What’s common between unpacking a sumptuous feast before a flock of fasting pilgrims and nailing a well-rehearsed spiel, only to find that you were presenting in the wrong conference room all this while?
An audience that will ooh and aah, but never loosen its purse strings.
Sales wizards have over the years developed and perfected several methods to separate the wheat from the chaff through sales qualification processes. They use proven methodologies to ensure you’re not wasting your time and resources to target prospects who aren’t likely to convert.
The art of sales is all about getting the proverbial horse at the trough to drink the water. But even the most seasoned salesperson cannot do much if the colt isn’t thirsty.
Through sales qualification, sales professionals can assess whether prospects have a genuine need for their product, or even cultivate their appetite for the offering. Sales reps can then simply target prospects who are a sure thing, conducting focused strategies instead of shooting aimlessly.
Picking and priming the right buyers may seem like mayhem, but sales qualification techniques lend a little bit of method to this madness. Several tried-and-tested techniques are used by sales teams to sift for prospects that may become buyers, but MEDDIC stands head and shoulders above its ilk.
📄 Table of contents
- What is a MEDDIC?
- Origins of MEDDIC
- 6 steps of MEDDIC sales methodology
What is MEDDIC?
It scours for potential converts after taking into account metrics that matter to them, their decision criteria, process and pain points. Sales professionals engage with the prospect’s economic buyer and their “champions” – allies in the buying company that may help their cause – to learn more about where they stand in terms of readiness to buy. Based on this, a decision is taken on whether the sales team will pursue the lead or shelve it.
Origins of MEDDIC
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. In MEDDIC’s case, this adage rings even more true.
The scene is set in the 1990s. Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), which has already set a pretty high bar for sales among its peers, starts losing its sales representatives to attrition.
Jumping into action, the company’s exalted sales lead, John McMahon, pulls some of his most experienced sales reps from the field to mentor new hires.
Dick Dunkel, among the group of seasoned sales reps-turned-coaches, identifies the six elements of MEDDIC that influence whether PTC wins or loses, and why its deals keep slipping. MacMahon, with Dunkel and their colleague Jack Napoli in tow, codify the methodology and set out on a global tour to preach the gospel of MEDDIC.
The result? An astounding 10 years, or 43 quarters, of consecutively meeting their goals while raking in a whopping $10 billion in revenue.
6 Steps of MEDDIC Sales Methodology
Here’s what each element of MEDDIC aims to achieve –
Can numbers really provide the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything? If they could in Douglas Adams’ sci-fi universe, the relatively microscopic world of sales can surely bank on cold, hard digits for answers.
At the metrics stage, a salesperson conducts a discovery call to get a sense of the buyer’s expectations, articulated in quantifiable terms. Such interactions are characterized by questions designed to draw out the exact percentage points, volumes and numbers by which they wish to improve their metrics –
- How much do you aim to cut down on production costs?
- What are your future projections for increasing your output?
- How much in sales revenue do you hope to hit by the next quarter?
- Are you seeking to reduce costs of customer acquisition by 20%?
- What is the conversion rate you’re going after with your current strategy?
Based on answers derived from this call, the sales representative can work on offering the best possible return on investment (ROI) to the buyer with their product. They work out why and how their offering can help the buyer achieve his/her economic goals. The questionnaire helps personalize future sales efforts for each individual prospect.
This way, without even pitching a solution, the first step in qualifying the buyer is taken.
This step involves identifying who pulls the strings.
Sales teams may take some time to understand the dynamics of the prospective buying organization. In the interest of ramping up their sales cycle, it is imperative that they aren’t wasting time dealing with anyone other than the designated decision-maker.
The economic buyer persona may be difficult to track down, so it is important to qualify their identity by asking the right questions.
“Should this agreement come to fruition, who will sign off on it?”
Such a line of questioning can reveal who holds the keys of the company’s coffers. The next step is to warm up the economic buyer and view your product offering from their lens. The objective is to gauge whether a cost-benefit analysis of your product works in their favour.
A bit of sleuthing can come in handy in understanding where the economic buyer stands vis-a-vis
- Their expectation from your product
- Decision-making process
- Factors to consider before authorizing spend on your offering
- Personal metrics
Based on what parameters does the buyer make purchasing decisions? Each buyer is courted by a number of sellers vying for their business – all trying to find the answer to that one question.
Decoding the buyer’s decision criteria helps sellers tailor their sales strategies and messaging, increasing the chances of bagging a contract. MEDDIC allows sales professionals to assess the usual suspects typically on buyers’ criteria – their budget, projected ROI, ease of use and integration compatibility.
Typically, decision criteria are divided into technical, business/financial, advice and product criteria. Here are some of the types of questions sellers ask for a lowdown on each of these –
- Can the product be easily integrated into the prospective buyer’s systems?
- How many training sessions will go into learning to use the product?
- Does the product fit the dispensable budget or funds earmarked for products like yours?
- How does the product set you apart from prior solutions or alternative products in terms of ROI?
- What is the formal workflow or process for approvals?
- Compared with competitors, how do you better support the prospect in terms of sales?
- Does your product outdo competitors’?
- What are the advantages and drawbacks of your product compared with others’?
Often, smaller companies may not have a formalized document for criteria they consider crucial to their decision-making process. In fact, some may not have a deep understanding of what it is that they need exactly. MEDDIC persuades them to organize and articulate their own needs while giving sellers an opportunity to show buyers that they can check each criterion on their list.
After looking into the “what” of decision-making, salespeople must also spend time getting to know the “how” of it.
Basically, the decision process is divided into validation and authorization. The buyer will internally hold several rounds of investigation to validate your product. They try to understand if it lives up to promises made by you. During the decision process, the prospects will try to answer –
- Why do they need your product?
- Why do they need to do it now?
- Why should they choose you?
To increase your chances of authorization, you should have a clear idea about the timeframes and paperwork that go into the prospect’s decision-making process to avoid unnecessary delays. The point of contact is the ideal persona to address any queries about the process like:
- What are the processes you carry out before authorization?
- What is the approximate time taken to carry out the decision process?
- By when can the sales process go into paperwork?
- What type of paperwork is needed?
- Who is responsible for finalizing the decision?
Your goal should be to know their decision process inside out so that you can do everything in your power to be confirmed as the vendor of choice (VOC).
You can’t be firefighting where there are no flames.
You will have done some research about the prospect’s problems. When you start talking to them, find out more about the pain points that your product can alleviate.
Identifying pain points is like detective work and a doctor’s diagnosis rolled into one. You ask questions during your investigation and then determine the problem. The most insightful diagnosis comes from a combination of product knowledge and customer knowledge.
- What are your future expectations and what is holding you back?
- Who benefits most from having these problems removed?
- Is your company suffering financially because of these problems?
- Have you tried any other solution? Why did they not work for you?
- If you were given a limitless budget, what problems would you solve on priority?
- What is your customer journey like?
Knowing a prospect’s pain points empowers you. You can change your sales pitch to speak in their language, keeping their problems at the centre stage. It helps you better articulate the solution you bring for the benefit of your prospective buyer.
As we already established, metrics offer the clearest picture of the buyer’s priorities, woes and strengths. During their questioning, sales teams must be prepared to follow up on vague declarations like “our website traffic is hit” with pointed queries into abandonment rates, conversion rates and trends showing a decline in the number of hits.
Sales reps can then highlight aspects of their solution that specifically target these pain points. For instance, if the lead complains about higher costs of customer acquisition, the sales professional can draw focus to the scale, speed and efficiency with which their product performs at a price that cuts costs significantly in the longer run.
Sales reps must also understand the difference between an actual pain point and a weak one with eagle-eyed precision. Weaker pain points are usually kept on the back burner and as a result, may be saddled with budget restraints and excessive delays.
Having someone on the inside. Somebody to climb the hill with. A singer of your praises.
Usually, finding a champion for your cause may be a long shot, but they can really tip the scales in your favour. Champions are influential people within the organization who have a personal stake in the solution you offer. Even if they’re not the designated decision-maker, they have plenty of sway in the organization.
A champion can be counted on to rally those concerned to take action, since a personal interest in your product drives them. You must spend time getting to know about this person’s objectives and goals. Simultaneously, the champion must be clued in about the product and solutions and connected with the sales rep’s references to demonstrate prior experience.
Here’s how to identify a champion:
- Does your champion of choice have power and influence?
- Are they well connected and have a clear idea of the company’s objectives and future goals?
- Did they perform a leading role in the organization or have a direct line to the top management?
- Did they help you choose the right metric proof points?
- Do they dodge your calls and mails or are they constantly in touch with you?
- Are they up for discussions about their strategy and decision process?
Now, you have to test your champion by asking the following:
- Can you show me what the next steps are from here? (The person is a champion if they’re letting you in on what goes on behind the scenes.)
- Do you know who was the most intrigued by the presentation? (The person is a champion if they offer inside information. They aren’t if they give a generic answer like, “oh, everyone was involved.”)
- Would you be able to set up a meeting with *economic buyer* mid this week to discuss the doubts they had raised during the demo? (The person is a champion if they’re willing to influence decision makers for you.)
A champion can
- Sell your product to the right people in their company
- Give you a clear, transparent peek into the organization
- Offer expertise to give incisive advice on your product
- Command the respect of decision-makers.
There are a number of risks in applying a cure-all to each lead you come across. And at a glance, MEDDIC may seem like one surefire formula applicable universally. But in truth, it is a framework that gives sales professionals incredible flexibility to address sales qualification challenges unique to each prospect without taking their eyes off the ball.
By educating sales reps about MEDDIC, sellers can –
- Create a common language in which all their client-facing professionals work
- Discipline their processes and assess their own approaches
- Shorten and standardize their sales cycles
- Ultimately, increase revenue and profits through accurate insights and predictions.