With the sustained and expanding popularity of MEDDIC, especially in enterprise sales, it’s been interesting to observe how some thought leaders have a tendency or a desire to put a label on MEDDIC. Is it a sales framework or a qualification methodology, or both?
I think there are a variety of reasons why people like to place labels on things. We live in a complex world and MEDDIC may be one of an assortment of concepts being applied to a complex sales environment involving process change and multiple constituents.
It helps people to organize and categorize those ideas, so they can determine if it's needed and where it fits, which is understandable.
The problem with hanging a label on something is that it can also marginalize that thing. You can call a small straight piece of wood a “stick” but what good is it? Well, if it has a partner, it can be used as an eating utensil. Or if you’re standing on a platform in front of a group of talented musicians, it can be used to conduct an orchestra. As the Scandinavian philosopher, Kierkegaard said, “If you label me, you negate me.”
I also think there are some who apply labels in an attempt to minimize or trivialize and I think generally these are people who have an agenda or a competing idea. I would say to those people: “Have you ever actually used MEDDIC?”
Have you ever sat in a parking lot before an important meeting, trying to assess your opportunity risks so that you can make the most of your planned agenda?
Have you ever lied awake at night at the end of a quarter with a critical deal hanging in the balance, assessing the strength of your champion and your knowledge of the customer's paper process?
As a sales manager, have you ever had to defend a forecast at weeks 3, 6, 9, 10, and 11, that consists of deals from your team of 6 reps (that includes a mix of new and experienced sellers)?
Or for those sales architects out there, have you ever been responsible for building an integrated sales program including a sales playbook with clearly defined sales stages, qualification guidelines, and a sales competency and development framework?
If you haven’t actually, actively, used MEDDIC in the real world, to drive customer-centric, value-based engagements with innovative solutions, then perhaps do some research and talk to seasoned practitioners who know and have been a part of a robust, leader-supported deployment.
So what is MEDDIC?
I think the most accurate answer is the first one, answered in 1996.
MEDDIC is all of the reasons why we win, all of the reasons why we lose, and all of the reasons why deals slip. During my time in sales development at PTC, after running this exercise several times with groups of PTC sales reps and then collecting and bucketing their answers, we repeatedly came up with the same 6 things. And when I organized those six things and coined the acronym and shared it with John McMahon, his response was: good, let’s put it to use. And so we did.
If I was forced to give a one-word answer, I might say “framework” since MEDDIC contains the essential ingredients that go into building an effective sales playbook with stages and qualification criteria. The word framework implies structure, which is a critical ingredient to drive consistency, scalability, adaptability, and measurement.
I had someone tell me once that they viewed MEDDIC as a framework they use to build their customers' value stories. I like that. When used correctly, the elements of MEDDIC, which start out as disparate pieces of information, mature over the course of the engagement and unite into a shared story that answers the question: why are we working together? That story, when told by the customer might sound like this:
We have a strategic priority and we’ve identified a serious gap in our capabilities that represents risk to the business. The team developed a clear set of requirements and has chosen a solution that meets those needs (in a clearly superior manner) and will deliver a measurable impact that will generate positive business results within the needed time frame. The solution has been vetted by the key stakeholders and is led by a trusted and respected leader who is committed to delivering the solution for us.
Another legitimate answer to the question “What is MEDDIC” is that MEDDIC is Selling. Or perhaps more accurately said: Securing MEDDIC is Selling. If the customer-facing activity that you are currently engaged in does not involve advancing one of the elements within MEDDIC then whatever you’re doing, it’s not selling. Maybe your relationship building and that’s nice. But it’s not selling. Is the result of your activity continuation or advancement? When you are securing MEDDIC you are advancing an opportunity. You are selling.
Perhaps the best answer comes from those sales leaders who have been using MEDDIC for 20+ years or the sales leaders who have emerged from under the tutelage of those original MEDDIC pioneers. There are so many present-day sales leaders who can trace their MEDDIC DNA back to those early leaders. “My sales manager worked under John Doe, who learned from Mary Smith, who worked for Dave Hill. So I guess that would make Dave my Great Great RVP?”
I know from experience that if you were to ask some of the most experienced leaders, they would tell you that MEDDIC is their common language and that it is an integral part of their sales culture. The language of MEDDIC is crystal clear. It “cuts through the noise and the BS” and allows sales leaders to focus on their seller’s opportunity gaps while helping them to find solutions.
The last thing I’ll say is this. I speak with many sales leaders who are either deploying MEDDIC / MEDDICC / MEDDPICC as a new standard or they are focused on up-leveling the team’s abilities. In these discussions, I often refer to it as “Your MEDDIC” because whatever variant you use, the most important ingredient to driving successful adoption is a sense of ownership.
It’s Yours! You own it. And so I encourage them to run the original “win-lose-slip” exercise so that they can reinvent MEDDIC for themselves. I always tell them, “If you come up with something different, call me!”
So far it has only been called to say thanks and we’re on our way.
Stay tuned for more. We’ll be sharing more on the “Swiss Army Knife” and the various applications of MEDDIC and some thoughts on the durability of MEDDIC and the future of sales.
Thanks and good selling!