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The Challenger Sales Model in a Nutshell

In sales, there are a variety of methodologies that different reps use to close deals. In this article, we will be discussing the Challenger Sales Model.In sales, there are a variety of methodologies that different reps use to close deals. In this article, we will be discussing the Challenger Sales Model.

And yes, we have articles on Miller Heiman, GAP Selling, and Qualification frameworks like MEDDIC and BANT for anyone looking to continue their sales education.

Let’s start right at the beginning.

What is the Challenger Sales Model?

The Challenger Sales Model is a sales technique developed by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon of CEB, now Gartner.

The foundation of this model is the belief that the traditional seller persona doesn’t work, at least in most situations, effectively any longer.

The model breaks sales reps into five personas.

The Five Seller Personas

Each persona has its pros and cons, but the first four represent the traditional sales personas, with The Challenger representing the persona required for today’s successful sellers.

The Hard Worker

These reps are focused on doing a lot of activities. They work hard and are not that interested in new ideas.

The Problem Solver

The Problem Solver is a detailed and analytics consultative, sometimes too slow to move.

The Relationship Builder

Shaking hands and kissing babies. These sellers are relationship-focused and resistant to new ideas like the hard worker.

The Lone Wolf

The Lone Wolf is the stereotypical sales cowboy – independent and headstrong. It’s often their way or the highway.

The Challenger

Challengers, according to the research by the authors, outperform the other four seller personas in most situations.

They teach, challenge, and are unafraid to rock the boat if required to get the prospect to see the right solution (which is their solution).

And this is the core of the model. A belief in teaching, educating, and in the process, upsetting the prospect’s status quo.

What are the 6 Steps of the Challenger Sales Model?

The Warmer

Start by building rapport with the prospect.


Position the problem in a manner that aligns with the challenges you solve, making the problem bigger or smaller as necessary.

Rational Drowning

Provide the buyer with tons of insight, data, and knowledge. The goal is to overwhelm the prospect.

Emotional Impact

Share with the buyer how others have dug themselves out from this challenge.

Value Proposition

Show them the value.

The Solution

Demonstrate how your solution is the only path forward.

Summary and In-Depth Video

That’s the Challenger Sales Model in a nutshell.  To learn even more, listen to this fantastic conversation between Aaron Evans and Matt Dixon as they dive deeper into the approach.