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What is the MEDDIC Sales Methodology?
The MEDDIC sales methodology is a structured approach to sales qualification designed to help sellers deeply understand their prospects’ needs and close deals more efficiently. The acronym ‘MEDDIC’ stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, and Champion — each representing an essential aspect of the qualification process.
It was first introduced in 1996 by a group of sales executives at PTC, a software company. When Richard ‘Dick’ Dunkel and Jack Napoli (MEDDIC’s creators) and their team evaluated PTC’s success at winning new deals, failures resulting in lost deals, and the reasons for such outcomes, they discovered a pattern: there were six common elements that determined whether a deal was likely to close or not.
From this observation, the MEDDIC sales methodology was born. Using this framework, Dunkel and Napoli took PTC’s sales from $300 million to $1 billion in just four years. Since its creation, it has become widely recognized and adopted by top-performing sales organizations worldwide.
- MEDDIC sales framework
- MEDDIC sales methodology
- MEDDIC sales qualification process
What Differentiates MEDDIC from Other Sales Frameworks?
MEDDIC’s standout feature (especially for its time) is its efficient approach to qualifying potential customers. While most sales methodologies focus primarily on building relationships with prospects, MEDDIC places an equal emphasis on assessing and qualifying potential customers. Each step of the MEDDIC sales method sets the seller up nicely for the final close, and it protects their valuable time if the customer was never able to purchase or find a solution in their product in the first place.
Compared to other frameworks, MEDDIC is also more in-depth. BANT, SPIN selling, and other basic sales techniques typically focus on collecting information about the potential customer. What they don’t do is break down decision-making criteria, influencers, and steps in the decision-making process. So, sellers who use MEDDIC are better equipped to handle today’s inherently complex B2B sales landscape.
Another crucial aspect differentiating MEDDIC from other sales frameworks is its focus on identifying a Champion within the prospect organization. The Champion is someone who believes in your product (and you), so they’re is willing to go the extra mile to make sure their organization implements your solution. This person can help you navigate internal politics, win over key stakeholders, and ultimately increase your chances of closing the deal.
Importance of MEDDIC in Complex Sales
It’s no longer just enterprise sales that are complicated. Even SMBs operate at such an advanced level with such intricate challenges that selling to them is becoming increasingly difficult. So, now more than ever, understanding what truly qualifies a prospect for you (and vice versa) is imperative.
Equally importantly, time is of the essence when it comes to complex sales. Missing one small detail about a customer’s goals or evaluation criteria early on could mean weeks of wasted time nurturing a lead that was never going to convert. And if one key decision-maker out of the several doesn’t have a relationship with you or doesn’t understand the value you bring, you’ve lost the deal even if you did everything else right.
Here’s a quick look at your typical B2B sale in today’s landscape:
- Seven decision-makers per deal
- A three- to six-month sales cycle (or 102 days on average) for an SMB/mid-market sale
- A six- to 12-month sales cycle for an enterprise sale
- Decisions between your company and several other vendors
- As much as 70% of the buying process happens before talking to your team
- As little as 5% of their time actually spent engaging with your salespeople
- Red tape and corporate politics
- Potential changes in the decision-making group
- Reluctancy, considering they probably already use ~130 different apps.
That’s why MEDDIC is so impactful for the modern seller. By laying out decision criteria and processes upfront, sellers save themselves the time of figuring these things out weeks into a deal they’ve been working. And they maximize the limited time they have with each prospect.
By leaning into the specific roles of the Economic Buyer, Champion, and everyone else in the decision process, they develop personal connections with each member, which increases the chances of a unanimous sign-off. The B2B buying experience is largely defined by personalization, and that’s something sellers simply can’t achieve without a sales qualification framework like MEDDIC.
It seems obvious now. But until MEDDIC, no sales rep had applied those tactics systematically.
The MEDDIC Framework Stages and Qualification Questions
First, you need to know what your customer expects to achieve through your product or service. Without this information, you won’t be able to demonstrate value.
Metrics are supposed to be tangible — e.g., shortening the sales cycle by 20% or increasing conversions from word-of-mouth by 30%. Typically, these numbers are financial or time-related.
Try to get answers to the following questions:
- Do you have any goals in terms of revenue growth?
- What is your timeline for achieving these goals?
- How do you measure success in this area now?
Your product can do more than one thing. There’s no point in demoing features that streamline billing processes if your customer says they care about their sales velocity.
By answering questions about specific metrics early on, you’re prepared for the following stages of the MEDDIC framework. You’ll be able to justify your product from an economic standpoint and show how it can help each prospect achieve whatever ‘ROI’ means for them.
The Economic Buyer is the one with the most power in the deal. They can say “Yes” when everyone else says “No” and they can say “No” when everyone else says “Yes.” This is someone higher up in the company, like a VP, SVP, or CXO.
Depending on your prospect’s organization, the Economic Buyer might also be the one who signs off on contracts and releases funds.
Here are a few sample questions you can ask to identify the Economic Buyer:
- Who decides if this project is worth investing in financially?
- Who ultimately approves funding for new projects/tools?
- Can you talk me through your budget allocation process?
You need to know who this person is because they have ultimate veto power. Out of everyone you’re selling to, they absolutely must be convinced.
Once you uncover the Economic Buyer in the deal, talk directly to them about their expectations, personal goals, and what’s most important to them as far as decisions go. If you can’t reach them directly, try to get as much information as you can about them from your direct contact at the company. Use those insights to make the sale as frictionless as possible for that person.
Decision Criteria are the requirements your product needs to meet for your prospect to sign off on a purchase. These are usually 3-5 things they must have (or believe) before investing in your product.
From company to company, the exact criteria will vary. But they usually revolve around:
- ease of use
- integration with their current tech stack
- cost and budget constraints
- product functionalities and limitations
- potential ROI from using your product
Sometimes, you’ll also encounter a “Nice to Have” category. These are attributes of your product that may not be necessary for the deal to close but add value for the prospect.
To figure out what their decision-making criteria are, ask their team questions like:
- What are your non-negotiables, as far as features go?
- What are some challenges for your current tech stack?
- What’s the most you’re willing to invest in a solution to your problem?
If the team doesn’t have formal criteria in place, you should encourage them to discuss them. The more you can get them to articulate what’s important, the better chance you have of aligning your product as a solution.
As a seller, knowing the buying decision process puts you at a tremendous advantage. Since it varies from company to company, knowing how it works for each prospect upfront will help you navigate the red tape and roadblocks. You can take a proactive sales approach, rather than wondering who you should talk to and when.
To figure out their decision-making process:
- Start by asking about the steps they’ve already taken — e.g., have they spoken to any competitors? Have they done any research on your product?
- Ask about the people who are part of the process and where/how each of them comes into play.
- Walk through each step with them, asking what’s next. This will help you identify potential roadblocks or delays.
- Establish a timeline for deciding.
By knowing each stakeholder’s role, you can share specific content and tailor your engagements to each of them, which will guide each of them to a decision in a way that makes sense to them.
Plus, you’re a lot less likely to lose a deal to stagnation. You’ll know exactly what needs to happen on their end to cross the finish line and can push for those things to get done. For example, the Economic Buyer might have greenlit the purchase but hasn’t signed the contract a week later. Knowing this, you can focus your energy on getting that signature.
Pain points are what’s driving your prospect to look for a solution in the first place. It might be something they know is coming (like a company growth spurt) or an ongoing issue (like high customer churn).
They’re a little more broad than metrics because they aren’t tied to specific numbers or KPIs. They’re the problems that matter most to your prospect.
To find someone’s pain points, you can ask them about:
- What motivated them to start looking for a solution?
- What would happen if they don’t find a solution?
- How much time/money do they estimate they lose because of these issues?
Here, get as specific as possible. Knowing they might lose money from a slow sales process is different than knowing they might lose $500,000 in new deals this year.
The Champion is the member of the organization who feels the pain you’ve identified most. They aren’t usually the one who has sign-off power. They’re the one pushing upper leadership and the execs to get on board because they work with the problem day in and out. Since they know how badly they need your solution, the Champion will use their influence to sell for you from the inside.
The biggest indicator of a Champion is when they put in more effort than others to move the deal forward. They’ll gather documents, get approvals and budget, set up demos, and let on more detailed information about the situation. And they’ll probably tell you they’re either going to use the product or directly manage those who do.
They don’t need to be someone in a managerial position. They could be an individual contributor. But they do need to be well-respected — for example, a top-performing Account Executive.
While this person doesn’t have final sign-off power, the Economic Buyer will consider the Champion’s opinion the most when making the decision. If you’re able to get them on your side, they’ll advocate for you throughout the decision-making process.
Sales Qualification Challenges Solved by MEDDIC
The MEDDIC sales qualification methodology is designed to help salespeople work with multiple decision-makers and close deals efficiently.
Here’s a look at the specific problems MEDDIC solves:
- Unclear decision-maker roles. With multiple people weighing in during the process, a regular sales strategy leaves it up to the seller to decode each member’s motivations, priorities, and needs. MEDDIC encourages sellers to uncover individual roles to get a clearer picture of who does what.
- Lack of personalization in B2B sales. Two-thirds of B2B buyers expect personalized content when buying. Sellers who are unaware of or fail to speak to each buyer individually won’t be viewed favorably when it’s time to make a collective decision. Sellers who use MEDDIC tailor their engagements to each individual’s role and criteria, leading to more pertinent discussions.
- Lack of context in the sales process. Every company has its own standard procedures vendors have to go through. When sellers know exactly what needs to happen to move through the sales pipeline, they can target those specific activities right away.
- Spending too much time with bad leads. MEDDIC encourages sellers to focus on opportunities with a higher likelihood of closing. When salespeople know exactly what the prospect needs to move forward, they can either address their concerns or move on to better-qualified leads.
- Pain points without tangible metrics. Everyone has something they’re trying to solve. The problem is, sellers have trouble justifying their solution from an economic standpoint because they can’t demonstrate the results above a specific threshold. MEDDIC helps reps associate the cost of their product with the bottom-line result of using it.
Best Practices for Implementing the MEDDIC Sales Process
Although MEDDIC structures the qualification process quite well, there’s a right way and a wrong way to implement it.
Follow these best practices to successfully use MEDDIC in your organization:
Build urgency to close the deal.
Without understanding the pain points and potential consequences of not finding a solution, there may be less urgency for prospects to make a decision. MEDDIC helps sellers pinpoint the impact of not taking action, which helps them build urgency in their sales pitch.
Adapt to each sales opportunity.
Every sales opportunity is unique, and the decision-making process for each prospect can vary. It’s essential to adapt and tailor your MEDDIC approach to fit the specific needs and preferences of each individual buyer or group of buyers.
Know the tangible benefits of your product.
To prove your product is valuable, you have to be able to show your buyers the extent to which it can solve their metrics-based issues. If their goal, for instance, was to cut down production times by 20%, you’ll want to have a solid case for how your product creates efficiency to reduce it by 50%.
Practice active listening.
Listening intently to your prospects helps you identify their pain points and understand their needs better. This is crucial in MEDDIC qualification, as it requires a deep understanding of the prospect’s challenges and goals. You have to take a solution selling approach.
Use MEDDIC as an ongoing reference point.
MEDDIC shouldn’t just be used during initial qualification. Use it throughout the entire process. Continuously referring back to the criteria in your conversations with prospects ensures that you are addressing their specific needs and moving them towards a decision.
People Also Ask
Who invented MEDDIC sales?
PTC executives Dick Dunkel and Jack Napoli invented MEDDIC sales in 1996 as a sales qualification methodology that addressed the challenges of complex B2B sales.
Is MEDDIC a sales playbook?
MEDDIC itself isn’t a sales playbook, but it can be used as part of a sales playbook or sales process. It provides a structured framework for effectively qualifying deals. Your sales playbook would also include detailed information about how to approach different sales cycle stages and best practices for engaging with various prospects.
What is the difference between MEDDIC and MEDDPICC?
MEDDPICC is an enhanced version of MEDDIC that encompasses a P (for Paper Process) and an additional C (for Competition). Purchasing technology was comparatively easier in the 90s, with no requirement for subscription agreements due to perpetual licenses, and less stringent data security and privacy measures.