Challenger & Collaborative Selling - A Hybrid Approach

Part 1 of 6 - PartnerTap & AchieveUnite Series

Breaking into new accounts is one of the toughest challenges in sales. Given the challenges, many sales people dread prospecting and fall prey to procrastination. Still, for a business to grow, new customers must be acquired regularly so prospecting remains a daily activity for most professional salespeople. Although cold calling has been the fundamental prospecting activity for decades, studies now show this method has become an increasingly ineffective means of reaching new prospects. In addition, prospects are inundated with emails to the extent that only 24% of emails are opened at all.

Upon connecting with a potential buyer, sellers are compelled to capture the buyer’s attention rapidly or risk losing the opportunity.  Over the past decade, many organizations have adopted the Challenger Sales methodology which challenges the status quo with a compelling idea for the prospect to consider.  The Challenger Sales methodology was born from the need to break into a budget conscious account with something innovative that changes the paradigm and puts the seller in control of the process.  However, the trend toward self guided B2B buying journeys has put prospects further out of reach from even the most skilled Challenger Seller.

The good news is that another methodology can be used along with Challenger to address the hurdle of buyer access, resistance, and preconceptions. This methodology opens doors both literally and metaphorically.

Collaborative Selling with Partners integrates sales professionals who partner as well as potential buyers into a cooperative selling and buying experience.

Those who practice Collaborative Selling with Partners use existing relationships to provide a warm introduction to a prospect and eliminate common barriers to connection. A hybrid Collaborative Selling & Challenger Selling approach can then be applied as the seller seeks to capture a prospect’s attention with an innovative idea followed by deep engagement with the buyer. This hybrid, Collaborative + Challenger, approach ensures a superior customer experience as the buyer has the greatest opportunity to be heard, understood, and served. In addition, research shows that buyers are far more receptive to buying processes supported by means of referral than those initiated directly by a vendor.

Partnerships are strengthened when two sales professionals approach the sales process in cooperation. The results from Collaborative Selling approach with Partners can be amazing.  

Here are 7 reasons to apply a collaborative partner selling approach:

  • Partners provide introductions, referrals, and “access” into to your target accounts.

  • Partners provide precious intel and insights to help you better understand the customer and give you an edge.

  • Partners help you expand your sphere of influence to include more “buying team” decision makers.

  • Partners advocate for an evaluation, demonstration, or act as a trusted advisor representing you to the client.

  • Partners help you navigate the prospective client’s buying decision process.

  • Partners share the org chart and help you navigate the political landscape within the prospect’s organization.

  • Partners can lend credibility to you and your company brand, supply the keys to deal velocity, and add an aura of certainty for the prospect.

In this era of digital transformation, a partner often supplies critical solution components that you do not offer – this will become the norm over the next few years, therefore, partnering DNA in your organization is imperative.

In our next post, we’ll dig deeper into the modern business buying process and examine why integrating a Collaborative Selling with Partners approach into your sales strategy gives you an advantage.