Ask any sales leader how selling has changed in the past decade, and you’ll hear a lot of answers but only one recurring theme: It’s a lot harder. Yet even in these difficult times, every sales organisation has a few stellar performers. Who are these people? How can we bottle their magic?
To understand what sets apart this special group of sales reps, the Sales Executive Council launched a global study of sales rep productivity involving more than 6,000 reps across nearly 100 companies in multiple industries. The research captured some fascinating insights:
Every sales professional falls into one of five distinct profiles:
Relationship Builders – focus on developing strong personal relationships
Hard Workers – show up early, stay late, and always go the extra mile
Lone Wolves – the deeply self-confident, the rule-breaking cowboys
Reactive Problem Solvers – highly reliable and detail-oriented
Challengers – use deep understanding of their customers’ business to push their thinking
Challengers dramatically outperform the other profiles, particularly Relationship Builders. So what makes the Challenger approach different?
- Challengers teach their customers
- Challengers tailor their sales message to the customer
- Challengers take control of the sale
While not aggressive, Challengers are certainly assertive. They are comfortable with tension and are unlikely to acquiesce to every customer demand. When necessary, they can press customers a bit – not just in terms of their thinking but around issues like price. Put simply, Challengers dominate today’s world of complex ‘solution-selling’ delivering dramatically improved top-line growth.
Could Challengers help your business?