The Challenger Sale: Key Traits of The Challenger

Posted by McKenzie Powell - 29/07/2020

In last week’s blog, we discussed ‘The Challenger Sale’ by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, and discussed how their research had uncovered five different types of sales reps:

 The Hard Worker

The Challenger

The Relationship Builder

The Lone Wolf

The Reactive Problem Solver

This week, we explore which of these sales types their research showed was the most successful in terms of sales performance.

As discussed, their research compared top / star performers to those in the ‘core performance’ bracket. Interestingly, when the performance of core performers was reviewed, it was a relatively even spread across all sales types. 

“No profile dominates among average sales reps”

However, whilst the research indicated there was no specific profile for core performance, it actually indicated that one type stood ‘head and shoulders’ above the others in terms of performance.

 You’ve probably already guessed which based on the title of the book, it was of course: The Challenger

 Nearly 40% of high performers in the research displayed ‘The Challenger’ characteristics.


So, why is this profile so much more successful?

As we discussed last week, Challengers like to debate, teach and provide new ways of thinking. The most significant traits identified to their success were:

  • Offers the customer unique perspectives
  • Has strong two-way communication skills
  • Knows the individual customer’s value drivers
  • Can identify economic drivers of the customer’s business
  • Is comfortable discussing money
  • Can pressure the customer

Moving on through their research, Dixon and Adamson realised that these characteristics could be put into three categories – which they believe sum up the key abilities of a Challenger:

 The Challenger is defined by their ability to do three things: Teach, tailor and take control.

  • Because they have a unique perspective on the customer’s business and strong two-way communication skills, they can teach for differentiation during the sales process
  • Because they know the customer’s value and economic drivers, they can tailor for resonance
  • Because they are comfortable discussing money and can apply pressure to the customer, they can take control of the sale

If you want to learn more in the meantime, the book can be purchased here.

Get in touch

Select who you are from the dropdown menu

Fill out the form and we'll be right back with you.

Ready for go-to-market growth without limits? Or looking to accelerate your career in a role that empowers you to unleash your potential? Unlock game-changing opportunities – connect with Strive today.

Let’s Talk