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The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results

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Four years ago, the bestselling authors of The Challenger Sale overturned decades of conventional wisdom with a bold new approach to sales. Now their latest research reveals something even more surprising: Being a Challenger seller isn’t enough. Your success or failure also depends on who you challenge. Picture your ideal customer: friendly, eager to meet, ready to coach yo Four years ago, the bestselling authors of The Challenger Sale overturned decades of conventional wisdom with a bold new approach to sales. Now their latest research reveals something even more surprising: Being a Challenger seller isn’t enough. Your success or failure also depends on who you challenge. Picture your ideal customer: friendly, eager to meet, ready to coach you through the sale and champion your products and services across the organization. It turns out that’s the last person you need. Most marketing and sales teams go after low-hanging fruit: buyers who are eager and have clearly articulated needs. That’s simply human nature; it’s much easier to build a relationship with someone who always makes time for you, engages with your content, and listens attentively. But according to brand-new CEB research—based on data from thousands of B2B marketers, sellers, and buyers around the world—the highest-performing teams focus their time on potential customers who are far more skeptical, far less interested in meeting, and ultimately agnostic as to who wins the deal. How could this be? The authors of The Challenger Customer reveal that high-performing B2B teams grasp something that their average-performing peers don’t: Now that big, complex deals increasingly require consensus among a wide range of players across the organization, the limiting factor is rarely the salesperson’s inability to get an individual stakeholder to agree to a solution. More often it’s that the stakeholders inside the company can’t even agree with one another about what the problem is. It turns out only a very specific type of customer stakeholder has the credibility, persuasive skill, and will to effectively challenge his or her colleagues to pursue anything more ambitious than the status quo. These customers get deals to the finish line far more often than friendlier stakeholders who seem so receptive at first. In other words, Challenger sellers do best when they target Challenger customers. The Challenger Customer unveils research-based tools that will help you distinguish the "Talkers" from the "Mobilizers" in any organization. It also provides a blueprint for finding them, engaging them with disruptive insight, and equipping them to effectively challenge their own organization.


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Four years ago, the bestselling authors of The Challenger Sale overturned decades of conventional wisdom with a bold new approach to sales. Now their latest research reveals something even more surprising: Being a Challenger seller isn’t enough. Your success or failure also depends on who you challenge. Picture your ideal customer: friendly, eager to meet, ready to coach yo Four years ago, the bestselling authors of The Challenger Sale overturned decades of conventional wisdom with a bold new approach to sales. Now their latest research reveals something even more surprising: Being a Challenger seller isn’t enough. Your success or failure also depends on who you challenge. Picture your ideal customer: friendly, eager to meet, ready to coach you through the sale and champion your products and services across the organization. It turns out that’s the last person you need. Most marketing and sales teams go after low-hanging fruit: buyers who are eager and have clearly articulated needs. That’s simply human nature; it’s much easier to build a relationship with someone who always makes time for you, engages with your content, and listens attentively. But according to brand-new CEB research—based on data from thousands of B2B marketers, sellers, and buyers around the world—the highest-performing teams focus their time on potential customers who are far more skeptical, far less interested in meeting, and ultimately agnostic as to who wins the deal. How could this be? The authors of The Challenger Customer reveal that high-performing B2B teams grasp something that their average-performing peers don’t: Now that big, complex deals increasingly require consensus among a wide range of players across the organization, the limiting factor is rarely the salesperson’s inability to get an individual stakeholder to agree to a solution. More often it’s that the stakeholders inside the company can’t even agree with one another about what the problem is. It turns out only a very specific type of customer stakeholder has the credibility, persuasive skill, and will to effectively challenge his or her colleagues to pursue anything more ambitious than the status quo. These customers get deals to the finish line far more often than friendlier stakeholders who seem so receptive at first. In other words, Challenger sellers do best when they target Challenger customers. The Challenger Customer unveils research-based tools that will help you distinguish the "Talkers" from the "Mobilizers" in any organization. It also provides a blueprint for finding them, engaging them with disruptive insight, and equipping them to effectively challenge their own organization.

30 review for The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    The Challenger Customer is about selling to bureaucratic organizations. The thesis is that it doesn't matter if you win over an individual - they are going to take the deal to a group who may think your solution is great, but not even agree on the problem being solved. For example, maybe your training offering is fantastic, but they think the problems needs fixed by upgrading the computer system or hiring more. The book shows that you have to get people in the same ball field first by defining The Challenger Customer is about selling to bureaucratic organizations. The thesis is that it doesn't matter if you win over an individual - they are going to take the deal to a group who may think your solution is great, but not even agree on the problem being solved. For example, maybe your training offering is fantastic, but they think the problems needs fixed by upgrading the computer system or hiring more. The book shows that you have to get people in the same ball field first by defining the problem together, agreeing it needs solved, reaching consensus on the criteria, and THEN winning that deal. Highly practical information and thought frameworks for B2B complex sales & consulting

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marques Hollie

    Disclaimer: I am in a sales-adjacent role, but not a salesperson. That said, I think a lot of the content and methodologies described in this book are fantastic; my one gripe is that I feel like this book could have been quite a bit shorter (while still providing the core content).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Hidalgo

    Great book that should shape how both marketing and sales people view their customers and interact with them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zoffix Znet

    Fantastic book, which is the sequel to The Challenger Sale. This time, the authors examine customer behaviours that lead to successful purchases. There's a specific type of people within the customer organization that initiate and drive change. There are also those who waste your time or block the change entirely. The book examines the deal period before any sales reps are involved in the first place, and so now the book is more heavily focused on marketing rather than sales. Unlike the Challenger Fantastic book, which is the sequel to The Challenger Sale. This time, the authors examine customer behaviours that lead to successful purchases. There's a specific type of people within the customer organization that initiate and drive change. There are also those who waste your time or block the change entirely. The book examines the deal period before any sales reps are involved in the first place, and so now the book is more heavily focused on marketing rather than sales. Unlike the Challenger Sale, this time a couple of parts did feel like needing an overwhelming amount of work. Nevertheless, the book does examine, I'd say, a more advanced topic. All in all, the book is full of useful ideas and methods that I will definitely be using. Both The Challenger Sale and The Challenger Customer are great books, worthy of reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christopher J Finlayson

    A couple good ideas, but not quite a full book Challenger Customer has a couple of interesting ideas. Consensus between large groups of customers is required for sales to large customers (5.4 people on average). Mobilizers, regardless of title, help drive consensus. Mobilizers are often challenging to sell to, but are more useful than talkers. It’s the job of the seller to coach mobilizers on how to drive consensus and facilitate the process through active discussion of core issues. I generally fo A couple good ideas, but not quite a full book Challenger Customer has a couple of interesting ideas. Consensus between large groups of customers is required for sales to large customers (5.4 people on average). Mobilizers, regardless of title, help drive consensus. Mobilizers are often challenging to sell to, but are more useful than talkers. It’s the job of the seller to coach mobilizers on how to drive consensus and facilitate the process through active discussion of core issues. I generally found some of the sales ideas helpful and insightful. Many of the marketing ideas, feel less well formed. The suggestion of fewer, more insightful content pieces, revolving around customer insights, does not feel groundbreaking.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    Nothing like being told to read a book for work to stoke a kids enthusiasm! This book IS insightful, and I benefited from reading it, but shucks, it takes a pop-business book to convert "60% growth" into a full page multi-bar chart with distinctly labeled delta. This book could have been 40 pages of really sharp and meaningful analysis, but I suppose the publisher would have had trouble justifying the cover price. Nothing like being told to read a book for work to stoke a kids enthusiasm! This book IS insightful, and I benefited from reading it, but shucks, it takes a pop-business book to convert "60% growth" into a full page multi-bar chart with distinctly labeled delta. This book could have been 40 pages of really sharp and meaningful analysis, but I suppose the publisher would have had trouble justifying the cover price.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vasco

    The bad: nothing in particular. The good: a very interesting segue to The Challenger Sale, this book touches on finding a champion within the company that promotes a Challenger mindset within the organization itself. Types of Mobilizers are broken down, as well as sales and content strategy to accelerate. Great read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeff McDole

    Lots of good info in here. If you're a data person, there's a lot of data in here. For me, it was a bit much and a lot of ideas and points were repeated gratuitously. Took me a long time to finish this book as I couldn't ever get a rhythym. But, with all that said, it is worth reading and you will gain very good insight in sales and marketing tactics. Lots of good info in here. If you're a data person, there's a lot of data in here. For me, it was a bit much and a lot of ideas and points were repeated gratuitously. Took me a long time to finish this book as I couldn't ever get a rhythym. But, with all that said, it is worth reading and you will gain very good insight in sales and marketing tactics.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This strategy presented in this book is disruptive. It is far from a few simple tips and tweaks, and will dramatically overhaul how your organization approaches sales and marketing, if implemented. I can see the customer-centric approach and funnel evaluation to be an improvement to commonly used processes, and am excited to report back after implementation in my own organization.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Martin Felando

    Excellent follow up to The Challenger Sale. Great for sellers looking for who to target at large companies. Most large sales involve about 5 decision makers; this book helps you identify the best and worst archetypes when it comes to selling.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nick Salenga

    This is a great book that unveils research-based tools that will help you distinguish "Talkers" from "Mobilizers" in any organization that provides blueprint for finding them, engaging them with disruptive insight, & equipping them to effectively challenge their own organization. This is a great book that unveils research-based tools that will help you distinguish "Talkers" from "Mobilizers" in any organization that provides blueprint for finding them, engaging them with disruptive insight, & equipping them to effectively challenge their own organization.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Excellent insights. What is your prospective customers desired outcomes not yours? Who are the mobilizers?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ben Kirk

    Could have been written in much fewer words, but has good content that's relevant in today's B2B sales and customer success models. Could have been written in much fewer words, but has good content that's relevant in today's B2B sales and customer success models.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy Bintoro

    Interesting, this book divided customers unto 7 types, and help us overcoming the most challenging type of customers. At least, this book can help you identify your customers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    All

    This is the best book in sales. I just wish they had a tl;dr

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

    Good followup to 'the Challenger Sale'. The Sale fist, before moving to Customer Good followup to 'the Challenger Sale'. The Sale fist, before moving to Customer

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    Good business book about how to make a sale in a complex organization by understanding key different types of decision makers and helping them understand a common vision and value of changing

  18. 5 out of 5

    Will Deyo

    another work book

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abhishek Kapur

    Interesting Good insights to start thinking about how to align the sales and buying processes. Also highlights the need for strong collaboration between marketing and sales.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John

    Like its predecessor the Challenger Sale, the insights in this book are based on a premise that the fundamental dynamics between suppliers and buyers have been transformed by the internet and decentralized decision-making frameworks. I accept the premise and the authors' frameworks for marketing and selling complex solutions into large organizations. In most cases, suppliers of these complex solutions are competing with the status quo. This means that job number one is to reframe the buyer's vie Like its predecessor the Challenger Sale, the insights in this book are based on a premise that the fundamental dynamics between suppliers and buyers have been transformed by the internet and decentralized decision-making frameworks. I accept the premise and the authors' frameworks for marketing and selling complex solutions into large organizations. In most cases, suppliers of these complex solutions are competing with the status quo. This means that job number one is to reframe the buyer's views of their own organization and the urgency of problems they do not even recognize themselves. Without this crucial "commercial insight" the status quo wins even if the suppliers solution is acknowledged to be a major leap forward. Compounding this challenge is the reality that most buyers complete more than half of the buying process before ever speaking to a salesperson. The wide availability of product information, reviews, and research means that the supplier is no longer in control of the message. This reality shifts the focus for a marketing team from "leading with" the company's solution to "leading to" it. Overall, the Challenger Customer is a logical, well-written roadmap for sellers of complex technology solutions.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    The Challenger Customer is about selling to bureaucratic organizations. The thesis is that it doesn't matter if you win over an individual - they are going to take the deal to a group who may think your solution is great, but not even agree on the problem being solved. For example, maybe your training offering is fantastic, but they think the problems needs fixed by upgrading the computer system or hiring more. The book shows that you have to get people in the same ball field first by defining t The Challenger Customer is about selling to bureaucratic organizations. The thesis is that it doesn't matter if you win over an individual - they are going to take the deal to a group who may think your solution is great, but not even agree on the problem being solved. For example, maybe your training offering is fantastic, but they think the problems needs fixed by upgrading the computer system or hiring more. The book shows that you have to get people in the same ball field first by defining the problem together, agreeing it needs solved, reaching consensus on the criteria, and THEN winning that deal. Highly practical information and thought frameworks for B2B complex sales & consulting.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Siim

    To make a sale, an easy-going, agreeable customer is the last person you need. It is all perfectly logical. Somebody needed to do the rigorous research on it, complete with factor analysis. And write it down in an easy to read book. This is that book. “To sum it all up, you can’t find Mobilizers on an org chart. They’re not the VP of this or the senior director of that. Role and title don’t matter. They’re individuals who mobilize irrespective of the org chart, not because of it.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Daut

    Good research. Great insight. The CEB team provides more researched insight than 99% of the self proclaimed sales consultants. Having read both books provides a good formula for managing both sellers and buyers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    Really enjoyed the first half of this book, but felt the second half was quite weak. However, still worth reading as it will change your perspective on your engagement with customers (and redefine who you consider your customer to be).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kim Caudill

    Started strong, last chapters on marketing strategy seemed to be a divergence from Challenger Sales model. Marketing materials as commercial education and processes of identifying marketing staff skills that align became a arduous read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Fantastic evolution of B2B marketing and sales framework

  27. 5 out of 5

    PeterBlackCoach

    Demonstrates how much the buying process has changed - and how it affects the sales process. Recommended to read in conjunction with The Challenger Sale

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sana Vasli

    A lot of interesting concepts at the beginning. The book takes the long route to explain simple things and becomes a struggle to get through

  29. 5 out of 5

    Philip Parker

    Excellent Sales Book for anyone who has multiple decision makers involved in the sales process.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Isla McKetta

    Interesting ideas, really repetitive.

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