Using The Challenger Sale – Insights For Channel Partners

Customers will find you first, using digital tools such as search engines or social media to research solutions to their problems - Leah Quesada
Customers will find you by using digital tools
Leah Quesada

In recent years, the digitization of consumer information and marketing has produced a marketplace full of highly informed buyers. Customers are on average 57% of the way to making a purchase decision before they initiate any contact with a sales representative.

How your customer will find your business

Customers will find you first, using digital tools such as search engines or social media to research solutions to their problems. It’s critical to give them compelling information early in their buying cycle. Wait too long and your competitors could influence the decision in their own favor. One way Xerox has managed to achieve early customer engagement is by using techniques described in the Challenger Sale.

The key to the Challenger Sale

According to The Challenger Sale, by Dixon and Adamson from the Corporate Executive Board (2011), the key is to teach buyers something new about their business that they did not already know. In order to win the rational and emotional side of your B2B buyers, share critical, relevant, and urgent insights about their business– before you share anything about your business. Of course, what you teach them must lead back to your unique value and proven solution.

Many businesses believe relationship building is the one true way to win a customer. What makes Challenger-style selling so appealing is the way it can help establish trust at the beginning of a customer relationship. Through sharing expert knowledge about your buyer’s business interests, you can differentiate yourself from competitors.

Introducing “Commercial Teaching Insights”

Within the Challenger methodology, these ideas are called commercial teaching insights. The intent is to validate buyers’ decision-making process as well as teach them to value the specific solutions, components, and unique differentiators that you actually deliver.

Insights are critical in sales discussions and can also be an important part of your marketing efforts. As buyers today search for solutions, sharing these insights where they will see them can help you stand out and build trust before they even speak with your sales team. Like most small and medium businesses, if you could benefit from more marketing support, then working with vendors who provide effective messaging will go a long way for your business.

Getting started

To get started with commercial teaching insights, the most basic concept to understand is: discover and connect. Investigate the pressing needs and priorities of your buyer’s search for a potential solution – then connect the features of your offerings to what they believe is important.

These concepts may seem simplified, however, crafting an effective insight takes careful consideration. In today’s digitized market with well-informed buyers, heading down the Challenger path can be very rewarding inside the channel.

Where can you learn more?

Review the CEB case study of Xerox’s implementation of Challenger commercial teaching insights. Find out how using our insight challenges the perception of color printing in the K12 education sector.


1. Head over to CEB’s Xerox Case Study landing page
2. Click the “Download Epilogue” button to download the detailed report

What you’ll learn:

  • How to transition from feature-centric marketing to one that resonates with actual needs of the market.
  • What approach and process we followed to discover and define the best commercial insight.
  • What message we crafted and the results we received.
  • How we enabled sales to take the message to customers.

Share your Challenger Sale experience!

Have you used the Challenger Sale methods? Share your stories with us! We would love to feature you in a future blog post to expand our collective knowledge and solve the sales challenges we all face today.

See this and more of Xerox’s partner marketing materials on our Partner with Xerox page.

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