By: Jeff Hoffman
Champions can be instrumental in helping you get things done quickly within a deal.
The main thing to remember with selecting your champion is that they are not champions simply because we want, or need, them to be. They were champions before you got there, and they’ll be champions after you leave. This is independent of you, as the sales rep, so don’t assume you can just will someone into doing the work of a champion.
Here are 4 tips to guide you with selecting the best champion for your deal.
1. Don’t confuse a fan of your product for your champion.
The biggest mistake you can make as a sales rep is to confuse them with a fan. Where reps frequently misstep is when they assume the prospect who is a fan, is also the champion.
Unfortunately, that’s not always true. Loving your product is only ONE element of being a champion. They not only have to love it – that have to want it as badly as you want to sell it to them. That’s an important distinction when selecting the right person to champion your deal.
2. Champions have to be rule breakers.
What does this mean? In order for your champion to be effective, they have to do anything, and everything, they can to get your product implemented at their company. Your champion can, and will, break the rules in order to get the contract closer to the finish line. For example, they might push it to the front of the line at legal ahead of other priorities, or they might even give you insight on other competitors’ conversations to give you an edge. They will do what it takes to arm you the best information in your negotiations.
What gives these people the right to break the rules? They can because they are motivated as a corporate citizen FIRST. They know that your product is the best thing for their company. Champions frequently do this, and not just with you. They put the needs of the company first, and are willing to do what it takes in order to secure their company’s successful future.
3. Stop looking for influencers, and look for the person who has influence.
When you look for your champion, you need to find someone in the company who can break the rules because of the respect they command in their company. You don’t want an influencer championing your deal. You want someone within the company who HAS influence.
Having influence is a lot stronger than someone who claims to be an influencer. Your champion needs to be the one who knows who to speak to, what company information is pertinent to reveal, and what rules to break in order to get the deal done.
4. Ask questions to find your champion.
This is a trickier one, but it can be done. Asking specific questions to your prospect will help reveal the best candidate to champion your deal. You might phrase the question as “who on your team gets what they want?” Or “who on your team has been instrumental in getting products implemented successfully in the past?” Champions don’t hide, so when you ask, you’ll be able to find them fairly quickly.
Finding the right person to champion your deal, will make crossing the finish line that much easier. Keep these 4 points in mind when navigating conversations and select the best deal champion to help you get your deal over the finish line.