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

Episode · 2 years ago

24. Coaches vs. Champions w/ John Kaplan


You know that champions can be a critical component of moving your deals forward.


However, identifying them isn’t always easy.


Do you really have a champion or just a coach? If you’re a manager, how are you helping your reps find, develop, and test their champions?


In this episode, John Kaplan will cover:


- Questions to help you identify a champion or coach


- How to know if your champion is actively selling on your behalf and if they have a vested interest in your success


- If you should move forward without a champion or hold and build a champion


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


Here are some additional resources focused on coaches and champions: 


Testing Your Champions Podcast

Resources to Help Your Salespeople Enable Champions

Building up Your Champions Podcast

Where a coach acts as are informant or guide. Only a champion is also an influencer and has the political power and the technical respect to help us win. You are listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your 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 BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller. Today we're going to talk about a concept that can really help you advance your deals. Are you dealing with a champion or are you dealing with a coach? John Kaplan joins me now. John, you had a lot of questions about this topic. Yeah, it's a timeless topic. I champions are critical to your effectiveness as a seller. Without a strong champion, the chance of your success and a deal greatly diminishes, and it's without...

...a doubt, one of the most important factors for winning your deals and even for elite sellers. It can often be difficult to correctly identify champions, so for instance. But it's easy to make a mistake if it's a coach for a champion, or to accept an individual as a champion who does usn't have all the required characteristics. that it takes. Yeah, it's a fine distinction. So let's talk about the definition of a champion. Many of you listening now it can repeat it with me. It's someone who has power and influence, someone who actively sells on our behalf and someone who has a vested interest in our success. So let's use these points and go through why we sometimes confuse the champion with a coach. How do you know, first, if your champion has power and influence? Yeah, so, great question. Let's start with whether a champion is impacted by the business driver or the problem. Got To ask yourself and what ways is your champion impacted by the business driver...

...the problem? Next, do they have a business orientation? Do they talk primarily about business problems and outcomes or technical problems and outcomes? Champions need to talk about both of these so and they need to talk about them in ways that are tied back to the business implications and outcomes desired. So then you want to look at the track record. So have they owned the outcomes for big initiatives or projects in the past, and are they a go to person for the senior executives? I always tell people you got to watch out for people that talk to you about rules. So people with power and influence treat policies as if they are guidelines more than if they're rules. Another way to evaluate whether you're champion has power and influences to think about if your champion makes the news or reports the news. So you got to look for how they... about what happens in their company. Do they report yesterday's news or do they tell you what will happen tomorrow? Champions are individuals who try to influence the future in their companies rather than just report on what is going on. And then, lastly, you got to ask yourself, does my champion have access to the economic buyer? Some good questions to ask, and the easier way to look at this now, if your contact doesn't have these qualities, you're dealing with a coach, not a champion, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. No, Rachel, it's such a great point. You know, coaches are tremendous for us. They give us information and they typically want us to succeed, they want us to win and we need tons of these people. But you got to be honest with yourself. You know, the biggest difference is power and influence, and one of the best descriptions I've ever heard on the subject of the difference between a coach and a champion is the...

...story of the chicken and the Hog at your breakfast. The chicken is involved, but the hog is committed, and I like to say we'll give the listeners a few seconds to discontemplate that. Yeah, that one wasn't in the identified notes prior to this conversation. Stickuler, the log okay, well, that's a great analogy there, and I think you make a point about that power and influence, that that is a key point to move your deals for it, especially when you're selling into the enterprise at the baby level. So the next quality John, how do we know that the person is actively selling on our behalf? Yeah, it's a great question and for this topic we are always looking for evidence, not emotion. A true champion will help you establish an influence both the decision criteria and your value proposition. Your champion should...

...also help you minimize competitors competitors are a threat to us, they're also a threat to our champion. And then, lastly, your champion should guide and support you through a decision process. You know, in these two areas, decision criteria in decision process, it tells me a lot about whether I have a coach or a champion. The quality of information and the intensity around the detail of the information is really critical. So coaches have less urgency around these topics. You know, they tell us things like relax, will it'll be taken care of. We've got that covered. Champions understand that it's your job to worry and that you do this for a living every day. Yes to the next quality John. How do we know if they have a vested interest in our success? Well, firstly, if we fail, they fail,...

...and if they win, we win. And the reason people become champions is that they have a vested interest via a personal win if your solution is selected. So, in other words, you can take them to a place they can't get to on their own. This personal win can take many forms, but the most common our career promotion, recognition of achievement, personal development, status improvement, financial reward, you know, additional power or control and job security. So, regardless of the reason, champions are people who linked their success with your success. And then, secondly, we've aligned our opportunity to something critical in the business. So when you're focused on your champion success, you earn their respect and trust. When you earn their respect and trust, you become a member of their team, you know, a member and which...

...they look to you and your consultative expertise to help solve bigger business level problems. A true champion will assist you in identifying a key business issue, confirm the relevance of your solution and help you develop a business case around the value for your solution. He or she will do this as this will better equip him or her to sell your solution internally. It's the ultimate goal of a champion to contribute to the success of their company, whether it's to increase revenue, decreased cost or mitigate potential risk. If they're assisting you and aligning your solution to critical business issues, they are setting you and your solution up for success. As a great tips for understanding if the person has a vested interest in our success, and it John is easy to say, well, if they don't do these things, then you have a coach, not a champion. But I'm curious to know is if there are some more overarching themes that...

...were looking here. Yeah, I mean, champions don't magically appear. Takes work, you know, you got to identified, develop and test them. So champions and coaches will both pass along guidance regarding roles, influence, Opportunity conditions, necessary processes, and they'll give you the good news about the deal. However, champions will also provide insight into politics and deal obstacles, the partner with you and developing strategies to overcome obstacles, and they'll deliver bad news about the deal. So we're a coach acts are informant or guide only. A champion is also an influencer and has the political power and the technical respect to help us win. It's good. Should I be moving my deal forward without a champion? How do I know if I need to hold? I know you use that expression a lot. How do I know if I need... hold and build a champion or move it forward? Anyway? That's a great question, Rachel. You know, look, most of us have heard these topics before and ideas on these topics before. So if you're, you know, newer to selling their their intuitive. So almost a hundred percent of the time, no matter who I'm working with, either a ten yards seller or a brand new sales rep, there're always things that we can be doing to solidify our position here. So there there are sellers out there right now getting deals without focusing on this topic. But here's what I do know. The quality of the deal, the size of the deal, the timing of the deal and the long term success of the solution can all be tied back to your strength in this particular topic. Understanding the difference between coaches and champions. It's great important for qualification, obviously, it seems also there's a point..., John, to make you the managers who may be listening to this podcast because they're dissecting deals. What's your advice there for helping reps determine this as a manager? Yeah, I love I love that you're time it up with this. I love it. So you know, if you're a manager listening to this topic, you have to be a veracious qualifier. You know, this is not a check in the box exercise. I see so many managers today just screaming at the score board and expecting the score to change, you know, by telling reps you don't have a champion, and that's like kind of being captain obvious. So I want you to if your manager. I want you to stick to the definition power and influence, actively selling on our behalf and have a vested interest in our success and look for the evidence in your sellers answers. Look for evidence versus emotion, and be a great... developer, great coach developer on this topic. Your sellers need help, help them identified, develop and test champions and then, lastly, give your seller some spirit. I remember being on young a young seller on this topic and really realizing that with a champion, I'm never alone on these deals. I have someone on the inside who cares as much about my success as I do. They need this to happen as much as I do, and that's a great bottom line. I love it. We'll leave it there. Thank you, John. Thank you all of you for listening. Hopefully this conversation will force you to kind of look at your own deals and determine if you have a coach or champion and the work that you need to do to move those deals for you. Again, thank you for listening. To the audible ready podcast. At 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,.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (198)