In Sales, creating, building and maintaining champions can be a critical component of closing transactions.
But what is a champion you ask?
A champion is a point of contact within your customer or prospect’s organisation who acts as an extension of your sales effort. This means they will assist you in navigating internal politics while helping to drive your agenda so that they’re, in essence, selling on your behalf, even when you aren’t there.
When thinking through how to go about building a champion, there are some key ingredients and characteristics you should look out for, to ensure they fit applicable criteria to make an effective champion.
Influence - Your champion should be someone that has the ability to affect decision making and compel action from key stakeholders within their organisation.
Respected - You’re seeking someone who is well tenured and respected within their organisation. Their internal reputation should be strong based on their consistency in delivering impactful work.
Invested - You’re seeking someone who shows early interest and is invested in your sales campaign. You need to look out for signs during the first phases of kickstarting your sales efforts that show a vested interest in the potential of your solution.
So how do you go about building a champion?
Ultimately, you need to understand how the impact of your product or solution helps your champion to get a personal win. This may be through recognition, the potential for a promotion or by leading the charge for a transformational change within their organisation. Whichever category your solution falls into, you need to understand how it moves the needle for your champion, then you need to align your approach to help them secure their personal win.
If you’re able to tap into this effectively, you will find that your champion will become equally as committed to getting your transaction over the line as you are. They will be in the trenches with you, hand in hand against their own procurement and legal teams, driving your agenda in pursuit of a signature.
How do I know if I have the right champion?
You can measure this based on the level of engagement and how open your dialogue is with that person. You should be able to pick up the phone without questioning whether you’ve called too many times and equally you should expect a regular cadence of contact from them.
Interactions with a champion are often more personable and can be less formal than you may come to expect through a typical interaction with a customer. You should be able to openly soundboard ideas off of each other, all in pursuit of the same unified objective.
Always be willing to test whether you have the right champion by challenging their characteristics and revisiting with them what their version of success looks like through the sales engagement.
By identifying the right characteristics up front, investing in their personal win and validating your unified objective - You’re well on your way to extending your sales campaign through a game-changing champion.