Understand Your Prospects Better By Using the CHAMP Framework

Use the CHAMP framework to improve your sales team's discovery. CHAMP helps sales reps identify and engage key decision-makers and align their sales efforts with prospects' needs and priorities.

Understand Your Prospects Better By Using the CHAMP Framework

Discovery is a crucial stage of the sales process. When working according to a sales-led GTM, sales teams must prioritise their time towards prospects who match the company’s offering and enable the sales team to make profitable business. In the discovery stage, the sales representative must identify if the prospect has a real need for their solution with a budget and intention to fix that need.

If a salesperson fails to do discovery correctly, the best case is a prolonged sales process, at worst there is no deal and both the salesperson and the company do not reach their targets. A failed discovery might, for example, lead to a situation where a competing company has identified the main decision-makers and speaks directly to them, supported by a perfectly personalised and customised sales demo. In contrast, your team talks only on a general level to those not calling the shots. A fledging account executive might spend most of his time with companies that cannot make purchasing decisions even during the next fiscal year.

It would not be wrong to claim that the discovery phase is possibly the most critical phase of selling and also the most difficult one for many sellers.

Multiple sales, qualification, and discovery frameworks exist to help sellers target their efforts correctly and help sales teams navigate the complexities of the discovery phase. Some are very complex and thorough, MEDDICC or even MEDDPICC, while others are lighter and more agile, like today's CHAMP framework.

CHAMP stands for Challenges, Authority, Money, and Prioritisation

By utilising CHAMP, a seller, whether they may be an account executive or SDR, can qualify the prospect and their organisation. As CHAMP is relatively lightweight, it can be implemented as part of initial outreach over the phone or as part of the first meeting with the prospect.

The Components of CHAMP

Challenges: What are the challenges the prospect is facing at the moment?

Example questions to ask:

  • What are the main challenges you are currently facing (that prompted you to look for a solution like ours)?
  • Can you describe a recent situation where these challenges affected your business operations?
  • What are the consequences of not addressing these challenges?
  • How have you tried to solve these issues in the past?
  • What does the ideal solution to these challenges look like for you?

Authority: Who belongs to the decision-making unit in this opportunity?

Example questions to ask:

  • Are you the best person to speak with regarding this topic?
  • What is your role in the decision-making process?
  • Who else in your organisation needs to be involved in the decision-making process for this kind of purchase?
  • Can you walk me through your typical decision-making process for a purchase like this?
  • Would you prefer to meet with all your colleagues, or would it be easier if I reached out to them independently?

Money: How much of their budget is allocated to solving the challenge?

Example questions to ask:

  • What budget has been allocated to solve this problem?
  • Do you have a timeline for making the budget for this project available?
  • How does this investment fit into your financial planning for the (next) fiscal year?
  • Who controls the budget for this department, and how can we get their buy-in?
  • What are the financial implications if this issue is not addressed?

Prioritisation: Is solving the challenge essential or urgent?

Example questions to ask:

  • How does this project align with your strategic goals for the year?
  • How urgent is it to address these challenges?
  • What timeline are you looking at for implementation?
  • What are the other projects competing for resources right now?
  • What could change your priorities in the coming months?

A sales representative's inability to answer some of these questions should be a warning sign. This means the seller does not entirely control the sales opportunity nor manage the stakeholders. The sales representative should follow up to make additional discoveries to qualify the prospect or to progress the deal further.

For sales leadership, CHAMP offers a handy tool to gauge the quality of discovery being done and identify opportunities in the pipeline that may be in jeopardy of stalling or failing. Before implementing the model, proper training, mapping of questions and answers, and necessary adjustments in the sales process and possibly to CRM must be done.

The strength of CHAMP comes from its initial focus on the customer. The sales reps start by discussing the problems and needs of the potential customer. Beginning with the prospect's interests and needs instead of the sales rep's should increase the likelihood of good-quality sales discussions and higher opportunity win rates.