Win through Empathy, Co-Innovation, and Co-Creation with Customers
In this digital age, business-to-business (B2B) buyers have more access to information about their potential suppliers than ever before. As a result, buyers engage with suppliers much later in the sales process, creating a tough, complex environment for sellers looking to gain their attention. In 2011, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) published the book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, which promotes a selling model aimed at addressing the complexity that emerged around the B2B sale after the financial crisis of 2008. The book focused on exploring CEB’s data on why sellers that “challenged” customers were successful as opposed to sellers that were classified as “relationship builders”. Five years later, the advancements in digital transformation and the increasingly well-informed, empowered customer necessitate an evaluation of the strategies popularized by the book.
This report evaluates the concepts outlined in The Challenger Sale and provides an alternative that can be used when challenging customers backfires. Constellation views the book as more beneficial to improve marketing messaging on differentiation as opposed to a sales methodology. This report provides Constellation clients an alternative strategy to drive sales performance: Sales by Design, a strategy that considers buyer organizational personas and applies design thinking to the sales process. Companies can expect to improve their ability to tailor discussions to better connect with buyers. The result - seller organizations can put the focus back on the customer instead of sorting through and developing seller personas.