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

Episode · 6 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 ClapMiller and I'm the director of digital engagement at force management. John Kamplin isjoining 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 lasttime we got together, I love this topic because it's so real, relevantand urgent for our listeners. I think, and we did receive a lot ofgreat response from our last podcast, I'm developing champions. So today we'regoing to dive into testing champions. Yeah, I love this topic of testing championsbecause, 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 achampion, and we at force management have a very, very specific definition ofa champion. They have power and influence, they actively sell on our behalf andthey have a vested interest in our success. And that definition is importantbecause that's the crux of how you test the champion. I like to talkabout 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 championsthose three things I just said. They have power and influence, they activelysell on our behalf and they have a fasted interest in our success, yesor no? And what is our evidence? And that's what I'm talking about whenI'm talking about kind of internally, externally, I talked about testing thechampion himself or herself kind of facetoface with the champions. So there's a wayto test it internally by being able to answer the questions and to hold yourselfaccountable for the definition, and then externally, getting the champion involved in this test. So the first trait, like we said, is does the championhave 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 peopleget fooled sometime by like org charts and they look at organizational charts and theylook 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. Sowhat we want to look for is we want to look for people that haveaccess to and control resources. You know, we want to really understand what they'rebeing asked to do and, ultimately, are they being held accountable and measuredfor critical initiatives and critical business results? Okay, so I believe that mycontact is being held accountable for critical initiative, but I shouldn't take thatat face value. What do I say to that person to test him orher, and how do I do it in a way that doesn't come acrossin the wrong way? This is what I mean by kind of testing infront of the champion. So I'll ask questions like walk me through your currentresponsibility. 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. Andwhat we're really looking for is we're checking for access to the political influence insidethe company. I also look for a critical kind of trait. If somebodyis talking to me about rules, I get a little leary. Champions tendto talk about rules as if they were guidelines. If they tell you allthe things that they're unable to do, then you're probably not talking to somebodywho'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 thechampion is if he or she is actively selling on your behalf. What'sevidence I'm looking for their yeah, I like this one. So it's activelyselling on our behalf. The evidence that I'm looking for is to really focusin on the decision criteria and making sure...

...that this champion can articulate and understandand own the decision criteria. So for our people that are listening, thatour former, you know, command of the message, alumni, if youwill. You know, we kind of call these things that require capabilities andif they're not favorable for us, meeting both us and the champion, thenI 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 ourcompetitor. So this will highlight the cop the competitors. That will also highlightthe competitors champions, and I like for our champion to be really, reallykeen on these things and really really participate in their own rescue. So ifthere's a competitors champion out there, it's also a threat to our champion andwe just want to make it very clear to them that they have to participatein their own rescue. The thing that I love the best to really testUS 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'mreally looking for is the answer to the four central questions. What problems dowe solve? How specifically do we solve them? How do we solve thembetter 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 thechampion on the spot, but I want to be very clear. It's notour job or our role to make our customers feel unduly under pressure. Sodon't change your style or anything like that. What makes you good salespeople keep doingthat. 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'reyou'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 answerthat, because that's our job, is to make sure that our champions cando that in effective way. So it's...

...also, when you think about it'sa great opportunity to reconnect the both of you back to the value proposition yourcompany provides for them. I know you've also said a good way to testthis point is to leverage your manager. Yeah, and this and this subject, I think, a great way for the managers listening out there. Youcan actually do this very well for your Reps. so you should be askingyour 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 ourcompany, what will they say? And if you think at all that youdon't know what they'll say, utilize your manager, bring them in or getthem on the phone and and and just say hey, Mr Mrs I'll playthe I'll play the manager. Mr Mrs Customer, one thing that I wantedto do was we were talking, you know, earlier about our value propositionand the value specifically to you, as you articulate it. Do you mindif I just play out a scenario?...

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

...success. How do we check that? Yeah, people, a lot of times people ask me like, whatdo you mean by a vested interest in our success? And I think theeasiest way to describe this is if we fail, they fail. So conversely, if we win, they win. So we've got to make sure thatwe'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 gotin the pipeline. Yeah, absolutely this. You know concept of testing champions.I think just if you break it down in summary of what we talkedabout right now, focus on the evidence, and the evidence is they have powerand influence, they actively sell on our behalf and they have a vestedinterest in our success. Yes or no to that? That's kind of howwe looked at testing it, kind of internally and externally. Make sure theycan sell back to you why you're company...

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

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