CEB’s New Book, The Challenger Customer, Unlocks Group Buying Consensus

Have you ever been in a group trying to decide where to eat or which movie to see? Easy, right? Wrong.

business-lunch-twitterIt starts out with everyone saying they don’t care, then someone picks something, and then all the rebuttals surface. Even if you’re up for taking on the challenge of helping people understand the merits of a new movie or eatery, eventually groups tend to settle on the lowest common denominators: the movie with the widest appeal and/or the restaurant with the least adventurous menu. The group comes to a decision at the sacrifice of any creativity or risk, and you may finish the evening feeling just a little dissatisfied.

Now try to think about the last time you tried to sell your solution to another company. Chances are you didn’t just have to sell it to one person. Once you used your challenger mojo on the champion, you probably still had two, three, maybe even five stakeholders you had to convince at different times. It’s a little bit like a group picking which movie to see, only now the movie costs thousands of dollars and puts everyone’s professional reputation at risk.

CEB’s classic sales guide, The Challenger Sale, is the dog-eared playbook every serious sales executive follows. But CEB’s research didn’t stop when The Challenger Sale became a hit. New insights from CEB help to explain why group buying dysfunction is a major driver of today’s price-driven, low-margin deals—even for truly differentiated and deserving solutions like yours.

These insights have inspired a CEB challenger sequel called The Challenger Customer. The authors posit that the biggest challenge salespeople face isn’t improving their own abilities to sell, but helping customers overcome their inability to reach agreement.

The reality is that today’s companies aren’t just selling products or solutions. They’re selling change. And change is hard for people to buy, especially when it puts the political capital of individual decision makers at risk.

Summarized in one sentence, the main premise of The Challenger Customer is this: To win today, you must equip Challengers inside the customer organization with the insights and tools they need to drive buying consensus.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll use this blog to take a look at key insights from the book and offer our perspective. Stay tuned.

For a complete understanding of how to enable your own Challenger Customers, we recommend reading The Challenger Customer yourself.

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