Challenger Marketing for B2B

Challenger Marketing for B2B
Succeeding In Today's B2B Battleground
Challenger Marketing - arming sales to succeed In today's B2B battleground
Succeeding In Today’s B2B Battleground

Succeeding In Today’s B2B Battleground

The B2B marketing field has become a virtual battleground, littered with content marketing casualties. Our target markets have evolved to become more self-taught than ever before. Customers are empowering themselves with information to benefit their purchase outcomes.

This is not new. I can recall using and to get information such as dealer invoice and even hold back by vehicle prior to establishing contact with a single car salesperson. When I did, I was ready to negotiate like a pro, empowered with valuable, relevant information.

Today, everybody is doing content marketing. Successful marketers have a content marketing plan. In addition, they differentiate themselves in the market by providing valuable commercial insights that add value and lead to their unique solution, as opposed to just stating facts about features and functions. This could be called Challenger Marketing.

Challenger Marketing to the Rescue

Brent Adamson, co-author of “The Challenger Sale,” kicked off the 2014 Content2Conversion Conference for B2B Marketers by introducing the concept of the Challenger Marketing.

Below is a video capture of Brent’s breakneck speed presentation in its entirety.

In this presentation, Brent challenged marketers to rethink content marketing and lead generation by leading with commercial insights.

More on the C2C Conference:

The Proverbial Slides 

For those that wish to follow along with Brian’s whirlwind presentation, included below are the slides he presented.

Challenger Marketing Agenda

In his talk, Brent covers the following topics:

  • The five profiles of sales reps
  • The Challenger Marketing Journey, Part I
    • Selling to empowered customers
    • Defining commercial insight
    • The sweet spot of customer focus
    • Break down the current behavior, build up the desired behavior
    • Creating commercial insight
    • Creating a content ecosystem
    • Building a path to disruption
    • All content roads should lead to insight
    • Rethinking lead management
    • Tracking consumption of disruption
  • The Challenger Marketing Journey, Part II
    • 5 Questions to keep you up at night:
      1. Do you know where your customers learn?
      2. Are you present where your customer learn?
      3. Are you teaching customers or unteaching them?
      4. Does your insight lead exclusively to you?
      5. Are you building Challenger reps or – or a Challenger organization?

The Challenger Sale – 5 Distinct Sales Executive Profiles

The 5 Sales Executive Profiles According to CEB Findings
The 5 Sales Executive Profiles According to CEB Findings
What’s the secret to sales success? If you’re like most business leaders, you’d say it’s fundamentally about relationships. You’d be wrong. The best sales people don’t just build relationships with customers, they challenge them.

The need to understand what top-performing sales executives are doing that their average performing colleagues are not drove Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson along with their colleagues at the CEB (Corporate Executive Board) to investigate the skills, behaviors, knowledge and attitudes that matter most for high performance sales executives. What they discovered through their research  maybe the biggest shock the conventional sales wisdom in decades.

Based on an exhaustive study of 1000’s of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, the Challenger Sale argues that the classic relationship building model of sales is a losing approach. In particular, relationships matter less  when it comes to selling complex, large-scale , B2B solutions. The authors study found that every sales executive in the world falls into one of 5 distinct profiles, and while each type of sale executives can deliver average performance, only one, the Challenger, delivers consistently high performance.

Instead of leading with information about the company and its solutions, Challengers provide customers with surprising commercial insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor sales messages to the customer’s specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customers every demand or objection. Challengers are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

Commercial Insights – The Sweet Spot of Customer Focus

The Sweet Spot of Customer Focus
The Sweet Spot of Customer Focus

The things that make Challenger approach unique is that they replicable  and teachable to the average sales executive. Once you understand how to identify the Challengers in your sales organization, you can model their approach and embed it throughout the organization. The same is true for Challenger Marketing.

The authors explain how almost any average performing sales executive, when equipped with the right tools (hint: content with commercial insights), can successfully re-frame customer’s expectations and deliver a distinctive purchase experience with higher level of customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately greater growth.


To compete effectively in today’s B2B battlefield, it is necessary to create a content ecosystem. But not just any content ecosystem will do. If the content does not challenge a customer’s status quo then kill it.

All Challenger Marketing content is designed to build a path to disruption. When presented properly, this path to disruption will cause potential customers to move from “they have smart things to say” to  “we need to change what we are doing.

All Challenger Marketing content should lead to commercial insights which in turn ultimately leads prospects directly to your solution and only yours.

In the process of become a Challenger Marketer, organizations will be challenged to rethink lead management and traditional relationships between sales and marketing, while tracking consumption of disruption.

Let us know what you think in the comments. If you found this article beneficial, then please share it with friends and coworkers.

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Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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