AEs have entered a new era in sales. We have to contend with longer deal cycles, more stakeholders, invisible threats from competitors, and decisions that have to go through finance and procurement teams. It's never been a more challenging and complex time to be in this field.
Without the right tools and data, I've seen too many AEs waste time on inefficient, manual processes and run their deals based on gut feel. These highly manual processes decrease productivity and hurt win rates when sellers make avoidable mistakes that kill deals or waste time on unwinnable leads.
And when we make deal-crushing mistakes, it can cost us our job.
To predictably close more deals, sales teams need to be more productive, efficient, and consistent in selling. This is where MEDDPICC comes in.
MEDDPICC is a sales methodology that helps reps qualify every deal in an efficient, consistent way. The acronym stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Paper Process, Implicate the Pain, Champions, and Competition.
Not only does MEDDPICC help my team ask better discovery questions, it also makes it easier to replicate our most successful strategies. Because we consistently follow the plan, were able to win more deals.
Outreach makes it easy to take full advantage of MEDDPICC and is the only sales execution platform that allows sellers and sales managers to follow each MEDDPICC principle in every deal to increase deal velocity and win rates.
Let's take a look at how using MEDDPICC in Outreach helps me efficiently and predictably close more deals.
Every opportunity starts with figuring out the quantifiable ways that your solution can provide value. In my case, I'm looking for metrics related to increasing revenue, decreasing costs, and mitigating risk. For example, my champion might mention they are looking to increase rep efficiency by a certain percentage. Good metrics should have the following:
I use Kaia, Outreach's conversation intelligence capability, during discovery calls to nail down the metrics a buyer hopes to achieve. Outreach's conversation intelligence automatically transcribes entire meetings while capturing key moments, action items, and behaviors. This way, I can focus on the buyer while also ensuring I'm tracking their paint points and what they hope to achieve with a new platform.
Some of the metrics questions I ask during discovery include:
From there, I use mutual action plans (aka Success Plans) in Outreach to build a project plan where sellers, buyers, and internal stakeholders can align and collaborate to drive a smooth, repeatable purchase process. I use mutual action plans to capture the metrics the buyer discussed and make sure we stay on the same page throughout the buying process.
The economic buyer is the person who can spend money, approve and create a budget, and ultimately sign the contract. In other words, it's the person who can make or break the deal. This might be the CEO, CFO, CTO, CIO or VP.
I try to identify the economic buyer early on in the sales process. It's also crucial to understand the economic buyer's vision and pain points so that I can make sure to highlight how our product can help address these issues.
Some of the questions I ask during discovery to find this out include:
To make sure I have the right stakeholders involved in the deal, I look at my deal health score within the opportunity dashboard in Outreach. The deal health score lets me know if Im staying on top of my opportunities and is calculated based on signals such as:
Additionally, Outreach's mutual action plans include action items for the buyer. I can see if the economic buyer has opened the plan, or any other resources I share with them. If the economic buyer has gone dark, I can identify that early on and add the economic buyer to a sequence to re-engage them.
This stage is all about understanding why the buyer is evaluating vendors and how closely my solution aligns with the requirements that make or break their decision to buy. Usually decision criteria is divided into technical, business, and cultural/legal decision criteria.
Here are some of the questions I ask related to decision criteria during discovery:
Kaia is an invaluable tool at this stage. I can use it to capture all decision criteria, both during discovery and throughout the sales cycle.
Kaia gives me real-time support on calls via Content Cards, which are keyword-based, quick summaries on competitors, product features, pricing, and more. Content Cards pop up during virtual calls so I can address the buyer's concerns and questions immediately in the moment.
Let's say the buyer asks about a specific competitor. Content Cards allow me to address exactly how we're better and why, with messaging my team has written and approved.
Additionally, I can record and save all decision criteria in my mutual action plan to keep them accessible and top-of-mind for all parties. If and when decision criteria change throughout the sales cycle, stakeholders on either side can come back to the Success Plan to realign.
The decision process is a series of steps the buyer follows to go from making an evaluation to making a decision. To figure out what those steps are, I ask the following during discovery:
The decision process step gives me permission to hold both myself and the buyer accountable for the agreed-upon journey. I'm able to outline all of the decision steps necessary in our mutual action plan timeline so there's no confusion on which steps need to be completed before the deal is done. Overall, this stage not only ensures that I have a deal but also that I know how to win it.
Frontline managers can also look at an opportunity's deal health to determine if a step in the decision process needs attention (deal health will automatically flag if a deal is off track due to a lack of engagement or an irregularity in the company's typical sale cycle).
From there, Outreach gives me suggested actions to get the deal back on track to close.
The paper process is the series of steps that follow the decision process of how to move from decision to signature. A buyer's business process is different from its legal process, and if the seller doesn't understand the nuanced differences early on in the deal cycle, they'll be surprised when the buyer's legal team rewrites an entire agreement at the 11th hour.
To avoid this, I make sure to ask the following questions during discovery:
I can again use a mutual action plan timeline to hold all the right people accountable. Sharing the plan with the buyer's legal counsel allows them to get up to speed on the deal without having to schedule additional time to meet to catch them up on the details.
Do you know why your buyer might take the leap to buy your product? Do you know why they'd be willing to do that now? Can you name the negative business or personal impact of the status quo that motivates your buyer's potential purchase?
Simply put, if you don't find enough pain, your deal is on the fast track to lose. Either to your competition or to inertia. The higher the pain level, the higher the value, the higher the priority.
The goal during this step is to figure out pain points your customer has and how your product might be able to solve them. In my case, there are three types of pain I look at:
During discovery, I make sure to ask the following:
I capture these pain points in a mutual action plan so that if the champion leaves, I can pick up where I left off and demonstrate the business case to a new stakeholder. Since Outreach's conversation intelligence capability creates a live transcript during the call, I can also highlight when the buyer names a pain point and add their own notes to that part of the conversation transcript, ensuring it gets the emphasis it deserves.
A champion is a person who has power, influence, and credibility within the buyer's organization. If you don't have a champion, you don't have a deal.
Your champion is the person inside the buyer's company who is rooting for you to win. They are the ones who would benefit most from your solution and can be an essential voice around the table when the decision is made. Although most often the champion and decision-maker are different people, your champion is your best advocate back to the decision-maker. While it's helpful to hear from a salesperson about all the value their product can provide, it's even more important to hear it from an employee at the company who is aligned with you.
Helping the champion understand your product's value to them and the broader organization and arming them to articulate that internally is an integral part of the sales process.
Here are some of the questions I ask to identify the champion:
Mutual action plans provide champions with the resources they need to sell on your behalf at any time. Rather than needing to schedule another demo, mutual action plans give your champion access to all sales assets that you've shared with them. This way, they can invite their colleagues to the plan and sell on your behalf.
Who does the buyer see as your main competition, and what differentiates you from them? You don't want to get all the way to the end of the deal cycle only to learn that the buyer chose another vendor.
Here are some of the questions I ask to identify competition:
Content Cards in Outreach can help me address competitive questions on the spot. If the buyer asks about a competitor, I have instant access to the talking points I need at the moment I need them. I can also add competitor-specific case studies and customer stories to the 'Resources' section of mutual action plans to equip the prospect with the right reading materials.
I can also use Saved Search Alerts in Outreach to automatically flag when a competitor gets mentioned in virtual calls during the later stages of the deal. This gives me an opportunity to work with my manager on navigating through tricky competitive moats during strategic deal review meetings.
Finally, Outreach's Post Call Summary helps my manager understand how Im handling objections and competitors. These moments can also be shared with the rest of the team so everyone can learn best practices for how to handle objections, questions, or competitive threats.
By using MEDDPICC in Outreach, I always know what to do, what to say, and who to say it to in order to close a deal. But more importantly, I know when to walk away from a bad opportunity that has no chance of closing.
If you're interested in learning more about mutual action plans in Outreach, check out this webinar for a deeper dive into how Outreach sales managers and AEs use Success Plans to shorten deal cycles and boost win rates.
Together, they'll demo the platform and show you: