Today, we’ll be discussing one of the famous lead qualification methodologies - “MEDDICC”.
Table of contents:
- Why do we need a lead qualification process?
- What is MEDDICC?
- Economic Buyer
- Decision Criteria
- Decision Process
- Identify Pain
- How to successfully implement MEDDICC for your sales organization?
- How MEDDICC helps in revenue prediction?
- MEDDICC vs MEDDPICC
Why do we need a lead qualification process?
Before we start with MEDDICC, let’s address the necessity of lead qualification. On the surface, it seems like you might be leaving money on the table by not pursuing all leads. Why do we need to qualify leads? Why can’t we proceed with as many leads as possible?
The instinct is to try and process all the leads to convert them into paid clients. But this isn’t the best approach. If you look at the big picture, the quality of your leads matters more than the quantity. Without having a qualification process, your sales and marketing teams won't be able to prioritize their activity and will waste time on leads that never convert.
Every sales cycle is a long and systematic process of converting a lead to a customer and businesses invest a significant amount of money and resources to work on every prospect.
While these prospects reach the final stage of your sales funnel, you realize that the prospect is not a good match for your business and will not convert to a customer. Now, this turns out to be a bit frustrating for both seller and buyer and you’ll start questioning why didn’t you start with qualifying prospects that have a better chance to convert. Therefore, having a strong and validated qualification methodology in your sales process is beneficial for both sellers and buyers.
It’s important to the buyer because:
- It optimizes the use of the buyer’s time
- It helps the buyer in defining the problem he/she is trying to solve
- It helps the buyer secure executive buy-in for funding the solution
It’s important to the seller because:
- It optimizes the use of your time
- It ensures that all of your activities impact revenue
- It exposes problems within the opportunity
- It provides clarity on the next steps
- It eliminates surprises
The right qualification approach ensures both buyers and sellers are aligned throughout the process to optimize their time, define accurate decision criteria, and integrate executive buy-in throughout the decision-making process.
Now that we have covered the need for a qualification process, let’s start with MEDDICC. In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about the MEDDICC sales qualification methodology.
What is MEDDICC?
MEDDICC is a B2B sales qualification process first developed in the 1990s. It is an acronym that stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion, and Competition. MEDDICC is a proven qualification methodology that emphasizes on better customer qualification. It provides a “litmus test” for gauging the strength of a sales opportunity.
Using MEDDICC, or its variants (MEDDIC or MEDDPIC), as an internal Sales Qualification Tool helps drive consistent discovery and efficient qualification of opportunities. All the key components of a successful sales cycle are defined and integrated as part of the approach.
Let’s understand what each of the terms of MEDDICC means:
Metrics are quantifiable results that are used for a two-fold approach. If we observe from a buyer’s point of view, we address questions like: How will the customer measure success? Is that measurement favorable to you? For e.g. the company may want to increase its revenue by a factor of three, they might want to get products to market in half the time, or they may want to save at least 20% on production costs.
By defining metrics you’ll get quantifiable values that will enable you to describe the economic benefits of your solution. Once you know what metrics the customer cares about, you can prove how your solution provides a good return on investment (ROI). If you justify your solution from an economic standpoint, you’ll be one step closer to closing your sale.
The second part is what is the case study testimonial or proof point that is most appropriate for this opportunity - because as we say ‘today’s metric is tomorrow’s proof point’ - it gives more confidence to move forward with the process if we have a proof point for the particular opportunity. You can share the result that aligns with customer’s problems and minimize the risks.
2. Economic Buyer:
An economic buyer is an individual within the customer’s organization who has the discretionary approval to spend and has the authority to say “yes” or “no” to a deal. Today’s B2B enterprises have more than a single economic buyer. On an average, there are 5 to 7 economic buyers involved in a single B2B sales deal. It is not an event or a single meeting where the fate of a deal is decided. It is a process. Every sales operation follows a strategic process to approach the economic buyer(s).
Knowing the economic buyer and their mindset will help you close sales as the buyer’s veto power makes them the one person who absolutely must be convinced. Approach the economic buyer to learn about their expectations, personal metrics, and decision-making process.
3. Decision Criteria:
Businesses use different criteria to make the purchase decision and choose between options. If you understand how they make this choice, you can tailor your messaging better. The goal of the seller is to influence decision criteria where it is good for the customer and good for the seller.
If the company does not already have formally defined decision criteria, you can urge them to put it to paper. This step lets you prove that you can meet all their criteria, in turn showing that there’s no reason they shouldn’t agree to a sale.
4. Decision Process:
While the decision criteria are all about what the decision is based upon, the decision process tells you how that decision is made and followed through on. The key to going through the decision process exhaustively is to start with the end in mind and walk backward. Paint a scenario where your solution is implemented and the customer is getting their business outcomes and then go backward step by step to what all has to happen for each step. This way of moving forward and backward eliminates the chance of missing out on any step.
When you know the decision process, you are much less likely to lose a sale due to stagnation. You know exactly what needs to take place on the company’s side to close the sale, so you can work to meet those conditions. If, for example, you know that the economic buyer has given a go-ahead on the decision but has not completed the follow-up process paperwork, you can specifically push to get that paperwork taken care of, thereby closing the sale.
5. Identify Pain:
How big is the problem? A customer must have a need before they pursue a solution, and it’s vital to know what that need is or what is causing them pain. Identify the pain the customer is experiencing, and then identify how your solution can relieve that pain. By this point, you should start triangulating your Identified Pain, Economic Buyer, and Decision Criteria. There should not be pain with a big economic buyer(s) and decision criteria or vice versa.
Find a champion - someone on the inside who is invested in your success and pushes for you. Choosing a champion is based on three aspects:
- Your champion must have power and influence in the company
- Have to be actively selling on your behalf
- There has to be something in it for them
Your champion is an individual or a group of people who cares about the product as much as you do. Your champion does not necessarily have to be in a managerial or other supervisory position, but they do need to be well-respected. Having an employee known for being a lazy and selfish advocate for you might not be in your best interest. But having an employee with influence and respect in your corner can make a world of difference in helping you close that sale.
The last ‘C’ is the competition which is to know the differentiators, strengths, and weaknesses of your competitors and influence your process. Sales rep use the competition element to ask themselves: Who else is the prospect considering? What do they think about them in relation to you? What’s your edge? This helps your team tell a more compelling story about how your product is different from the competition by building better talk tracks and scripts.
That’s it! These are all the key points or attributes you need to implement to have a successful qualification process. MEDDICC methodology does not emphasize putting a spotlight on buyers and evaluating whether the buyer is a good fit for your product or not - rather you are massively increasing the probability of a successful outcome by spending time together identifying pain and critical opportunities for both buyer and seller.
MEDDICC also provides additional, critical information so you can inspect and trust what sales reps say about their opportunities. 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? Does the deal have a Champion willing to go to bat for your product? What steps does the company need to take to make a final decision? With MEDDICC, the manager can make sure the champion and decision process all match the close date.
How to successfully implement MEDDICC for your sales organization?
Simply launching MEDDICC (or one of its variants) in your organization isn’t going to be enough. What impacts the success of any qualification tool is the process of putting it to work. It’s your sales teams and your managers working together to map out deals, test the strength of opportunities, and establish plans for securing high-value margins. MEDDICC provides you with a simplified framework to align with your complex sales process. But to achieve successful outcomes, you need to make MEDDICC a habit in your sales operations.
Customers appreciate being led, provided that you can take them to a place they can’t get on their own. What this means is when you show the value your product can provide, which the buyer could not have realized on his own, that originates a strong foundation of the customer relationship of you as a trusted advisor - and you can move along the sales process with more confidence of conversion. Buyers are more likely to be influenced by how you sell than what you sell. During your interaction, you need to make everything about the customer and then slowly pivot and earn the right to make everything about you.
When MEDDICC is customized to your organization, it can be a great way for reps to keep the sales process benchmarks at top of mind throughout their deals. As you refine your sales qualification process, you need to assess how MEDDICC applies to your organization and your customers’ buying process specifically. Then ensure your managers and sales reps understand how it fits into your sales process and how they should use it to impact the success of every deal.
Understand your sales teams’ roles and responsibilities when it comes to driving the success of MEDDICC:
Manager: Managers should use regular deal reviews and coaching sessions to review MEDDICC principles within a deal, determine what gaps exist in their deals, and more importantly how to fill them.
How managers influence reps on their deals directly results in how well they are performing. The better managers help reps map out their deals, by guiding them to align to the biggest buyer pains and reinforce qualification criteria effectively, the more reps can replicate those high-value actions in every one of their valuable opportunities.
Frontline sales rep: The most significant factor to the success of your MEDDICC implementation lies in your front line sales reps’ hands. Understand how to use MEDDICC to qualify-in deals, move deals accurately from one sales stage to the next. When reps have adopted MEDDICC principles into their sales planning and preparation, they’ll be better equipped to avoid discounting and instill value early in sales conversations.
For reps to effectively follow through on MEDDICC principles, they need to actively map out deals with their managers and ask for the resources they need to move the right opportunities forward. The organization owns the responsibility of helping them as needed. Being thorough and disciplined with MEDDICC principles will ensure they’re maximizing their time on potential and qualified leads.
Sales leader: Sales leader’s ultimate goal is to ensure MEDDICC methodology is adopted as a common language and habit throughout their entire sales organization by providing consumable tools, training, and coaching that drive consistency and adoption.
The more training, coaching, and reinforcement materials sales leaders can work to provide for their sales teams, the more benefits they’ll see, as a result of their teams better adopting critical criteria into every opportunity.
How MEDDICC helps in revenue prediction?
Sales organizations that use a strong qualification tool, like MEDDICC, and have a company culture to support it, can come out of uncertain times in a better position to hit their revenue goals. When implemented successfully, MEDDICC provides consistency and efficiency around your qualification process. It helps to ensure that the way you sell is aligned with the way your customers want to buy.
Having MEDDICC as your qualification process, how can you implement it in a way that drives results towards your revenue goals?
Customization: Customizing the MEDDICC qualification criteria, specifically for your organization, provides the consistency or common deal qualification language that you need to drive revenue predictability. It is important to customize each element of your qualification criteria to ensure relevance for your sales team.
The benefit of committing to MEDDICC and making sure it’s being used consistently means everyone’s on the same page. When your entire sales organization adopts the same language, you'll provide the consistency your team needs to have a clear view of the pipeline at any given time.
Creating a Qualification Toolkit: When reps have adopted MEDDICC principles into their sales planning and preparation, they’ll be better equipped to avoid wasting time on deals that don’t belong and accurately predict their number, quarter after quarter.
As a sales leader, you own the responsibility of equipping your salespeople to effectively and consistently apply MEDDICC criteria to each of their deals, at the right time. Like any other sales transformation, the tools and content you provide will be critical to ensure they can execute. Sales consumable tools, like opportunity qualifiers, opportunity coaching guides, and buyer-focused messaging frameworks can help you provide your sales team with a consistent approach for deal qualification.
Commit to Result-Driven Adoption & Reinforcement: Managers and sales leaders play the largest role in ensuring that qualification consistency is ingrained into the organization and maintained by sales teams, new hires, and organizational leaders.
As a sales leader, you can make an impact on reinforcement by providing your sales team with easy access to ongoing training and custom reinforcement materials. From there, driving reinforcement will be all about supporting your second and front-line managers and enabling them to be valuable coaches for their sales teams.
For reps to effectively follow through on MEDDICC principles, they need to actively map out deals with their managers. Front-line managers should own that responsibility, using regular deal reviews and coaching sessions to define qualification gaps and help sellers work to apply the MEDDICC criteria correctly to fill these gaps.
MEDDICC vs MEDDPICC
Both the MEDDICC variations are well-known and adopted B2B sales methodologies that help teams qualify opportunities.
In the beginning, MEDDIC was created in the 1990s by the sales development team at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). Since then, sales teams have added onto the methodology to create different variations.
In this blog, we have covered MEDDICC: MEDDIC with an added ‘C’ - Competition.
MEDDPICC adds a “P” for Paper Process. This element prompts sales reps to wonder: What signed contracts need to be in place? What’s the process of getting everything completed and signed?
MEDDICC: Set a Solid Sales Foundation with a competitive advantage.
Addressing the first six elements in MEDDICC is enough to effectively qualify, forecast, and close deals.
The last element ‘C’ is useful in competitive spaces. It helps sales teams understand and keep track of their market landscape. You know not only when new competitors start engaging with your prospects but also which competitors pose the biggest threat.
MEDDPICC: Deal with Complex Contracting. MEDDPICC is ideal for teams that need the standard elements but also sell more to enterprise buyers who have long or complex contracting processes. The Paper Process element in MEDDPICC prompts sales reps to be proactive about finding out what contract, legal, procurement, and other requirements your company will need to meet. Instead of being surprised by a hefty contracting phase toward the end of your pipeline, you can use MEDDPICC to discover and prepare for what needs to be signed, who needs to sign it, and in what sequence.
Unlike most qualification frameworks like BANT or CHAMP, MEDDICC works throughout your deal cycle from start to finish. In fact, running a well-advanced enterprise deal through one of the MEDDIC frameworks will act as a thorough x-ray scan for your deal. MEDDICC methodology will help your sales team get stronger leads into your sales pipeline. MEDDICC and its variants also provide the flexibility to choose and adapt any of them to create personalized process, based on your team’s specific needs.