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Key Takeaways: Champion Building During a Downturn
Robin 4 min
Robin 26 April 2023

Key Takeaways: Champion Building During a Downturn


We all want our Champions to be strong, but getting them there doesn’t involve sending them to the gym. Building a Champion takes time and effort on your part, and in a downturn, it can seem intimidating.

But don’t despair! MEDDICON 2 was closed out by the incredible Richard Dufty, with his session on Champion Building During a Downturn. Richard is currently CRO at Arkose Labs, an Australian founded bot management company out of Silicon Valley. He cut his teeth during his 8 year career at Symantec, where he started out as an AE in Sydney. He then shifted to AppDirect, and helped achieve serious growth there. Richard has worked predominantly at start-ups, a subject he went into great detail on in a podcast with MEDDICC CEO Andy Whyte, which you can check out here!

Arkose Labs serves customers like Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap and Airbnb, so it’s safe to say that Richard knows a thing or two about Champion Building.

The Downturn: Who stopped the music?

Selling is never easy, Richard noted, but it was pretty good in the last decade, until very recently. We have now entered, he said, the toughest selling tech environment he’s ever experienced. We are seeing major cost cutting at every company, with buyers moving around at a record pace. The last decade was driven by a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out), where everyone wanted the latest tech, but that has now been replaced with FOMU: the fear of messing up. As a result, it is a lot harder for Champions to raise their hand and advocate for your solution, because they don’t want to risk something going wrong. This has led to a lot of indecision from customers. 

Looking at the numbers, average pipeline dropped 47% in Q1 of 2022, and hasn’t recovered since. Average deal value has gone down 32% year on year, and win rates have also decreased 15% year on year. Simultaneously, sales cycles have lengthened 32% year on year. With the average internal and external stakeholders involved going up 33% percent, this all combined might start sirens going off in your head.

But don’t despair, there are still real problems to be solved out there. We just need to do things differently, and we can hit play and get that record spinning again.

At the end of the day, it comes down to FEAR.

You can either Forget Everything and Run, or Face Everything and Rise. When you take your FEAR head on, when you Face Everything and Rise, that is what will win those deals, and build those Champions. 

Go slower to go faster with MEDDPICC

You can use MEDDPICC to take time with your customer and still accelerate your deals. When you spend more time in discovery to find and implicate company level pain, you invite your prospect to think about whether the issue is paining them or the whole company. That will help you qualify the deal. 

We’ve all heard that we need to find and build a Champion; after all, no Champion, no deal. The trick is when it comes to identifying whether someone is a real Champion, and how you can find and build one faster.

Deliver proven metrics to provide a direct ROI - but that ROI is not enough, you also need to remove the risk of FOMU by doing more than just ROI. Work with your prospect on this!

Remember: when MEDDIC is fully utilized, win rates increased by 311% and high performers were 437% more likely to complete the qualification criteria.

What makes a Champion?

A Champion needs power and influence, they need to act as an internal seller for our solution, and they need to have a vested interest in our success. We know that a Champion is important because top performers that leverage the Champion are four times more successful than those that don’t. 

But what does building a Champion look like? Richard went through his recommended stages in the Journey to Building a Champion, depicted below.rd graphic (2) (1)You can implement different elements of MEDDPICC all throughout the Champion-Building journey. That means before, during and after the Proof of Value, all the way to closing and Go-Live date, you can trust the MEDDPICC framework to guide you to success. 

Richard reached out to one of his Champions, Nick Reva from Snap Inc, and got some proven, applicable tips on building a Champion:

  • “Major spending is being hyper scrutinized. The Economic Buyer is now the CFO. Help me sell to the CFO.”
  • “To drive the desired outcomes for your Champion, you need to hyper optimize the METRICS your Champion aims to improve and show me you have done it before.”
  • “Focus on identifying what they ‘absolutely need’ and can’t solve themselves and double down on that.”

“Okay, so what do I need to do now?” 

Early on, you can try to find a champion before even entering the deal process by asking your current customers for introductions to potential Champions, or people who they think would also get value from your solution. This can be really helpful as generally, they will introduce you to someone at a similar peer level, who will be more open to being your champion as they have been referred by a trustworthy source. 

You can help your champion create a narrative for executives by marrying their technical perspectives with outcomes for the business. This means when your champion goes on line with the Economic Buyer, they will be prepared, and you’re more likely to win.

You can help your Champion speak to the CFO by demonstrating that ROI and impact to the business using M1s and M2s. 

Remember, FOMO is out, and FOMU is in. To reduce that Fear of Messing Up, you need to leverage all your resources. You can include professional services as part of the deal; you don’t need to give things away, but you can organize so it’s a win-win for you and your customer. Think warranties, relationships, Proof of Value. Work with your Champion, and you can reduce risk for them. 

The market can be tough, but if you Face Everything and Rise, you’re tougher. Use MEDDPICC and go slow to go fast, and it’ll be easier to find and build your Champion. De-risk the FOMU and be authentic, and you will find success.

If you want to hear more from the man himself, you can rewatch the entire MEDDICON session here.

With that, we finish our Takeaways from MEDDICON 2! Until next time - May your Champions be Strong



Robin Daly is Content Editor at MEDDICC, and is responsible for different long-form pieces as part of MEDDICC Media. She is based in Glasgow, where she frequently drinks too much coffee and tries to justify her stack of unread books she keeps adding to.

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