If you follow my blog, you know how strongly I feel about the importance of a Champion in a deal. No Champion = No Deal. It holds true every single time. In fact, I have yet to date closed a deal without having a Champion. If you are unfamiliar with what a Champion is, you should first read up on the MEDDIC sales methodology which I follow religiously. It's a major weapon in my arsenal in how I run my business.
So how do you test your Champion? The fact is, you should be testing your Champion throughout the sales process. Here are 5 great ways you can test your Champion:
The Cell Phone Test - I love this one and can't overstate it's importance. Simply put, it means to get your Champion's cell phone number. We live in age where people like to text over email and we would rather read something short and to the point as opposed to long and drawn out. Your Champion is no different. If your Champion gives you their cell #, this is good sign that they are your Champion. If your Champion doesn't give you their cell, this is a red flag. Test your champion by asking for their cell phone #.
The Economic Buyer Test - As you have read, one of the clear signs of a Champion is that they have access to the person who holds the money. A great way to test if your Champion is really in your camp is if they will give you access to this person. If they are hesitant to do this, there is still a lot more work to do in building your Champion and selling the value of your solution.
The Money Test - Every deal has to have business justification and your Champion should help you build this story to sell internally. A great way to test your Champion around the dollars and cents is to see if they will share what they are spending today (the cost of doing nothing). See if they will sit down and build out a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) comparison with you. Moreover, you can do another money test by asking them what their budget is for the project and what your competitors are pricing their solution at.
The Personal Time Test - Will your Champion spend time with you outside of the office? This is another great way to test if you have a Champion. If they are reluctant to go to lunch, grab a beer, or attend an event, this is not a good sign. Getting your Champion out of the office is super impactful. It's more informal and this is prime time for getting all the information you need to help you win the deal.
The "Sell for You" Test - This is the ultimate test and I believe to be the most important. As you know, one of the 3 criteria for a Champion is that they are selling for you when you are not there. In order for them to do this effectively, I like to train them like a sales professional is trained on managing a deal. Just like you were taught, your Champion should be able to tackle the following:
Pain validation - They need to be able articulate their business pain and tie metrics to this problem.
Business initiatives - They need to be able to associate your solution to their company's key initiatives.
Decision criteria - They need to have a good understanding of what their required capabilities are for this solution.
Decision process - They should fully understand how the decision is made (i.e. who can say "yes," who owns the budget, how the procurement cycle works, etc). Find out if they have helped make a deal like this happen before and walk you thru the process that took place.
Timeline (compelling event creation) - They should know when this project needs to happen. What are the consequences if it doesn't take place by this date?
Champions deck - They should have a formal presentation with the Why Do Anything, Why Your Solution, and Why Now? Typically, this is something they present to the Economic Buyer.
Value prop - They should be able to recite your solution's value proposition and handle any objections that are put in front of them.
Competitor differentiators - They should know how your product is different than the other solutions being looked at and explain why yours is better.
There you have it. Try it out and let me know how it goes by commenting below or sending me a note. Good luck!