Why is everyone talking about MEDDIC and Sales Qualification in 2021?

MEDDIC and Sales Qualification

THIS ARTICLE IS AN EXTRACT FROM A TALK AT SAASGROWTH 2021

Andy Whyte - MEDDICC | Why is Everyone Talking About Sales Qualification? SaaSGrowth2021

IS EVERYONE REALLY TALKING ABOUT MEDDIC AND QUALIFICATION?


YES! Sales Qualification is the hottest topic in sales right now.

Don't believe me? Here are a few data points to support the case:

JOHN MCMAHON'S BOOK

Widely noted as being the greatest leader of technology sales teams, John McMahon, finally gave in to requests and has written a book. John is a 5x CRO and board member of some of the greatest companies in our industry. He could have written a book on a number of topics, but, he chose qualification! His newly published book is titled “The Qualified Sales Leader”

(see his book here on Amazon: [https://amzn.to/2UzUkDo]).

Alternative Text

OVER 5,000 MEDDICC BOOKS SOLD

The best-selling book about a sales methodology or framework since The Challenger Sale that came out in 2011, over 5,000 people have purchased MEDDICC the book since December 2020!

Alternative Text

TOP COMPANIES WANT MEDDIC PROFESSIONALS

At the time of writing this article in the United Kingdom alone, there are almost 200 open vacancies that reference MEDDIC as a preferred skill on their job descriptions.

By comparison, if you compile all of the vacancies from three other sales methodologies of Challenger Sales, Miller Heiman, and Sandler there are far fewer even when combined.

Alternative Text

SALESPEOPLE REGULARLY MISUNDERSTAND WHAT QUALIFICATION IS

Sales Qualification is often misunderstood as being a checkbox exercise, or even worse, it is used to qualify 'Can this customer buy', rather than 'Does my solution provide enough value to my customer'.

First of all, qualification is not about you. If you come into the sales process with the wrong mindset and sense of qualification, then it is less than likely that you will develop a strong Champion within your customer’s organization. With no champion, you can no longer identify the opinion leaders, influencers, and stakeholders in your customer's organization, which will disrupt your Decision Process. The Gatekeeper will keep you from getting in contact with the Economic Buyer, and because of this, you are de-prioritized in your customer’s agenda. When you are not prioritized, you cannot Identify the Pain and certainly not Implicate it. And, therefore, making it far more difficult to convince your potential customer to carry on with the sale. At the same time, this allows the opportunity for your Competition to swoop in, whether it is an alternative product or a different solution - your sale does not go through. Overall, your efforts are deprioritized, and you are left to play catch-up with the customer.

Yes, you must be qualified to be an elite seller and build authentic Champions, however, to get there, you must shift your perspective away from yourself and over to the customer.

By doing this, you do not begin by evaluating if the customer has Budget or if they have the Authority, or whether they Need your solution, or know the Timing. Instead, you begin to evaluate what you offer – your solution – if that is valuable for the customer. This question is a simple “yes” or “no”. But getting there is an important journey in your sales process.

Let's take a look at the three pillars that guide us upon an effective qualification mindset:

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATION COMES DOWN TO THREE KEY PILLARS:


The qualification process is divided into three overall questions: Who, What, and How. Specifically, the questions to answer are:

Who should be involved?

Who is impacted?

When you consider the value your solution offers who is impacted? Who is in pain and who stands to gain?

In identifying the key stakeholders, you need to determine who needs to be involved in your sales process. This step makes selling more efficient, and you can then allocate the best amount of time and energy to the stakeholders that will receive genuine value from your solution.



What are the customer’s goals and challenges?

How can we align to their goals?

Then you move into figuring out what the customer’s short, mid, and long-term goals are, and what the challenges are that get in the way of achieving these goals.



What is stopping them and slowing them down?

In relation to their goals and challenges

Understanding deeply what the customer's goals and challenges are and understanding why they are impacting the customer means you can attach tangible and quantifiable value to your solution.



How much does the solution you are offering matter to the customer?

What is the likely ROI?

In linking your solution with the customer’s own goals, you show how much your solution matters to the customer.



What does the customer need from you?

What is their Decision Criteria?

You can then turn practical and suggest variants of your solution or a specific deal within your portfolio, all for your customer to achieve their goals.



Finally, how will we get the deal done?

What is the Decision Process?

Then when you have come this far, it is essential for you to close the sale. Go through how your solution can best be implemented in your customer’s organization.



SEEM LIKE A LOT TO THINK ABOUT?

Not if you use MEDDIC!

For you astute MEDDPICC-practitioners out there, you already have spotted that each question is linked with one element in the MEDDPICC-framework:

Who: Champion - Competition - Economic Buyer

What: Implicate Pain - Metrics - Decision Criteria

How: Decision ProcessPaper Process

Who do you need to build a relationship with to turn them into a Champion in your customer’s organization? This critical champion can help you in identifying the Competition for your solution. Not just your closest Competitors, but the customer’s solutions to their roadblocks. By identifying the key stakeholders you can get to the all-important Economic Buyer.

By combining a smart understanding of the stakeholders within the customer's organization and focusing on what their goals and challenges are likely to uncover pain relating to those goals and challenges. The elite salesperson Implicates the customer in the pain of these challenges or not meeting the goals and underpins the pain with Metrics which is the quantification of the value you provide.

Once you have found and implicated pain with the stake stakeholders which is underpinned via Metrics then it is time to work on the Decision Criteria with the customer. What do they need from a technical, economic, and relationship perspective from your solution? Elite sellers know that influencing the criteria towards their own strengths is key.

Understanding the process in which the customer is going to make a decision is also key. How are they going to go from an initial idea to a concept, to a process of evaluation and validation to authorization that the deal can go ahead?

Once all of that is concluded, the paperwork and bureaucracy, or Paper Process, needs to be sorted and streamlined.

THE GOLD PANNER VS. THE PROFESSIONAL

What if MEDDIC makes us realize that this opportunity is not qualified?

Simple, qualify out. And here is why:

THE GOLD PANNER SELLER

The Gold Panner sits by a river close to a gold ore vein and sifts all day, every day - just sifting through tiny pebbles, mud, and sand to hopefully strike gold through pure luck.

Alternative Text

THE PROFESSIONAL SELLER

Oppositely you have the Professional Salesperson. They do not rely on luck and time-consuming sifting. No. They know what their solution can do: they know who they are. They understand and acknowledge the value their solution can provide for potential customers. But more importantly, they know who the customers are and who can benefit from the solutions they sell. They do not waste their time or their customer’s time.

Alternative Text

THE COMMON MISCONCEPTION

The Gold Panner has more pipeline than the Professional Seller. They believe in quantity over quality.

A common misconception is that if a seller has twice the pipeline as another seller who converts at twice the conversion rate that the end result will be the same. I.e.:
- 40 deals at 12.5% conversion rate are the same as
- 20 deals at 25% conversion rate, as the maths say they both end in 5 sales.

Alternative Text

THIS THEORY IS FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED

The theory is flawed as the Gold Panner is more likely to make a mistake, or deliver a sub-par buying experience to their customer resulting in the customer choosing an alternative to them in a deal they really should have won.

Alternative Text

THE PROFESSIONAL WINS MORE BECAUSE

The Professional Seller wins more of their qualified pipeline because they do a more professional job. They can do better research on the stakeholders and the company as well as delivering a professional experience with thorough, well-thought-out agendas and follow-ups.

They will also be able to work with their network to learn more about how to win the customer.

Alternative Text

AND THERE'S MORE!

The Professional Seller has more time to spend outside of the deals they have in play to build more pipeline.

They can also focus on spending time with their customers to ensure they are successful and learning about how their solution helps customers in real life situations.

Finally, they have more time for themselves to learn or relax.

All this results in more pipeline and more wins!

Alternative Text

THE PROFESSIONAL SELLS 50% MORE!

We already know the Gold Panner is a deal down, but, now the Professional Seller is a deal up! Resulting in selling 150% of the revenue of the Gold Panner.

All without working any harder.

Alternative Text

"NOBODY EVER REGRETS QUALIFYING OUT!"

Nobody ever regrets qualifying out. If you go to qualify out then one of two things will happen:

The Customer will agree with you and allow it

If it is the correct action then the customer will allow you to qualify out and is likely to give you some context as to why you are correct.

The Customer will stop you!

If it is not the correct action the customer will talk you out of it.

Often they will stop the behavior that has led you to consider qualifying out also. A win/win.

Alternative Text

TO SUM UP:

If you focus on qualification in your sales process – if you are the professional salesperson, rather than a Gold Panner, then you will get…

• 150% more sales for the same effort - More Money 💰

• Forecast more accurately - Your Manager will love you 😍

• Use resources more efficiently - Your Sales Engineer will love you 😍

• An overall focus on value - Your Customers will love you 😍


A view from Author J.H. Pii:

“Do you have the right sales qualification?”

Before we go into the misconceptions and importance of sales qualification, we must delve into why I am even discussing sales qualification.
The well-known Thought Leader within our sales community, John McMahon, finally decided to create a book about his sales wisdom and advice. After months and years of people asking him to write a book, he finally did it, and the book was titled “The Qualified Sales Leader”. ” (see his book here on Amazon: [https://amzn.to/2UzUkDo]).

If you are still not convinced, then just have a look at how many LinkedIn active job posts there are within MEDDPICC/MEDDICC. Currently, there are 188 open jobs!
Needless to say, qualification is essential and necessary. But it is not what you might expect it to be…

First of all, qualification is not about you. If you come into the sales process with the wrong mindset and sense of qualification, then it is less than likely that you will develop a strong Champion within your customer’s organization. And with no champion, you cannot identify the opinion leaders, influencers, and stakeholders in your customer’s organization, and this will disrupt your Decision Process. The Gatekeeper will keep you from getting in contact with the Economic Buyer, and because of this, you are de-prioritized in your customer’s agenda. When you are not prioritized, you cannot Identify the Pain and certainly not Implicate it. And, therefore, making it hard to convince your potential customer to carry on with the sale. At the same time, your Competition then swoops in, whether it is an alternative product or a different solution – your sale does not go through. Overall, you are on the back burner, and you must play catch-up with the customer.

Yes, you must be qualified to be an elite seller to get Champion Builders. But to get there, you must shift your perspective away from yourself and over to the customer.
By doing this, you do not begin by evaluating if the customer can pay for your solution or if they have the right mindset. No. You begin to evaluate what you offer – your solution – if that is valuable for the customer. This question is a simple “yes” or “no”. But getting there is an important journey in your sales process.
Let us get into it…

The qualification process is divided into three overall questions: Who, What, and How. Specifically, the questions to answer are:
• Who is impacted by your deal? Be specific. It is not just your customer – peer inside your customer’s organization and link both directly and indirectly, who is impacted by your solution either positively or negatively.
• Who should be involved? By identifying the VIP’s, you need to determine who needs to be involved in your sales process. This pre-sales step makes your selling more efficient, and you can then allocate the best amount of time and energy to the VIP’s that will be essential for your sale to go through.

• What are the customer’s goals and challenges? Then you move into figuring out what the customer’s short, mid, and long-term goals are, and what the challenges are that get in the way of achieving these goals.
• What is stopping them and slowing them down in meeting said goals and challenges? Knowing these goals and the potential roadblocks, you can then link your solution to your customer.

• How much does the solution you are offering matter to the customer? In linking your solution with the customer’s own goals, you show how much your solution matters to the customer.
• What does the customer need from you? You can then turn practical and suggest variants of your solution or a specific deal within your portfolio, all for your customer to achieve their goals.
• Finally, how will we get the deal done? Then when you have come this far, it is essential for you to close the sale. Go through how your solution can best be implemented in your customer’s organization.

Yes, all of this seems like quite a bit of work to carry out every time in your pre-sales process. But to streamline this and follow a practical framework, we have the MEDDPICC-framework to aid you.
For you astute MEDDPICC-practitioners out there, you already have spotted that each question is linked with one element in the MEDDPICC-framework:
• Who: Champion Building – Competition – Economic Buyer
• What: Metrics – Implicate Pain – Decision Criteria
• How: Decision Process – Paper Process

Who do you need to build a relationship with to turn them into a Champion in your customer’s organization? Because then this critical champion can help you in identifying the Competition for your solution. Not just your closest Competitors, but the customer’s solutions to their roadblocks. By identifying the opinion leaders, stakeholders, and the gatekeepers, you can get to the all-important Economic Buyer for you to convince them and have your Champion help you in convincing them.
In figuring out the right people, you must deduce the goals and roadblocks for the customer. Here is where the Metrics – the hard facts – come into play. When knowing this, you can directly link – or Implicate the Pain Points for your customer. All so you can have the best negotiation and Decision Criteria possible with the right people identified.
At last, you now must get practical. Here you prepare the best and most efficient Decision Process – countering possible roadblocks within your own sales journey. When that is all concluded, the paperwork and bureaucracy, or Paper Process, needs to be sorted and streamlined.

But what if I go through this costly and time-consuming process and the conclusion is a “No” for this customer? That we do not qualify for the customer?
Simple, qualify out. And here is why.

There are two sale types: the Gold Panner and the elite seller – or Goldminer.

sales qualification meddic gold miner
Gold Miner

The Gold Panner sits by a river close to a gold ore vein and sifts all day, every day – just sifting through tiny pebbles, mud, and sand to hopefully strike gold through pure luck.
Oppositely you have the elite salesperson – the Goldminer. The Goldminer does not rely on luck and time-consuming sifting. No. They know what their solution can do: they know who they are. They understand and acknowledge the value their solution can provide for potential customers. But more importantly, they know who the customers are and who can benefit from the solutions they sell. They do not waste their time or their customer’s time.
Yes, it is a lengthy pre-sales process to figure out your qualification linked with potential customers. But through this, you know who the best potential sales leads are. The Goldminer puts on their miners’ hat and goes to the golden ore vein inside the mine, and searches with a magnifying glass and a geology degree to pickaxe the golden ore from the source. No luck is needed, it is all action.

The problem is in the misconception that the Gold Panner goes through more customers, and by extension, increasing the likelihood of sales. This is NOT true – because their strategy is quantity over quality.
The Goldminer gets rid of half of their pipeline. This on paper, flares up danger signals for many of you out there. But this strategy is the best, because the professional salesperson adopts the notion of quality over quantity. Why? Because in this way, deals carry on more consistently. But not only that, the likelihood of a re-buy from your customer is higher. Even the potential to create a loyal customer is also higher; a loyal customer who comes to you again and again.

By removing half of your pipeline, you do not sift through the mud in hopes of finding gold. You go to the ore directly, saving time. And this excess time in pre-sales can then be allocated to increase the deal’s quality, understanding the customer, distributing more energy towards building champions, and so on.

The question of being a Gold Panner versus a Goldminer is rooted in the fear of out-of-pocket losses against opportunity costs. Since the Gold Panner is not willing to accept immediate out-of-pocket losses by not qualifying out. Contrast this with the Goldminer, who accepts immediate out-of-pocket losses because the elite seller knows the future opportunity costs are much higher. The problem is that we are notoriously bad at calculating and incorporating opportunity costs as people. [1]
One factor that promotes either the Gold Panner or the Goldminer is the incentive system in your organization. If the incentive system promotes that of many and fast sales through commission-type salaries, this inadvertently makes sellers focus on being a Gold Panner. In other words, how the incentive system is designed for your sellers in your organization is linked with how Risk-Averse your salespeople are. [1]
The Goldminer takes longer in the pre-sales process of which can be seen as needless out-of-pocket costs. But in reality, by being a Gold Panner you suffer higher, long-term opportunity costs.
Many other factors promote your seller to either the Gold Panner or the Goldminer. But that is for another article.

To sum up:
If you focus on qualification in your sales process – if you are the professional salesperson, a Goldminer, rather than a Gold Panner, then you will get…
• 150% more sales for the same effort
• Forecast more accurately
• Use resources more efficiently
• An overall focus on value

Let us end with two quotes…
The Gold Panner says this (from Charlie Munger): “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.”
Whereas the professional salesperson, the Goldminer, says this: “All I want to know is which deals are going to die, so I can qualify out of them… Nobody regrets qualifying out.”

[1] Hoskin RE. Opportunity Cost and Behavior. J Account Res 1983;21:78–95.