“You do not build and develop champions in group settings. You do it one on one.” – David Weiss in today’s Tip 1601
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from David Weiss. David is the Chief Revenue Officer of The Sales Collective and founder of DealDoc. Here he is:
David Weiss: Hello everyone. This is David Weiss, Chief Revenue Officer of The Sales Collective and founder of DealDoc. Your app for Deal coaching. On today’s tip, we will be talking about champion building and testing. So look, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a seller, even a leader, use the word champion and actually mean coach, influencer, mobilizer, end user, and someone that just likes them. Please, let’s all get on the same page in sales. This is like one of the, I don’t know if it’s original sins or just like most hotly argued, I don’t know. But so many people get this definition wrong. So let’s please go on the same page.
A champion is defined as someone that has access to the decision-maker. They normally sit. They’re really easy to find because they typically sit one level below the decision-maker. They’re in regular one on ones with them. It’s their boss. They can get you access to them because they’re talking to them constantly. They’re in the room when decisions are being made because that’s the person that they’re going to talk to about decision. That is one of the key things of being a champion. The next, they need to be willing to sell for you when you are not there. And then lastly, and that’s what the rest of this play is about. They need to be tested, they need to be actually shown to be a champion.
So now that we have the definition out of the way, you can first find champions by looking at an org chart and looking for one step below the ultimate decision maker. When they’re showing up in your deals, they’re typically not, and this is the thing that people mess up, they’re typically not the first person to show up in the deal. That’s normally a coach, that’s normally someone, maybe manager, director level, that’s been sent to explore this. Once that person deems relevance or you’ve had a meeting with them and they’re like yes, I need to get my boss involved, or yes, this solves a problem with this, I need to get other stakeholders involved. That’s normally when the champion appears and then once the champion has blessed it, it’s then that the economic buyer will eventually appear. But it normally follows that chain for obvious reasons around business priority and how busy someone is and willingness to waste time on unproven solutions or things like that. Yes, you can have flatter organizations where the champion will be maybe the first person, but it’s often rarer. And that’s one of the things that people mess up is they think the first person they spoke to is always their champion. That’s rarely the case.
So once you identify champion and if you haven’t and you’re dealing with director or manager level. You need to create them. You need to go to the VP level or the person right below the economic buyer and start getting their sponsorship by saying, Hey, I’m talking to so and so, or Hey, can you help me get to so and so? If you’re working with the Manager Director to bring the champion into the conversation, so first is identifying them, then getting their attention, then bringing them in, then getting them excited and what you need to do. And they’ll often show their head at a broader demo. You do not build and develop champions in group settings. You do it one on one. So you then need to follow up with those appropriate individuals afterwards and turn them into champions by understanding their world, their priorities, problems. You solve for them things that they care about, how this impacts them and their broader team, and the goals of the executive that they support. Because they will know those goals and they will be intimately familiar with them because they are charged and accountable to executing and getting them done through the other people in the organization and through the solution you’re ultimately bringing.
So you have that conversation with them and you set up regular meetings with them and you test them by doing things like, hey, help me prep for meetings. Help me understand internal lingo. Help me build this back-of-the-napkin business case into something more. Help me get to an executive sponsor of this. Help me understand your priorities, their priorities, the priorities of all people involved. Let me make sure I’m aligning appropriately to each of them. You’re asking them to provide you who are we competing against, et cetera. You’re asking them to provide you information that they wouldn’t give to other people, and you’re looking for that to consistently happen and for them to show up and again, sell for you when you are not there and be tested with this level of information.
Last thing I’ll say on this, you need to monitor these people closely. And if you notice any change in their temperature, they used to respond to you in 24 hours, now it’s 48. They used to respond to your text, now they don’t. They were showing up to meetings, now they’re not. If you notice any degree of change in their behavior, that should be one of your first red flags in a deal that likely. They are no longer your champion. Your competition has got to them. Priorities have changed. They may be leaving their job. Something has changed, and you need to be all over that trying to figure out what. Awesome. So if you like this play, you can find 78 other plays just like it inside the Sales Tacticians Playbook, which exists inside of DealDoc. You can also find a link to my LinkedIn profile. If I can help you with anything, feel free to reach out.
Scott Ingram: For links to connect with David and to his entire playbook, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1601. Once you’ve done that, be sure to come back for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!