MEDDPICC sales methodology: why use it?
Definition and origins
MEDDPICC is a B2B sales qualification methodology. It is designed to set up your sales teams to close more deals by helping them pinpoint the most qualified leads. More specifically, the MEDDPICC framework helps you list down:
• Everything you need to know about your leads ;
• Every task you need to perform ;
• All people you need to partner with.
The first iteration is the MEDDIC methodology. It dates back to 1996 when it was created by PTC (a software company) sales managers Dick Dunkel and Jack Napoli with a bit of help from their supervisor John McMahon.
Evolution from MEDDIC to MEDDPICC
The MEDDIC framework – the original version – is an acronym standing for the different steps of the qualification process:
• Economic Buyer
• Decision Criteria
• Decision Process
• Identify Pain
MEDDIC is a solid methodology to uncover pain points, analyze how decisions are made, categorize the key stakeholders and sign the deal. Some MEDDIC advocates argue that all further evolutions can be included in these first six components. Other people prefer longer variations as they say each notion needs to be featured as a step of its own.
Anyway, the MEDDICC sales process includes another C, for Competition while the latest variation, MEDDPICC adds an eight layer with a P for Paper Process. All three of them work the same. When it comes to choosing which one to use, it really is up to you to decide on how complex you want it to be.
In what follows, we opted for MEDDPICC in order to be as exhaustive as possible.
How does your organization benefit from MEDDPICC?
Essentially, MEDDPICC gives you knowledge. Through this knowledge, you obtain a new horizon of possibilities, such as:
• Improving sales and sales forecast ;
• Coaching instead of micromanagement ;
• Uniformisation of your sales process, every step of the way ;
• Reducing the overall sales cycle duration (through uniformisation) ;
• Cutting costs by not wasting resources on unqualifiable leads ;
• Increasing revenue (through all of the above).
Another perk of MEDDPICC: implementing it turns out to be rather easy even for people who are not veteran sales reps. Indeed, instead of a complex sales closing technique, it is a simple checklist of questions you should ask yourself and actions you might want to implement.
This framework can be helpful to any company regardless of its size: it is always a good thing to question how you identify and qualify prospects. That being said, MEDDPICC shines brighter where sales pipelines are long, complex and involve multiple composite stakeholders (B2B).
MEDDPICC sales methodology: how to use it?
As we said before, the MEDDPICC methodology is a checklist of information you need to gather. By checking off things you already know and actions you have already implemented, you will be able to sort out what you should focus on. Now let’s have a look at all this information you need to collect.
Metrics: how much does your prospect benefit from your offer?
First things first, you need to find out what your potential customer expects from your product or service in terms of economic benefits. This means objective quantified data, hard numbers, not approximations. These are metrics.
Every prospect has its preferential key performance indicators. You need to know which ones, so you can speak their language and convince them your solution is the best fit. It might be ROI, a number of hours of work saved every week; a boost in a sales percentage, etc.
Here are the main questions you need to consider at this step:
• What goal does your potential customer seek to achieve?
• How are they doing regarding this goal?
• Which metric do they use to measure their performance?
• How and how much can your solution contribute to the pursuit of their goal?
Example: you are selling database software solutions to a translation and localization services company. After inquiring, you found out that their three KPIs of choice are cost-per-word to measure the process and net promoter score to evaluate whether they hit the mark with their client.
Economic Buyer: who is the decision maker?
This is someone you have to identify and meet as soon as possible because they are the one who has the final say when it comes to making the purchase decision or not. Since you have to make your pitch to them, it is paramount to be aware of their motivations as well as their pain points. It will be the key to earn their trust and have them vouch for you.
You cannot always establish direct contact with the economic buyer. If so, then try to learn about their expectations, hesitations and views through your insider.
You may also want to ask yourself the following questions:
• Is there more than one economic buyer in this company?
• Will they need us to show them our product or service during the decision making process? • Will they want to try it out before closing the deal?
In our example of a translation and localization services company, you have clearly identified two decision makers, a minor one and a major one: respectively the head of IT and the project director.
Decision Criteria: what will make them buy your product or service?
If you want to qualify leads, you need what will make or break their decision. Criteria can really differ from a prospect to another. Picture yourself a wishlist (yes, another list !). Well, now your task is to convince the decision maker that your product or service checks all the boxes, or at the very least, most of them.
There is a catch: even if you know about their motivations, needs and viewpoints, even if you established a rapport with the economic buyer, they still might not tell you about all of their criteria. In any case, they will rarely tell you about all their criteria in plain words. You will have to inquire and deduce. Do be subtle about that because if they are aware they gave you all the keys, your sales pitch will have way less impact on their decision making process.
Example: you already found out your prospect is looking for a mid-range solution, simple, efficient and usable by many people at the same time. Yet you sense, there is something more: they seem quite resentful of the database software company they had up until now. So you gently guide them into letting you know why and you discover a new criterion: while they settle for a mid-range product, customer service and product support are paramount.
Decision Process: how does it play out?
So far, you have learned what drives your potential client and what standards they are looking for. The fourth step in the MEDDPICC methodology consists in understanding how decisions are made and followed through on, in the company you are trying to deal with.
This is important because knowing this will help you avoid most hurdles along the road to the signature. This is the technical part, you will need to find out:
• What is the timeline from your pitch to the decision?
• What are the steps along this timeline?
• When, where and how will you be needed?
• How does this purchase decision rank in terms of priority?
Example: the project director of the client company you are trying to sell your database software to told you they will get back to you in a week to set up a meeting for a pitch in front of a committee, then you will have an answer two weeks later. They also expressed a genuine interest in your solution but you suspect they have an alternative in mind.
Paper process: what should you write, read or sign before officially closing the deal?
This is where MEDDPICC branches out from the previous versions of the framework. Indeed, in MEDDIC and MEDDICC, paperwork is just another part of the decision process. Adding another step is particularly helpful for sales persons dealing with big companies, where the paper process is a whole chapter in itself.
The paper process step is all about the administrative and legal tasks you’ll have to duly execute. Gather all information regarding this matter as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary delay:
• Which forms do you need to complete and sign?
• How long is the paper process?
• What about contracts, terms and conditions?
• Is there anyone you should talk to in order to complete those tasks?
Example: since your company will provide troubleshooting and have access to sensitive data, you will have to sign a NDA. Your client’s legal department will reach out to you in the upcoming days.
Identify Pain : what problems can you fix and how?
Each qualified prospect inherently experiences challenges or pain points ; otherwise, they have nothing to do in your sales pipeline! This sixth step aims to pinpoint the precise issues your prospect is grappling with. Now, you should wonder which challenge they are facing can be dealt with through your solution.
By knowing their pain points, you can tailor your sales tactics to highlight how your product alleviates these specific issues. Motivate prospects to share details and articulate the specific challenges they are currently facing.
For example, you may want to ask:
• What happens when you achieve or surpass your objectives?
• What prevents you from progressing at the moment?
• What are your current main sources of frustration?
• What are your main concerns about the upcoming months?
Example: your prospect is currently having a hard time with the database software they are using. The UI and UX are user friendly but they’d rather have a solution that is efficient on an update standpoint. This is the most common complaint their teams have when it comes to their CAT (computer assisted translation) tools. You can use that by bringing the attention on the highly customizable UI of your product which will allow them to get rid of what is unnecessary to improve overall efficiency.
Champion: who in the client company can be your insider?
Find someone to champion your cause within the organization, someone who advocates on your behalf. This individual often is the person most impacted by the company’s challenges or the one who would benefit the most from your product or service.
Since they genuinely desire the deal to go through, they will leverage their influence to promote your solution internally.
Your insider doesn’t need to be a manager or a supervisor, however it is crucial that they command respect within the company. It really is a double-edged sword so pick your champion with care.
Example: at a meeting with the localization teams who operate database software on a daily basis, one of the veteran employees expressed noticeable enthusiasm for your product and a determination to call for a change and try and convince all of their teammates.
Competition: who are you up against?
This step tends to be overlooked more often than not. It is understandable as it is easy to focus on your client and how your solution can address their challenges. Adding a third party to the mix doesn’t seem relevant. Except that it is.
Granted, you rarely know what your competitors are up to until late in the sales process. That is precisely why you shouldn’t underestimate them. Besides, it’s not because your prospect says your solution is the only one right now that is necessarily true or that it might not change.
And be aware that you are not only competing with people but you are also fighting against the status quo: at any point, your prospect might decide that after all, they can do without anything new.
In this final step, ponder these questions:
• What companies and what sales reps are your competitors?
• How does your solution compare to the competition?
• Is your prospect a DIY advocate?
Example: your prospect is all for CAT (computer assisted translation) tools but your main and usual competitor is also trying to seal the deal with them. However, you know your solution is a best-fit for a company of this size and you have more experience and referrals with translation businesses.
MEDDPICC sales methodology: drawbacks
MEDDPICC and its previous versions are not always the best fit for a sales pipeline. While really efficient on complex B2B negotiations scenarios, these frameworks might fall off a bit in simpler you must learn to succeed contexts. In those instances, you might want to use BANT instead. Let’s review MEDDPICC’s limitations.
That’s the most obvious one. Using MEDDPICC requires a lot of time and a lot of effort: you have to ask many questions to many people. Of course, it will pay off eventually but still, it is a demanding process for your organization. Plus it might clash with a pre-existing fast-paced sales culture where quick decision-making is essential. Which leads us to the next disadvantage.
You will need to train your teams to learn about prospects and clients, to ask the right questions and to communicate accordingly. They will have to learn to be subtle about it.
You also need a clear and up-to-date organization : charts, tables, sales notes, etc.
Apart from that, you have to understand your target audience, so you will need efficient buyer personas before even getting started.
The champion is a risk
We already talked about it, the champion represents a real risk as you are betting quite a lot, if not everything on one person. Yet you can’t do without one either, otherwise you’ll be forced to go blind, without inside knowledge and influence.
Yes, the MEDDPICC framework may and probably will turn out to be a challenge at first, but the benefits are definitely worth the efforts: no more resources used in vain, trying to win over an unwinnable lead. Besides, you’ll be reforming your organization for the better.
At CoachYZ, helping leaders, executives and managers challenge their views and broaden their horizons is what we do. We firmly believe everyone has a hidden potential waiting to be revealed and tapped. If you are ready to live up to it, then start your coaching journey!