Were you able to understand how the prospect will measure the success of implementing your product? Were you confident that you were talking to the real decision maker?
Do you know who else they were evaluating? What about their decision process?
Without this knowledge, sales can quickly go off track. Reps can waste time on the phone with deals that aren’t likely to close and management’s sales forecasts will be wildly wrong.
But… there is a solution.
It’s called MEDDIC.
MEDDIC is a B2B sales qualification framework to qualify, develop, and close prospects. The MEDDIC framework enables sales teams to easily understand the best opportunities by asking key discovery questions while ensuring documentation of every step of the sales process.
But, it’s not just as easy as saying you’re switching to a MEDDIC framework.
When a MEDDIC rollout is successful, it will become the status quo for your team. It will have a major impact on your opportunities and data quality. Instead of writing off data gathering and Salesforce entry as busywork, your reps will see the value of their CRM and use it to think more strategically about their accounts.
Implementing a sales qualification framework and processes that support it lays the foundation for your sales team to grow and become more effective.
Standardizing your sales process with a strategic framework enables teams to:
In the early 1990s, the sales development team at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) created MEDDIC. Dick Dunkel is the official “father” of the MEDDIC framework as he came up with the six original MEDDIC elements while at PTC to clarify why some sellers were winning more deals and why some opportunities were lost.
Thanks to their new methodology, PTC grew sales from $300 million to $1 billion in less than 10 years, and they nailed the numbers they shared with Wall Street for 43 quarters straight.
MEDDIC focuses on veracious qualification, based on the selling principles that Neil Rackham discovered from 12 years of research and documented in his book SPIN Selling.
SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff, the building block for winning larger consultative deals, which require that the salesperson become a trusted adviser to the buyer.
MEDDIC builds on SPIN and takes it to the next level, giving sales teams the process and tools to work hand-in-hand with buyers so teams can hone their decision criteria to best meet their needs with your products and services.
MEDDICC and MEDPICC build on the MEDDIC framework and expand into more nuanced needs. Don’t worry - we’re going to break down what it all means in the next section.
In a Troops webinar on understanding MEDDIC and its variants, John Kaplan, sales leader and co-developer of MEDDIC at PTC, said to think of MEDDIC like an x-ray on your sales process.
"MEDDIC shows you the problems and broken bones," Kaplan said. "It's like your deal is sick, and you need to call a medic."
The letters in MEDDIC stand for the elements that make an opportunity a good fit for your sales pipeline. Definite, accurate answers in each of these areas translate into a more viable pipeline, a faster sales velocity, and a more precise forecast.
MEDDICC and MEDDPICC add a "C" for Competition, critical in highly competitive markets. Sales reps must know: Who else is the prospect considering? What do they think about them compared to you? What's your competitive advantage?
MEDDPICC also adds a "P" for the Paper(work) Process, which determines the following: What signed contracts need to be in place? What's the process of getting everything completed and signed? This step helps avoid late-in-the-game delays from the prospect's procurement and legal departments. This is often important to understand for enterprise deals.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to use MEDDIC interchangeably with these other sales frameworks for clarity.
QUESTIONS THE SALES REP NEEDS TO ANSWER
How will the prospect measure success?
What quantifiable goals do they need to achieve?
Set the stage by understanding how a prospect will measure the success of implementing your product and services. By understanding what they’re trying to achieve, teams can work backwards to offer tailored solutions to personalized problems.
Who is the real decision-maker?
Does the person I’m talking to have budget and authority to make the buy decision?
Focus on the person who can “write the check” and create budget for innovative solutions. While teams need to respect everyone in the process, they should go above and beyond to please the economic buyer.
What’s driving their decision?
Do we, the vendor, need to meet certain technical, budget, or ROI requirements?
Companies must align economically, technically, and in values to seal the deal. Economically, the two organizations must align on price. Technically, the solution must solve their problem and finally, they must be aligned in values.
Who is involved in the prospect’s buying process?
What steps need to happen before a final decision? Does the process change based on the amount of money at stake?
|By understanding the decision process, sales teams can tailor their sales process to match the prospect’s buying process.|
What signed contracts need to be in place?
What’s the process for getting everything completed and signed?
|Avoid delays from the prospect’s procurement and legal departments by getting ahead of any paperwork. The larger the organization, the more complex the paperwork process will be.|
IMPLICATIONS OF PAIN
What problem is the prospect trying to solve?
What’s the risk in terms of lost revenue, opportunity cost, etc.?
How soon before this problem becomes unbearable?
|Without a serious pain point that causes economic harm or risk to the business, prospects aren’t likely to purchase. Make sure you’ve clearly identified a prospect’s pain and how it impacts their business.|
Who will go to bat for your solution to fix it?
|Determine who “on the inside” is on your team and will go to bat for your solution. That person provides valuable information and support to guide the process to closure. The champion is likely the end user of the product.|
|Who else is the prospect considering, and how does your solution compare?||Know your unique value proposition: your competitive advantages vis-a-vis the competition in solving the prospect’s pains and meeting their success metrics.|
BANT was originally created by IBM as a way to qualify prospects. BANT stands for:
What is the prospect’s total budget?
Does the prospect have the decision-making authority or are they an influencer to the ultimate purchase?
What is the business need?
|What’s the timeframe they want to implement the solution?|
Coined in the 2011 book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, the Challenger method of sales is all about training sales reps to get customers to think about their own business in a different light.
According to the Challenger method, instead of building relationships with customers, sales reps should take control of a sale and teach prospects to solve real problems. Gartner’s research found that by the time a customer contacts a sales rep, they’re roughly 57% of the way through the purchase process.
Which means buyers likely already know about your product’s features. They know about your competitors. Now they want to make the right choice.
There are five types of sales people according to the Challenger method.
The Hard Worker
Goes the extra mile and doesn’t give up easily. They are self-motivated and like feedback and sales development training.
The Relationship Builder
Builds strong customer relationships with influencers and is generous with giving their time to help others. Tends to get along with everyone.
The Lone Wolf
Follows their own instincts, is self-assured and works best alone.
The Problem Solver
Detail-oriented, reliable, and ensures all problems are solved.
Views the world differently by understanding the customer’s business. Loves to debate and push prospect out of their comfort zone.
Best suited for complex sales, the Challenger methodology uses reverse psychology to get into the prospect’s brain. They often start with leading questions, teach about the industry, and build up to the value proposition.
When it comes to MEDDIC vs. Challenger framework, there are a few key differences. First, MEDDIC works for any type of sales rep — not just the top-performing or “challenger” type of rep. Second, the Challenger method is more of just that: a method. It takes time to learn and is very psychological rather than a framework any rep can use.
The Sandler Selling System has been around for over 50 years …so it must work, right?
The Sandler method is all about spending more time qualifying than closing prospects.
It’s a seven-step cycle that’s often depicted in a circle to show the closed-loop process of sales.
In contrast to the stereotypical aggressive sales person, the Sandler method teaches sales teams to ask the right questions rather than provide answers to the prospect. In a sense, Sandler uses reverse psychology to build a deep rapport with everyone involved in the sales process.
When it comes to MEDDIC vs. Sandler, there are a few differences — but more similarities.
Both focus more on qualifying prospects than closing them. Both the MEDDIC and Sandler systems are designed to ask deep questions to understand the prospect’s pains better.
The Sandler sales method can require quite a bit of training as it uses psychology and follows a step-by-step process. The MEDDIC sales qualification framework can be implemented at any organization with less training — but a ton of followthrough to ensure it sticks.
Concentrated on taking a consultative approach to sales, the Value Selling methodology puts the focus on benefitting the customer throughout the sales process.
Rather than pressuring a prospect to purchase as quickly as possible, the Value Selling framework tells sales teams to slow down and ensure that purchasing your product will lead to ultimate success of the customer.
Understanding a prospect is at the core of Value Selling. Without doing homework, the sales team member assigned to the prospect will never truly understand their business problems.
The Value Selling framework looks like this:
As you can see, Value Selling and MEDDIC aren’t too different. They both rely on understanding the prospect at a deep level and guiding them through the sales process to qualify the opportunity.
When it comes to Value Selling vs. MEDDIC, it’s a decision your company will have to make based on what you value in your sales process — a consultative approach to sales or more detailed information about every prospect’s pains, processes, and people.
First established in 1989, the SPIN methodology then birthed the MEDDIC approach.
SPIN stands for:
As you can see, it’s pretty basic. The SPIN methodology helps identify a prospect’s pain, but it doesn’t provide actionable steps throughout the sales process. It works great for an easy sales process, but more complicated ones can fail with this approach.
In regards to MEDDIC vs. SPIN, in our opinion, MEDDIC is a clear winner. It takes the lessons learned from SPIN and applies them in a more detail-oriented, approachable, and step-by-step process that enables more reps to qualify and win deals.
The MEDDIC sales qualification method is widely used by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies for a variety of reasons.
Software companies, especially SaaS businesses, are all about predictable recurring revenue. Without accurate sales predictions, it’s difficult to actually know your company’s numbers.
By using a sales qualification method that focuses on putting the prospect first while getting detailed information about the account, sales teams automatically increase close rates. No longer are teams focused on deals that won’t close, because the MEDDIC framework forces them to ask the hard questions to really qualify customers.
Increasing close rates and proving a return on investment in adopting MEDDIC highly depends on:
The key is to codify the process, teach it, coach it, and stick to it. See how it goes, and then improve as needed for your specific situations. But make sure each sales rep isn't doing their own thing. Everyone can learn from the best, so share results and best practices, so you keep improving.
If addressing the six elements in MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Implication of Pain, Champion) is enough to qualify effectively, forecast, and close deals, then stick with MEDDIC.
The letters in MEDDIC stand for the elements that make an opportunity a good fit for your sales pipeline. Firm, accurate answers in each of these areas translate into a viable pipeline, faster sales velocity, and more precise forecasting.
MEDDIC is the right choice if:
MEDDPIC is ideal for teams that sell to enterprise sales with long or complex contracting processes. The Paperwork Process (P) element in MEDDPIC prompts sales reps to be proactive early on about learning any contract, legal, procurement, and other requirements your company needs to meet to close the deal.
Instead of a hefty contracting phase taking you by surprise toward the end of your pipeline, use MEDDPIC to discover all the necessary details. Prepare for what needs to be signed, who needs to sign it, and what sequence needs to be followed. Knowing all this helps predict the opportunity's closing date, resulting in a more accurate sales forecast.
MEDDPIC is the right choice if:
MEDDPICC is particularly useful for sales teams in highly competitive spaces. Go with MEDDPICC if competitors add another layer of pressure and complexity to your sales conversations.
The Competition (C) element of MEDDPICC ensures that your team knows who your competitors are, what prospects think of them, and what unique value you provide that they don't. Your team can tell compelling stories about how your product is better than the competition for meeting the prospect's needs and helps you build better talk tracks and scripts for reps to use.
Competitor information also helps sales teams understand the market landscape and how to navigate it. You know not only when new competitors start engaging with your prospects but also which competitors pose the biggest threat in which situations.
MEDDPICC is the right choice if:
Choosing which MEDDIC framework is best for the business is highly dependent on what your sales process looks like. The more complex the buying process, the more likely you’ll need to incorporate those extra letters into your MEDDIC framework.
The MEDDIC frameworks urge sales reps to build and defend their opportunity at every step in the process. The best opportunities show promise at every step. Top practitioners use MEDDICs to identify which deals aren’t worth pursuing so they can focus on those that are.
Not only does MEDDIC tell sales teams what information they need to qualify opportunities, but it also helps reps forecast more accurately and overcome challenges so they can shorten sales cycles.
Here’s how implementing a MEDDIC framework enables sales teams of all shapes and sizes to succeed.
By the time an opportunity gets a first meeting with one of your sales reps, they should be somewhat qualified (industry, revenue, tech stack, customer profile, etc.). The MEDDIC framework helps sales teams dig deeper into whether an opportunity is a good fit from that first meeting through the entire sales process.
The Pain step identifies what problem the prospect is trying to solve and just how painful it is in terms of revenue or opportunity cost. If your prospect isn’t demonstrating enough pain, there may not be enough urgency or need to justify moving them through your sales pipeline. This is why teams must identify pain so they can address it throughout the sales process.
MEDDIC enables sales managers to inspect and trust what sales reps say about their opportunities. Remember that x-ray analogy? This context also helps frontline managers forecast sales more accurately.
For example, how does a manager know the close date their rep assigned to a deal is valid?
With MEDDIC, MEDDPIC, or MEDDPICC, the manager can make sure the champion and decision process align to the forecasted close date.
With any of the MEDDIC frameworks, sales managers can easily identify potential roadblocks for opportunities that are worth pursuing. Your sales teams can then meet those challenges head-on, improving your chances of closing deals when forecasted.
A sales qualification framework helps bring order and a common language to an otherwise subjective sales process. Instead of gauging the health of opportunities based on opinion or incomplete data, the MEDDIC frameworks prompt sales reps to base their assertions on the right evidence.
MEDDIC provides sales reps with a checklist of items so they know exactly what they need to discover on sales calls. They also give sales managers more guidance on what they should look for in sales rep inputs and what to coach on to ensure that the information reps capture is accurate and actionable.
Speaking with our customers and other industry leaders, we discovered that getting sales teams to effectively adopt the new sales process or methodology is one of the biggest challenges sales leaders struggle to overcome. They also tell us that it’s worth doing.
Many sales organizations spend a small fortune implementing any new sales process. Training can be expensive. Without constant reinforcement, it’s common for everyone to start out excited about the new things they learned, only to revert to their old ways. If that happens, you don’t achieve the sweeping changes you hoped for and your sales process reverts back to chaos.
MEDDIC is a framework - not a sales playbook. Your business will need to create steps under each piece of the framework to ensure you have the details you need.
Each stage of your sales playbook must have an exit criteria that is mutually agreed upon by prospects and the team member’s selling to them. Each step of the sales process should also have templated agendas so every team member is on the same page.
Thankfully, there are ways to make adopting a new sales process easier for teams and leaders alike:
When you have the above in place, it will ease the most common pitfalls that come with transitioning to a new sales framework.
JUMP TO: Pitfall 1: You can't tell whether your reps follow the new process • Pitfall 2: Sales managers don't provide consistent, quality deal inspection • Pitfall 3: Sales reps input their CRM data, but the quality is poor • Pitfall 4: Your sales coaches are learning the new sales process, too • Pitfall 5: New sales reps struggle to implement the new sales process
We’ve talked to hundreds of sales leaders about their struggles getting their teams to adopt a new sales process and we discovered a few trends. Fortunately, these common sales process pitfalls are all manageable with the right tactics.
Here are some major pitfalls to look out for as you transition your team to a new sales methodology.
Your managers can’t listen in on every sales call. Even with call recording software, they’ll have time to listen or watch only a small fraction of each rep’s calls per week. That’s not enough to know whether your sales reps are executing on your new sales process. The sample size is too small, and it’s too time-consuming for your managers to review any more than that.
So how do you know if your sales reps are following the new sales process?
The best way to verify at scale whether your sales reps are having the quality conversations outlined in your sales methodology is by documenting the sales process in your CRM.
For most companies, documentation happens in their CRM. If you use Salesforce, for example, when rolling out MEDDIC, you would add the appropriate sales process fields into your Salesforce instance.
By breaking down MEDDIC into its parts in Salesforce, sales reps have to address each consideration for their prospects.
This keeps the new sales methodology training top of mind and helps sales reps gather the high-quality, quantifiable data they need to close better deals.
Add these fields to your CRM to implement the MEDDICs:
Adding to this challenge, though, is the fact that even when you add MEDDIC fields to your CRM, if it’s time consuming or difficult for sales reps to input and access data, they won’t successfully adopt MEDDIC.
In an ideal world, your tech stack allows reps to log sales process information to the CRM as quickly and painlessly as possible. Yet most sales teams require reps to dig through dozens of fields in Salesforce or other CRMs to log or update MEDDIC information.
Instead of making your reps spend more time in Salesforce, why not bring MEDDIC right to them?
Troops quickly and easily automates workflows and gives reps the ability to log MEDDIC fields into your CRM with only a few clicks, right from Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Getting the information into your CRM is only half the battle. You need to make it as easy as possible for managers to inspect MEDDIC so they can do so all the time as opposed to once a week or never.
By surfacing MEDDIC updates in your messaging/collaboration platform (Slack or Microsoft Teams), you’re making it more visible and easier for managers to access. Managers can then coach in Slack or Teams, too, so other sales reps learn from others’ missteps and wins. This also gives executives visibility into how their frontline managers inspect and coach to MEDDIC.
Don’t feel like you have to have everything in place before you roll out MEDDIC. Humans can’t learn new ways of working without constant coaching and reinforcement.
In addition to up-front training, provide training and coaching over time. Reinforce it with scripts and role-playing. Give reps questions to start asking in their sales conversations. Then coach, coach, coach.
It’s critical that your reps see how MEDDIC (or any new sales framework) is the path to personal and team success. So build buy-in and keep improving. Focus on one step at a time. Then, celebrate and share positive results with the team.
Our friends at Gong surveyed over 700 sales managers to find out the number one thing they wish they had more of. The answer? Time!
Sales managers frequently lack the bandwidth to fully address all of their responsibilities, so they end up skimping on managerial functions, like deal inspection.
With a new sales process, managers need to coach and make corrections earlier in the sales process to improve and amplify sales rep performance. Many managers prepare for one-on-ones by looking at a report once a week and focusing on only late-stage deals, which leads to less than ideal results.
Moreover, if your reps handle multiple calls a week, managers need time to review and provide feedback on these conversations more than once a week. This gives them more consistent and proactive opportunities to improve the quality of sales conversations.
Documenting your sales process in your CRM is only half the battle. Now you need to get sales reps to update their sales process fields quickly and consistently to give managers a clear image of who needs improvement.
The best way to make this a habit for your sales reps is to make sales process documentation as simple and painless as possible.
At Troops, we use our own product to automatically prompt our sales reps whenever they need to update a sales process field — like a MEDDIC field — in our CRM. For example, we use Troops to send proactive, contextual prompts reminding our sales reps to update their MEDDIC fields in Salesforce after every meeting and before weekly deal reviews.
This means that our sales reps receive reminders when they matter most, helping them get into the habit of providing the information their managers need to monitor their progress and coach when they see opportunities for improvement.
Automate these notifications and prompts:
If your sales managers find it difficult to access or gain insights from the data your sales reps are logging, they won’t successfully enforce and coach MEDDIC for your reps.
CRM sales process solutions often force sales reps to log MEDDIC information with checkboxes, color codes, and other quick-log options. While low effort, they don’t provide sales managers with the context they need to inspect, coach, and ultimately trust what reps are asserting.
For example, what does it mean to color code Implications of Pain green? Even if you know that green is a positive sign, there’s no additional information there to tell you what the pain is, or whether it’s meaningful and why. You can’t inspect, coach, or trust that.
Instead, give reps the space to leave notes and even fully formed thoughts about their opportunities. Here at Troops, we use simple text fields to give sales reps the freedom to log critical context.
Keep in mind that MEDDIC fields aren’t just for reps. It’s equally important to give managers a way to leave sales process feedback and access coaching guides directly from sales reps’ updates.
For example, sales managers need the ability to leave MEDDIC coaching notes outside of your CRM, somewhere that reps can see it and take action on it.
Links to coaching guides are extremely helpful for positive reinforcement at the right place and right time. For example, it’s ideal if, at any time when reviewing sales reps’ inputs, a manager can click a button and refer to a resource reminding the rep of what to look for in a MEDDIC update.
This can be as simple as linking to a Google Doc that outlines what to look for when evaluating the strength of the Economic Buyer or Champion. The point is that everything a manager needs to coach effectively should be right there within reach of the coach and the people they are coaching.
Let’s say your sales team is not only documenting their sales process information in Salesforce, but they’re also consistently doing so after most meetings. Huzzah!
However, the real indicator of whether your reps are following your sales process is the quality of that documentation.
If your sales rep defines your prospect’s goals as simply “they want to reduce costs,” they’re not meeting your new MEDDIC sales qualification standards. By how much do they want to cut costs? Why and how are they going to do this? What are the quantifiable, measurable success indicators?
This is where your sales process data becomes your guide to the quality of conversations your sales reps are having and, subsequently, where they need coaching to uncover better information from prospects.
Looking at a grouped Salesforce report once a week for 20 minutes with a rep is not enough.
At Troops, our sales managers inspect call outcomes on a daily basis, correcting behaviors immediately after they crop up in conversation.
Here are two ways we do this at Troops:
Let’s face it: Many managers have a high level of competency in sales, but they’re not necessarily versed in coaching and training others. Worse yet, they may not realize it. Studies from BlessingWhite indicate that 79% of managers say they love to coach, yet 54% of employees say they aren’t getting coaching from managers. There’s clearly a disconnect.
Add in a new sales process that frontline managers have to learn themselves and you see how this gets complicated. How can you rely on sales managers to train your sales reps to implement your new sales process and get optimal results when they're still learning, too?
Company executives who understand your new sales process and have fully bought in should monitor your sales managers’ coaching. This extra level of oversight ensures that your frontline managers pass down only the most accurate and useful information. And it helps company leadership see if something isn’t working.
An illustration of the coaching hierarchy inside a company that’s transitioning to a new sales process.
Surfacing sales documentation and feedback in Slack/Teams gives executives views into the sales coaching conversations managers are having (if they are having them) and whether they’re doing an effective job reinforcing your new sales process.
For example, say a sales rep wraps up a call with a prospect and wants to move the deal on to the next sales pipeline stage. Their sales manager, however, tells the sales rep that they need to chase down additional exit criteria before moving the deal onward. Your company leaders can see all of this in real time in Slack and provide timely feedback to the manager about how they addressed the situation.
If company leaders notice a trend in the types of feedback sales managers need to provide, they might insist on a sales-wide training or bigger initiative to get everyone on the same page.
What if your managers don’t know MEDDIC well enough to coach it?
Imagine picking up a lacrosse stick for the first time and then being expected to coach a Division 1 level lacrosse team two weeks later. Unreasonable, right? Picking up MEDDIC is no different.
Training your sales managers to confidently and effectively coach your sales reps means going beyond the basics. Sales managers should know enough to interpret what MEDDIC information means for forecasting, as well as how to guide reps through the process of identifying and collecting that information.
As you grow your sales team, you need a simple way to get new reps up to speed quickly. That’s often easier said than done.
For many companies, sales process education and onboarding for new reps takes the form of a learning management system (LMS) and, perhaps, an internal wiki. This may work for initial learning, but it’s not effective for reinforcing best practices once sales reps set out into the wild.
Don’t just drop a bunch of documentation in your new sales reps’ laps before letting them get to the business of selling. Instead, set up simple, automated workflows that coach your new reps as they step through the new sales process.
At Troops we send personalized, contextual sales notifications and prompts to help sales reps navigate the sales process and managers to make sure everything’s going well.
For example, sales teams can set up automated workflows with Troops that prompt sales reps at critical moments throughout the sales process. These alerts notify sales reps when they have new opportunities and send reminders when a sales rep needs to complete an action in Salesforce (like filling in a MEDDIC data field). They also bring sales information and progress into the open so managers and other sales reps can collaborate on deals.
Let’s say your new sales reps struggle the most with gathering, documenting, and analyzing exit criteria. Your Troops workflows can reinforce the importance of exit criteria by prompting sales reps to document exit criteria after every sales call. Workflows can also alert sales managers when new exit criteria data is available so they can review and provide guidance.
By setting up workflows that prioritize the key components of your new sales process, you can get new sales reps contributing faster than ever.
Instead of always playing catch-up, Jalal Iftikhar, Intercom’s global director of business systems, leverages Troops Workflows to pump activity-tracking data from Salesforce into Slack and spread that information across the organization.
Troops lets you automate key workflows in minutes to get the right alerts, reports, and insights to the right people at the right time.
You can send your managers an alert whenever someone on their team updates sales process fields in the CRM. This provides added visibility to your managers on how their reps approach MEDDIC in their sales calls and whether they’re logging it properly in the CRM.
If a rep is struggling with MEDDIC, your manager can step in and provide more personalized guidance to reinforce the initiative further.
What sales process accountability means for your business.
When your entire sales team effectively embraces a new sales process, your business will notice significant improvements in the way your sales engine operates, including: