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

Episode · 7 years ago

Testing Champions

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this podcast, Force Management's John Kaplan discussed how to test your Champions and ensure they're actively selling on your behalf

Hello, my name is Rachel Clap Miller and I'm the director of digital engagement at force management. John Kamplin is joining me now for this podcast and we're talking more about champions. Thanks, Rachel. It's great to be here again and and as I said the last time we got together, I love this topic because it's so real, relevant and urgent for our listeners. I think, and we did receive a lot of great response from our last podcast, I'm developing champions. So today we're going to dive into testing champions. Yeah, I love this topic of testing champions because, you know, it's a topic that many people wrestle with. But before we get started, let's level set our listeners the definition of a champion, and we at force management have a very, very specific definition of a champion. They have power and influence, they actively sell on our behalf and they have a vested interest in our success. And that definition is important because that's the crux of how you test the champion. I like to talk about the evidence behind this and so really...

...holding yourself accountable to the evidence. And there's really two ways to test this evidence, both internally and externally. So internally, we hold ourselves very specifically accountable to the definition of a champions those three things I just said. They have power and influence, they actively sell on our behalf and they have a fasted interest in our success, yes or no? And what is our evidence? And that's what I'm talking about when I'm talking about kind of internally, externally, I talked about testing the champion himself or herself kind of facetoface with the champions. So there's a way to test it internally by being able to answer the questions and to hold yourself accountable for the definition, and then externally, getting the champion involved in this test. So the first trait, like we said, is does the champion have power and influence? What are you looking for when you're testing that trait? This is a good question because,...

...you know, I think some people get fooled sometime by like org charts and they look at organizational charts and they look at titles. That's really good to see the structure of an organization, but it always it doesn't always tell us about the power and influence. So what we want to look for is we want to look for people that have access to and control resources. You know, we want to really understand what they're being asked to do and, ultimately, are they being held accountable and measured for critical initiatives and critical business results? Okay, so I believe that my contact is being held accountable for critical initiative, but I shouldn't take that at face value. What do I say to that person to test him or her, and how do I do it in a way that doesn't come across in the wrong way? This is what I mean by kind of testing in front of the champion. So I'll ask questions like walk me through your current responsibility. Give me an example of how...

...you've gotten something like this done before. And another one I like is who was involved in those decisions. And what we're really looking for is we're checking for access to the political influence inside the company. I also look for a critical kind of trait. If somebody is talking to me about rules, I get a little leary. Champions tend to talk about rules as if they were guidelines. If they tell you all the things that they're unable to do, then you're probably not talking to somebody who's either your champion or really worthy of you kind of, you know, labeling them as a champion. So look out for that rules versus guidelines. Champions talk about rules as if their guidelines. So the second criteria for testing the champion is if he or she is actively selling on your behalf. What's evidence I'm looking for their yeah, I like this one. So it's actively selling on our behalf. The evidence that I'm looking for is to really focus in on the decision criteria and making sure...

...that this champion can articulate and understand and own the decision criteria. So for our people that are listening, that our former, you know, command of the message, alumni, if you will. You know, we kind of call these things that require capabilities and if they're not favorable for us, meeting both us and the champion, then I get them to participate in their own rescue and to influence these properly. I also look and I'm prepared for common objections that we should see against our competitor. So this will highlight the cop the competitors. That will also highlight the competitors champions, and I like for our champion to be really, really keen on these things and really really participate in their own rescue. So if there's a competitors champion out there, it's also a threat to our champion and we just want to make it very clear to them that they have to participate in their own rescue. The thing that I love the best to really test US actively selling on our behalf is I...

...asked them to answer the ultimate question. Why my company? So, if it's force management, I say, Mr Mrs Customer, you know, tell me why force management? What I'm really looking for is the answer to the four central questions. What problems do we solve? How specifically do we solve them? How do we solve them better or differently than anybody else, and where have we done it before? So you're saying put the champion on the spot. I am saying put the champion on the spot, but I want to be very clear. It's not our job or our role to make our customers feel unduly under pressure. So don't change your style or anything like that. What makes you good salespeople keep doing that. But yes, I am saying put people on the spot, but be prepared. They're probably not going to give you the answer that you're you're going to want them to give you. So I always look for you know, I'm open for taking the blame for them not being able to answer that, because that's our job, is to make sure that our champions can do that in effective way. So it's...

...also, when you think about it's a great opportunity to reconnect the both of you back to the value proposition your company provides for them. I know you've also said a good way to test this point is to leverage your manager. Yeah, and this and this subject, I think, a great way for the managers listening out there. You can actually do this very well for your Reps. so you should be asking your salespeople what is our value proposition? And if I ask the champion, you say that this person's a champion. If I asked them, why our company, what will they say? And if you think at all that you don't know what they'll say, utilize your manager, bring them in or get them on the phone and and and just say hey, Mr Mrs I'll play the I'll play the manager. Mr Mrs Customer, one thing that I wanted to do was we were talking, you know, earlier about our value proposition and the value specifically to you, as you articulate it. Do you mind if I just play out a scenario?...

Let's pretend like the CFO comes into your office and says why my company go and and just be prepared for them to not really give a really good answer to this. And now we're not going to make them feel badly about it or feel uncomfortable about it, but it's our opportunity to reconnect them back to the value proposition and the the rep should be prepared to say, you know, we role played this before we came in or before we got on the phone with you, and we thought you were actually going to struggle with this and that's our fault. So would you mind if we take a few minutes and kind of reconnect you to the problems that we solve, how specifically we solve them, how we solve them differently or better than anybody else and where we've done it before? It's a great, great opportunity to get reconnected not only to your champion, but get your champion connected to the value proposition. So the third testing criteria is that the champion has a vested interests in our...

...success. How do we check that? Yeah, people, a lot of times people ask me like, what do you mean by a vested interest in our success? And I think the easiest way to describe this is if we fail, they fail. So conversely, if we win, they win. So we've got to make sure that we're talking about something critical to the business. Really simple advice or to test that. Third Point, and what I love about this topic, is this. This is something our listeners can do right now with opportunities that they've got in the pipeline. Yeah, absolutely this. You know concept of testing champions. I think just if you break it down in summary of what we talked about right now, focus on the evidence, and the evidence is they have power and influence, they actively sell on our behalf and they have a vested interest in our success. Yes or no to that? That's kind of how we looked at testing it, kind of internally and externally. Make sure they can sell back to you why you're company...

...and try to do it in a way that makes them do it as well as you can do it. Thank you, John. Thank you all for listening. We've received some great feedback from you on these podcasts. Keep your ideas coming. Find us on twitter and on Linkedin and make sure you subscribe to our blog on force managementcom.

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