I have always been fascinated by the magic of LEVERAGE and want to share my view about how leverage applies to learning, particularly to MEDDPICC® sales training. The MEDDPICC leverage is about using the MEDDPICC® Sales Methodology and Training to achieve extraordinary results in a sales team, often unimaginable. The MEDDPICC® learning awakens the potential in each salesperson through eye-opening new skills, which makes each individual more productive, creates a common language, and defines new rules of excellence in discipline and execution in sales. As a result, the sales team – whether a small team of half a dozen AEs or a global sales force of thousands of sellers – closes more deals of larger size and in a shorter time. They sign bigger deals faster, with complete visibility over the forecast. Metrics from organizations that have successfully leveraged MEDDPICC® show a drastic reduction in the sales cycle, an increase in the average contract value, a higher win rate, and more accurate forecasts. All these KPIs are easily measurable through the CRM system in place. A few of them are mentioned in this article.
What’s the leverage?
I would define leverage as the concept of achieving significant gains that often appear unachievable by applying small efforts. It often appears magical.
The phenomenon is as old as human civilization. The origins of the concept come from laws of physics observed in real life; By positioning a supporting object (called the fulcrum) close to a heavy object and applying an effort from far away, levers can be used to lift enormous loads with a small force (see figure). We are ready to make a significant move, with a smaller effort, in order to displace a heavy object. We don’t mind repeating the action to remove the heavy object further.
Where’s Leverage used?
The magical power of leverage is used in many areas other than physics and mechanics. One of the most popular areas of the application of leverage is in the financial industry and, in particular, in real estate. It’s the #1 method for becoming wealthy through real estate. Ask any real estate mogul, and they’ll confirm it’s the secret of their wealth. On an investment property with a cap rate of only 5% (this is often the best you get in California for instance), you can get a cash-on-cash return on investment in the range of 20%-60% thanks to the financial leverage. The tenants pay the mortgage (indirectly), and “time” operates the leverage.
How do you buy a $500k property if you only have $15k available? You leverage the $15k with a loan amount of $485k. This scenario assumes a 3% FHA loan. You may still qualify for a conventional loan if you don’t qualify for an FHA loan by putting 20% down payment. It’s the same idea of moving a big obstacle with a small effort. In this case, we are ready to pay a small amount for years but own the big thing (the home) now. Here the lever is us and our time/life. The loan terms define the position of the fulcrum; different loans allow different amplitudes of leverage.
The above can be equally applied to one’s principal residence or to an investment property. Obviously, when applied to bigger numbers, the subject property can be bigger, an apartment building, a shopping center, etc. This information is easy to understand and publicly available, but how many people actually do it? Execution requires grit and discipline.
What’s that Big Problem to solve in Sales Organizations?
Each company has its own challenges: a market opportunity that is not going to last, pressure from the competition, ambitious goals set by investors, etc.
But there’s one challenge that seems to be a constant everywhere and that is the general sales productivity and sales performance, visible through quota attainment rates. Haven’t you noticed the low percentage of quota attainment in the past few years? In 35 years of leadership, I have never seen such a low % of quota attainment by sellers. I wrote about this two years ago here. And things are just getting worse every year.
If you spend a few minutes searching the web and aggregate results of studies by CSO Insights; HBR, Forrester, and other sources, you will notice the decline of sales quota attainment:
- 2014: 63%
- 2015: 57%
- 2016: 50%
- 2017: 53%
- 2018: 50%
- 2019: 43%
In the past year alone, many conversations on LinkedIn have mentioned this challenge.
I came across an example on a LinkedIn post yesterday which suggests seeing 40% quota attainment in the first year as “normal”. Worse, the average second year quota attainment rate is 80%.
Here’s another example:
A poll showing that in one-third of companies, less than 25% of sellers achieve quota, and in most companies, less than half sellers achieve quota.
This leads to sellers’ frustration since their On Target Earning, promised at hiring time, is not what they hoped.
I believe the above examples show where the real pain is:
- It’s not in the tools; we have already flooded sales teams with tools.
- It’s not in automation; we are actually automating too much.
- The problem is that too many sellers don’t know how to sell.
Do you see how heavy that big object is in the first figure?
Do you see how expensive that house is in the second figure?
Lack of sales skills combined with the illusion of knowledge due to the excessive use of tools leads to low quota attainment.
How does the MEDDPICC leverage work?
Just as that heavy object in the first figure or that expensive house in the second, bringing sellers to overachieve quotas, tripling the revenue, or cutting the sales cycle in half, requires a huge effort. Hiring like crazy and plumbing the profits won’t make it happen. Tripling the price of your products and services won’t work either, as it may kill your business. Adding fancy modern tools which on paper improve productivity doesn’t seem to help. Otherwise, we would not see quota achievement rates decreasing year after year despite the new tools by so many trendy startups, some already unicorns. Too many people think that anything implemented is done through tools. That makes tool makers happy and successful. Just look at the size of Salesforce, the company.
Just as the examples above, to achieve extraordinary results, we need to leverage learning. That comes with a small but continuous effort of self-development and habit-changing in your own sales team, implemented through the correct sales methodology. By unleashing the unexplored potential in our teams, in ourselves, we achieve higher results. That’s how the MEDDPICC leverage works.
TOOLS DON’T SELL; SKILLED SELLERS DO.
What are some examples of the MEDDPICC leverage?
In the case of a MEDDPICC® training and implementation, similar to the “heavy obstacle” in the first figure and the “large investment” in the second, we target huge KPI increases, such as those found by MEDDIC Academy’s customers. Here are some direct results of the MEDDPICC leverage:
- Inside the top tech global company, you would think that nothing can be drastically improved given their dominant position. Sales cycles were divided by two within six months of implementing MEDDPICC® by MEDDIC Academy.
- An Asian scale-up company in payment solutions, with a sales team of around 100, observed a 200% increase in revenue one year after implementing MEDDPICC® by MEDDIC Academy.
- A SaaS company in California, a national leader in tax preparation automation, observed a 37% increase in win rates 12 months into using MEDDPICC® by MEDDIC Academy.
- Within a top global cyber security player, forecast inaccuracies were divided by two while achieving 127% of average quota after being trained by MEDDIC Academy.
The MEDDPICC leverage requires an initial investment and a small ongoing effort from the sales leadership. For most companies, we are talking about initial investments, which are often mid-five to low-six figures plus ongoing reviews and coaching, often by the sales leadership. The investment is leveraged to huge gains (7, 8, or 9 figures gains). Just as in the previous examples, the program is available to all. Some look at it just as another training using the annual “budget” from the learning department and “casually” send their teams to our Academy.. While other sales leaders get personally involved, position the training as a strategic initiative, accompany and coach their teams, leading to those impressive numbers. Like in the previous examples, good execution and success require grit and discipline. Just like paying your mortgage every month consistently, you’ll have to apply the methods learned consistently. It’s about the intensity of the initial effort and the consistency later.
Grit and consistency will form habits. Success is a result of proper habits.
The MEDDPICC leverage is about leveraging sales skills. Leveraging learning and development is not new. For individual learners, small investments in one-self not only make us happier because we learn new things and lead to more success and ultimately to total financial freedom. Warren Buffet has repeatedly told the story of the $100 course he took at Dale Carnegie in his 20s to improve his communication skills. He believes it helped him much more than his Harvard degree during his career.
If you are a sales leader, you know that the most valuable asset in your business is your team. The best investment you can make to not only develop your team but also to simply retain them is to invest in their sales skills.