As sales leaders, we’re always looking for the best way to connect with our leads and turn them into customers.
Qualifying leads can be a challenging process, but with the right methodology, the phases of the sales funnel flow much more smoothly.
However, the right methodology isn’t a clear decision. It often takes trying out a few different systems and processes to find the one that works best for you.
One popular sales method is the CHAMP sales methodology.
CHAMP sales is a lead qualification process that takes a look at the CHallenges, Authority, Money, and Priority of a sale to determine if a prospect is ready to close a deal.
Let’s take a look at what the CHAMP methodology is and when it should be used.
What is the CHAMP sales methodology?
Qualifying a lead is more than just determining if a prospect is interested in what you have to offer.
In addition to interest in the product your service, you need to know if it is the right fit for their needs if they have the budget to afford it, and if they have the power to make a purchasing decision — but knowing what is the most important area to focus on first is where the challenge lies.
The CHAMP sales methodology establishes the hierarchy as:
If a prospect doesn’t have an issue they need to solve or a challenge they need to overcome, you’re fighting an impossible battle.
The same goes for prospects with challenges that won’t be fixed with your product or solution.
According to the CHAMP methodology, a sales rep should first qualify leads based on the challenges they’re facing and how they align with the solutions your offering provides.
Starting here ensures you’re focusing on leads who would find genuine use out of your product or service, even if you later find they aren’t the right person to connect with or they’re out of your budget. Those factors can change, but challenges rarely do.
Here are some questions you can ask to assess whether your solution fits your lead’s challenges:
- Where is your current solution falling short?
- What areas are you still struggling to see improvements in?
- What challenges do you see arising as your company continues to grow?
- How are these challenges creating additional problems for your team or customers?
- What is the cost of not solving these challenges?
- What does your ideal solution look like?
Once you know that the solution you have to offer aligns with your lead’s challenges, you need to determine if this is the right person to talk to.
If they don’t have the appropriate authority, you could waste time convincing them your solution is the perfect fit — just to hit a wall when the person in charge of making a purchasing decision doesn’t agree.
However, it’s important to note that just because a lead isn’t the final decision maker doesn’t mean you should disregard or try and bypass them completely.
Your initial lead can point you to or help you connect with the right person or be an advocate for you in trying to convince other decision-makers on the team.
Your goal at this phase is to figure out how much authority your lead has and who else might need to be involved in the decision-making process.
Here are questions to get you started:
- Do you have the authority to make a final purchasing decision?
- Who else would need to be involved in the decision-making process?
- What other team members or leaders are impacted by this decision and do they need to be involved?
- If you’re not the final decision maker, what do they need to know or understand in order to get on board?
- Is the final decision maker open to a new solution? Do they agree with you on the challenges and opportunities in front of you?
You’ve confirmed that you’re speaking to the right person (or that you’ll be able to connect with the right person eventually) and that your solution fits what they’re looking for. The next question to answer is if the lead can afford what you are offering.
While some sales methodologies put budget early on in the process, writing a company off completely because of their budgetary constraints could prevent you from making a connection with someone that could ultimately become a customer.
Budgets are often flexible or they’re likely to grow as the company grows and has more money to work with. Even if they can’t afford your solution now, they may become a customer down the line.
Here are money questions you can ask to qualify your leads:
- Have you allocated a budget to cover this project?
- What does that budget look like?
- Is your budget flexible?
- Is your budget available now? If not, when will it be available?
- Do you see this budget changing in the future? If yes, how so?
- What would need to happen for your budget to increase?
The final step in the CHAMP methodology is prioritization. How important is solving this challenge to the lead? Are they looking to get a new solution in place as quickly as possible, or do they have other challenges they need to solve first?
It’s important to get as specific on the timeline as possible, although it’s important to remember to be flexible. Things can arise and throw the timeline off track (or even accelerate it), so it’s crucial to not fixate on a specific date or deadline.
Here are some questions to help you get started understanding your lead’s prioritization:
- How quickly do you need to implement a new solution?
- How big of a priority is solving this problem for your team?
- What other things need to happen in order for this to become a priority?
- What is standing in the way of getting this project completed?
- Do you have a time frame for this project?
- Are all decision-makers in agreement on the prioritization of this project?
When to use the CHAMP sales methodology
With so many sales methods and strategies to choose from, it can be difficult to know when it’s appropriate to use each. But when is the right time to use the CHAMP method?
CHAMP is a great alternative to other methodologies like BANT that might seem outdated. Because CHAMP puts challenges first, it helps sales professionals take a more modern approach to qualifying leads.
However, CHAMP may not cover all your bases. While it helps you get some important information out of your leads, you may find that even if a lead checks all your boxes for a qualified lead, they still not be prepared or interested in buying.
Here are some of the areas where CHAMP still requires some additional digging:
1. Determining decision-making criteria
The CHAMP method helps you determine who your decision-makers are, but not necessarily what criteria they need to make a final decision.
What do they look for when choosing a solution? What proof points do they need to see before determining whether or not your solution is right for them?
Without this information, you’re left guessing and throwing information at them hoping something sticks. It’s an inefficient process that often causes you to waste valuable time or even push leads away.
If using the CHAMP methodology, be sure to also ask questions to determine their decision-making criteria so you can craft your messaging appropriately.
2. Competitors or other solutions
Whenever you’re talking to a lead, they’re most likely having multiple conversations with multiple sales reps at other companies.
It can be helpful to know what competitors they’re considering and why so you can get a better idea of what solution they’re looking for.
However, the CHAMP methodology doesn’t consider other solutions. This makes it difficult for you to offer suggestions or resources that help the lead compare your product to the others they might be considering.
Asking a few questions to get a better understanding of what competitors the lead is talking to can help you make better recommendations and provide better resources.
3. Success indicators
The job isn’t done after a lead becomes a customer. In order for it to be a successful sale, the customer needs to be happy with their purchase and choose to stick around. If they cancel or switch to a competitor because their needs aren’t met, your company can’t grow.
The CHAMP methodology doesn’t look at what events or milestones would indicate success for the lead. It dives into the challenges they are currently facing, but doesn’t consider what solving those challenges really looks like.
In getting to know what success looks like for your lead, you can help guide them to make the right decision and choose a solution that really works for them.
4. Decision-making process.
The authority and prioritization phases of the CHAMP methodology can give you good insight into who will make the purchasing decision and when, but it doesn’t look at the complete process the lead must go through to choose a solution.
Knowing what the lead’s process looks like can help you stay focused on next steps so you can always be prepared.
You can keep up with each phase of their process, providing the appropriate resources and preventing deals from stalling due to a lack of attention.
Ask your lead what their decision-making process looks like. Work with them to discover what resources or tools they’ll need at each phase. D
The point is, you don’t have to commit to one methodology (even if your corporate trainer says otherwise). To get the most out of CHAMP, you might use bits and pieces from various frameworks to create a sales process tailored to your unique team, your buyers, and your business model.
We’ve put together several guides that break them down for you.
Here’s a list of recent posts:
- Customer-centric sales
- Sandler Sales System
- Triangle Selling
- Target Account Selling
- SPICED Sales Framework
- MEDDIC Sales Process
- MEDDPICC Sales Process
- Question-based Selling
- Value Selling Framework
- GAP Selling Framework
- SNAP Selling
- Challenger Sales Process
- SPIN Selling Questions
- BANT vs. GPCT
- Baseline Selling
- Conceptual Selling
Qualifying leads with the CHAMP sales methodology
The CHAMP sales methodology is just a framework to help get you started qualifying your leads, so don’t be afraid to adjust or add to it as needed. As you and your team start to find a methodology that works for you, feel free to pull other concepts, ideas, or questions that you find relevant.
Regardless of the methodology you choose to use, a tool like Weflow can help you keep track of insights gathered from leads and phases of the sales process so you never miss out on a deal. When you use Weflow, you can be more productive, keep leads satisfied and engaged, and close more deals. Sign up for a trial to learn how.