By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® -The Sales Training Company
Within CustomerCentric Selling®, we define Champions in opportunities as people that are willing to share information, do inside selling and most importantly, provide access to the Key Players that sellers must call on to sell, fund and implement offerings. Within our definition of Champions, there is no indication of the level that person should be within an organization, but many people assume that access comes from lower levels.
If and when starting at levels below Key Players, we teach ways to qualify them as Champions in hoping to gain access to people that will be involved in making buying decisions. When asking for access, it is important to make a decision about whether or not your potential Champion can realistically provide access. If they are not high enough within an organization, sellers should opt to treat initial contacts as coaches that can introduce them to higher levels (their managers?) that can then be qualified as Champions.
Access can also come laterally if sellers either proactively or reactively start buying cycles at Key Player levels and then either ask or are granted access to peers of the Champion.
The best situation is when Champions are decision makers and grant access to lower levels. In such instances, sellers sometimes do not have to ask for access. Decision makers often volunteer to provide access.
Generally speaking, a seller’s quality of life in opportunities is directly related to how high in organizations their Champions are. Opportunities where top-down access occurs typically are shorter buying cycles with higher win rates.