the worldthat we're in it and again, this is evolved even rapidly, since thecustomer, the challengeer customer came out, which is, if you think about. Whyare there so many people involved in the purchase of a solution? It's thevery you know. Part of is the very thing that I started this response with,which is, as we seek to expand the scope and the valued that of thesolution that we deliver, so that it touches more people inside the customerorganization, an delivers, more value for more people. It stands e reason allthose people are goint to have to say in what actually gets purchased, but,but I think, particularly in the last two years, a thing that's really beendriving. This number of people problem is data and and data security, so GDPR,for example, more recently is, is introduced a whole host of regulationsthat customers Hay before Yiu will say before we buy this system now we needto understand how does it integrate with ourit platform, whether it's itdriven or not? How does you know who owns the data? Does the data sit in thecloud? How is it secure WHO's responsible? So there's lawyersinvolved there's course: procurement involve theres and user communitiestheres it departments, there's it's like hurting cats and and so to thinkthat somehow you could claw your way into a corner office and find that onesenior decision makers willing to sign up on this and his ar her own. Even ifthey ownd a budget is I pype dream honestly is not going to happen today.It's just because that's not ou customers by. Do you think that part oftrying to make this extremely tactical if the numbers, nine or five point fouror seven, do you think part of the framework of trying to processtize oroperationalize? This is hey you've only spoken. We only have contact with fourpeople, and research shows at six to ten, so we have to score the deal lowerthan we would if you had engagement with seven or eight people. Even if wedidn't confirm that all of thes seven agt people were exactly the rightpeople that needed to chime in, I think at the very least, if you're talking toone or two people that that deal should be suspect at best right. So because,because whatill happen is that person, if you're talking to them the reasonyou're talking to is because they because they're talking to you right,they're willing to have that conversation and that they'll take themeeting and they'll share information and every conversation feels fantastic,but but unless they're willing to go fight the good fight inside their ownorganization, of hurting those cats and building that consensus, Weve foundthat those conversations are having with that one individual can in fact besymptomatic of well. Well, nothing...

...really, that of no progress whatsoever.We call those individuals who talk a lot to you, but don't actually aren'tvery good insi of of driving changeesside their ownorganization. We call them talkers, and this is what the really the challengeour custom book is. All about is talkers versus what we call mobilizers.We can come to back to mobilizers year in a second, if you like, but the youknow, the talker is a really tough stakeholder to encounter as a sales rep,because it feels so good right, they'll they'll, take the meeting they'll takethe next meeting, they'll dish the dirt they'll share. What's going on, theythey'll tell you who they think is involved, but unless either you areable- or they are willing to go to those other people and connect them andget them excited equally excited about that solution. Nothing's going tohappen and what we ultimately find is, particularly in our latest Datais, thatyou as a sales rep, have in decreasing amounts of access to those other people,that customers are spending less and less time talking to sales draps aspart of a purchase, and so ultimately, it becomes incredibly important to findthat you know we used to say, find an advocate for your solution, but what wealtiately have to find is not so much an advocate for your solution, but an amobilizer for change, because at the end of the day Ya, why don't you tell us? I mean themobilizers there's a couple key insihes and obviously finding the mobilizer andthere's three types of mobilizer. So just walk us through. First of all,there's not one kind of mobilizer, explain to us all the different flavorsof Moblizer, and then I think the most one of the most critical insites fromthe books for me was you're not connecting to all of these people. Youare using mobilizer to connect themselves to each other, as you sortof alluded to in the first part, so walk us through that construct. So acouple thoughts on this, so the theeither the book opens up thechallengeof customer an chapter one, this really intriguing. And frankly,when e we forst saw a terrifying piece of data, which was only because itseems to run directly in the face of everything we' found in the past andeverything that seems so logical and that piece of data simply as this thatat a high level, the more effective you are personalizing your pitchitch orpositioning your value to each individual stakeholder in the customerorganization. What heor she cares about the less likely you are to win what wecall I high quality sale, so the better and better you get it tailoring orpositioning your offer to each one of those individual state holders whatthey care about as an individual. The less likely ou are win high qualitysale and that that made no sense to us when we first saw it until we yea, andso we reran the numbers about eight different times and rerent and reworkedall thou data. We couldn't make that finding go away and ultimamely SA. I'mjust t cut to the end of the chase that the punch line of the story is what wefound is that it's not just a numbers, probem whet again, whether is five orsix or ten or sixteen wat. We really have inside the custom organization, asa challenge is what I would call a diversity problem in this sense, in thesense that each one of those individual staye holders represents a differentfunction, a different level of different geography, a different set ofpriorities, agenda inside the organization. So for precarement,someone from HR someone fom it someone from the N Ewser community son from theGermany office, whatever it might be, and is each one of them- has adifferent set of priorities of what they're trying to accomplish on behalfof their company. They just their mental models, don't ultimately overlap.Very much, and so what happens when that group comes together to make acollective decision? What they find is that they tend to fall back on whatthey agree on. We call this the lowest common denominator purchase and thatlowest common denominator, purchase more likely than hot is t e. He thingsthaare going to gree on we things like. Let's study this more, let's avoidtdisruption, let's mitigate or minimize risk, let's reduce cost, and so, ifyou're selling into this environment, what we're finding is that is', themore you personalize your pitche to each one of those stakeholders and themore they are already disconnected. You actually exacerbate that disconnect,rather than overcome it so so manyways. What we've got to figure out andselling into this world of multiple purchase. Stakeholders is not doing abetter job of connecting those individuals Taye holders to us, butdoing a better job of connecting those individual stateholders to each other,and so that that's part one. So how do we do that? How do we connect thoseindividuals who stakeholders to each other, so they can co a lessar on amuch broader common vision than simply...

...do nothing study it more pay less,because the is bad to be on the know, the receiving in of that kind ofpurchase process, and what we found is that in that kind of world, what we'relooking for is not someone who's, senior or someone who is a champion ofyour solution, but rather- and we can go back and unroll of the methodologybehind this feed like to. But what we found is that when we studied startperforming sales, raps and Assom, what are the attributes that you're reallylooking for? In the customer stake holder low behold? They were lookingfor two things: they were looking for, stakeholders that were able to drivechange and build consensus, and- and so, which is a really interesting thing ofind no has ever traind them to do this by the way these kind of figured thisout on their own. So things like seniority, title Decision MakingAuthority budget ownership, none of that stuff turned out the matter tostart performers when we studied them. It was just these two things: theability to drive, change and and build consensus. So why build consense uswell for the very reason we just talked about that at the end of the day, ifyou can't get that broader buying, grup that diverse that large buying group tocoll lass around a a common vision, that's greater than simply do nothing.No one's buying anything, certainly not at a at a high margin. So that's thebuilding consensus part, which totally makes sense, drive change in the otherand is specially interesting, because the reason why that pops is what weultimately have come to realize in all of our work is at the end of the day,no matter what kind of company you are, no matter what you're selling, where isa product, whether it's a service, whether it's MED device, consultingmanufacturing tool and diet, doesn't matter, we all sell, ultimately thesame thing. What we ultimately sell SAM is. We sell change every one of uswe're trying to get our customers to change your behavior either. Stopbuying that start buying. This stop o from competition start buying from us,STOPP bying, the small amont start fing. He big amount, stop doing yourself,outsoursing us in one way or another. Every one of us is trying to get hour,customers to change their BA thei behavior, and that and in fact I toldour sales ir US the other day. Look you guys aren't in the product se line.This is you're in the behavior changing business and that's how you need tothink about it. N, that's how you get ta solve for t e, the today's biggestsales challenges. So ultimately, what we're looking for is individuals insidethe custom organization that we can connect to that are able to drivechange of build consensus. We have a name for those individuals. Weultimately call them mobilizers, because that's who they are they're themobilizers of action than the mobilizers of an idea and what thesemobilizers ultimately want by the way is, is not they're not looking for asolution or a productory service or a supplier. What mobilizers are lookingfor is an idea in insight, something that's going to help their companycompete more effectively. I S it's the mere image of the Challenger world,it's that same kernel of Insidt, which is why we call mobilizers theChallenger customrcause of the Challenger inside the customerorganization and and you're right. There's three flavors heres what wecall a teacher, a go, getter and a sceptic. A teacher is someone whisparticularly open to big ideas. An is good about motivating others aroundthose big ideas, a go getter as someone whas opene, a new ideas, but it'spartiularly good at project planning and making action happen around thoseideas and a skeptic by the way. T particularly interesting one to me isthat's. Someone will actually, when presented with a new idea or newinsight, will tear that thing apart piece by peace and, if you're not readyfor that, if you're a traditional sales are up looking to build relationships,talk about where your kids went to college, that's going to feel reallyuncomfortable because that's skeptic s, Iu Cou, take your idea. If you deliverde one at all and pull it apart and look at it from every angle and whatwe've come to appreciatein all their work, though, is that that's not a badthing. That's actually a good thing, because that's your customer justtrying to understand that idea and it's applecability in your in theirorganization and and Alto what w what we found is if you can win a skepticover, they become an incredibly powerful mobilizer, because they're notmobilizing for you they're mobilizing for this idea. This insight thatthey've just become convinced is that could potentially ife a powerful impacton their business. So so that's what the challenge our customers all aboutis: Who are these mobilizers? How do I find them? What is this insight that wecall the insight that t e the mobilizer dog whistl right is the thing that onlymobilizers can ear. So what is that you know? How do I build that insight, Thas,where the mental model stuff comes in? How do I deliver it? A you name it. Sohow how let's see if we can, you know, get a few high level anecdote before weencourage people to buy the book, which...

...is which is one of the things we wantthem to do. How do you find a mobilizer? What are the tests you can use or theyou know, what are the frameworks to help you identify a mobilizer within anorganization and also won't follow Qui Yeah If, if you're in a sale cycle- andyou haven't found what you you use a test, are you using some framework andyou haven't, found a mobilizer? I would assume that your adviceis keep goinguntil you find what maybe, unless it's going to take you you know months foreven years but yeah. I, at the very least, I think whether or not you'veconnected to a mobilizer becomes a really interesting and I thinkeffective opportunity qualification tool right or score. So, to what degreeis this person O mobilizer? So how do you find them? The our best take on howto find a mobilizer right now is to that which a mobilizeris aloon lookingfor ememory mobilizers, not looking for a supplier, a mobilizers looking for anidea, and that becomes a really important thing to understand, becauseif you approaching mobilizer with your value proposition or your capabilitiesor your solution that ultimately isn't going to help very much, because that'snot what they're. Looking for what they're looking for is ther story, notamout your company, but about their company and again we call this insightor even more technically commercial insight, because it's ideally inside th,you can that you can monetize on the back and so you're, not just the FREconsulting business, and we go through a lot of that. The book about how tofigure all that out, but the an insid or a commercial insit. Amonetizable insight is an insight that about the customers, companyorganization, that helps Hem understand a risk that they're exposed to thatthey've under appreciated an opportunity ha they've overlooked. Theycould help them make money in ways they had appreciated in the past, a costthat they're exposed to that that they didn't calculate effectively in thepast and in doing so and helping them understand that their current behavioris exposing them to cost a risk which ' the idea is that you are opening theirmind to change, remembers we're all in the same business, we're in thebusiness of selling change. The one thing you want to do is get yourcustomer to be open to changing their behavior, which is think about it. It'sactually really hard because wit's one thing your customer doesn't want to doit all costs, probably change right. It's it's Noyohave, tell me about it right. Soit's expensive is ruptive, it's hard, it's unknown! There's I don't want tochange so which, by the way, is why selling solutions is so hard right. Youput it together. It's like the one thing. We're selling is one thing: yourcustomers don't want to be buying, and I think that's why all this stuff is sois a Darne difficult right, but what we found is is that insight is really anidea. I fact friends, a ATP dealer services, which is a divisions, beensince been spun off from Madp an do its own company, but they developed haphrase for this. Is They ADOPTA challenge an organization? They saidyou know. If customers don't want to change, they want to stay the same.then. What we need to do with our insight is teachour customers that thepain of same is greater than the pain of change. That's really whatcommercial insidt is all about as teaching your customers that the painis same is actually greater than the pain of change and and if you canapproach your custom with a story like that whath you're looking for is how dothey? How does that individual that you're sharing that story with whether,by the way, soming Oeen, touched on Day Samos, whether you're talking to themin person or you're, approaching them with that story through digitalchannels online? Through content, but we can park that and come back to someother time, perhaps but nonetheless, how does your customer react to thatstory of change versus same? How do they react to that insight? Are theyexcited about it? Do they engage with it? Do they ask questions about it? Dothey tear it apart? That's a skeptic, that's good, because you're looking forengagement, engagement idea, if their reaction is like. Oh, this is reallyinteresting. Hey Tis, really, fine love! You guys! You have smart things to sayand nothing ever happens, at's, probably a talker and there's a thirdcategor we haven't mentioned yet, which is if they don't even ngage with you,they're, just absolutely not interested in talking whatsoever. You know they'rein year, two of a three year implementation plan or there in thatyou know. That's the. I love that one by the iy her that a lot we hoftenreferred t that person as a blacker, a blacker is and by the way blacker,isn't blocking you. It's not like they don't like you. It's not personal. Whata blocker is blocking is change, and so it becomes really interesting. So isthis person open, O change and clearly...

...willing and able to drive it and buildconsensus around it? Do they talk a good game but frankly can't followthrough or they just against change, alltogether, so a mobilizer, talker andblocker, and that becomes, I think, a really effective way to begin to thinkabout whom a I talking to in this opportunity, because again to yourearlier questions, Saim, I don't know tha, you need to talk to all ten orseventeen people, but at the very least, need to find one who can go. Do thattalking on, I guess technically in your behalf, although it's really on behalfof the insight that you're sharing and that's that's where the stuff getsreally really powerful so Brent. This has been amazing, so we're just aboutout of time, but the high level outline again is sort of identify if we're in aagain a complex, enter price sale. The challenger Customer teaches us find amobilizer arm them with commercial insight. But what are the steps if wewere just sort of taking notes at home and making a bulleted list that we candive into with greater detail later? Well, I you know in some ways, just ohint to where I work is right now is so find. The WOBL is o so build theinsight step. One deploy the insight, I suppose, Tuf to whether it's in personor through digital channels and then watch for reactions and so find themobilizer and equip them with that insight. And then I think the thing isreally interesting and we only just touched on at the back of the book. BASwhe're thinking really is now. Is that just because someone wants to be amobilizer Sam or is open or willing or able to be mobilized, it doesn'tnecessarily mean they're going to know how to be a mobilizer, and what we'vecome to really appreciate is that, particularly as vine continues tochange and continues to change rapidly in with regulations, gdpr differentstate holders data the role of data, all these questions of customers haveand they're overwhelmed it too much information- and you know in theInternet from the Internet today that many times customers are just they justget stock. Even a mobidlizer can get stuck in what what customers reallyneed more than anything else honestly, and when it comes to buying somethingis just help. They just need someone to kind of y ill effectively, take them bythe hand and guide them through the purchase process. So so, if Challengercommercial insides, all o the teaching customers to think differently abouttheir business. This, where we're at right now is now you got to teach yourcustomers literally how to buy. Who should be involved because oftentimeswon the deal blows up. It blows up because someone inside the customorganization came out of the woodwork at the last minute and blew everythingup with a bunch of questions and the couswers like. Oh, I didn't see thatcoming and you're on the sale SI say no. I totally saw that comings happened tome three times this year and so that the idea here is. We could actuallytake a much more proactive role in coaching our customers through thepurchase, essentially taking them by the and o becoming the buying shirpat.So imagine not just finding a mobilizer but becoming your mobilizers buyingcoach by helping them understand things like by the way you probably want toget procurement involved. Ind, when you want to get him involved, is probablyearlier than you thought when you get them, involvedthere going t be heare,they're, Goin, O e, these three questions and here's the here's thebest way to answer those three questions: here's the two objects aregoing to have hears: How to overcome those objections by the way put allthis together in a power point: Ot frates, already anitated ready to goand your mobilizer is going to say wow, you just made my life so much easier,and this O or work is right now, Sam, is this idea that in a world where webelieve and have a huge amount of data to back it up that BTO be buying asbecome incredibly difficult? That one of the best things you could do is justfind ways to make buying easier, and that's what I add to the last SupThereis, that's a besign. Finding a mobilizer is coaching that mobilizermakes a lot of sense Brent. This has been fantastic, so obviously the fulltitle of the most recent book is the challenger Customer Selling to thehidden influencer. Who can multiply your results? The link will be in theshow notes if folks want to reach out to you, engage with you or engageGardner in some way. What's the preferred mechanism for them to learnmore about the challenge, er customer in particular and potentially adopt itfor their business, they can reach out to me personally, probably theeasiesthing to do is over linkedin. However, I'm also Brent Dot Adams in agartnercom where they can just go to our website, carner coman and thereyou'll you'll. Of course, you won't go right into the sales practice. UThere's because Gard, of course, is a huge company with practices acrossevery seated around the boardroom, but one way o another. I think we can getyou where you need to go and there's...

...just a huge amount of of help that wecan provide companies and thinking about all of this work, and I think forme personally, what's most interesting is what we continue to find now and allthe how this research continues to update it self year after year, becausethe world keeps changing, and so that's, where joining or becoming part of thecartner sales practice becomes. I think a really powerful thing to do. Thatsounds fantastic Brent, thanks. So much for your time and thanks for apparingon the sale, hacker podcast, absolutely SAM is great to be with you today and Ilook forward to doing it again soon, everybody its Sam again, another greatinterview, Brenth, is so eloquent. He obviously is so passionate about thesubject. If you haven't read the Challengeer Sale, I think you shouldand if you haven't read the challenge or customer and your envy to beenterprise sales. I really think you should. They are two fantastic booksand they helped codify this. This really important insight, which is thatyour job is a salesperson, is not to just show up and talk about thefeatures, the speeds and the feeds of your product. Your job is to understandthe life and the mental model of your customer and to help them change andwhat you'r selling is changed. You are not selling a specific product. Whatyouare selling is the concept of change in the concept that the status quote isuntenable and the only way to fix the status quote is to change. That is a, Ithink, a critical insight from the challengeer methodology also just toreiterate, because so many people have talked about challenge or sales withoutreally reading the book so that they think it means being an asshole just tobe clear, it does not mean being an Asshole, that's not the point of theChallenger Sale. It's not to be aggressive and rude. It's to bringcommercial insight into the conversation. Commercial insiht is toteach somebody something about their business that they did not knowbeforehand, and that is the concept of in the Challenger Sale. They call itteach Taylor take control. The whole concept is teach them something abouttheir business that they didn't know beforehand, and what you're looking for,when you're involved in this kind of sale, you're, not looking for wow,you're, so insightful or wile you're, a really good sales person, that isusually the kiss of death. If somebody says that you're losing the deal, whatyou're looking for them to say is Huh, never thought about it. That way, whenyou present a new, unique commercial insight into a sales conversation, andyou teach them something about their business and their industry that theydid't know you position yourself as a thought leader. You Position Yourselfas expert and you help them understand why you should be credible when itcomes to presenting the conversation in the right way. So this has been Sam'scorner before we go. We want to think our sponsors air call your advance callcenter software, complete business phone and contact center, one hundredpercent natively integrated into any serum and outreach, a customerengagement platform that helps efficiently and effectively engageprospects to drive pipeline and close more deals. If you want to reach out tome, you can find me on twitter, at Sam, if Jacobs or on Linkdon at linctoncom.The word in in Lah, samf Jacobs and a lots of holks have been reaching out tome. Please do so. Please tell your friends about the podcast. Please sharesome of the content and if you have great ideas for guests plice, let usknow that as well. I will talk to you next time.

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