Challengers 39; Relationship-Builders 7


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As a sales pro, which team would you rather join? The one that scores 39 points or the one that can only score 7? (And does it make you a bit uncomfortable to reject relationship-building as your strategy of choice?

Let’s back up a bit and consider the old saw, “In God we trust, all others bring data.” In my experience, virtually all decision-making executives have it burned into their brains. It’s therefore also burned into my brain.

So here’s some data that has captured my attention BIG TIME. It’s a continuing analysis, including more than 6,000 sales reps across a wide array of industries. The research exceeds all standards of scientific rigor and statistical significance. It concludes there are five types of sales reps, with super-star reps spread across the five groups as follows:

  • 39% – The Challenger
  • 25% – The Lone Wolf
  • 17% – The Hard Worker
  • 12% – The Reactive Problem Solver
  • 7% – The Relationship Builder

Two questions leap to mind immediately:

  1. What are the characteristics of a challenger rep?
  2. Is my focus on relationship-building misguided?

According to Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson in The Challenger Sale, a Challenger:

  • Always has a different view of the world
  • Has a deep understanding of the customer’s business
  • Loves to debate
  • Constantly pushes customers our of their comfort zones mainly by taking control and discussing money

Think about some of the implications… Constantly debate and challenge the all-knowing customer’s view of the world? Know as much or more about the customer’s business than the decision-makers and influencers do? Spend your life causing discomfort for your customers? Yes, yes and yes.

Is this a book you need to read and think about deeply? YES!!!

And relationship-building? Relax. It’s still vital. Just recognize that being good at it is nothing more than a baseline job requirement, NOT something that will set you apart.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Todd Youngblood
Todd Youngblood is passionate about sales productivity. His 3+ year career in Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Consulting has focused on selling more, better, cheaper and faster. He established The YPS Group, Inc. in 1999 based on his years of experience in Sales Process Engineering – that is, combining creativity and discipline in the design, implementation and use of work processes for highly effective sales teams.


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