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Using Intent Data to Support the MEDDIC Sales Process

Feb 18, 2021 | Author Ed Marsh

Tl;dr - Intent data should be considered in the context of your sales process. Contact level™ intent data complements a MEDDIC sales approach in some interesting ways that account level data cannot.

Integrating Intent Data into Your Process

Intent data in the abstract is worthless.

It's only as it's combined with first and second party, and enrichment data and woven into a full data stack that it becomes potentially valuable.

But even then is must be effectively activated, and omni-channel campaigns must be orchestrated.

And if you ask sales reps to simply "work the intent data" in parallel with the sales process they're expected to follow, you create an untenable situation for them. Which trumps the other?

Therefore the question teams should be asking is how to incorporate data insights into their company's sales process.

Since MEDDIC is is currently one of the most popular, let's start with that.

What is the MEDDIC Sales Process?

The Meddic Academy defines the acronym as follows:

Metrics: Quantification of the potential gain and ultimately the economic benefit
Economic Buyer: Interaction with the person who has decision control on the funds for the PO Decision
Process: Process defined by the company to reach the purchase decision
Decision Criteria: Criteria used by the company to make the purchase decision and choose among options
Identify Pain: Actual pains at the company which would require your product/service to be relieved
Champion: Powerful & influential persons at the company, who are favorable to your solution

And there are variations of the MEDDIC sales process including, MEDDPIC, MEDDPICC and even Bob Apollo's MEDDPICC+RR which includes: relative priority and risk factors in addition to the paper process and competition of the intermediate models.

So if you've trained your team on one of these versions, and hold them accountable to using the system, where can you plug in intent data to support the efforts?

Answering Key Questions

At a high level, purchase intent data can help to answer some of the key questions of the MEDDIC sales methodology.

Competitors, for instance, are an example where intent data can identify many of the players under consideration.

Decision Criteria (the outcome that's sought) and pain can be inferred in many cases from the incidence of specific key terms within active accounts. It's often clear what problem or pain point a buying team is focused on, as well as the solutions (competitor agnostic) they're considering. (If specific key terms and competitors aren't identified in  your data, it may be because you're using a source that relies on topic taxonomies. Topics tend to be opaque and difficult to interpret vs. specific key terms and competitors. Learn more here.)

So even before the first conversation, a sales person may well have a head start on the information collection which they'd otherwise have to rely on buyers to share. This allows them to shape their approach, and serves as a check on what they're hearing.

Understanding What's Not Said

MEDDIC essentially provides a framework to ensure that relevant, important details critical to a project are explicitly explored. Success rests on capable sales people who are courageous enough to ask tough questions and facile enough with communications and psychology to elicit answers that are required.

No matter how good they are though, buyers lie - both by commission and omission.

Contact level intent data can help to fill in gaps and uncover insights that supplement and illuminate the answers that the champion and economic buyer have provided. Because contact level data includes name and job title, along with granular detail like the competitor a person engaged with, the key term they've taken action on, etc., sales people have clear signals to interpret - not just some vague assertion that the "account" is active or surging.

It also helps to understand other members of the buying team. Since the MEDDIC methodology is normally used in an enterprise sales process, there are likely >10 buyers on the team, not all of whom are "champions." In fact, many on the buying team might actually prefer that no action be taken or that a different solution is selected.

How do you track them? Contact level buyer intent data can help fill that gap.

Seeing Through Walls

Just as buyer level intent data can help to augment the information sales people collect from buyers, there are frequently internal dynamics that the champions, and perhaps even the economic buyer, are unaware of. Other departments competing for the same budget, members on the periphery of the buying team undertaking their own research, and even activity which contradicts what's shared publicly are realities.

Contact level behavioral intent data can help to uncover that as well. By observing competitor engagements and specific key-term related actions and frequency, it possible to infer some normally hidden buying team dynamics.

When sales uncovers those situations they have the proactive opportunity not only to ask questions of their champions to try to learn more, but also to coach their champions on some of the possible deal dynamics. 

Combined with great sales enablement, including content targeting different buyer roles at different stages in the buying journey, they can differentiate themselves as a resource for the buying team champions.

Adapting Intent Data to Your Process

Whether you use MEDDIC, BANT, SPIN, or any of countless other systems, the key is to figure out how to plug intent data in to support the sales team. If you expect them to use it separately in parallel, both programs will suffer. But if you artfully incorporate it, the results can be impressive.

Keep in mind that the data collection method (which impact volume, accuracy, significance, specificity and contact/account detail), and range of sources (which impact how broad a perspective you receive) will determine how effectively you can incorporate data into your sales process.

Account level intent data, for instance, like that which relies on opaque topic taxonomies vs. specific competitors and key terms, will generally only provide some background substantiation of a project rather than specific signals and insights that can supplement an enterprise sales process like MEDDIC.  

Use Enablement to Connect the Dots

Even if you have a clear vision of how intent data will support your MEDDPICC sales process, the reality is that it may not be as clear at the sales rep's level.

That's OK. In fact, it might even be simpler if they're not aware of intent data as a separate resource, but simply receive insights and recommendations in context of the account, contact, and opportunity specifics with the MEDDIC template overlaid upon it.

How would you do this?

With great sales enablement.

Using automation (and perhaps some manual assist from marketing and sales ops) you can provide actionable insights to the sales team with the analysis complete and recommendations for how to proceed - questions to ask, collateral to share, cadences to run, etc.

That's a system that's powerful. Your preferred MEDDICC Sales Process, insightful and granular intent data, and a tech stack and collaboration that puts it all together.

 

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