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

Episode · 7 years ago

Building Up Your Champion

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Building Up Your Champion by Force Management

Hello, my name is Rachel Clap Miller and I'm the director of digital engagement at force management. I'm joined by our own John Kaplan. A great it's great to be here with you again. In today's podcast we're going to be tackling the topic of champions. I know this topic is one of the most popular with our customers. It's a really popular topic on our blog and John, I know you're really passionate about this one. Yeah, I consider this topic, you know, just table stakes for sales effectiveness. Let's start with defining a champion. What makes someone a champion? I'm really happy you ask me this question because we're really, really strict on this definition. The specific definition of a champion is a champion has access to the economic buyer, they have power and influence and they're actively selling on your behalf inside of the account when you're not there. And sales people often underestimate the importance of building a champion. Why is that? Yeah, so I'm glad that you said it...

...that way. In like building a champion, because it's not a check in the box. It's it's not I either have a champion or I don't, which is extremely important for qualification to tell yourself while I either have a champion or I don't. But for this topic, for the remainder of the topic for our discussion today, I'd like to talk and focus more about the importance of developing champions. Some accounts it's easy to identify the champion. It's really clear. Others not so much. But so the key is to really develop that champion and and build that champion from the ground up. What's the first step? Yeah, so you know, I don't want to underestimate the importance of identification. So I would go back to your point about identification and say, before you can develop a champion, you have to kind of identify a potential person to be your champion, and one of the best ways to do that is to really really focus on the business problem at hand. So what's the biggest business issue facing the customer and then find the person in the account...

...whose livelihood is connected to solving that problem. Then, once you you find the champion, it's your job as a salesperson to really help that person communicate the value internally. You talk a lot about that. How do you enable those conversations? Yeah, it's good. So for me this is really all about kind of the language of value and and for those of the listeners out there that are familiar with the value framework, it's kind of it's recreating the value framework for them. So help them focus on the positive business outcomes that they're trying to achieve, you know, reconnect them to their own required capabilities and make sure that they're completely focused on the measurements of success, ie the metrics, and that's really for our command of the message alumni out there. That's the mantra. And at that point you just want to talk about what they're doing. You have to pivot and talk about how you're contributing to that value. Yeah, that's awesome. I Love I love how you said the pivots. So you know at that point you're going to pivot and you,...

...as the partner, you have to focus on specifically how you can help them with those required capabilities. Make sure that they understand how you do it and how you do it better or differently than your competition and where you've done it before. When you build up that champion it, you can't just stop there. You have to nurture that relationship even after that initial opportunity. Opportunity has closed. I know we've written a lot about that on the blog. How do you do that? Yeah, I like the way that you're talking about that, because champions are so critical not only to specific opportunities but for the ongoing success in an account. So you have to invest in those relationships, you have to nurture those relationships and it's kind of a thought process that I'd like to get across here that says you really want to start focusing on creating champions for life. So what are some of the best ways that you can create a champion for life? Well, I I love to say you don't...

...need the credit, you need the money, and one of the topics that I love to speak about is this concept of, you know, writing a champion letter, preferably to the economic buyer. So you're addressing a letter to the economic buyer and basically what you're doing is you're giving the champion the credit. So connect what your champion is doing to the biggest business issues facing the account. Focus your thoughts on the positive business outcomes that your team and the champions team have been able to achieve. It sounds like such a simple thing to do. Write a champion letter, nurture of the relationship by writing a letter, but it can really drive some impact. It used to be one of the the favorite things that I did as a seller and if you allow me to just tell you a quick story, well, your stories of my stories, but they're never quick, so let me try. But in years ago, when I was selling for Zeros Corporate Corporation in Detroit, I handled the colleges and universities and I just recently transferred into the Detroit district and I...

...took over a territory that nobody wanted and it was my way to become, you know, a little bit more senior account manager, to get a larger kind of an account assignment. But the the it was filled with competitive placements. We did not really have a good position. So I focused on one of the most critical accounts in the territory and I was able to crack the competitive account with a single implementation and I decided to jump in the water. Was Great. Somebody shared the concept with me about a champion letter. So I wrote a champion letter for my champion to the Chancellor of this university and I tied it to one of their biggest business issues that was facing them. There was a quality initiative in inside of the the university to improve the quality of the service to a student and I tied what I did for a living at Zerox Corporation to this quality initiative. But I gave all the credit to...

...the champion and the it was just it was really, really a phenomenal result. So not only the the chancellor respond to my champion Letder in very, very positive ways, they wrote me back, they invited me to a meeting to come and meet this chancellor, which was fantastic. I established a personal relationship with the chancellor and I'll get that just a second. But the champion got all of the credits. So the chancellor then took that letter and sent it to all the department heads with the with the caption basically saying hey, this is an outstanding example of what we're doing to further our initiatives to create a quality environment for our students. Other department heads, what are you doing to to further this initiative? The end result was my champion got promoted. The chancellor went around to other colleges and universities in the area talking about this...

...kind of platform of quality for for students. They replaced all the competitive equipment was zerox equipment, and we also did the same thing at all the other colleges and universities in the state of Michigan. So that territory went from one of the worst assignments in the state to the very best in the state and actually launched my management career. So champion letters work. Right to have your letters work, that's such a great story and a great testament to just taking that little step. I mean, how long did it take you to write that letter? Champion letter? Probably took me. Probably took me about twenty minutes to thirty minutes to gather my thoughts and put it into something that was that would be most beneficial to get my message across, and the outcomes were just phenomenal. What do you want people to understand about champions? Well, I think, based upon our conversation today, couple of points that I just want to make sure that we get, that we get across you cannot win without champions. There is always a champion involved, whether you realize it or...

...not. Give the credit to your champion. You will always be rewarded. Help your champion demonstrate value and the champion will be invaluable to you. That's a great final point. Thank you, John. Thank you to all of you for listening and if you have questions about champions or if you have your own success stories, we want to hear from you. Reach out to us on Linkedin, reach out to us on twitter, on the website. Let us hear from you so we can continue to share these great champion stories and add more. contage our new podcast. For more tips and insights, make sure you log onto force management check out our blog on force MANAGEMENTCOM.

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