If your sales reps are struggling to reach decision makers and turn prospects into customers, what you need is a champion – a prospect who truly understands and loves your product, and is willing to fight for you and convince their boss to buy your product. The right champion can save the day and easily turn a losing opportunity into a Closed-won deal.
But how do you find this knight in shining armor to champion your product?
Find Your Champion
The first step is identifying the right person within a company to mold into a champion. Not everyone who is friendly or interested in a call with a sales rep has champion potential. In fact, you should set very high standards for champions before investing the time and effort into the wrong person. True sales champions need two things to be effective in the sales process: influence and authority.
You must find someone who is seen as an authority on the subject matter and is able to explain the benefits of the product to others. The best champions also have influence over higher-ups within the company, and understand the buying process. Always avoid spending too much time talking to people who have neither influence nor authority – no matter how much they may love the product, it’s a waste of your time to sell to them. Instead, make sure to focus your efforts on prospects who could become the champion you need.
Listen, then Sell
Once you’ve identified the right person to be your champion, you have to convert them into an advocate for your company. First, listen to their problems, understand their company’s needs and learn what they are looking for in a solution. If you truly understand the pain points for the individual champion, as well as for the overall business, it will allow you to understand whether the product you’re selling is a good fit.
If your product would work well for the company, now is the time to convince your champion. Some tips for doing so include:
- Making it easy to grasp what your company does, and what you offer
- Explaining how your product can quickly solve the prospect’s specific business challenges
- Sharing why and how other companies use the product, and draw parallels
In order to transform someone into a champion, they must feel a real passion for your product in order to fight for it. If they understand the product fully and see the business value, you have a true champion on your hands.
Coach Your Champion
Once your champion is sold on the product, it’s time to hand them the tools to convince their team and supervisors that you offer the best product out there. Provide as much information as they need – slides, marketing materials, specs and more – to pave the way for a call with an executive. You must ensure that your champion considers you an expert in the field that they can rely on and turn to for advice. Your champion will also never introduce you to an executive with buying power if they’re afraid you will reflect poorly on them.
If you’ve coached your champion well, you will be able to set up the call with their superiors and give your best pitch. No matter how the phone call or product demo goes, you’re much better off with a champion on your side. The true value of a champion is clear if they can carry on the conversation without you after they’ve hung up the phone. The best champions have some sales knowledge, and can push for the sale even when you can’t.
Nurture the Relationship
Once you’ve connected with your champion and their boss, don’t let them go! By continuing to talk or email with them, your champion can give you behind-the-scenes insight into the sales process when you feel like you’re in the dark. If you haven’t heard from the company’s decision maker after a demo, you can call your champion and find out invaluable information about what’s happening internally at the company.
If you found the right champion who has enough power within the company, you have a much better chance of closing the deal. If someone really loves your product and loves working with you, they won’t let the deal die.
By finding the right champion, getting them to love the product, giving them the tools to teach others, and maintaining a close connection with them, you will find success. Let your champion go to battle for you, and you’ll see results.