In 2017, the average number of decision-makers involved in B2B purchases went up to almost 7. Getting such a motley group to agree upon anything that isn’t risk-averse or cost-effective is an Olympian feat.
Add the chaos from the 2020 pandemic into the mix and that task gets trickier.
And there is only one thing that’s worse than selling to a committee—discovering that you have to get approval from a committee when you are only 1 week away from your projected closing date and signing the contract.
Is there something to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Or, even better, avoid the tunnel and find a well-lit highway. What if you could:
- Pick the right sales deals and steer clear of the unwinnable ones
- Sway and align buyers with different organizational priorities
- Navigate internal politics and elaborate buying processes
It’s possible. You’ll need:
- A powerful and relevant business case that shows high ROI
- Compelling pain points that directly affect revenue or efficiency and appeal to all the key decision-makers
- A clear understanding of the enterprise’s decision-making processes and challenges faced at each stage
- An influential ally who recognizes your value and vouches for you behind closed doors
Boy, that’s a tall order! But what if there’s a sales methodology capable of addressing each of the elements mentioned above?
What is the MEDDIC sales methodology?
Jack Napoli (the godfather of MEDDIC and managing partner at SMG) summarizes it best:
“The MEDDIC sales qualification methodology flushes out where the buyer is in the sales process with evidence. It’s a GPS for your sales cycle—where the buyer is really at.”
Now, MEDDIC isn’t the new kid on the block. So, before we go any further, let’s have a quick history lesson. We promise to keep it snappy ;)
Who created MEDDIC?
The MEDDIC sales process rose to fame in the 90s.
Source: MEDDICC by Andy Whyte
PTC is famous for having built one of the strongest sales cultures for enterprise software. They had around 40 quarters, or ten years, of continuous growth. Yeah, you read that right!
How did they do it?
The core sales management team (aka Dick, John and Jack) had developed different aspects of MEDDIC. And when they needed something to train their new hires, they tasked Dick Dunkel and Jack Napoli with putting together a formal document with all the best practices of their over quota performers.
That’s how MEDDIC was born — a list of all the best tips from the top sales folks on closing high-value sales deals without being in the “constantly putting out fires” mode.
Since then, it has been one of the go-to qualification methodologies for enterprise sales.
What’s so special about the MEDDIC sales process?
With MEDDIC, you can avoid filling your pipeline with unwinnable deals. Sales reps lose around 67% of their deals because of not qualifying their leads properly.
With MEDDIC, you’re always qualifying, weeding out the “unwinnables” and keeping your sales pipeline lean and clean.
What does MEDDIC stand for?
Let’s deconstruct the acronym and understand what MEDDIC means:
- Metrics: The metrics that translate the value your solution will provide in terms of costs, revenue or efficiency
- Economic Buyer: The decision-maker(s) with authority to approve the purchase of your solution
- Decision Criteria: The conditions that determine whether the enterprise goes ahead with your solution
- Decision Process: The steps (from evaluation to contracting) that the enterprise must go through to decide on your solution
- Implications of Pain: The challenges that directly tie into the business objectives of the enterprise, their impact and how your solution can help
- Champion: The person within the enterprise with the right influence, credibility and authority to sell your solution on your behalf
What about MEDDPIC? Or is it MEDDPICC?
The MEDDIC sales process has also evolved into three variations:
- MEDDICC: The extra C is for Competition, i.e., who else has cast their hats into the ring, how your prospect views them and what’s your edge. This sales approach is excellent for highly competitive niches.
- MEDDPIC: The P brings Paper Process into the mix, i.e., contracts to be signed and the paperwork required for the deal to pull through. This sales approach is useful for enterprises dealing with complex contracting.
- MEDDPICC: This variation clubs Competition and Paper Process.
Phew, that’s a lot! Here’s a hot tip if you find it all a bit too much — a 10-minute video overview from Andy Whyte (veteran sales manager, author and podcaster).
Video embed link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4yTE-5R5Zo
Who can use the MEDDIC sales process?
Are you a B2B firm selling products that transform how an enterprise operates?
Oh, and your offerings come at a higher-than-average sales price?
Then you’ve struggled with the dilemmas of:
- Wasting time and effort with unwinnable deals
- Lengthy sales cycles
- Getting approvals from multiple stakeholders
You, dear sales rep, are perfect for MEDDIC! As this sales qualification methodology will help you:
- Understand an enterprise’s buying journey
- Identify the key stakeholders
- Cultivate a deep relationship with them
How does MEDDIC work?
Time to roll up those sleeves and dig in. Let’s see MEDDIC in action.
Identify a customer’s pain, build a business case around it and then pitch your product.
Rookie sales reps use this approach — rookie mistake.
Dig deeper — uncover how a prospective client measures success and find out which metrics they use as their KPIs. A discovery process that lets you do exactly that is crucial to justify an investment into your solution.
Such an approach will:
- Help you understand the goals of your prospective client
- Build a business case with the metrics that matter to your prospect
- Show the prospect how to fulfil their goals with your solution
A great starting point is having discovery calls with your existing customers to figure out which metrics mattered in measuring the success of their projects. Use this information to build a business case that proves ROI (either cost savings, efficiency or revenue).
For example, if you sell an HRMS (Human Resource Management System) that increases productivity and reduce attrition in enterprises, then two good metrics would be:
- Hours saved (because of automation)
- Employees retained
This step should help you weed out the prospects that don’t resemble your business case and focus only on those that match.
2. Economic buyer
In B2B enterprises, there’s THE decision-maker who has the final say in signing off on all purchases — the economic buyer.
Here are a few defining characteristics of such influential folks:
- They have veto power
- They have profit-loss responsibility
- They drive strategic objectives for the enterprise
- They’re part of large purchase approval processes
With help from the internal Champion (more on this later) and some stellar sleuthing on LinkedIn, you can find out who’s the economic buyer. Once you do, you must get them on board ASAP.
This is where the business case and metrics from the previous stage come in handy.
Plus, the research from discovery calls will help you speak the language and cite successful use cases of your solution. For example, if you can say something like, “we have a client from XYZ industry, roughly your size, who saw ROI in four months after implementing our customized offering,” that’s music to the ears of the economic buyer.
3. Decision criteria
This step is your moment to shine — find out what is driving decision-making within an enterprise. Since your pitch must appeal to multiple buyers, you must consider understanding the technical and financial requirements.
For instance, the CFO would be keen on knowing how your solution saves costs and meets regulatory compliance. Whereas the CTO might want to know about the technical specifications and their implications on data security and privacy.
Remember — if you haven’t picked the right prospect, metrics, business case and economic buyer, this step won’t go your way. So, weed out the “unwinnables” in the first few steps.
4. Decision process
Discovering how an enterprise makes decisions as early as possible in the sales cycle is crucial for MEDDIC to work.
Mapping the decision process lets you identify the key stakeholders involved and explore their objections (technical, financial and compliance-related) beforehand. That’s adequate fodder for your sales reps when they march into those high-profile customer calls.
This is also the stage where you should research the paper process — one of the top reasons contracts get postponed or deals slip through the cracks, according to Andy Whyte.
Knowing what to expect will lead to fewer surprises down the road — like avoiding those gnarly last-minute approvals we mentioned at right the beginning of this article.
5. Implications of Pain
“You get paid in direct proportion to the difficulty of the problems you solve.” — Elon Musk
Whether you’re a Tesla fan or not, you have to agree that finding a strong pain point with a formidable sense of urgency is critical for driving action from decision-makers.
Most business problems stem from high costs, measly revenues or slow development cycles. So, if you find pain points along these lines, you’re on the right track.
The next step is to translate the pain in terms of ROI, costs or efficiency to show how it affects the business.
If you’ve identified a particular process X to be the reason your prospective client’s losing money, show them how it affects monthly (or quarterly) revenue. Then introduce your solution and demonstrate the savings they’ll make each month (or quarter).
Again, this is a stage to weed out prospects whose pain points aren’t strong enough to warrant your solution. For such prospects, your solution will never be compelling enough, as the pain point isn’t urgent enough.
Repeat “always be qualifying” as a mantra to steer clear of the “unwinnables”.
Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” shares the story of two Americans during the Revolution — Paul Revere and William Dawes. Why was Paul Revere able to warn the Americans of the British army’s arrival so efficiently?
Source: Smithsonian Magazine
Gladwell has a theory. He suggests it’s because Revere was a Connector — he knew all the right people in the towns he visited. Dawes wasn’t so successful as he lacked the networks and clout that Revere had.
For your sales reps to clinch a deal, they need their Connectors within the client’s organization — the Champion (aka your wingman).
You won’t always be involved in decision-making discussions with the right stakeholders. It would help if you had someone making your case behind those closed doors — that’s what a Champion could do for you.
Here are a few defining traits that’ll come in handy when you’re picking your Champion:
- They hold a certain degree of influence within the enterprise
- They have a personal interest in making your deal come through
- They will act as an internal seller, especially when you’re not in the room
And there you have it — everything you must know about MEDDIC before you use it.
One last thing: Remember the need to weed out the “unwinnables”? It applies to choosing the right economic buyer or internal champion too. If the people you find don’t meet ALL the criteria listed above, then they’re not the right fit.
And you must move on. Keep looking until you find a perfect fit.
Before we look at the how, let’s take stock of the reasons your approach to MEDDIC can fail. Oh yes, it can fail, just like most other things in life. Sigh.
Can your MEDDIC approach fail?
The MEDDIC sales process is complex. It will involve capturing vast amounts of data from discovery calls and interactions with the economic buyer, internal champion and other key stakeholders.
And most important of all — it means you must keep qualifying and chase after nothing but the “sure thing” (aka THE ONE).
Pulling it off will also require a great deal of investment in learning and coaching.
So, you’ll need a system where you:
- Record the right data along with its context
- Map each stage of the MEDDIC sales process
- Track progress of the sales cycle, deals and your reps
- Monitor customer-facing conversations
- Coach and guide your sales reps continuously
- Qualify the right deals ASAP and let go of the “maybes”
Sounds like a lot, aye? Here’s where your other Wingman can help ;-)
How to get started with MEDDIC
Before you begin, establish a fool-proof discovery process. You’ll need it to build a solid business case with metrics that matter the most to your prospective clients. That’s the key to getting that foot in the door.
Then move on to understand their key players, decision criteria, processes and internal politics.
Okay, now let’s rewind to the part where we mention the other Wingman — to avoid failing in your MEDDIC implementation. Meet Wingman, a conversational intelligence tool that:
- Fine-tunes your MEDDIC qualification framework
- Unearths insights on a client’s measures of success, pain points, decision criteria and processes by recording all frontline sales calls
- Uses AI and text analysis to coach your sales reps and provide constant feedback
- Sets up trackers for topics to help your reps ask the right questions and then coach them by reviewing their conversations
- Sets up a team dashboard to monitor the deals in progress, improve forecasting accuracy and observe the performance of your reps
And that’s just the beginning. Interested in learning how Wingman can help you implement MEDDIC for your sales team? Book a demo here.