The Challenger Sale

This is such a great book and the quality, quantity and overall rigour of the research is hugely impressive. The approach they detail has been used for many years by professional service firms and management consultancies but here the authors distill it into a way that is accessible for every size and type of company.

I anticipate books based on extensive research to be a difficult read but, on the contrary, Matt and Brent give us a thoughtful, focused, concise and yet easy writing style making the book a joy to read. I have every confidence that this is destined to become a must-read business book.

The premise is that as sales become more complex, customers get `solutions fatigue’ with more burden being put on them. The book offers an approach, with clear guidelines, on how to alleviate that burden. The research was based on 700 sales people, followed by a global analysis of 6,000 sales professionals involved in large-scale, complex, B2B sales. They defined those who were core performers and those who were high performers. They identified 5 profiles of sales person and the one that stood out way above all the others was The Challenger. A staggering 39% of the high performers were Challengers who:

* offer a unique perspective
* use two-way communication skills
* understand the customer value drivers and can identify economic drivers
* are comfortable discussing money
* can pressure the customer
…in other words, they Teach, Tailor and Assert Control.

The book is packed with great case studies and it offers clear insights with immediate actions to be taken. There is a coaching guide, a hiring guide and whole chapter on extending the Challenger approach beyond the sales function.

From my perspective, once the strategic, organisation-wide value proposition has been created (this has to be done first), this book shows that the best person to implement it in a high-pressure, complex sale is the Challenger.

Available from Amazon and all good book shops.

Cindy Barnes