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SAFE-BOLD Framework

Object of Play
Corporate Executive Board’s Executive Director Matthew Dixon and Managing Director Brent Adamson have developed an insightful technique to help organizations develop customized pitches. This Commercial Teaching approach enlightens customers on a problem or value that applies to their needs, making them realize how they can benefit from your product. In their book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, Dixon and Adamson describe a diagram created by Neil Rackham and KPMG that helps develop compelling pitches. SAFE-BOLD Framework – based on the diagram – provides stimulating organization, so you can brainstorm ideas based on four categories – Scale, Risk, Innovativeness, and Difficulty – to design a strategy that will capture your customers’ attention and increase your sales.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Pass out sticky notes and pens to your players.

2. Draw four linear scales and label them as follows:

Scale 1: Scale
Left – “Small” = ideas that do not make customers curious or intrigued; customers have probably already thought of these
Right – “Big” = ideas that customers see as far-reaching

Scale 2: Risk
Left – “Achievable” = ideas that are not risky
Right – “Outperforming” = ideas that are risky and innovative, push customers out of their comfort zone, and show that you can help them get ahead of their competitors

Scale 3: Innovativeness
Left – “Following” = ideas that are used, dull, not innovative
Right – “Leading-Edge” = ideas that ask customers to take a risk by adopting your ideas

Scale 4: Difficulty
Left – “Easy” = ideas that customers can implement without your help
Right – “Difficult” = ideas that are hard for customers to implement, so they will have to hire your company to help them

3. Ask your players to write ideas on what can be included in the pitch and post them along the spectrums in their designated areas.

4. Once all the notes are on the chart, work as a team to negotiate the locations and descriptions. Those that are closer to the “BOLD” end of the continuum are more compelling and effective.

Work as a team to transform SAFE ideas into BOLD ones to make your pitch more effective.

This game should be played with members of both the sales and marketing teams, as it is necessary that they work together to perfect the Commercial Teaching strategy. The marketing team can provide the insight for reps to use as teaching material for their customers, and the sales team can ensure that reps have the skills required to use the insight to its full advantage.

Play SAFE-BOLD Framework Online

You can instantly play SAFE-BOLD Framework online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above 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, note cards represent ideas for each of the scales. Simply drag the icons to the chart and describe what they represent.

All 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. After the game, the results will be organized in a spread sheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
The visual organization and simple scales of SAFE-BOLD Framework provide the organization needed to effectively brainstorm sharp ideas that will teach your customers of a new problem, be tailored to their business needs, and allow reps to control the sales situation to change customers’ thought processes and behaviors. By developing a provocative Commercial Teaching pitch that is big, risky, innovative, and difficult to implement, you can demonstrate your knowledge of your customers’ problems and provide a unique solution while separating yourself from your competitors.