Is an abbreviation enough to save your sales team? This one just might be. Meet the MEDDIC sales process.
If you deal with buyers whose complex, internal politics and buying processes feel like a black box, the MEDDIC sales process gives you a clear path forward. How? It helps you qualify buyers so the right ones end up in your sales funnel. Because there’s nothing worse than a funnel full of poorly qualified leads.
Unqualified leads pop up time and again, derailing forecasts and draining precious resources. Reps waste their time on buyers who won’t close no matter how much effort reps put in, and they lose out on spending time with buyers who are primed for a purchase. Somehow, it’s still a common problem, even in this era of high-tech and AI.
For modern sales teams, the MEDDIC sales process is the embodiment of the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It stops un-qualified buyers in their tracks at the top of your sales funnel. It’s the best filtration system you’ve ever used. (Remember when Brita forever changed the taste of tap water? Get ready to filter like that in your sales funnel.)
PS: Want an AI-powered filtration system? Gong’s sales analytics software takes unparalleled data capture and analytical capabilities and applies them to your customer interactions. You’ll uncover deals at risk and be able to predict revenue more accurately.
What exactly is the MEDDIC sales methodology?
The MEDDIC sales methodology focuses on the decision-making processes in your buyer’s organization — that’s right, the stuff that always feels outside your control. It provides much-needed clarity for those who deal with complex organizations. The obvious benefit here is that once you have 20/20 vision into your buyer’s systems, you can tailor and target your sales strategy according to their not-so-predictable needs.
So what does the abbreviation in “MEDDIC sales methodology” actually stand for? Mertrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain, and Champion.
Here’s what this discovery-oriented sales process uncovers about each one:
Metrics: This focuses on the economic impact of your solution. Because nothing grabs a buyer’s attention faster than talking about what they could lose (market share, deal size, annual contract values, etc.). Once you understand the potential losses they’re facing, your solution can reverse course and turn them into gains.
Economic buyer: Who has profit and loss responsibility? This matters because no one is as motivated to uncover the truth and find solutions as the folks who carry the weight of responsibility for financial wins and losses. They’re key to the decision making on your buyer’s side… and it’s not always clear who they are.
Decision criteria: What technical, vendor, and financial criteria will you face on the buyer’s side? It’s all well and good to get your lead team on side, but if there are roadblocks — or outright deal breakers — to be found in these categories in advance, now’s the time.
Decision process: What’s the process, start to finish? There’s no room for being wishy-washy on this. You need a clear understanding of what validation and approval look like. If they’ve been scattered in the past, you need to know. That’s the only way you’re going to figure out whether you can avoid being the ball in their sales pinball machine.
Identify pain: What are their primary business objectives? This one’s a no-brainer. It’s where most discovery conversations go right out of the gate… especially if you’re using Gong’s article, “12 Sales discovery questions to pinpoint real pain”. And while identifying pain is absolutely critical in the MEDDIC sales process, the time you’ll spend here is shared with several other areas of conversation that aren’t always addressed.
Champion: Who will sell on your behalf inside the buyer’s organization? Don’t say you… you’re not an insider. You need to generate a critical mass of interest in your product, and that happens when you have one (and preferably several) champions waving the flag on your behalf.
Clearly, this is not your ordinary disco call.
(PS: The MEDDIC sales process was created by Dick Dunkel and Jack Napoli at the Boston-based software and services firm PTC Inc. in the mid-1990s. That’s how good it is. It’s still one of the dominant methodologies used in lead qualification. You can’t say that about the staying power of Crystal Pepsi now, can you?)
What sets the MEDDIC sales methodology apart?
Good leaders believe in their reps. But that alone doesn’t get anyone to quota.
Today’s top sales leaders also track team metrics and offer reps support when they see sales skills that could use a boost. They focus on objection handling, active listening, presenting skills, storytelling, and more. (As Gong’s research has shown time and again, unless you’re using software that uncovers real trends in each rep’s selling skills, these coaching efforts are largely shots in the dark.)
But the MEDDIC sales methodology says even a focus on selling skills isn’t enough.
No matter how skilled your reps are, you can’t simply arm them with skills and expect them to tackle leads that aren’t suited to your product/service. It’s unfair to the rep. And even worse, it’s a waste of their great talent. Want to watch talented sales reps (or those with potential) deflate faster than a whoopie cushion in the hands of a five-year-old? Hand them poorly qualified leads, then focus on their selling skills when they can’t stick the landing.
That may be happening on your team if you’re not using the MEDDIC sales methodology. Unintentional? Yes. Preventable? Yes.
The best sellers in the world can’t overcome a pile of leads that are poorly qualified. They will, however, be driven enough to invest masses of time into them, and they may close a (teenie) tiny percentage of them. But imagine what sales reps with highly polished skills could do if they could truly qualify leads before investing time and energy into taking them through the sales funnel.
If you work with enterprise deals in particular, your ears should be burning.
… And if you use any of today’s more common sales methodologies, you may want to think about focusing more on your lead qualification process. These include methodologies such as the Challenger Sales Methodology, which focuses on educating your buyer about a problem they face (whether they know it or not); The Sandler Selling System, which uses upfront contracts and makes buyers feel like they’re in the driver’s seat throughout the sales process; or even Inbound Sales, popularized by the likes of internet-driven companies like Hubspot, and focusing on aligning your sales process with your buyer’s purchasing process.
They’re successful. They’re well-known. They’re proven.
But even they don’t address qualification as early in the process (or as well) as the MEDDIC sales methodology. That means reps can lose oodles of time trying to work through painful deals they think they should be able to drive forward. After all, their lead was qualified, right?
According to MEDDIC, anything that isn’t MEDDIC basically puts the cart before the horse. And it’s a fair point. Opening the gate to an unqualified lead is a disaster. Let’s take a closer look at why…
What problem does the MEDDIC sales methodology solve?
Plain and simple, it solves poor lead qualification. As in, “Is that lead really qualified to be in our pipeline?” (Hint: If the answer is often yes, but you’re having a tough time hitting quota, it’s time for a different answer.)
Most teams say yes if a lead has three qualities:
- The buyer’s company has a problem your company can solve.
- The buyer can make a purchase within your price range.
- The buyer has a decision maker or influencer working on the purchase.
Those qualifiers probably look very familiar to you. They’re standard, and commonly used on sales teams in every industry under the sun. Sure, they work, but their popularity doesn’t mean they work well.
Use them as the main qualifiers for your leads and you’ll allow far more leads into your funnel than you actually want. In fact, it’ll be stuffed so full that every buyer will move more slowly, and your real leads will have a tough time getting the attention they need to move through the funnel quickly. You’ll likely lose a few of your most qualified buyers along the way.
So who’s making it into your funnel that shouldn’t? A surprising number of those leads are “tire kickers”. They’re (supposed) buyers who come into your view all curious and question-filled, with just enough enthusiasm to keep your reps tied up for weeks… or months.
But they have no actual intention of buying. They’re just browsing and eating up attention, even though they perceive themselves as buyers. They’ll gobble up your reps’ time faster than they can say “Now here’s another question for ya…”.
The worst case scenario is only catching onto them once they’re deep in your sales funnel. You want to stop them from entering in the first place. You want to put a filter on the top of that funnel.
Most sales teams’ processes don’t do that. They filter unqualified leads later in the process — if at all — taking time away from real leads. Plus, other approaches let reps get well into the sales process before they start crafting strategies to deal with buyers. MEDDIC forces them to work more strategically right out of the gate — during discovery and in all subsequent stages of the sales process.
MEDDIC keeps sales teams on track with a more consistent and accurate picture of who is in their sales funnel. And wouldn’t you rather have your reps invest time at the start of the sales process, qualifying leads, than having to push a bunch of (unqualified) square pegs through a round sales funnel? (They’ll be tempted to do it because they care about quota, but we all know it’s a losing battle. Give them a filter.)
Is the MEDDIC sales methodology a good fit for your team?
If your team created a word cloud of their biggest challenges, would it include enterprise and complexity? If so, that’s a cue to investigate MEDDIC further.
Given that the MEDDIC sales process is so effective at weeding out unqualified leads early in the sales process, you could use it for teams (and buyers) of any size. Because there’s never anything wrong with zeroing in on the right buyers as quickly as possible. But that’s not where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
MEDDIC is tailor-made for sellers who deal with a customer base that’s tricky, or whose offering is technically complex.
What do we mean by tricky? You sell to orgs with five or more buyers. If orgs with two or three buyers are as easy-to-read as comic books, then the five-plus behemoths are like novels. They take ages to pour through and you learn more about their story at every turn. There’s no way you’re going to be able to assess (i.e., qualify) them accurately by skimming the first chapter. That’s only scratching the surface. They require pointed, targeted questions at the outset if you want to reveal what’s really going on inside them.
Orgs with multiple buyers inevitably have complex internal politics, and their buying processes are rarely straightforward. It’s hard to figure out who the assessors are, who the decision makers are, and who owns the project’s budget. Reps can’t chase deals — let alone close them — if they don’t know who’s who inside these entangled orgs.
If that’s who you deal with on the regular, crack open your MEDDIC gift box. It’s time to give your team the clarity they need.
And if your customers typically have only one-to-three internal buyers, you probably don’t need to go with MEDDIC. It’s designed to process more complexity. In other words, don’t use a sledgehammer of discovery questions when a light knock will do. MEDDIC’s value grows in parallel with a deal’s complexity.
Let’s move on to some other considerations, beyond complexity, when determining whether the MEDDIC sales process is right for your team. There are several other circumstances in which this sales process might work well for you and your reps.
Do any of these issues apply to you?
- You want to narrow the focus of your team’s selling prowess and target a specific group of buyers. There are many reasons this may be in the cards for your team, including delivering a highly tailored selling experience that’s suited to a particular type of org. If you’re unable to suss them out using traditional pre-funnel means, then using a highly targeted discovery process may help sort the wheat from the chaff.
- You want to work on several verticals, but offer pitches that feel tailored to each one. If you’re diversifying, rather than zeroing in on one vertical, you’ll need a better/deeper sales qualification process. You want to be sure each buyer receives a customized approach, even within categories. You can’t do that if you don’t have enough detail. Again, MEDDIC gets your reps working more strategically right from the get go.
- To date, you haven’t been able to help improve your company’s product by understanding buyers’ challenges. This is something that usually happens as a secondary (or tertiary) function on sales teams. In some instances, this knowledge translation doesn’t happen at all. But what if your product is about to undergo a massive upgrade? You might be asked to lean into assessing buyers’ pain points. Frankly, it’s going to be a boon to both the development team and your sellers. They’ll be able to craft a better product and your sellers will create better selling strategies if they understand their buyers’ challenges more clearly.
- You want to demonstrate a direct connection between your activities and increased revenue. I mean, who doesn’t? But sometimes it’s tough to draw a straight line between your activities and moving the needle. Was it that bold move you made in messaging, or a shift from the marketing team? If you have more clarity about your buyers’ pain points (thanks to MEDDIC), it’s easier to show how your sales process ties directly to winning more often.
If you’re experiencing any of these, or if you deal with complex buyers on the regular, MEDDIC is going to change the shape of your work. Forever. It’s going to lessen the burden on your reps and allow them to hone their sales skills. They’ll get to focus on analyzing buyers in a meaningful way and responding strategically, instead of working throughout the sales process to figure out who they’re dealing with and what’s going on.
Help them move on quickly when the lead isn’t qualified and spend more time with prospects who are likely to buy.
What is MEDDPICC?
Good things come to those who evolve, and sales methodologies are no exception. This modern twist takes the MEDDIC sales process you know and love, and adds two more elements to the equation to form MEDDPICC.
Here they are side by side, so you can see the additions (in green) and one change of order (in gray):
|Economic Buyer||Economic Buyer|
|Decision Process||Decision Criteria|
|Decision Criteria||Decision Process|
|Identify Pain||Paper Process|
Let’s walk through it.
“Metrics” remains the same. It focuses on understanding the potential gains and ultimately the economic benefit for the buyer.
“Economic Buyer” still refers to the work you’ll do connecting with the decision maker on the buyer’s end of the deal.
But “Decision Criteria” changes places with “Decision Process”. The criteria take center stage here, as the checklist your buyer uses to sort through their options and make a purchasing decision.
They come before the “Decision Process”, whereby your buyer reaches an actual purchasing decision. That’s not to say they’ll have made one yet; just that the process is clearly identified. Think of the criteria as step A and the purchasing process as step B.
Here it comes, the shiny new object: “Paper Process”. It encompases everything you’ll need to do to close the deal to keep the sticklers happy (lawyers, cyber security, etc.). They’ll want to have a say, and thank goodness for that.
Most buyers put every new vendor through a formal procurement process. No one’s left out because the stakes are just too high. The process includes reviews by several teams, including security, legal , purchasing, etc. While the product itself may appear to be a great match for the buyer, you both need to know that the product is a great match on the backend. If it’s not, the positive results (the ROI) your buyer expects from their purchase won’t materialize, and that spells a post-sale disaster.
Find out exactly who among your buyer’s i-dotters and t-crossers will have a go at the deal before it’s signed. Knowing this allows you to prepare in advance and remove roadblocks to make for smoother sailing ahead.
Not surprisingly, you’ll still need to “Identify Pain” on your buyer’s side. This means uncovering and clearly defining pain points that can be addressed by using your product/service.
Having a “Champion” inside your buyer’s organization remains crucial to closing a deal. Humans are social creatures and personal relationships matter in sales as much as in any other facet of life. Having a champion inside the buyer’s company is a natural way to build trust in your product and win over influential people inside the buyer’s company.
Another newbie alert! Addressing the “Competition” should happen early in your sales process. How can you strategize appropriately if you don’t know the alternatives your buyer is considering? You know who your market competitors are, but which ones, specifically, appeal to your buyer and why? It’s possible that your competition isn’t even coming from another market competitor. It might come from an in-house development or from people inside the organization who want things to remain status quo.
Use MEDDPICC as a discovery-focused checklist to uncover potential issues and strategize about solutions before you get too far into the sales process.
How do you implement the MEDDIC sales methodology?
Train your sales reps so they fully understand what each part of the MEDDICC acronym stands for and — perhaps most importantly — what it looks like in practice. (You have a training plan, right? Whether you do or don’t, brush up on the four critical steps in great training plans with our “Sales Training Plan: How To Turn Your Team Into A Sales Powerhouse”.)
Here’s a quick scoop on that, without going into too much detail. If you already know that the MEDDIC sales process is suited to your team and the type of sales they work with, start to picture them working in this way…
Metrics: Find out exactly what your buyer wants to accomplish. Are they aiming to hit a revenue target? A time target? A change in their target market? Once you know precisely what they hope to gain by purchasing a solution, you can describe the results your product offers more appropriately. It can shift the way you use before-and-after stories that highlight ROI.
Economic buyer: The MEDDIC sales process prioritizes getting access to the person who has buying power. They’re the decision maker. Buttering up anyone else just isn’t as valuable. Find out who the economic buyer is, right out of the gate.
Decision criteria: Your buyer isn’t going to offer up a checklist of their internal buying criteria. But the point is, they know what they are. It’s up to you to uncover the criteria in that checklist as thoroughly as possible. Then incorporate those points into pitches.
Decision process: Don’t let the buyer drive the process. Make sure your reps own it by doing everything they can to smooth out the process and keep up momentum. That means doing demos and making sure next steps are always in the calendar (within a healthy time frame). They should also make sure they know exactly what needs to happen on the buyer’s side to close a deal. Who will want to review the paperwork? Review security policies? Knowing in advance helps avoid unforeseen roadblocks.
Identify pain: When you mirror your buyer’s words, you unconsciously tell them that you understand their experience; that you see them. You can’t do that if you don’t know what their pain points are. This isn’t a category in which you can stay general or talk at the surface. It requires digging into specifics to get to the golden nuggets of truth that can help your reps win.
Champion: Somebody’s got to keep your solution top of mind inside the buyer’s org, and it can’t always be you because you’re not there. It needs to be someone who can speak up in meetings and raise the issue at just the right moment to maintain or garner interest.
MEDDIC Discovery Question Examples
Training means nothing if it doesn’t include precise and practical questions that work, so let’s get you started with a few basics. Tailor these MEDDIC-focused questions to your buyers, whether you’re speaking with the first point of contact, the economic buyer, or a potential champion:
- What do you want to achieve?
- How will you measure success?
- What would success look like for you?
- Who is involved in the final purchasing decision?
- What are the top three criteria you’d like to see in a product?
- How do you plan to sell (or justify) this purchase to others involved in the decision?
- Who will you speak with to finalize a decision about this potential purchase?
- What paperwork do you ask vendors to provide before a purchase is complete?
- How does [INSERT PROBLEM] affect your business, financially and otherwise?
- What would happen if everything stayed the same as it is now?
- What draws you to this specific product or solution?
- Can you tell me more about our product’s benefits, particularly in terms of how they apply to your organization?
Still not convinced? Considering other sales methodologies? Let’s see how the MEDDIC sales process stacks up against a heavy hitter: the Challenger sales model.
The MEDDIC sales process vs. Challenger
Have you ever looked into the Challenger sales model? If you did, you can be forgiven for feeling doubt creep up your spine. It’s a fairly intense methodology that relies on this process: challenging the buyer using a disruptive insight and a corresponding solution. (PS: Want the skinny on a dozen sales methodologies? Check out the “Top 12 sales methodologies: How to choose the right one” on our Gong blog.)
And yes, Challenger is pretty complex, and therefore somewhat tricky to master. Challenger selling is a methodology that’s best used by a team of senior reps. Put bluntly, it’s not for newbies or the faint of heart.
If your reps are talented, but not quite veterans of their sport yet, the MEDDIC sales process is a good bet. It’s a tried-and-tested methodology that good reps of any vintage can handle. It’s known as a methodology that’s easy to implement across any team.
The Challenger Sales model, on the other hand, is for specialists. It requires deep knowledge of how businesses work. Your reps would need to be well-versed in business operations, standard (and not-so-standard) challenges, and the problems with often-used solutions.
The MEDDIC sales process, on the other hand, can be taught in very short order — usually in two hours or so — instead of over several days, like Challenger. Both take practice to master, but MEDDIC can be cracked in much less time.
What’s more, your reps can take what they learn from the MEDDIC sales process with them more easily if they change products or even companies than they can using Challenger. While MEDDIC can be applied across limitless industries, Challenger relies on (re)building specific industry knowledge if the seller changes industries or even products.
Have we mentioned reinforcement?
We’ll close with a universal truth: Every sales methodology requires tracking and reinforcement. Without it, you won’t know if your chosen methodology works, whether your reps are implementing it properly, or whether they’re taking your coaching advice.
That’s why Gong’s revenue intelligence software is critical to your sales team’s success in implementing MEDDIC. Without it, you’ll be crossing your fingers and hoping that the MEDDIC sales process lands properly on your team. With it, you’ll know exactly where your reps need coaching, and where (or if) your sales playbook falls short. You’ll also see how trackable aspects of the MEDDIC sales process affect your close rates.
Knowing how your chosen sales methodology plays out in the field is everything. Why bother using a clear and formal process if you’re not going to track its results and follow up on them to continuously implement improvements.
The effect on your final numbers will be obvious, but tracking and reinforcing your sales process will also allow you to forecast more accurately and develop your reps and overall team with lightning speed. (Want more on world-class ramping? Check out this Quota-Crushing Sales Onboarding Checklist from Gong. You’ll learn how top sales managers cut ramp time, boost quota attainment, and set new reps on an unstoppable winning streak.)
If your reps are struggling, don’t let it go unnoticed. And if there are risks hiding in your deals, don’t let them go unaddressed. Instead, get deal warnings if things are about to go sideways, so you can course correct immediately. Gong’s trackers feature alerts you to key words mentioned by your reps or buyers in near-real time. Have a particular phrase you want to watch out for? Get pinged every time it comes up in a call, as it happens.
Gong is ready to help you track call stats, certify your reps on their sales process, and create training plans that reinforce all the right moves.