Well, maybe not exactly “everything” about MEDDIC & MEDDPICC, but quite an interesting interview ( in the form of podcast/video) with Steve Benson. Steve is an experienced leader in CRM and Sales Force Automation with a strong sales background obviously. So he asked me very pertinent questions. Our chat gave me the opportunity to share publicly, for the first time, some of the nuggets I usually only share in my private workshops. Before reading the full podcast transcript, let me share here some of the things you learn in this Podcast (in no order):
- What problems does MEDDIC & MEDDPICC® solve for a seller?
- What is actually QUALIFICATION and how does it impact results?
- When should we be qualifying opportunities?
- To which type of sales does MEDDPICC® apply best?
- Why was MEDDIC Academy created? / What’s the history of MEDDIC/MEDDPICC®
- Difference between MEDDIC & MEDDPICC ® – MEDDIC vs. MEDDPICC®
- MEDDIC vs other sales methodologies
- How to identify pain, How to quantify pain, how to get metrics?
- An improvised role playing on metrics/pain (min 34 – a must watch sequence)
- Can you turn a coach into a champion?
- How to forecast deals with MEDDPICC®
- First line managers role with MEDDPICC®
Steve summarizes the chat at the end as well, and presents his own take away in bullet points (see below).
* Listen to the podcast
* Watch the video
* Or read the transcript below
PODCAST TRANSCRIPT – MEDDIC & MEDDPICC
Steve: This is Outside Sales Talk, the best podcast for Outside Salespeople. I’m your host, Steve Benson, and we’re here to chat with the world’s top sales experts so that you can get their best sales tactics to level up your game.
Welcome back to Outside Sales Talk today. I have Darius Lahoutifard with me and we’re going to be talking about qualifying prospects with the MEDDIC sales method and welcome to the show, Darius, it’s really great to have you here today.
Darius: Thank you for having me, Steve.
Steve: Yeah. And just to introduce you to the group, Darius is a coach, a trainer, and a mentor of sales team sales leaders, sales executives. And he’s the founder of the MEDDIC Academy and frankly, an expert in the MEDDIC sales methodology as well as similar sales methodologies that also make sales people successful. He’s also the author of the Amazon bestselling book, Always Be Qualifying / MEDDIC. So he’s definitely the right person to hear how to qualify prospects with the MEDDIC method here. So let’s jump into it. Tell me, Darius, what is MEDDIC and what does it stand for?
Darius: MEDDIC stands for metrics, economic buyer, decision process, decision criteria, identifying pain and champion. Those are the six letters of the acronym of MEDDIC, and there is a version some consider newer or more complete, which is MEDDPICC®, where the paper process and the competition have been added to it both referred to the same thing, and it’s not about the number of letters we add, because obviously, if sales was as easy as just checking a list of letters, it would be known. But yeah, these are the elements of MEDDIC, which are the focus of the methodology and the qualification through these elements.
Steve: your book is called Always Be Qualifying. So why is qualification so important? And how does that relate to MEDDIC? Because I didn’t see a Q in there.
Darius: That’s very true. So the qualification: All these are part of the qualification. They are the elements of qualification. Always Be Qualifying is in opposition to Always be Closing [from the famous, although totally outdated Glengarry Glen Ross movie with Alec Baldwin]. When you are selling, hard selling, a low end product, often retail, inexpensive, one shot transactional, maybe “Always be Closing” is a good motto to have. But when you are selling more sophisticated products, higher end, Enterprise with longer sales cycle with different people involved, actually closing comes by itself when you do the right things at the beginning. Obviously, first with a good discovery and then aligning your solution to the customer’s needs. And then qualifying. Now qualification is something which has been ignored or downplayed for a long time, as if it was one step, especially with the newer sales structures that we are seeing. The companies with SDR versus AEs, qualification is often considered wrongly as a one step. Okay, this prospect is now qualified. Let’s put all our efforts on it and close this deal. It’s not working that way.
Steve: I even heard Account Executives say, oh, I don’t really qualify things because by the time the SDR passes me the deal, it’s already qualified that’s the whole point of their job is to qualify it. And I completely disagree. I think, as the title of your book says, you’re always qualifying throughout the entire sales process.
Darius: Absolutely. And the deal is more or less qualified and actually literally we have a score calculator at MEDDIC Academy that we offer to our students, which is a MEDDIC score calculator which asks you about 100 questions and you say yes or no. And at the end you have a radar chart of how qualified is your opportunity and where are the gaps? Do you have a champion? Have you done the right work meeting with the economic buyer and understanding what his or her requirements are. So qualification not being binary in one hand, and the other thing is that being a great closer, obviously is good. Being a great Detective and understanding the customer’s needs; discovery is obviously good. What is good about qualification when you’re a good qualifier is that if you take two salespersons within the same company, same performance of the product, same skills or same knowledge, the same number of hours of work with these two salesperson, the one who is qualifying better is the one who will have a higher win rate by definition, because they are working on the deals which close. So their performance is skyrocketing without necessarily being more hard worker or better closer or anything else. So that’s why qualification is something which has been kind of hidden downplayed, but which is absolutely key in sales performance.
Steve: Yeah, qualification is why some salespeople seem not to work that hard, but have really great results because they only work on the deals that are going to close and especially in environments where only it’s not a high transaction volume, but it’s more of fewer but larger deals. The reps that are spending their time on qualified deals, they end up closing more of them. And if reps don’t qualify well, they end up wasting a ton of time.
Darius: Absolutely. An example. I’m going to go to give an example in retail. I have been several times running company CEO, so I have been a buyer several times. I still am sometimes a buyer, but many salespeople don’t have the experience as a buyer. That’s why I’m going to take an example of being a buyer in a retail situation when you’re going to buy clothes in a store or something. If you notice there are some sales people who are naturally good in qualification and they come and ask you a question or from far check on you and spend time with you or don’t. And they are doing , naturally good in qualification. They don’t spend time with you if they don’t feel that you are going to buy from them. So that’s an interesting observation in my opinion.
Steve: And you mentioned the checklist evaluation process. Could you talk more about the checklist and how that works?
Darius: Right. So MEDDIC is not really a checklist, but it looks like a checklist by the definition of the acronyms, is helping us thinking about this. It helps us even when we are driving to the customer. Okay, what are the things that I know for now? And what am I missing? They sent to me the decision criteria was three pages document. They mentioned that and we look good. They are looking into a solution where our differentiators are being shown. So decision criteria checked. But who’s my champion here? This guy that I’m going to meet again for the third time seems very nice to me. Talks to me, etc. Etc. But I have asked a few things and I still don’t have answers to those. I’m still not getting that meeting with the economic buyer. Ask questions and remove those Pinky glasses and be realistic. Ask questions. Is this person my champion? Why do I think that this person is my champion? What is he or she winning (gaining) from this deal? What is their personal win in this context? Of course, that checklist champion is there to remind you. But there are a lot of reflections and that’s one of the myths about MEDDIC & MEDDPICC, it’s not just thinking of having a, but everything which is behind or under that champion that you need to be able to understand, observe and act on.
Steve: Yeah, I had never actually heard of MEDDIC until maybe, I don’t know, five years ago or so. But it was funny when I first learned about it and learned what it was and how it was structured. I was like, oh, back when I was a sales rep, this is totally what I did. I think I had about I had a Google Doc that I would use, and before that it was just a regular word Doc, but it was kind of like a template and customer name at the top. And then who’s the Champions with all players involved. And then it had probably 20 questions that I would work into different conversations with the customer, so I wouldn’t just like, drill through them. I would kind of hop around. And as I learned things, I would fill out the questions before a deal was really qualified and before it would close, I would always know the answer to all the questions. Some of the things were just checking things that I had to do, like translate this, translate the deal into ROI for them and what it’s going to be worth for them in terms of real dollars. If you had that conversation with who, and I just kind of keep track of all that stuff in a dock. And then when I first got MEDDIC, I was like, oh, someone just made this a lot more organized and smart. I get it.
Darius: That’s it. That’s it, Steve. And you mentioned it. You said you heard about MEDDIC & MEDDPICC ® only five years ago. That’s about the time when I founded MEDDIC Academy. While MEDDIC & MEDDPICC ® are out there since over 20 years. We built it in the 90s at PTC.
Steve: Really? I feel like it really blew up, like, five years ago. I’ve been hearing about it all the time.
Darius: And that’s exactly the reason. And that’s what puts MEDDPICC® honestly aside, not because it’s my baby, but it’s a reality. The fact is that MEDDPICC® is the only methodology which has been ground up. It has been practiced first, widely practiced, then became a methodology for everyone else to know and learn from. Not that a guru or an Academician or something. Someone a strong consultant, thought about something and nothing wrong with those. But MEDDIC didn’t emerge this way. it’s not been a guru thinking about a concept, writing a book about it and then marketing it and then inviting everyone to apply. No, it’s actually the contrary. It’s actually compared to great methodologies. Miller Heiman is a great sales methodology. SPIN is a great sales methodology for discovery. I’m not criticizing any of those, but MEDDPICC® is the contrary. The way it was born, it was at PTC, that we built really a sales machine with hundreds of really successful salespeople trained this way. They later became VPs at Salesforce at Oracle, at SAP, at different enterprise software companies, and they continued the diffusion. That’s how MEDDIC got known because, otherwise, the first book on MEDDIC, I wrote it last year only. So it’s only NOW [five years ago] that it has become a formal Academy, literally MEDDIC Academy and teaching it. And so on. By the way, if we look at the history, the reason we had MEDDIC articulated and created at PTC is that we had a big challenge of growing fast and ramping fast. We were the first or the only vendor in our industry to hire sales people from outside the industry. So, for instance, compared to a methodology, which is the Challenger Sale, which is about knowing your problems and being smarter than the customer, knowing those problems and challenging the customer with those things, well, that requires a lot of knowledge of that industry. You cannot do that by hiring people from outside the industry, and three months later, expecting them to do quotas. You don’t need that with MEDDIC. It does happen to hire new reps and see them achieving quota in their first or second quarter. That’s how we built MEDDIC in order to articulate the things to do [as a new rep]. Literally list of the things to do. So that a new sales rep who is good at execution. (Of course, the sales rep needs to be good at execution, being able to ask questions). But what questions? Which questions to ask and when and how, that is what we teach in the courses and workshops.
Steve: and as a salesperson, how do you determine whether MEDDPICC® will be valuable to you in your industry and your role? How do you know who it’s for and who it’s not for?
Darius: Right. This is not binary, either. MEDDIC can be applied 100% or 90% depending on customers. But if you are selling an inexpensive product with the sales cycle of two days, with one person making a decision, you don’t need MEDDIC because you don’t need to qualify. Either you sell or you don’t. You have to spend this time with the prospect anyway. You try, you sell or don’t sell. You walk away to the next one. Transactional / high volume / low value is not the type of sales for MEDDIC. But on the other extreme, high value, smaller volume, longer sales cycle means that different people are involved in that decision making means that you are going to spend time on that prospect and that long sales cycle doesn’t mean necessarily several months, sometimes even six weeks or eight weeks sales cycle is long enough for you to justify the use of medicine. As an entrepreneur, I have always noticed that you have politics inside your own startup. As soon as you hire the third person. No politics with two persons. The third person comes in politics stuff. Well, it’s the same thing with the prospect. When there are different people involved in the sales decision, then the power base starts to work and then you need MEDDIC. You need to know who is suffering from these pains that we have listed in the discovery call as issues. If you are not talking to the people who are having the pain, you will not find the champion nor the economic buyer. You would just have someone who will take your resources and your time and you will not progress in the account.
Steve: Yeah, that makes a ton of sense to me. And tell me you mentioned MEDDPICC®, which I’ve also heard a bit about that’s adding what is that? That’s adding a P and an extra C. Are these the same things MEDDIC and MEDDPICC®? Or is MEDDPICC® just adding some more acronyms? What’s going on ?
Darius: Yeah. There are two more letters. The first one is Paper process. We mentioned Decision Process in the original MEDDIC , but the decision process is basically the steps or stages that the prospects want to walk you through before they place a purchase order or signing a contract. And those decision process they could be [in tech], could be demos, could be proof of value, proof of concept. Those are the steps or the process they want to take you through. But there’s also the legal process, the paper process, the PO, procurement,…. If you are an Enterprise software vendor, then auditing, the IT review, the security review, etc… represent the paper process. These are all paper process which are different than other aspects of the decision process we just mentioned. Your champion cannot change these things. Your champion can help you know these steps and accelerate them, but they are there as they are. While you could convince your champion that there’s no demo is necessary or that proof of value could be one week instead of one month. So in that regard, paper process is slightly different than anything else in the decision process. For those who are applying MEDDIC without mentioning the P, they are obviously doing that P as well. Obviously, they are taking care of the paper process. And the other aspect in the paper process is that when you don’t pay attention to it, you may downplay it and it becomes a big problem towards the end of the sales cycle, typically towards the end of your quarter and you have not done your homework, meaning that you have not met with the legal people. You have not understood what they are going to check in the It review, for instance. So it’s important that quite early in the sales process, you understand what is exactly this company’s paper process before they can place an order or sign a contract. So that’s why it deserves a letter. According to some of my ex colleagues at PTC, including myself, I mean, I have no religion with or without those letters. I’m so focused on the fundamentals behind these letters and helping salespeople to understand what is behind. And I will mention a point on that the letters themselves, I really don’t care. I use both, alternatively. The second one is Competition. And for competition is the same thing. Those who don’t mention it doesn’t mean that they ignore the competition. No, the competition is already present in other elements of MEDDIC. For instance in the decision criteria. I have a value triangle where I expose the customers’ needs, our solution and then the competition. The summits of a triangle. How we need to read into the decision criteria when they are expressed by the prospect to understand with this criteria. Who is this favoring? Who are these criteria for or who in the Account , has pushed so that this criteria is at the top of the list of their criteria because this criterion could be the reason for them choosing us versus our competition. So the whole point about decision criteria, understanding and evaluating is versus the competition. If you are selling Mercedes competing with Tesla and the number one criteria pf the customer is sustainability or renewable energy, obviously, there’s no point to compete with because that criteria means I want Tesla. It’s not written, but that’s what it means. So we talk about having the playing field level or not. Is the playing field level? The decision criteria are all about understanding that playing field. Are we playing in a fair environment or unfair advantage for us? Because we have worked well before and educated those who are writing this decision criteria in our favor. Or our competitor has done a good job doing that, and it’s already lost before we even start because the criteria are not in our favor. So all that is about competition. We don’t necessarily need to mention the competition as a letter to notice that.
Steve: makes perfect sense to me. And I think that the exact letters and adding kind of sub letters like this, the extra C or the understand the legal decision making process. I think every company needs to adjust the base level, like every company is going to be dealing with those core letters. But then there’s probably ten more questions or concepts or areas. And just depending on what you’re selling, I mean, like the legals, for example, that can be super important depending on what you’re selling, right? Depending who you’re selling to, how risky it is. Are you selling a new security system that the CISO, the chief security officer is going to have to sign off on. If you sell new security software to large corporations, that’s got to have its own letter. And if it’s something that’s going to have complex legal negotiations around it, of course it’s going to get its own letter if you’re a super competitive space, even which competitor all this stuff comes into play.
I forget how many things that I really felt were important for every deal to really make sure I had a conversation with my sponsor at the company about but things like legals, I would have to bring that up, and I would have to bring it up early so I could run things in parallel. Right. If you don’t bring up legals early enough, then you end up kind of closing the sponsor and then they’re like, oh, but you can’t forecast the deal appropriately if the sponsor is going to say, oh, actually, we’re not going to be able to get the sign for a year. By the time we pass this through legals a year. I forecast this for two months from now. I think this basic framework needs to be to rethink it for your individual area and company and your role at the company? I guess. Let’s talk about that. How much do you think you should customize this process for your individual role in sales or role in sales management? And how much should it be customized? And how do you go about figuring out what should be added or subtracted? What’s the thought process there?
Darius : Yeah, customization. Let’s talk about it. And the point I wanted to refer to, which is close to this one. What I’m answering to this question is about those tools. So some people come to us and say, we want to do it with a tool. And it’s amazing. I have done all my career in software and SaaS. Trust me, I believe in tools and tools help for sure. Automating things obviously is the thing to do. But in sales, please stop with the tools. We have done too many tools. I also provide a platform. My platform is a tool. You are providing your tool, your company, it’s a tool. But guys, if we want our salespeople to be successful, we need to make a pause on the tools and work on skills.
I’m seeing too many sales people, especially younger sales people who don’t know how to do things and they rely on tools. MEDDIC. I have a few partners who have done MEDDIC plugins for Salesforce where you have stages, pre set so that you can say, okay, what am I doing with my champion? Or have I met with the economic buyer? And those are stages in Salesforce, and they are extremely dangerous because salespeople think that they have checked that box and it’s done. And I know that it’s not working that way.
We can write whatever we want in those tools and input into the system only inside us. We know exactly. And sometimes we don’t even know because we haven’t asked ourselves the right questions. But at best we know if we have that champion. If that champion has it, these things are not in the tools.
For instance, learning how to identify champion. One of the exercises in my workshops is this: we are in a discovery call first time with the prospect. Five persons are in the room or in the ZOOM call and those are titles. And we have a 1 hour conversation on the discovery. And we do also a very short brief presentation of ten minutes of what we are doing. How do we identify a potential champion right there? What should we be looking for among those five persons? And how do we identify you cannot do that with the tool. There’s no tool you can build in the world which will help you with that. The most advanced AI won’t do that.
Steve: Yeah. And sales takes judgment. Right. And computers are really good at adding and subtracting, but they don’t have judgment yet. And I can see how an organization might overtool this. You try to just boil MEDDIC down to the M field in Salesforce and the E field or whatever CRM, the E field, the D field, the second D field. And that’s not what this is about. I feel like this is a dynamic series of questions and things to areas to understand and have conversations about and take notes on those conversations so you can remember what happened.
I feel like it’s much more of like a free form note taking exercise on top of a bunch of questions that are already set. And maybe there’s a great way to do that in your CRM system. And obviously you want to capture the information somewhere, but yeah, I get what you’re saying about things being overtold for sure. Right. What about other sales methodologies? How should you layer MEDDIC with other classic or other important sales methodologies that you might be employing?
Darius: That’s a great question. I believe that different sales methodologies are different perspectives of looking into a problem, so most of them are complementary. Most of them are not contradicting each other. I love solution selling it’s a good old methodology. I love SPIN, mentioned it earlier. The only one I have some questions about that I love as an observation is the challenger sale. The challenger sale. When I first read the book, it’s fantastic book. I totally related to my team. This guy was a challenger. This guy was a hard worker. Fantastic, but it’s not a methodology.
By methodology, I mean, literally, after a few hours of MEDDIC training, for instance, self paced and workshop, people are practicing it. They go on LinkedIn and post the eye-opening experience. It’s not me saying, guys come out of the workshop saying this was eye opening. This was an AHA moment because they are seeing that, the deal that they lost is because they thought that person was the champion. And for this reason, that person was not the champion. Or this deal, they lost it because the economic buyer was the one who had the pain and they totally ignored it. They talked to someone who was ready to talk, not someone who had a pain to be relieved. So the challenger sale, you cannot implement this in a reasonable time, saying, hey, become a challenger. No, it takes time. It takes years and it’s industry specific.
MEDDPICC® is not industry specific. You can’t take someone who knows MEDDIC from selling CRM, then have them sell ERP or have them sell maps or whatever they want. It’s the same thing. You cannot do that with the challenger sale, but I think the other methodologies are complementary to MEDDIC. I don’t have the pretension that someone who learns MEDDIC has learned it all, and there’s nothing else to learn. No, they can learn better with more focus on discovery, they can learn more within their presentation skills. I don’t cover presentation skills and how to deliver a great presentation. For instance, I don’t do time management. Time management is key in any sales job. We don’t say it enough. I don’t cover those. So there are a lot of other trainings which are totally complementary to ours.
Steve: What would you say? The best places for a salesperson to start with metrics or with pain in their conversation with their customer.
Darius: With pain, no doubt, with pain, the pain needs to be quantified and that we have half of the metrics, the other half being the proof points, on one hand quantifying the pain and on the other hand proving how much our solution will solve that pain and how it can be measured and what is the economic impact. But the beginning is absolutely with no doubt it’s the pain points.
Steve: And how do you go about quantifying pain? What are your favorite ways to do that?
Darius: Ask what happens if you leave it right there? Ask So what? The customer says we have this problem. Why is it a problem? How does it impact the CEO’s goals?
Steve: It’s a problem because it slows us down. We’re not moving as fast as we could.
Darius: How much it slows you down.
Steve: We think we could get these important projects out three months earlier. If we did that,
Darius: that makes sense. And if you do it three months earlier. What are the consequences of that?
Steve: Well, I think we’d acquire this many more customers over. We’d acquire 15 customers a month more if we got that out three months earlier.
Darius: And what’s the average per customer?
Steve: The average per customer is $25,000.
Darius : Okay, so here we go. We just quantified the cost of the pain. The beginning of the metrics. Why they should buy form us NOW.
Steve: Excellent. I wanted to run that through with people because I think that’s so important the quantification of taking someone’s problem and turning it into real dollar values for them.
Darius: Absolutely. And for your listeners, since we are on it, let me give another nugget here: Who is this impacting? This is something that most sales people forget. For instance, we are having this conversation with let’s say it’s on CRM. You’re selling CRM. And the IT guy is asking this. And the IT guy is a good guy. He has done his homework or she has done her homework and they have answers to a lot of questions. But at the end of the day, if you do not get hold of that real person who is being hurt by the pain, you will not have enough motivation, enough personal win and gain. There.
So one great question in order to help with that is, I don’t remember what was the case studies that we were playing with, even though you felt that I have done this 100 times, “who is in charge of those customers”, “whose bonus or whose goals will be impacted when you make less of those customers?” I mean, in this case, obviously the answer is the CRO. And that’s why in order to sell CRM, you need to go to the CRO, not the IT director.
Steve: Yeah. I’ve got a great story that illustrates this from back when I was at Badgermaps, the only salesperson , this is by 2012 2013. And this is our first major company that was getting on board. And we had been talking to a kind of mid level sales manager, and they put us in touch with the IT team, and we were engaged with the IT team, showing them the kind of things we could do. And they were like, this is great. This would definitely help the salespeople a ton. It’ll probably be two years before this will be an initiative that we can actually do because we’re just so busy on the IT team, we don’t have time to implement stuff like this.
And I said, okay, well, I’m glad you like it. And then sure enough, I went to the VP of Sales and walked through these types of talk paths where it’s like, okay, so I understand this would be useful, but how useful what would it be? And we back into how much more their reps would be able to sell, in his estimation, if they had this tool making them more efficient. And I was like, oh, wow. So you’re losing that many hundreds of thousands of dollars every month from this inefficiency. And he’s like, yeah, and I was like, well, I think that deal was 100 grand a year, so it was just a total Slam dunk for him. But that deal does not take two years to get looked at as the It team thought it was going to. It took about two weeks after I talked to the CEO, it was in trial.
Darius: That’s one of the best moments in sales that I love. And even now, after 30 years of career, I love these moments because things change drastically when you talk to the right people. And the challenge for salespeople is that especially nowadays when a lot of our lead traction systems are on our website. So we receive a lot of incoming leads , is that someone has come to us and the passive approach or the lazy approach (if I can use that word) by sales people is to stick with that person that the person is interested. Why should I change? The person is asking questions. They reply to my email, they are returning my calls. So why should I change?
It doesn’t even occur to their mind to change, but that person is just taking the role of being a communication interface. Someone else in the organization has expressed a need or wants this. Go find that someone else go talk to them. And you will see, as you mentioned, magically, your two year sales cycle gets down to two weeks and the size and the scope of the deal grows and so on.
Steve: Yeah. One of the best parts of sales is that salespeople unlock value for their customers. Right? Their customers wouldn’t do the thing that you’re selling unless it was going to help you or help them. Rather, people are smart and they’re smart enough to figure out if this is going to help me or not, which is why it’s so important to work for a company that really creates value because it’s real hard to sell things that don’t create value or that they have competitors that create more value.
But salespeople are really the lubrication of the entire economy is the way I think of it, because all these companies out there doing things slower than they could less well than they could using the old machine, using the old technology. And it’s a salesperson that comes in and shows them, hey, you guys are going to do better. If you add this to your mix, they bring the knowledge to the table and then the deal wouldn’t happen. Deals don’t happen if they’re not worth it for everybody involved.
Darius: Right. Right. I heard the company yesterday. Actually, it was announced yesterday. Company came out of some veterans, serial entrepreneurs with the seed funding of $50 million and the company’s name. I don’t know if you heard that in the news yesterday is Devrev and Devrev is basically development and revenue. And it comes from the idea that these are the two most important parts of any company and connecting this together, how to leverage revenue from the customers and do developments which are in mind that made me think that this is the reality.
There are two things which are really at a higher level than anything else in the company : 1) product development or whatever it is product that the customer that we built for the customer and 2) sales, where we translate the need of the customers into dollars, which is vital for any company. Everything else is lower priority, with all due respect for marketers, for HR, for finance. Great people. But everything else is secondary to these two.
Steve: Yeah, a phrase that reminds me of that. I don’t use myself, but a philosophy I heard propagated years ago was you make the shit or you sell the shit or you are shit. [hahaha] Those are the options. And I don’t believe that myself, but that’s an old business saying that I’ve heard used many times. But I do think there’s a lot of wisdom to the importance of sales, and a lot of companies don’t realize how important it is I think. For all the sales managers out there, tell me how effective and how does MEDDIC help them at sales forecasting? How does having Medic occurring on your team improve forecasting?
Darius: Oh, drastically. That’s the number one benefit of MEDDIC. The reason is that when we help sales managers and by the way, I believe first line managers are the most strategic role in any company more than the CRO, more than the salespeople. Why? Because they need to be at the same time tactical and strategic. They need to back up the team and play as a doer while being strategic enough in hiring, envisioning the future and doing strategy anyway. So sales managers, we have trainings for them MEDDIC & MEDDPICC ® for managers, and in those training, we help them asking questions within the framework of MEDDIC to the reps in order to help them qualify their forecast, giving tips in coaching. And the key is that, for instance, just an example is this person your champion? What proof do you have that this person is a champion? Okay, after two, three, four questions regarding champion, you figure out that this person is not a champion and we don’t have a champion. I don’t want to see any deal in the forecast this quarter if we don’t have a champion there. The deal goes back to the pipeline. Okay. And then when the forecast is reduced at the first QBR or two weeks into the quarter, we see that the forecast is not that strong. It will force salespeople to go and find deals which are better qualified or bringing deals from the pipeline into the forecast by qualifying them going and finding the champion. And we give them methods in order to find the right champion. It’s very simple, actually, it’s not easy to do, but simple to find the method for the champion. So forecasts become very fast, extremely solid because they shrink, they immediately shrink. You haven’t asked a question, but if I may, I can give you other metrics when you implement MEDDIC . Here’s an example of a GAFA [Google Amazon Facebook Apple] customer from two weeks ago who got their training in March. And during Q2, they measured they had 20% shorter sales cycle and 15% higher average contract value per opportunity, increasing the average deal size. Because when you have Champions and you have developed that relationship, you are not obliged to stage more the deal. You can do more at each stage so you can sell more. And of course, sell faster. Again. This goes in hand with MEDDIC & MEDDPICC ® if you have identified this in the process. If you have been early in finding the paper process and worked in parallel from the beginning with contracts, legal and procurement, all these help you reduce and also obviously, Champion. One of the things [that’s another nugget for our listener] is do not ever put a deal in your forecast before sharing that with your champion, a Mr. Or Mrs. Champion, I’m counting on this deal. I’m committing to my manager for this deal in this quarter. Am I doing right? Do you support it? What’s your advice? What do you say? If the champion says no, then first thing to do is to remove it from the forecast, then ask the champion why not? What should we do in order to bring it back? But inside you, even if you don’t share that, inside you for your manager, remove it until the champion says for sure it’s coming. And of course, if the champion says yes, then a follow up question is : So can I count on you if we both feel that it’s sliding so that you take the right actions on it to help me closing it, so engage the same way. It’s really about coaching your champion the same way your manager coaches you. Do it with the Champion.
Steve: Yeah. If people took nothing away from today except for that, it would be a valuable day, because that is such great advice. And forecasting is so hard. And what a great way to make it more accurate just to level with your champion. Let them tell you if they think that you can get this done within the next two months, because if they don’t think so, then it’s certainly not going to happen. Right?
Darius: Absolutely. Think about it. We are making assumptions sometimes a million dollar deals in ourselves. If we keep it for ourselves, we don’t ask the champion. It’s coming and counting on it. My life depends on it. Or my wife’s vacations depends on it.
Steve: Right. Might as well be your life. [hahaha]. Well, let’s do the next section is sales in 60 seconds. So quick questions, quick answers. Tell me, what are the top myths of MEDDIC & MEDDPICC?
Darius: Okay, so one of the myths is that I have a MEDDIC spreadsheet or a plugin on Salesforce or any CRM, and I’m then applying MEDDIC. Wrong. There’s a high chance you are just checking boxes and you’re not doing what you should.
Another myth : It’s a checklist. There is a champion there. But wait, is the champion doing what they should do? Have you met the economic buyer signs to the champion? Is the champion sharing with you where you stand, how competitive, how your competitors are doing? Is it transparent communication? The other myth is, yeah, I have METRICS because I know that this pain is costing them a million dollars every six months. So I have the metrics. Well, you have half of the metrics. You know why they should look into something, but you don’t know why they should buy your product. The three questions help you ask customers and prospects is why anything and that’s pain. Why now that’s your forecast and why us? That’s why we’re winning. So why anything? Why now? Why us?
Steve: And what would you say? The most common mistake that you see salespeople make during the MEDDIC processes?
Darius: It’s taking a coach or a friend for a champion. It’s not because someone is talking to us and is nice and returns the calls and replies to emails that they are our champion. That person is either not influential enough or does not have the personal win enough doesn’t do the job of a champion.
Steve: Can you ever make a coach into a champion?
Darius : No.
Steve: Because I think a lot of salespeople try, right?
Darius: I mean, the way we define a coach is someone who does not have access to the economic buyer does not have that influence or the personal win. So you cannot change that. But you can change a more important stakeholder, or an influential person in the account, and transform them into a champion. That is definitely a yes. Someone who is not friendly with you who is not an enemy (usually enemies have reasons to be enemies), but someone who is neutral doesn’t talk to you, it’s hard to get access to, some who is indifferent to your solution, but they are influential and have an important role and can make decisions and so on. But yeah, you can transform them into a champion by going and helping them quantifying the pain, showing the proof of your solution with metrics and flip them.
Steve: In your opinion, what’s the most important part of MEDDIC & MEDDPICC ®?
Darius: No champion. No deal. If you have really a good champion, a strong champion, a real champion. As we define it, that champion can fix any other element of MEDDIC & MEDDPICC ®, that champion can help you with. The metrics can get you in front of the economic buyer can influence the decision criteria so that you in can shorten the decision process and explain to you what you need to do in order to contact to be signed. Can talk to you about what the competitors are doing and how everything else can be done. If you have a strong champion
Steve: As an actionable takeaway, what should the field salespeople listening today do as a first step towards implementing MEDDIC & MEDDPICC for themselves or for their company?
Darius: They should come and take courses at MEDDIC Academy. I’m sure you knew that that would have been my answer.
Steve: That’s a great answer. Well, I’m going to try to summarize all the things that you taught us today, which is obviously a lot
- First MEDDIC stands for metrics. Economic buyer decision criteria, decision process, identify pain and champion, and all of these are effectively elements of qualification that is ongoing throughout your sales cycle.
- Qualification is truly important for every single step of the sales process, and if you do it right, then your deals will close themselves.
- The salesperson who can qualify better will have a better win rate.
- You can ask questions to find a champion within the company.
- Your champion needs to be someone who is getting something out of the deal. They stand to win or lose. If this happens or doesn’t happen, they need it to make their number. They need it to meet their metrics. They’re the person who the responsibility falls on their shoulders, and that’s not always the economic buyer.
- MEDDIC & MEDDPICC help define which questions to ask, when and how you ask those questions.
- When there are different people involved in the sales decision, it’s really important to use MEDDIC
- The other MEDDIC’s close cousin, which adds more specificity is MEDDPICC® and this is metrics economic buyer decision criteria decision process, which that’s all the same and then paper process and then identify pain, champion and then add a C for competition. Don’t just rely on sales tools. Sales people need to work on their skills so they can actually qualify deals with using these questions and gaining these understandings.
- MEDDIC works alongside and support other sales methodologies. These aren’t exclusive.
- Ask yourself who is impacted by the sales by getting this deal done and work to get in contact with those people because they can really be your Champions. They’re the ones that are most likely to actually get a deal over the line and not just be interested.
- Sales managers can ask their sales reps questions about how they’ve qualified their deals with MEDDIC & MEDDPICC when they’re doing their forecast.
- And a really important point that Darius gave us about forecasting. Don’t put a deal in your forecast before sharing it with your champion to make sure that they support you forecasting it. So you got to ask them, hey, I’m going to tell my manager that this is going to close this quarter. Is that okay? Or this year or whatever it is depending on your sales cycle this month, whatever. Mention that to them before you do it. And because you’ll get good answers there, not only will you uncover other objections other stakeholders have, but you’ll just get their opinion on whether or not given everything they know, whether or not what the timeline is, that you can get this done and that’ll save you keep a lot of egg off your face with your management team.
Well, this has been absolutely fantastic. Darius, where can our listeners read more about your work? How do they learn more about what you do? How do they reach out to you. Yeah.
Darius: MEDDIC Academy’s website is https://meddic.academy. So it’s not dot com or something else. MEDDIC dot Academy, that’s the website where you have a lot of information. The blog on that same site you have regularly articles the most recent one. I’m sure you will love it, Steve. Is comparison between the partition sales structure like SDR /AEs [Sales Development Representatives vs Account Executives] structure versus the full cycle salespeople. It is a debate on goods and bads about those. A lot of other articles on the blog and the links to the book as well. And of course, all the courses are available there as connecting with me personally, I welcome everyone on LinkedIn. You need to know my email address, so if you’re listening, my email address is …. We will certainly put all that in the show notes so people can find it because a lot of them are driving right now.
Steve: Darius, this has been a great episode of the outside sales talk. And if anyone out there listing works in field sales, you’ll love Badger maps. That’s the number one rep planner helps. You sell 20% more and drive 20% less. You can get a free trial of Badgermaps at www.Badgermapping.Com today. And if anyone out there can think of other sales reps that would benefit from learning about MEDDIC and what Darius has to say today for us, definitely forward this episode on to them. Take care until next time. Everybody and Darius, you thanks so much for being on the show today.
Darius: Thank you, Steve. Thank you for having me.