How to co-create deals with your buying champion

Viktor Kessler
June 6, 2024
min. read

Your champion is your best ally!

In sales and business in general, having a powerful ally within your prospect's or customer's organization can make all the difference between securing a deal and missing out on a valuable opportunity. A buying champion plays a crucial role in influencing decisions and advocating for your product or service. But how can you harness the potential of your buying champion to co-create successful deals? In this blog, we will explore the art and science of collaborating with your buying champion. We’ll have a look at strategies, communication techniques, and real-life examples to guide you on the path to forging strong alliances and achieving mutual success. 

Identify a buying champion in your prospect’s organization

Identifying a buying champion is the crucial first step in the co-creation process. They are usually people who have a lot of influence over the purchasing decision. Look for signs such as their active engagement in discussions, their ability to influence stakeholders, or their genuine enthusiasm for your solution. 

A typical buying champion can take on different roles and personas within an organization, but they all share certain characteristics and behaviors that make them stand out from the crowd. Here are some profiles to look out for during your conversations with prospects:

  • The enthusiast: This type of buying champion is genuinely excited about your product or service. They may have experienced its benefits firsthand and are eager to bring it to their organization. Enthusiastic buying champions are often vocal advocates and are highly motivated to see your solution succeed in their company.
  • The influencer: Influential buying champions have a way of influencing other decision-makers and stakeholders. They could have a strong network of colleagues and contacts in their company and can lobby for your solution. Their ability to persuade others can significantly impact the outcome of the deal.
  • The problem-solver: Some buying champions are known for their problem-solving skills. They recognize a specific challenge or pain point within their company or team and believe that your solution is the answer. They are driven by a desire to solve their problems and are willing to champion your product or service as the solution.
  • The visionary: Visionary buying champions have a long-term perspective. They see how your solution can contribute to the organization's future success and growth. Most of the time they are strategic thinkers who can align your offering with the company's overall objectives.
  • The trusted advisor: Trusted advisors are individuals who have established credibility and trust within their organization. Colleagues and superiors value their opinions and insights. These buying champions are often approached for advice and guidance, making them powerful advocates for your solution.
  • The innovator: Innovators are always on the lookout for cutting-edge solutions that can give their organization a competitive advantage. They are early adopters and are willing to take calculated risks to implement new ideas. Your innovative product or service may align perfectly with their goals.
  • The gatekeeper: In some cases, your buying champion may not hold a high-level position but can act as a gatekeeper to decision-makers. They control access to key stakeholders and can provide valuable insights into the decision-making process. It is always a good idea to try to get introductions to key decision-makers by making sure you start on the right foot with your gatekeeper.
  • The budget holder: This buying champion has control over the budget allocated for the purchase. They understand the financial aspects of the deal and can advocate for the allocation of resources necessary to implement your solution. Most of the time, budget holders are finance managers and even CFOs. They might also be the hardest to convince since they might not be the end users of your products or services. If you can build a solid relationship with budget holders, proving to them the value of your solutions, you will definitely go a long way!
  • The long-term partner: Long-term partners are looking for vendors who can provide ongoing value and support. They seek relationships that extend beyond the initial sale, making them ideal candidates for upselling, cross-selling, and fostering long-term loyalty.

A buying champion can exhibit a combination of these traits, and their specific profile may vary depending on the organization, industry, and circumstances. Identifying the type of buying champion you're dealing with can help you tailor your approach and build a more effective partnership.

Build a strong relationship with your buying champions

Once you've pinpointed your buying champion, the next step is to cultivate a strong and mutually beneficial relationship. This involves more than just professional interactions; it's about forging a connection built on trust, respect, and shared objectives. In the next sections, we’ll have a look at how to uncover and understand your champion’s objectives, how to develop co-creation strategies that work, and how to communicate with your buying champion for lasting success.

It's all about forging a connection built on trust, respect, and shared objectives.

Understanding your buying champion’s objectives

Align your goals with your champion’s objectives

In any business or sales endeavor, aligning your goals with the goals of your key contact or buying champion within a prospect organization is a strategic must. This alignment means that your objectives and the objectives of your buying champion are in sync, working towards a common purpose. This is vital for several reasons:

  • Streamlined decision making
  • Enhanced communication
  • Increased deal success
  • Long-term relationship building
  • Customer satisfaction

Aligning your goals with your buying champion's objectives is a strategic move that not only facilitates the deal-making process but also sets the stage for a more productive, mutually beneficial, and enduring partnership.

Uncover your buying champion's specific objectives and motivations

Understanding your buying champion's unique objectives and motivations is a critical step in building a successful relationship and crafting deals that meet their needs. Here's why it's important and how you can go about it:

  • Personalized approach: Every buying champion is different. They may have individual aspirations, key performance indicators (KPIs), and pain points within their organization. By uncovering their specific objectives and motivations, you can tailor your approach to resonate with what matters most to them.
  • Trust building: When you take the time to understand your buying champion's motivations, you demonstrate your commitment to their success. This builds trust and rapport and they will see that you're genuinely interested in helping them achieve their goals.
  • Needs-based selling: Knowing your buying champion's objectives enables you to position your product or service as a solution to their challenges. You can frame your value proposition in a way that directly addresses their pain points and showcases the benefits of your offering.

To uncover your buying champion's objectives and motivations effectively:

a. Conduct interviews: Engage in one-on-one conversations with your buying champion. Ask open-ended questions to encourage them to share their goals, challenges, and vision for the future. Listen actively and attentively to what they say.

b. Research and observation: Study their role within the organization, their department's goals, and any public information about their initiatives or challenges. Pay attention to their behavior and communication style, as these can provide valuable clues about their motivations.

c. Leverage your network: If possible, tap into your network or connections within the prospect organization to gather insights about your buying champion. Colleagues or contacts may have valuable information to share.

d. Ask for feedback: Seek feedback from your buying champion throughout the sales process. Inquire about their concerns, objectives, and how they envision your solution fitting into their plans.

When you uncover your buying champion's specific objectives and motivations, you'll be better equipped to position your product or service as the ideal solution, making it more likely that they will champion your cause within their organization and help you navigate the path to a successful deal.

Top co-creation strategies for successful deals

Creating successful deals with your buying champion is all about doing it together, in agreement with one another. But, you still need to be strategic during the process. Here are a few ways and examples to make sure your co-creation strategies will hit a home run.

Collaborative brainstorming and problem-solving

Collaborative brainstorming and problem-solving involve working closely with your buying champion to address challenges, explore opportunities, and develop creative solutions together. This is a more cooperative approach and you can strengthen your partnership and lead to more successful deals.

Example: Imagine you're selling a software solution to a healthcare organization. Your buying champion, who is the head of IT, expresses concerns about the software's integration with their existing systems. To address this, you initiate a collaborative brainstorming session with your champion, their IT team, and your product development team. Together, you identify potential integration issues and devise a customized plan to ensure a seamless implementation. This collaborative problem-solving eases your champion's concerns and also demonstrates your commitment to solving their specific challenges.

Leveraging your champion's influence and knowledge

Your buying champion is a valuable resource not only for their advocacy but also for their insights and connections within the organization. Leveraging their influence and knowledge can help you navigate the complex landscape of the prospect organization more effectively.

Example: Suppose you're selling a marketing automation platform to a mid-sized company. Your buying champion, the VP of Marketing, has a deep understanding of the company's marketing needs and knows the key decision-makers in the marketing department. By collaborating closely with your champion, you gain access to their network and receive valuable insights into the pain points of the marketing team. Your champion also introduces you to key stakeholders, making it easier to engage decision-makers and tailor your solution to their specific requirements.

Tailoring your value proposition

One of the most powerful co-creation strategies is tailoring your value proposition to align with your buying champion's needs and priorities. This ensures that your offering directly addresses their objectives, making it more compelling and persuasive.

Example: Consider you're selling cybersecurity services to a financial institution. Your buying champion, the Chief Information Officer (CIO), is primarily concerned with data security and regulatory compliance. In this case, you customize your value proposition to emphasize how your cybersecurity solution not only protects sensitive data but also helps the organization meet regulatory requirements seamlessly. You work with your champion to identify specific compliance standards they need to adhere to and demonstrate how your solution ensures compliance, easing their concerns and aligning with their objectives.

These are just a few examples that illustrate how co-creation strategies like collaborative brainstorming, leveraging your champion's influence and knowledge, and tailoring your value proposition can be applied in real-world sales scenarios to enhance your chances of closing successful deals. The key is to actively involve your buying champion in the process and ensure that your approach aligns with their goals and priorities. Always make them feel like they are in the driver’s seat.

Communication and decision-making with your buying champion

In the realm of B2B sales, effective communication is the linchpin of building consensus, navigating roadblocks, and maintaining productive dialogues with your buying champion. These elements are extremely important if you want to secure and sustain successful deals. In this section, we will explore these critical aspects in-depth, providing you with actionable strategies and insights to guide you through the complex world of collaborative decision-making.

Effective communication strategies for building consensus

Building consensus within a prospect organization can be a challenge, especially when various stakeholders have priorities and perspectives that are different. Your buying champion is your ally here, and effective communication is your weapon of choice.

To build consensus effectively, consider the following strategies:

  • Tailored messaging: Customize your messaging to resonate with the unique concerns and objectives of each stakeholder. Your buying champion can help you identify how to do this. For example, if you're selling a CRM solution, highlight the benefits for the sales team when speaking to the Sales Director and emphasize data security and compliance features when addressing the IT department.
  • Facilitated meetings: Schedule meetings that bring together key stakeholders, including your buying champion, to discuss the project's impact and benefits. These meetings can serve as forums for open dialogue and problem-solving. Make sure you prepare agendas that address the specific concerns of each attendee.
  • Visual aids: Visual representations, such as charts and graphs, can simplify complex information and make it more accessible to diverse audiences. Use visual aids to illustrate how your solution addresses the needs and goals of various stakeholders.
  • Active listening: Practice active listening during conversations and meetings. Demonstrate a genuine interest in understanding the perspectives and concerns of all stakeholders. Ask clarifying questions and summarize key points to show that you value their input.
  • Regular updates: Keep all stakeholders informed about the progress of the project and any developments related to your solution. Regular updates help maintain transparency and build trust.

How to navigate roadblocks and pushbacks from other stakeholders

You might encounter roadblocks or objections from stakeholders who don't share the same enthusiasm for your solution as your buying champion does. So, you’ll need to manage these challenges diplomatically. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Anticipate objections: Work closely with your buying champion to anticipate objections from other stakeholders. Develop well-reasoned responses and solutions to address these objections proactively.
  • Data-driven responses: When objections arise, respond with data and evidence that support the value and benefits of your solution. For example, if cost is a concern, provide a detailed ROI analysis that demonstrates the long-term financial advantages of your product or service.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Engage directly with objecting stakeholders to understand their concerns and perspectives. Listen attentively and empathize with their point of view. By acknowledging their concerns, you can open a constructive dialogue.
  • Collaborative problem-solving: Collaborate with objecting stakeholders to find common ground and solutions that address their concerns. This can involve compromises or adjustments to your proposal.
  • Leverage your buying champion: Enlist the support of your buying champion in addressing objections. Their advocacy and influence can be instrumental in swaying stakeholders who may be hesitant.

How to maintain a productive and open dialogue

Once you've navigated the complexities of decision-making and secured a deal, it's vital to sustain a productive and ongoing dialogue with your buying champion. This will help you successfully implement your solution and also pave the way for future collaborations and partnerships.

You can make use of the following strategies for maintaining an ongoing dialogue:

  • Scheduled check-ins: Proactively schedule regular check-in meetings with your buying champion. This is where you can review progress, address any future challenges, and explore additional ways your solution can provide value.
  • Performance metrics: Continuously monitor and share performance metrics and KPIs related to your solution. This data reinforces the value your product or service delivers and provides insights for optimization.
  • Feedback loop: Encourage your buying champion to provide feedback on their experiences and any areas for improvement. Use this feedback to refine your offering and enhance the overall customer experience.
  • Value-added insights: Share industry trends, best practices, and insights that can benefit your buying champion and their organization. Position yourself as a knowledgeable and valuable resource.
  • Upselling opportunities: Identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling additional products or services that align with your buying champion's evolving needs and objectives.

Effective communication, adept objection handling, and ongoing dialogue are the cornerstones of successful B2B sales, especially when dealing with complex decision-making processes and multiple stakeholders. If you can master these aspects and work closely with your buying champion, you have a strong possibility of securing the initial deal and fostering long-term relationships that produce mutually beneficial results.

Use Notch to build a win-win relationship with your buying champion!

At Notch, We believe that the future of successful sales is all about building great relationships.

That’s why we’re building Notch - an interactive, unified platform for sales teams and buyers to put collaborative value in the entire customer journey, from first call to onboarding and post-sales. Create a 100% free Notch account to get a taste of what digital buyer enablement looks like.

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