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A Champion is a person who has power, influence, and, subsequently, credibility within the customer’s organization.

You may have heard the phrase “No Champion, No Deal,” which is a very astute view. From my perspective, this is true.

People always ask whether you can have more than one Champion, and the answer is very clearly yes, as long as they are qualified. One qualified Champion is better than ten unqualified Champions.

What classifies a Champion as qualified?

MEDDIC Champion

It is a straightforward criterion that has three parts:

  1. A Champion has power and influence
  2. A Champion acts as an internal seller for you
  3. A Champions has a vested interest in your success

What if you have a helpful stakeholder who is missing one of the above criteria? Should you not engage further with them?

Absolutely you should! This person is referred to as a Coach. They can still be useful. Most typically, Coach’s lack the power and influence to be a Champion, but they can still give you helpful insight to your customer as well as selling internally for you, albeit they tend to have less impact due to their lack of influence.

“A Champion without Power and Influence is just a Coach.”

Andy Whyte – MEDDICC – The Book

Generally speaking, all Champions start as a Coach, and then you qualify them as Champions, or they prove themselves.

Winning Together

An often overlooked part of the Champion criteria is the Champion having a vested interest in our success.

If we fail, they fail.
If we win, they win.

Andy Whyte – MEDDICC The Book

Put simply, a Champion’s success should have some form of alignment with our success.

Building your Champion

Building your Champion is a vital part of MEDDPICC. There are several strategies and tips on how you can build your Champion in MEDDICC – The Book. At a high level, your focus for building your Champion falls into two parts:

  1. Solution
  2. Political

Both of these parts require different strategies, and you must get it right to maximize your Champion’s potential.

Another strong strategy detailed in MEDDICC The Book is a strategy that follows *The Three Why’s *:

  1. Why should your customer buy Your solution,?
  2. Why should you buy from You?
  3. Why should you buy now?
    Having a Champion able to answer these three questions, articulately will make them a beneficial internal seller.

Build Trust

Trust is a critical element in building a Champion. A Champion who trusts the seller will always work harder for you. They’ll go into bat harder for you and be happier to give you information, good, bad, or ugly.

Building Trust with a Champion takes time and comes from being consistent, reliable, and honest.

While you want to be friendly with your Champion, you don’t necessarily want to be friends. Your relationship needs to be outcome-driven, where you both mutually benefit from each other’s success. Being friends to the point where it gets in the way of you getting towards your desired outcome is a bad thing. I have seen sellers become so close with their Champions that they become afraid to call them to the task which negates the purpose of having a Champion.

Things you can do to build your Champion

Counter Champion

If you have a Champion, the chances are that your competition does too.

Understanding who your Counter Champion is and whether they have more power and authority than your Champion is crucial.

Testing Champions

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard sellers reference their Champion only for it to become immediately evident that the Champion is neither qualified nor tested. Put simply; an untested Champion isn’t a Champion.

“An untested Champion isn’t a Champion.”

Andy Whyte – MEDDICC – The Book

Remember the criteria of a Champion:

  1. A Champion has power and influence
  2. A Champion acts as an internal seller for you
  3. A Champions has a vested interest in your success
    Each of these criteria needs to be tested.

What is the difference between a Coach and a Champion in MEDDIC?

Contact > Coach > Champion

When we meet a contact inside of a new opportunity, we usually don’t have enough information to tell whether the Contact will be anything more than a Contact. The salesperson’s job is to identify whether the individual is a Contact, Coach, or Champion.

No customer goes into an engagement with a vendor with an aim to become a Coach or Champion. Therefore, it is down to the salesperson’s skill to evolve the Contact into a Coach or a Champion. While it is generally always possible to develop a Contact into becoming a Coach, it isn’t always possible to develop a Coach into a Champion. 

Why all Coaches can’t become Champion’s

As we know, a Champion is someone with power, influence who sells internally for you and, importantly, has a vested interest in your success. 

In contrast, a Coach does not fulfill these three qualifying criteria of a Champion. It could be that they are missing one of the criteria, or perhaps even two of the three qualifying criteria of a Champion. 

A skilled salesperson can develop a Coach to sell internally for you or to have a mutual interest in your success. However, it isn’t generally within the salesperson’s ability to develop the Coach into power and influence. This is because there are so many long-standing and deeper factors that dictate power and influence that it is challenging for a salesperson to impact it. 

Therefore in answer to the question: ‘In MEDDIC can Coaches become Champions?’ The answer is: Sometimes, as long as they have power and influence. 

For salespeople, it is essential to identify as early as possible whether you have a Contact, a Coach, or a Champion. Despite being the case that the earlier you are in your deal, the harder it is to identify; you can use a few methods to help you discover whether you have a Champion or a Coach. Here are our favorites:

Methods to uncover whether your Contact has power and influence:

Ask yourself how much the person is affected by the driving factor for your engagement or the business-oriented problems you are trying to solve? If it impacts them in a big way, then this is favorable to them being Champion material.

Ask your Contact about the last time they bought a solution like yours. Have they seen a project through to its fruition? What was their role, and who owned the outcomes? This is one of our favorite discovery questions to ask a Champion to uncover the Decision Process.

Killer Discovery Question for your Champion

We loved this Discovery Question so much we made a video explaining why.

Watch a video
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Do you get the impression your Contact is the go-to for the executives at the top of the company’s hierarchy? This reflects on their power and influence, and if they have connections to senior executives, it will help obtain access to them.

How do they talk about rules within their organization? Champions tend to be ‘doers’ and see rules as guidelines and something they can work around when they need to.

How do they share information with you? Do they see information as something that is better shared with you? Or do they keep their cards close to their chest? Champion’s generally share information freely and tend to hold more helpful information than a Coach will. 

Reflect on the information your Contact has given you. Is it instrumental? Was it something you’d never have known without them? Or is it readily available information that your competition is likely to have too? 

Methods to uncover whether your Contact is selling internally for you:

When it comes to your Contact selling on your behalf, can they distinguish the strengths of your solution? More importantly, are they willing to when it is most important, when you are not there.

Are they able to minimize the competition because your competition is their competition? 

Do they guide you through the decision-making process regarding how best to approach a client and then eventually close the deal? 

Are they helping you identify pain and working with you towards indicating and implicating it? 

Are they bought into working through the Decision Process with you? Are they actively working out timeframes, dependencies, and actions? Are they happy to work with you on a Go Live Plan?

Methods to uncover whether your Contact has a vested interest in your success:

Do they recognize and act like any wins for you is a win for them. Do they appear to share good news for you as if it is their own too? I.e., Champion: “I heard from the Economic Buyer today, and he approved our deal; things are looking really good!”.

Do they have the same urgency that you do? A Champion with a vested interest in your success knows that deals don’t just get themselves done, and urgency is vital. Whereas a Coach often tends to have a more laid-back ‘it’ll be OK’ rhetoric. 

How to build a Coach into having power and influence:

Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, it isn’t usually possible for a salesperson to build a Coach into having power and influence. 

A method to counteract this challenge is to underpin your Coach with rock-solid and bulletproof Metrics that can help them ‘influence’ other stakeholders into supporting your solution. 

How to build a Coach into seeing a vested interest in your success

The basis of building your Coach into having a vested interest in your success lies in the salesperson performing effective discovery to uncover the Contact’s goals and challenges and aligning your solution to be able to help. 

Usually, a vested interest means that the Contact stands to get recognition, a promotion, a bonus, or a new skill from your success. Therefore, if you can tap into your Contact’s ambition and focus on it, you can gain their trust. 

How to build a Coach into selling internally for you

To get a Coach to sell internally for you effectively, they usually need to have a vested interest in your success. Therefore, this process relies on the salesperson communicating two things to the Coach:

1) What is in it for them if they sell internally for them. Not just ‘winning the deal,’ but also the salesperson needs to explain to the Coach how important it is to sell internally.

2) The salesperson needs to ensure the Coach is well versed in the Metrics and strengths of their solution 

Champion and Procurement

A good Champion can help you out with Procurement. Not just by helping you with the engagement itself, but they can help set you up for how best to work with their Procurement team, helping you prepare accordingly.

It is the same story with your customer’s lawyers. Your Champion can set you up for success there too.

MEDDPICC and your Champion

Of all the stakeholders you will work with on a deal, your Champion is the one that you can align with most closely on MEDDPICC. I wouldn’t hesitate to take a qualified Champion through MEDDPICC, why you use it, and see them as your Champion. What is the worst that can happen? You’ll be called out for running an efficient and value-focused sales process? Good!

Here is how to think about MEDDPICC with your Champion:

Champion in your sales Process:

Summary Snapshot of in the sales process:

Champion after you’ve won the deal

Once you have closed the deal, an elite move is to stay close to the Champion and the project to ensure it becomes as successful as you promised.

If your solution has a renewal element or you have further opportunity to upsell, it will be important you are seen as a person that can deliver on their promises.

Not to mention the opportunity to work with that person again if you or they change companies.

After all, by buying from you, they must be pretty smart, right? So the chances are they are on a path to the C-Suite.

Capture the success
Another benefit is that once your customer is successful, you can capture the Metrics of their success to help you with future references you may need.

Summary of Champion

“No Champion, No Deal” – it’s been a true saying for as long as the term ‘Champion’ has been used in sales. Hopefully, this chapter goes to show you the full potential a Champion can have on your deal and gives some guidance on how to get them there.

No Champion, No Deal. Big Champion, Big Deal! – MEDDIC

Want to learn more about the Champion in MEDDIC?

The Champion is covered in MEDDPICC Masterclass in great detail. You can learn more by clicking here.