Posted on

Challenger Selling Model

Object of Play
Revolutionary sales experts Matthew Dixon — Managing Director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice — and Brent Adamson — Senior Director of the Sales Executive Council — have developed an insightful technique to help organizations develop customized sales strategies. In their book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, they describe one of the most effective types of sales professionals: The Challenger. These people are able to confidently teach, tailor, and take control while leveraging constructive tension to their advantage throughout the sale. Take advantage of this game’s visual organization — as  illustrated in The Challenger Sale — and extensive collaboration to identify how to balance the aspects of this technique.

Number of Players
5 – 8
Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Draw a Venn diagram on a large poster or white board. In it, include the following.

3 overlapping circles:

  • Top = “Teach for Differentiation” – insight that reframes how a customer may see their business and needs
  • Bottom Left = “Tailor for Resonance” – sales messages geared toward the values of the customer
  • Bottom Right = “Take Control of the Sale” – how to pursue goals assertively to overcome customer aversion

One concentric circle:

  • Draw a large circle around the smaller three, and label it “Constructive Tension.” This is for ideas on how a rep can use tension to their advantage.

2. Pass out post-its to your players; ask them to write their ideas on the sticky notes for each of the sections and to post them on the chart.

3. After all the notes are complete, collaborate to identify how to use these ideas to customize the perfect message for the customer.

The model works best when the three key skills are balanced, so look for ways to incorporate the ideas to create a strategy that fits in the center of the diagram. Furthermore, the Challenger Selling Model requires time and dedication; play this game with members of different teams (marketing, sales, development, etc.) to make sure everyone is on board with the transition to this strategy.

Play Challenger Selling Model Online

You can instantly play Challenger Selling Model online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” As with the in-person version, the Venn diagram organizes players’ ideas for teaching, tailoring, taking control, and leveraging constructive criticism in order to develop an effective Challenger tactic.

You will see note card icons in the upper left corner of the chart, which represent team members’ ideas. Simply drag a note card to the area you are thinking of and describe what the icon represents. Players can edit the placement and description of each note card, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move.

Key Points
Becoming a Challenger demands that reps provide a unique perspective, be attentive to customer needs and values, and assert control while leveraging tension to their advantage. However, many teams must cooperate to bring different points of view for a successful transition to the Challenger Selling Model. This game provides the visual organization necessary to balance the integral factors of the model while promoting the collaboration needed to help your team construct the most effective sales strategy for a specific stakeholder.

For more about the Challenger Selling Model, click here.