The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

10. How to Test Your Champion w/ John Kaplan


You know how important Champions can be to your sales process. But, how do you test them? 

How do you ensure that your Champions are really able to articulate your value and differentiation? 

We define Champions as: 

  • people who actively sell on your behalf
  • have a vested interest in getting the deal done 
  • have power and influence within the company

 In this podcast, John Kaplan breaks down key ways to test your Champions, including: 

  • Key things to watch out for that may signal trouble in your deal
  • The three things you need to enable them on
  • How to find the gaps in your Champions understanding of your solution

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.


Additional Resources; 

How to write a Champion letter

Too many salespeople look at the or charts and titles, and it's always good to see the structure of an organization, but structure doesn't always indicate power and influence. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. will feature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in vtb sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller with force management. John Kaplan is joining me today to talk about champion. Good morning, Rachel and and good morning everybody. Great topic today. Champions are critical, critical to sales success. Yeah, this topic, champions, is one that even veteran sales people could always use a refresher on because, as you said, it's it's really important and we know it's critical... getting a complex sale done. Champions are people who actively sell in your behalf, have vested interest in getting the deal done and have power and influence within the company. You all out there know the definition. Where we are here to quiz you on the definition, but we are here to talk about building those relationships and testing the relationships. Yeah, I think we all know what the definition is, but, Rachel, maybe in the notes that you did you attach for the troops. You know, just make sure you put that definition in there, because I think as people know what the definition is, they cut corners and they get Amnesia and they get into a problem. But for the purpose of this podcast we're not going to focus so much on the definition, but we're going to focus on the challenge that often comes up and identifying the right person. And so you're going to need to find the person who's livelihood is connected to solving the big business issue for the company and then able that person to communicate, you know, that value of your solution...

...and the value that it brings right. That enablement is key. That's when, when you've identified the right person, that person can do that selling on your behalf that we are talking about, and I'd like to get that into a little bit at the start here. How do you help them sell on your behalf? Well, if you've worked us with force management before, you know it's all about them understanding the mantra of the framework. So the positiveness. Outcomes require capabilities in the metrics and then how you do it, how you do it better, differently and where you've done it before and proof points. And so if you're a force management disciple or an alumni, you're going to understand that. But if you haven't work with us before, it's about getting them to understand how your solution will help them achieve the outcomes that they're trying to get to. Just quite simply. That's it, right, and having that under understanding it so well that they can articulate it when you're not in the room. And I know that we talked about this before the importance...

...of differentiation and your champion understand your differentiation. It's really important as we're testing champions. They need to be audible ready, so to speak, right to articulate why your solution is better than a competitor or the competition of do nothing or do it internally. Yeah, those are both real competitors. Real competitors and doing nothing are both competitors to to the cellar. So yeah, so differentiation is key and you have to remember a customers required capabilities or decision criteria. They must be influenced by your differentiations let me say that again. A customers require capability. Decision criteria must be influenced by your differentiation and a champion helps you do that. And by definition, that champion actively shares in the responsibility of ensuring that that decision criteria is favorable to you. And a big...

...portion of that is to continually test the champions as you're equipping them with all this information. So let's go back to that definition. We touched upon it briefly, but from a power and influence standpoint, so this is a big one that sometimes gets people kind of fumble a little bit. You can't get fooled by or charts. You know too many salespeople look at the org charts and titles and it's always good to see the structure of an organization, but structure doesn't always indicate power and influence. So we want people who have access to and control resources. You want someone who is being held accountable and measured for critical initiatives and critical business results. So you want to have great questions at your disposal, like great leading statements. To Walk me through your current responsibility as an example, you know, give me an example how you've gotten something like this done before and who was involved in those decisions. So another...

...thing I want you to be careful for is to empowered influence. You know, you want to watch out for people that use the term, and I'm putting it in air quotes, rules. So I get leary if the person is talking about rules. Champions tend to talk about rules as if their guidelines. If somebody's telling you about all the things they're unable to do, then you're probably not talking to someone who is a champion or is worthy of you labeling them as a champion. So Watch out for the word rules. Watch out for rules. They should be guidelines, right, working within kind of adjustable boundary, so to speak. So the next concept that we talked about, or that is a trait of a champion, is actually selling on your behalf. How are we testing this trait throughout the sales process? Yep, you'll hear me often talk about like I'm looking for evidence, right, and... evidence here is really focusing in on the decision criteria and making sure that champion can articulate and understand that decision criteria. The required capability should be favorable for both us and for the champion. So champions have to participate in their own rescue. You got to prepare them for common objections and for the competition in this also helps you uncover your competitors, champions, and those individuals that are a threat to us are exactly the same threat to a champion. So you got to ask them to articulate why their company should choose your solution. You know, role play it with me. Say you know the CEO or the CFO or the had a product, whoever, whatever your scenario is, they come in and they say why this company, and then just let the...

...champion answer that unencumbered. And so they're going to struggle with this, I'm just telling you. I guarantee of they're going to struggle with it the first time through, but fall on the sword a little bit. Give them the information that connects them with what you do. We in the value proposition that enables that value solves a problem, solves a challenge, solves it differently or better than anybody else, and reminds them where you've done it before. Do that role play again. You're not going to like the outcome, but fall on the sword in review how you aligned to the business challenges that are facing that customer, how you solve those problems, how you solve them differently or better than anybody else in where you've done it before. That will become the basis of what you're champion will use to sell on your behalf. Yeah, so we talk a testing them is to have them do it, see where the where the gaps are, where you hadn't provided the information, and take...

...the blame for it and then equip them to do that. There's no better way to enable them to tell on your behalf. So the last one is they have a vested interesting in your success. And some people might say, well, I just know, but how do I? How do I test that? What am I doing here? That's really good. You know, I think people struggle with this one a little bit. They're like, it's kind of like a feeling, but it's got to be more than a feeling. They have a vested interest in your success, then it's true. If we fail, they fail, then I need evidence for that. It's true. Then if if they win, we win, and if we win, they win. That's a vested interest in the shared interest and we have to make sure we're aligning our opportunity to something that's critical in the business and by solving that critical business issue. That person, that champion, that potential champion that we have, because a lot of times we're developing champions. So a lot of times people just say, Hey, it's not just about identifying a...

...champion, it's developing a champion. One of the ways you can develop a champion is to align the opportunity to solving a big business issue face in that company and something that that person will get great credit for. That's one of the best ways to develop a champion. Awesome. Well, thanks for walking us through some great tips. There a how to test test your champion. We have a lot of champion resources. Is On our blog and our other podcast episodes. We do have a piece of content on writing a champion letter, which it is a way John, I know that you're passionate about this. It's a way to lift up your champion after the deal is is over and John has some great tips on that. I'm going to link that in the in the show notes. Great Concept. I think everybody listening to this read that content about a champion letter. Make it a goal for you to be in a situation where you can write one of the next thirty days.

It's a must all right. Thank you so much, John. Thank you look for that champion letter content. Thank you to all of you for listening to the AUDIB already podcast and force management. We're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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