Champion

Previously, we focused on owning together. Champion is an evolution of the thinking of owning together where champion becomes your advocate and supporter inside the prospect organization.

Not all sales lend themselves to the development of the champion. There are occasions where the evaluator is facilitating you and other competitors in the opportunity don’t arise to develop them into a champion for your solution.

There are two types champions:

  1. The champion for change. They are people who advocate the development of a new solution, bringing forward the company into a mode of change, and factors such as your differentiated value can bring the deal over the line.
  2. The second type which the champion not only for change but also for your solution. This is the ideal. Particularly on short sales cycles, it can be difficult to develop somebody to that level over time so starting with an advocate for your solution is great. Personal rapport trust et cetera feed into that development.

Amplifying Factors Owning it together Decision Process Decision Maker 

Further reading :

Who is a Sales Champion: definition, qualities, tips

Understanding the Importance of a Champion in the Complex Sale

8 Buying Roles to Look Out for in the Sales Process

RED – Champion is disinterested in our success.

This would typically be a pure facilitator and you need to ensure that you broaden the range of people in the organization that you deal with in order to influence others and potentially develop a champion elsewhere.

AMBER – Facilitating us but neutral

Facilitating the purchase process,  neutral on the solution is a classic situation for a change champion. Or they could actually be a champion for a competitor’s product, so be careful.

Green – Aligned and working with us

This is where the champion advocates your solution, gets you in terms of the value you bring, and can really help you to navigate the decision process and criteria.

Mitigations – What to Do?

Make sure you do everything to build trust and confidence with the champion.
 
Be responsive to their suggestions and requests. Help the Champion by making it easy for them to advocate for your solution.
 
Don’t expect them to do all the heavy lifting. If they are doing a presentation, help them with slides, case studies, etc that will make it easy for them.
 
Ensure everything you do is ethical and honorable when dealing with your champion. It goes without saying that you need to be respectful of the company’s culture when developing a relationship with your champion. Depending on your own culture and the company’s culture, sometimes developing advocates can involve various forms of high-level entertainment or meetings. Perhaps you and he or she share a common interest in a certain sport might be not unreasonable to invite them to an event. Be careful, however, because this can backfire in their own circumstances, I would never advocate a tangible gift such as a Christmas present until perhaps after the deal is done and you want to thank them for the business. This is a minefield area but handled correctly, can be really good.

 

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