Katharina Cavano

In 1911, two groups of explorers set out to make the first expeditions to the South Pole, one led by Robert Falcon Scott, the other by Roald Amundsen.

Both were well-funded and staffed with experienced and professional explorers. Both groups reached the South Pole within a month of each other, yet one group met with tragedy, and many perished, while the other succeeded in returning everyone home safely. .

What happened?

Poor planning and execution proved to be the downfall for Scott’s expedition.

A successful Challenger transformation isn’t a life or death journey like an early 20th century Antarctic expedition, but in a similar vein, proper planning and flawless execution are two of the cornerstones of getting the Challenger journey right.

Today’s B2B customers have changed, and the landscape for selling has shifted dramatically. Customers are now better informed, buying in larger and more diverse groups, and engaging salespeople far later in the buying cycle.

We believe connecting with these ‘new’ customers requires organizations to transform  their sales methodology around Challenger skills and behaviors.

Much like the expeditions to the South Pole, this transformation is a journey that requires sound strategy, careful preparation and flawless execution. Those who don’t transform to better meet the demands of customers are likely to see the influx of high quality deals slow, and will continue to see less and less return on their commercial efforts.

Having participated in hundreds of Challenger transformations, we’ve discovered a few principles that are critical to follow. These principles have interesting similarity to the principles that made the difference between success and failure for the Scott and Amundsen expeditions. We just published a Whitepaper on the idea.  To not give too much away, we preview just one of them below.

A Successful Challenger Transformation

Principle One: Have the right concept and expertise to get the message right

Let’s return to the South Pole for a moment. So, what went wrong for the expedition that failed? Robert Falcon Scott experimented with newly invented but not yet tested motor sledges to carry supplies. He also replaced the one person on the crew who knew how to operate and repair them. On the other hand, Roald Amundsen used tried and tested sled dogs and brought experienced dog drivers along.

Without the knowledge needed to operate and repair the new technology, the Scott expedition failed and several died, including Scott himself. Amundsen’s crew all returned home safely, having relied on tested and proven resources. Having the right concept and embedded expertise is critical to a successful journey.

Bring messaging expertise with you on your Challenger journey 

A successful Challenger transformation requires embedded expertise as well. Most organizations familiar with the Challenger concept understand the importance of Commercial Insight and building a messaging strategy around that Insight.

But actually building those messages and launching them successfully to the field is another task entirely. It’s critical for a successful Challenger transformation to have expert message builders and strategists to advise and share experience and knowledge along the way.

More Principles for the Challenger Journey…

Wondering what the other two principles are for getting a Challenger transformation journey right? Download our latest Whitepaper; Getting the Challenger Journey Right: What it Takes for a Successful Commercial Transformation.

Katharina Cavano