You Need to be a “Challenger” if You Want to be a Winner!

Relationship builders come in last and challengers finish first.

A fresh report on the types of sales approaches that win and the ones that do the worst reveals results that could come as a surprise to you, but as Yoda says,  “You must unlearn what you have learned. Try not! Do, or do not! There is no try!”


According to the Corporate Executive Board’s Integrated Sales Executive Council (iSEC), the sales persona that is most successful in winning business is “The Challenger.”  The one that performs the poorest is “The Relationship Builder.”

You can download a summary of the report, Replicating the New High PerformerBut, here’s the gist:

“The Challenger” salesperson is a teacher. She brings a unique perspective to the customer, asserts her perspective and insight, takes control of the  process, and tailors the message to the recipient on the customer’s side.

According to iSEC, in order to build more “Challengers,” companies need to get three things right:

1. Messages: You need to arm your reps to bring a unique perspective or point of view to the customer…in order to “teach.”  In other words, you need to have something worth teaching.

2. Tools: You need to give your reps the tools and skills to master the teaching message (per point #1), and you must equip them to tailor that message to different people and executives on the customer side.

3. Training: Your reps need to develop a greater sense of assertiveness (without being aggressive) so they can start taking control of the sales conversation and confidently guide the dialogue.

Corporate Visions is featured in the iSEC report as a provider of teachable messages and delivery skills. They highlight a CVI case study with our Volvo client, and they are wrapping up another one with our ADP client.

Being a Challenger does not mean being arrogant. The emphasis is on teaching the customer something.

When you get in the room with a customer, are you focused on providing a fresh insight? Do you add value to their day?

Or are you focused on your relationships and giving your customer a hug? (Just poking a little fun at one of the popular business books.)

Challenge your customers like a mentor encourages a protégé.  Help them overcome their initial reluctance to be the hero they are called to be.  Be the “Yoda” to their “Luke Skywalker.”  You get the point.

Download a summary of the report, Replicating the New High Performer.