Challenger Marketing for The Challenger Sale
In my presentation at the B2B Marketing Summit (sales enablement in a multichannel world), I referred on several occasions to the work of Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson of CEB on "The Challenger Sale". Described by Neil Rackham as "the most important advance in selling for many years", Challenger defines a new choreography for the sale with significant implications for B2B marketers.
In the presentation, I argued that current Thought Leadership and Content Marketing strategies are failing because they do not cut through the noise faced by today's buyer. As buyers 'self educate' online, diagnosing their problems and identifying potential solutions, the flood of mediocre content simply reinforces the existing mindset. The buyers' thinking is validated and not challenged, with the result that when they do engage in a sales dialogue it is with a small group of companies they believe can equally solve their probelm. As a result, the conversation remains one of price, and marketing remains a cost.
Sales enablement is as much a cultural change as it is a technology or tactical shift. By understanding the new sales dialogue and working back from it, marketers can dramatically improve lead quality and cut significant cost from their operations. By focussing on opening only the opportunities that sales can close, the modern B2B marketer forges a much stronger partnership with the wider commercial team.
Last week, the team at CEB unveiled Challenger Marketing. After helping hundreds of sales organisations shift their approach, they are sharing what they have learned and how it changes B2B marketing. You may not agree with their findings, but in my opinion the move from generic content to genuine commercial insight remains one of the greatest potential differentiators we marketers have in the armoury. Take a look and share your thoughts with the community.