Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Oct. 25, 2021

#179 S2 Episode 48 -From Leading With Products to Leading With Insights Part 2

In this episode of the Sales Transformation Podcast with Collin Mitchell, he's joined for the second time with Michael Randazzo, from the Challenger series, and co-host for Winning the Challenger Sale Podcast.

The Challenger mindset can't be discussed in just one episode, so here's another in-depth talk about it to understand more of that sales lifestyle. Collin asks great questions to keep Michael on his toes and keep giving more knowledge and insight to what you should be doing as a seller with the Challenger mindset.


01:14 A recap of the previous episode they shared about the beginning stages of the sales process to discovery

11:20 What sellers can do to accomplish more than what they have right now

18:07 Examples of real-world examples of people who have a hard time following the complex sales cycles and how they overcome it

28:45 What you can do if you don't have the resources or funds to drive insight rather than product

32:25 Final thoughts on the episode and how Michael invites you to go to his monthly podcast to tactically incorporate an inside-led pitch to a discovery call and more


07:08 "Schedule as many meetings as you possibly can, we need opportunity volume, we need activity volume, but do it in a very limited access environment. Which is very noisy and in some cases customers are just tuning us out right now because there's so much noise."

12:22 "Tailoring a message/insight to the needs to not only companies, which is where you'd start that first conversation, but also to individuals. And then recognizing individuals from all those different functions have different perspectives."

17:58 "Commercial insight is your North star to manage the mid and late stages of complex sales cycles today."

28:49 "First focus on answering a few basic questions about your customer status quo. Build a hypothesis of need and is nothing more complex than let's say, 'here's what my customer is currently doing today around whatever workflow, strategy, a process that you're focused on because you're ultimately selling a product or solution that enables that.'"

30:09 "Step two is to figure out how your solution helps solve that problem uniquely well, and this is where it gets tricky. Because you may start to at the thing that you're used to selling, all the features, functions, and benefits that you sell on and realize, 'look, we're not uniquely differentiated in our market.'"

Learn more about Michael:

If you enjoy the Sales Transformation Podcast, please subscribe, share, and send us your feedback. Please make sure to rate us and leave a review on Apple. 

Learn more about Collin in the link below: 

Also, you can join our community by checking out If you're a sales professional looking to take your career to greater heights, please visit us at and set a call with Collin and Chris.

Looking to start your own Podcats? Book a FREE strategy call. 🚀


[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell, and this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.

[00:00:24] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation. Today's a special episode. We are doing a part two with Miko Mike Randazzo from challenger. Uh, if you didn't catch. It's episode 1 69. You definitely want to check it out and we're digging into how to be a challenger seller at all stages of the sales process.

[00:00:47] And we got cut short. So we're going to sort of pick it up where we left off, do a little bit of a recap and then dive in. And, um, if you don't know who Michael is, he's the senior director of marketing and sales enablement over at [00:00:59] challenger. Uh, Michael's worked in the sales performance and transformation space for much of his career as a consultant and advisor to senior sales and marketing leaders.

[00:01:08] So he is definitely qualified to talk about this topic. Mike, welcome back for round two. Thank you, Colin. I'm happy to be back. Looking forward to continuing the current. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, this is the first time that we've done this, but there was just way too much to unpack in one episode. And so you're going to have to go back and listen to 1 69 if you haven't, uh, definitely suggest you do that now and then come right back here.

[00:01:30] However, um, Mike, why don't you just give us sort of a recap of what we covered in episode 1 69 of bringing that sort of challenger mindset as a seller to sort of the beginning stages of the sales process up to kind of. Yeah. So, so part one, really, we talked about the basics of the challenger concept and where challenger came from.

[00:01:50] The research we did, you know, in 2008, 2009, um, as a research firm, moving into the book we published [00:01:58] in 2011 and, you know, ultimately the, the, the whole idea of the premise that, um, we found over a decade ago, and we continue to reaffirm as we run the same analysis year and year. There are various types of B2B seller profiles that exist in the wild and, you know, to give away the punchline, right?

[00:02:16] Like the challenger profile among the five that we found is a seller who is adept at teaching, taking tailoring, taking control of the sales process and then building and leveraging what we call constructive tension. To build momentum and drive urgency throughout the sales process, that profile is far more likely to be a high performer relative to the other profiles, which, you know, relationship builders, problem solvers.

[00:02:41] We won't go in and all of that today in terms of the detail. But the point is like, it was true. Then when we wrote the book 10 years ago, it's true now because we conduct continuous research and we reaffirm everything we're talking about. And what we started talking about last time [00:02:57] was the difference between a challenger and a typical seller in certain key, leverage high leverage moments across the sales process.

[00:03:05] And we, we landed on kind of this conversation about, well, what happens in an initial sales interaction with a prospect or a client, right? Like what does a discovery call look like in common practice versus what does a discovery call look like, uh, delivered as delivered by a challenger. Right? And so there's some key differences.

[00:03:23] Um, that whole episode was really about the fundamentals today. Uh, you know, you tell me where you want to go, but like the natural extension be okay. So, so what do we do beyond that first call? Right? Like how do we manage a process or navigate a process as a challenger seller? What are the things we're doing differently?

[00:03:42] And a lot of that revolves around what we call commercial insight and being able to unpack insight with, uh, with a customer or prospective customer. Throughout the cycle, uh, to, to drive them in the right direction. Yeah. And so, and, and just, you know, [00:03:56] correct me if I'm wrong here, but you know, even, even somebody who sells, you know, as a challenger, uh, is hard to do all the time.

[00:04:07] And I ended up imagine out of these five different profiles, people tend to be maybe a bit of a hybrid. Right. Um, and so it's, even if you're used to selling that way and say you nail it in discovery, uh, You know, how do you keep that momentum going, uh, to not kind of fall back into maybe something that might be a little bit more comfortable, like the relationship seller or, you know, some of these other kind of types of sellers that may be there can easily be drawn back to which could come up in other stages of the sales without, you know, having this sort of commercial insight to keep a deal moving forward with the momentum, um, where these high profile high producing sellers.

[00:04:51] Yeah, well, to your first point around like, Hey, I'm sure [00:04:55] some sellers have like elements of multiple different profiles. That's absolutely true. So what we've been the original research, we, you know, the way to look at it as of the five seller profiles, think of them as like college majors and minors.

[00:05:07] Everybody has a major. Everybody also has a minor. So like you, you predominantly fall into one of the five buckets, but you also have traits and behaviors and skills that you exhibit regularly that fall into the other ones. So you can very much be like a challenger problem-solver combo, like a challenger, um, hard worker combo.

[00:05:26] And there's certain things you do differently that fall in line with those profiles, but the T to your second point around, like, how do we make sure we're keeping momentum? Avoiding reverting back to, um, maybe a product feature function, centric pitch, uh, as we advance from that initial conversation and start to get into demos or start to get into group presentations where we're just super excited to [00:05:54] show up and show other stakeholders, all the things that we can do with our, our platform, our technology, our solution, whatever we're selling.

[00:06:00] Um, that's a good conversation for us to have today. And that's where I would point to, as I mentioned before, this. Keeping that insight, that thing that you started that first call focused on teaching a customer, something new about their business with a cost or risk associated with not addressing that thing, that you've just illuminated for them keeping that center and your north star, as you, as you navigate that process, as you, as you move through your 5, 6, 7, whatever, however many sales stages you have.

[00:06:31] That insight is central to how you're going to carry momentum throughout. Yeah. And, and, and is there a certain stages of the sales process, um, that this becomes a little bit more challenging? Sure. Uh, kind of funny where, at what stage of the sales process, did it become more challenging to be a challenge or to be a challenge or [00:06:53] I look let's step back for a second consider for a moment.

[00:06:57] All of the things that. Organizations ask of sales professionals today, say I'm an enablement. I am an emulator, Sam, a sales leader say I'm a commercial leader. I say, you know, a senior executive in a business and we've established a sales process for our team to follow because we believe that that process is going to scale efficiency and efficacy.

[00:07:18] Cool. Early on. So think, think about the jobs we're asking sellers to do throughout that process. So first and foremost, Schedule as many meetings as you possibly can. We need opportunity volume. We need activity volume, but do it in a very limited access environment, which is very noisy. And in some cases like customers are just tuning us out right now because there's so much noise or because they've got focus priorities that don't involve buying something from you.

[00:07:45] So first step is just trying to, to generate interest in the first place. Then you've got to show up on those first calls, as we talked [00:07:52] about last time in those discovery calls of those for sales interactions and create demand where perhaps there is none, right? In order to actually qualify an opportunity that could turn into legit pipeline.

[00:08:03] This is where it gets really tricky. Like we often see, like, as we talked about those discovery calls, we can, we can land, um, uh, a punch in that initial conversation with the strongest. Where we are talking about an illuminating, a problem that exists that our customer doesn't actually know exist yet.

[00:08:19] Right. Get them to start exploring it. But where most sales processes go from there is we can now we gotta to start like unpacking how our solution solves that problem. And I think the misstep we often see is jumping from discovery to demo. For example, thinking that just because you've got that individual, that, that initial stakeholder bought into the idea.

[00:08:39] That now we can start digging into all the bells and whistles and features and functionality and benefits of our solution. Not quite there yet, because what's really happening is that you're moving into a stage where you're moving from one or two [00:08:51] stakeholders to a group of anywhere from six to 12 different stakeholders.

[00:08:55] So now you're thinking about complex stakeholder management, especially if you're talking about complex B2B solutions. Those groups are made up of people who have very different backgrounds, experiences, priorities, objectives, KPIs, Dan, different perspectives about what you offer, right? Right. Your inherent value, whether or not to partner with you to bring a solution to bear or somebody else.

[00:09:19] And so you've got to somehow bring that group to consensus across a several month cycle and several month period. Oh, and then by the way, you get sorted sort of towards the later stage of your processing and you're ready to close and you actually have to start preparing for battle with a procurement officer whose mission it is.

[00:09:39] Flat-out commoditize, you enforce as many concessions as possible, right? So like their P their paycheck depends on that. It's kind of like the final boss that you encounter in video games, right? Like just when you think you've gotten through the most complex part [00:09:50] of complex selling wrangling seven different stakeholders and generating consensus.

[00:09:54] Now you have to go in this uncertain economic environment and convince a procurement officer that knows nothing about what your solution does or why it's. To not press you for that 25% discount. Right. Those are all the ways that the commission. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I hear that you're in stage five and I'm like, well, that's a 90% close rate for me.

[00:10:16] Once I reached stage five, um, I'm going to go right. But look, department it's like, there are many ways that, uh, it gets challenging for even the best challengers. Once you get past those initial stages of a sales cycle, um, This, this idea of keeping your insight front and center throughout the entire process is really, really what I think is critic.

[00:10:37] Yeah. So let's, let's take a step back for a second. Right. So, okay. So you nailed discovery, you get your prospect, your initial, you know, point of contact to agree. [00:10:49] Okay. Yeah, there's a problem. Right. And so where I think that crucial step, which you kind of dug into a little bit. Well, okay. Then you've got six to 12 stakeholders.

[00:11:00] We first got to get them all to agree that there's a problem and that it's a priority to even solve that problem or. That you know, what the impact is of not solving that problem. Right. Which is a challenge in itself. And so getting them all to agree to those insights that you bring to the table, actually have any merit or value, um, is sort of the big hurdle before where a lot of cases, sellers are really quick to kind of jump to that feature benefit, demo stage, but there's actually a lot of work that still needs to be done before.

[00:11:34] Getting there. Yeah. So what are, what are some, what are some things that sellers can do, uh, to accomplish that in a more successful way than maybe they are today? [00:11:48] Let's, let's take a first step and start thinking about, okay. Um, after my initial call, I've impressed my first stakeholder and, and, you know, they've agreed to kind of continue to explore.

[00:11:58] I've wild them with an insight and. Insight. I think it's, it's a, it's a word that, you know, 10 years ago, if you asked us like what insight is, and we gave an answer, we'd say not there weren't many companies out there that were actually pretty, pretty good at putting together insights for sellers to use in their messaging and their pitch decks and their conversations with prospects.

[00:12:20] Again, going in and teaching a customer, something new about their business. I'd say 10 years later, Companies that have made great strides. Right. Um, when you think about delivering an insight to an individual versus a group, the thing that you really need to keep in mind here is again, one of the core challenges skills.

[00:12:37] One of the things that they're particularly adept at doing is tailoring a message, tailoring an insight to the needs of not only companies, which is where [00:12:47] you'd start that first conversation likely, but also to individuals. And then recognizing that individuals in that. From all those different functions have different perspectives.

[00:12:57] And I think the place to start to answer your question here is basically. Really think about is the message I'm delivering insight. Is it true insight? And when we say true insight, we, we have this term, we call it commercial insight. Um, and, and the word commercial in front of insight implies that you're actually getting a commercial outcome out of delivering it and carrying that through the process.

[00:13:18] I think the best way to explain what commercial insight is and what you're going to need to use throughout the process to push things forward is to maybe explain what it is. So I'll, I'll, I'll invoke like the image of like one of those Russ Russian nesting dolls, right. But the, the, the wooden dolls with the layers, the layers in this case consider them to represent like the various types of information available to customers, any sort of message that a stakeholder or a group of stakeholders would react [00:13:46] to in your conversation with them.

[00:13:48] The outer layer is what we consider general. This is just stuff. That's not all that interesting. They can find it anywhere. They can do their own research and learn what they need to learn about your category. You go down a layer, you appeal one of the layers off, and now you're into what we call accepted or credible information.

[00:14:05] And this is actually like information about you and what you do with some credible sort of authoritative guidance behind. Hey, we're speaking about a topic because this is our world. This is our wheelhouse, and you should accept what we're saying as fact. Great. Yeah. Credible relevant, not all that.

[00:14:23] Interesting. So we need to dig in further, right? As a sales professional, we want to make sure we're going beyond just general information or credible accepted information. Anybody can do that. The next layer is what we call thought leadership. Now thought leadership is a term that's been used quite heavily for about, I was going to say a year, but I was gonna say a decade, at least since I've been in this.

[00:14:43] And the trick with thought [00:14:45] leadership is this is new. It's interesting, it's incremental information that you're teaching your customer or a stakeholder group in this instance that they might not have otherwise known or found out if you hadn't delivered it to them. It's interesting, but it doesn't actually necessarily drive action.

[00:15:00] So it's a compelling stat or a data point, but it doesn't give you enough of like a call to action in terms of based on this stat or data point. Here's what you need to do differently. And here's where there's some urgency. Um, that's thought leadership. We're just teaching about interesting things and we're giving people things to consider.

[00:15:16] So remember, there's, there's three layers into Infor the information hierarchy as a seller. We're still not all the way at that point where, uh, challengers ultimately use messages to navigate complex cycles. The next layer you reveal the next layer. It's, it's what we call insight. Insight is not quite all the way to commercial insight.

[00:15:35] Here's the. Insight teaches a customer, something new about their business or about their world. It exposes a problem. They didn't realize existed. Right. But the [00:15:44] reason why it's not commercial insight is because there's no guarantee you're getting paid on this. You can go in and show somebody that a problem exists in their business that they weren't aware of.

[00:15:51] But that doesn't mean that it's always going to lead back to you as the solution for. Yeah, well, commercial insight does. Okay. All right. So, so you can give them sort of, uh, you know, uh, and you can bring something to their attention that they could find, you know, otherwise K not that interesting. Um, you can, you know, bring something to their attention.

[00:16:12] That's a little more relevant to them specifically, but then when you get to that sort of insight, it's like, oh, wow. We didn't realize this. We didn't know this. This is something we really need to look at. But you're still, you know, you still haven't validated, like, do they care about solving that? How big is that problem?

[00:16:30] Are you the right fit to solve that problem? Um, and could they live with that problem or is it not that big of a priority? So how do you start to get that to be more of a priority and [00:16:43] kind of tie your solution to that commercial insight? A hundred percent the consideration there is, remember you're not doing all that with just one individual.

[00:16:50] You're doing it with probably 1100. All right. So the difference between general information thought leadership insight and commercial insight is its ability to forge consensus, commercial insight exposes that gap or that flaw or that overlooked problem, um, you know, could be the way they manage projects, the way they prevent data breaches, the way they clean their commercial kitchen equipment, equipment, whatever organization you're selling to it, unpacks the cost and risk of that problem, then leads back to what is uniquely differentiated about yourself.

[00:17:22] And when you have that connection, there's nothing more effective at bringing a group of a dozen different perspectives and stakeholders together and getting them on the same page. And that's really what we need to keep front and center commercial insight. Not only exposes the problem, but it leads back to something you do uniquely well, if you don't [00:17:42] have that, you risk teaching them into the arms of your competitors.

[00:17:47] Yeah. We don't want to provide free consulting as sales professionals. We want to make sure that the path leads back to. Yeah. Yeah. And that can happen or, or they can be like, great, thanks for helping us realize this. But you know, we got it from here. Exactly. Yeah. Right. Cool. I think we've got an in-house solution to solve that problem.

[00:18:04] Right. Unless you have a good response in that. Yeah. I know you could do this in house, but here's what you'll be missing and here's the cost associated with that. Again, you're still continuously teaching throughout the cycle and that's the point of. That insight is your north star. That commercial insight is your north star to manage the mid and late stages of complex sales cycles today.

[00:18:24] Yeah. So can you give me an example, like, do you have an example for maybe somebody who's kind of struggling to follow along with these layers? Um, like give me an example kind of, and sort of break it down, maybe in that, that same way. And I think that would really help people to kind of [00:18:41] understand this and maybe figure out a way to tie it to what they do.

[00:18:44] Yeah. There's um, I'll share two classic examples that I think like the categories are like safe and easy, easily understood by everybody. So like, just to kind of paint the picture of, Hey, here's selling without commercial insight leading with our product, and then here's selling by leading with insight.

[00:19:00] So the first, the first story, if you will, um, is from a company called Dentsply. And this is one of our favorite examples because it's so vivid in terms of the difference between before and after, but dense ply cells. Um, as you might guess, dental supplies. Okay. So this is, this is what this other selling tools they're selling drills.

[00:19:23] They're selling cleaning equipment to dentists and hygienists for them to use in their day to day. Uh, several years back they had, they had just launched a brand new product, which was by all accounts and through clinical trials. And. Um, a revolutionary product. It was actually [00:19:40] the lightest weight, most ergonomically, correct, uh, cleaning tool on the market.

[00:19:45] It's actually something that they tested with dentists and hygienists and they all loved it. It was the superior product. So the problem was sales reps would walk into the dentist's office, lay out this shiny briefcase on the table, open it up and say, Hey, here's the X, P 9,000. It is the lightest weight.

[00:20:04] Most economically. Preferred hand tool from dentists and hygienists across the last 12 months. What do you think? The first question they always got was so what, why do I care? Yeah, well, even more basic than that. Okay. Uh, how much they were immediately reduced to price, right? They led with a product with certain features and benefits associated with it.

[00:20:29] Lightweight, easy to use. But the first question or comment was always, okay, how much does this cost? Because I've already got equipment, right? [00:20:39] Equipment is a capital cost. I already have it. And we probably have two or three years, more, two or three more years of useful life on the, on the drills and the tools we have.

[00:20:47] So why do I need this? That was disheartening because they had spent so much time in R and D and testing and had all this proof that this was a superior. They didn't really know why they were reaching this there they're meeting this resistance until they sort of reoriented their messaging strategy.

[00:21:03] Okay. So they, they thought about, okay, we're leading with product instead. We need to be thinking about what's the customer problem we're solving with the XP 9,000 with a lightweight ergonomically and Oregon I'm looking at correct. And by the way, cordless tool. So, what they did was they, we worked with them on their messaging.

[00:21:20] And ultimately what we landed on is instead of leading with those features and functions, they actually ultimately did some research and, and, uh, found that, uh, And there was a problem that was persistent and pervasive in dental offices and then actually had to do with something that was unexpected, [00:21:38] um, hygienist absenteeism.

[00:21:40] So what they actually found was that dental hygienists, uh, among all professions were the ones that actually had to take more time off than anyone else. Um, because of. Soar risks, sore arms, carpal tunnel syndrome, musculoskeletal disorder. What they actually found was the, the, the work itself and the tools that they're using in the day-to-day work causing acute pain that led to more days out of the office than any other profession and early retirement.

[00:22:09] But what they really dug into and found out was it's actually not just the nature of the work. So it was always assumed by dentists that yet. This is like a pitcher who throws a hundred miles an hour. At some point, they're going to have to have Tommy John surgery cause their, their ligaments going to be damaged.

[00:22:24] Yeah. That was the assumption that look, I know my hygienists are going to wear out and they're going to need more time out of the office. That's just the nature of the work. What they ultimately found was that it's not the nature of the work. It's actually the weight and the design of the tool itself.[00:22:37] 

[00:22:37] So the new message was for dense supply. You've got a hygienist absenteeism issue, right? Annual absenteeism rate is 34. Uh, there's 10% turnover rate associated just with musculoskeletal disease every year. Um, you're losing a certain amount of revenue per day because of sick days, because of time off, right?

[00:22:57] The total opportunity costs could be upwards of half, a million dollars to your practice in any given year. Now, all of a sudden, that's the conversation we're leading with. We're not walking in with, Hey, let me show you the XP 9,000 we're walking with. I'd like to talk to you about the drivers and costs of hygienist absentees.

[00:23:13] Well, like that is a completely different way to lead into a conversation with the dentist. It takes the focus on the product away and puts it on a pervasive business issue that they have that they actually didn't realize there was something they could do. Wow. Then the question was probably how many can I buy right now?

[00:23:31] And I don't even care what the price is, right? Yeah. The question is like, [00:23:36] and look like, you know, yeah. For all intents and purposes, like that's, that's ultimately the reaction, but the, the, the real kicker was all right. Can you come back and can we talk more about like, how we can mitigate this risk? The tools that you're showing them, come back for the demo.

[00:23:55] Don't open the briefcase the first day that you walk in, but like, let's have a conversation first about hygienist absenteeism and how much it might be costing your practice in a given year, based on the number of hygienists you have, based on the number of patients they see every day. At some point, we'll show you the tool.

[00:24:09] But again, that takes a back seat to solving this business problem that dentists didn't realize they actually had. That was, they could do something about really, really powerful. Yeah. Wow. I mean, that's a great example. I mean, number one, I'm sure more, more, you're able to have more conversations leading with that then.

[00:24:27] Hey, let me come. Let me show you this cool new tool. Uh, so number one more opportunities, uh, even, you know, have an open [00:24:35] door and then to have that type of conversation. Uh, definitely in that case, I would assume landed more next conversations to actually then talk about the product or. A hundred percent.

[00:24:47] Yeah. You're still gonna get, you know, it's not a hundred percent, right. Uh, I just said a hundred percent, but it's not a hundred percent. It's not a silver bullet in the sense that like, you're going to convince every dentist that the thing they should solve right then and there as a hygienist absenteeism issue, some people won't believe they have as much of an issue or some people might not actually have as much of an issue, but it was a new way of starting that conversation.

[00:25:08] And it led to better results in terms of legit qualified opportunities and ultimately, um, you know, bottom line. There's one more story. Here's a quick one. And this is hopefully a brand that everybody's heard of company called Xerox. Xerox sells printers of all kinds, right. And more than just that, but for the sake of this example, they were, they had just developed a new color printing technology, a new color printer that they were trying to sell [00:25:34] to a K through 12 school.

[00:25:36] This. And what they actually built was something that was really cool. It was the most efficient, lowest cost per print, color printing technology on the market. Right? So literally if you're going to buy color printing, this is the cheapest and highest quality product you could buy. Their pitch was walking into, you know, an administrator's office, more likely an it manager's office for a school district.

[00:26:01] Our leading edge cartridge free technology produces 90% less waste than laser, and we can integrate it with our education specific software solutions to meet your school's needs nothing wrong with that on the surface, technically, right? Like we're talking about the fact that it's 90% more efficient and produce 90% less waste than laser.

[00:26:23] The response here though, was. That's great, but we don't have budget for color work over with black and white. That's all we need. That's all we're going to pay for. We're a school we [00:26:33] don't have unless budget, color printing as a technology or as a technology is, is a, is a luxury. So they went back to the drivers and they said, if I can say, we've got the superior product, it delivers an incredible benefit.

[00:26:45] We can't sell it. What's the matter. They were leading with product and not with insight. So they did a whole bunch of research and we did a bunch of work with them. And what they ultimately found was there was this very interesting connection between color printing in the classroom and student engagement levels.

[00:27:04] So now think about this. They basically found that like, you know, uh, through various different studies and tests, like they found that, um, color print and handouts versus black and white hand, Actually led to recall retention of information and engagement in the classroom, um, that was just leaps and bounds ahead of, of, of black and white printouts.

[00:27:24] And what's happening here is like, this was several years ago, but like you've got digital native kids growing up at home and they've got iPads and they're on the computer and they're doing their homework. [00:27:32] You put them in a classroom and you hand them black and white printouts. That's shocking. Right?

[00:27:36] Like it's going to be hard for them to consume internalize and ultimately recall information, share with them. So their pitch before was here's our efficient color printing technology to an it manager. Who's saying I don't have budget for any kind of color printing, no matter how efficient it is to, I'd like to talk to you about the impact of color materials on student performance.

[00:27:57] And that's a conversation that got them from it manager of the school to superintendent of the school district. Because now we're not talking about color printing, we're actually talking about student outcomes, student performance, and the things that ultimately lead to. Better state and federal funding for a school based on a standardized test scores, right?

[00:28:15] Like how do we improve the classroom experience? Color printing is one way to do that. So that's an incredible story as well. Just, I think in terms of the before and after leading with the color printing technology versus leading to it, by having a higher order conversation about something that stakeholders in that [00:28:31] business, or in this case, a school district actually.

[00:28:35] Yeah, those are two incredible examples. So I mean, how can, how can a seller maybe identify, okay, like our messaging is not working, we're not co we don't have anything unique or insightful. That's driving, you know, deeper conversations and driving more interest in what we do and how to, you know, if they don't have the resources to like, get this type of insight or research, what can they do?

[00:29:02] Yeah. So I think, I think two things, um, at least to start, um, first focus on answering a few basic questions about your customer status quo, build a hypothesis of need, right? Uh, the hypothesis of need is, is nothing more complex than to say. First question. Here's what my customer is currently doing today around whatever workflow, strategy process.[00:29:30] 

[00:29:30] That you're focused on because you're ultimately selling a product or solution that enables that workflow or such strategy or process or improves it. So first and foremost, you got to figure out what's the current state, what's the status quo. How would they articulate? They go about their day to day in the context of what I'm trying to sell them.

[00:29:46] Yeah, answer that question. First. Second question. What are they missing with that articulation of their current state status quo? What are they missing? What do they overlook it? What are they under appreciating in terms of risk or cost associated with that, with doing the thing they've always done that way.

[00:30:06] So if you, if you come back to Xerox for a second status quo is what black and white printing, because it's cheap and we don't have budget. Right? What they're missing is black and white printing might be hurting learning outcomes in the classroom, and it might be hurting the student performance. That's step one, figure out the status quo, figure out what's wrong with their stuff.

[00:30:27] Um, step two [00:30:29] is figure out how your solution helps solve that problem you need uniquely well. And this is where it gets tricky because you may start to look at the thing that you're used to selling all the features and functions and benefits that you sell on and realize, look, we're not uniquely differentiated in our market.

[00:30:45] We actually don't have the color printing technology that is 90% more efficient than what. So I'm not super confident that I'm leading to something that is truly uniquely differentiated. That could be your first red flag. So now you've got to figure out, okay, go back and figure out what's the problem that is worth solving, where you are uniquely differentiated or flip it and say, look, organization manager, senior leader, uh, I'm hearing and seeing and observing our customers are trying to tackle this problem.

[00:31:15] They're doing it the wrong way. But I'm having trouble linking it back to the solution that we're, that we're selling and ultimately deliver. We need to think organizationally about like what we're solving for and whether we have product market fit. [00:31:28] Now that's a higher order, strategic conversation, but as a seller focus on those three things, what's the customer doing today?

[00:31:35] What are they missing about that current state status quo and what should they be doing instead and what they should be doing instead that action, that behavior that they should take should ultimately lead them to S to the solution that. Yeah, I love that. That's a that's I th I think some people might go down that process and be surprised on what the, what the, and maybe that means you're searching for a company that has a product that is uniquely differentiated, so you can have more success.

[00:32:03] I don't know, but, uh, but hopefully it's a call. Hopefully it's a call to action for leaders in the company to sit back and say like, look, if we're building products with, with certain features that aren't quite differentiated, is it because we can't. Differentiative or is it because we actually don't know what our customers should be solving for?

[00:32:22] And that's a really important insight, I think for cross-functional leadership teams to also stumble upon, do [00:32:27] you really know what the status quo is of your customer? And do you really know what they're missing so that you can build solutions that are uniquely differentiated? Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. I it's been fantastic having you back for part two, any final thoughts?

[00:32:43] Uh, what are we going to include in the show notes to get people into your world? Yeah. So, uh, what I want to make sure everybody's aware of is, is again, I talked about it last time, our monthly webinars series and podcast, um, winning the challenger sale, everything we've talked about in these last two episodes, like we go into detail on these concepts.

[00:33:03] What commercial insight. What it is relative to product feature led messaging, and more importantly, how to tactically incorporate an insight led pitch into a discovery call or into a demo, how to drive stakeholder consensus. Um, that idea of stakeholder consensus, by the way, maybe that's the thing we just released a brand new episode called the group meeting.[00:33:26] 

[00:33:26] And it was literally all about how do you prepare for a group presentation or a meeting where you're encountering the broader stakeholder group for the first time? How do you set your agenda? What are your objectives? How are you going to teach that group about the problem that you're proposing? You need to say.

[00:33:42] And more importantly, bring them all to consensus. Not only on the solution they should purchase from you, but first and foremost, the problem that's worth solving that you're, you're revealing with your insight. So check us out in that series, where we dive deep and get into tactics that are, that are valuable for day-to-day execution.

[00:33:58] Awesome. We'll drop the link there so people can find it. If you enjoyed today's episode, please. Write us a review, share the show with your friends really does help us out. And as always, we're listening for your feedback. Uh, you can leave us voice messages Uh, we'd love the feedback.

[00:34:16] So please do share feedback with us. If you have it. We love hearing from our listeners and we will see you on the next episode. Hey, [00:34:25] you stopped. That tells me you're serious about your own sales transformation. If you're tired of doing things the old way and want to get started in your journey with other people on the same path, head over to sales,, and crush your numbers on your loadable.

[00:34:39] Yeah. It's free sales cast dot communities. Send me a DM with your best pitch and mention this ad. And I might even give you free access to our best temples.