Challenging Winners

There’s a current debate in some sales circles around the popular Challenger Sale book and a recent Rain Group report entitled “What Sales Winners do Differently.”

The issues are over the so-called death of solution selling and the importance of relationships in selling. The controversy is overstated. Both the book and report, and the research conducted on both fronts, are actually helpful in driving a new composite picture of the modern effective salesperson and the astute customer/buyer.

Just Differing Perspectives: Salesperson vs Buyer

The Challenger Sale studied top performing salespeople (designated top producers in companies sampled) and their aggregated attributes. The Sales Winners report studied buyers in B2B deals won and compared what they said the “winning” reps did vs the “2nd place” reps. (Or 3rd or 4th or 5th place reps for that matter – all lost.)

The recent report found that “Sales Winners” educate with new ideas/perspectives, collaborate, persuade about achieved results, listen well, understand needs and process, help the customer navigate, craft a compelling solution, connect personally and show company, product and personal value. Makes sense to me. Good to know what it looks like from the buyer’s perspective. Sounds like attributes of a balanced Sales Superstar which I wrote about originally in 2009 as Rule #12 (see below) in my book 42 Rules to Increase Sales Effectiveness.

In truth, Sales Winners are actually Challenger Sales Superstars. Certainly Relationship Selling is not dead – see my post Is Relationship Selling Dead? And Solution Selling is not dead either, although it needs to be rethought – see my article Rethinking Your Selling Methodology, published earlier this year in Top Sales World Magazine.

So What’s the Answer?
Simple. The magic is in the honed blending of proactive, advanced knowledge and selling skills with sensitive and astute personal attributes and people skills. The good news is that it’s teachable. No need to debate it. Better to get on it.

Are you a Challenging, Winning, Superstar?