He is a sought-after speaker and advisor to corporate leadership teams around the world on topics ranging from sales effectiveness to customer service and customer experience.
Author, speaker, and advisor to Fortune 500 companies.
The Challenger Sale:
Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
What’s the secret to sales success? If you’re like most business leaders, you’d say it’s fundamentally about relationships–and you’d be wrong. The best salespeople don’t just build relationships with customers. They challenge them.
The need to understand what top-performing reps are doing that their average performing colleagues are not drove Matthew Dixon and his colleagues to investigate the skills, behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes that matter most for high performance. And what they discovered may be the biggest shock to conventional sales wisdom in decades.
Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. The authors’ study found that every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average sales performance, only one-the Challenger- delivers consistently high performance.
Instead of bludgeoning customers with endless facts and features about their company and products, Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer’s specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer’s every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.
The things that make Challengers unique are replicable and teachable to the average sales rep. Once you understand how to identify the Challengers in your organization, you can model their approach and embed it throughout your sales force. The authors explain how almost any average-performing rep, once equipped with the right tools, can successfully reframe customers’ expectations and deliver a distinctive purchase experience that drives higher levels of customer loyalty and, ultimately, greater growth.
An acclaimed international bestseller,The Challenger Sale has been lauded as “the most important advance in selling for many years” (SPIN Selling author Neil Rackham) and “the beginning of a wave that will take over a lot of selling organizations in the next decade.” (Business Insider). The Challenger Sale has sold nearly a million copies worldwide, has been translated into 8 foreign languages and has appeared on the Amazon andWall Street Journal bestseller lists on multiple occasions since its release.
The Effortless Experience:
Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty
Everyone knows that the best way to create customer loyalty is with service so good, so over the top, that it surprises and delights. But what if everyone is wrong?
In their acclaimed international bestseller, The Challenger Sale, Matt Dixon and his colleagues busted many longstanding myths about sales. In The Effortless Experience, Dixon and his team turn their research and analysis to a new, vital business subject—customer loyalty—and once again turn the conventional wisdom on its head, producing one of the most influential books ever to be published in the customer experience and customer service space.
The idea that companies must delight customers by exceeding service expectations is so entrenched that managers rarely even question it. They devote untold time, energy, and resources to trying to dazzle people and inspire their undying loyalty. Yet the careful research conducted by Dixon and his team over more than five years and tens of thousands of respondents proves that the “dazzle factor” is wildly overrated—it simply doesn’t predict repeat sales, share of wallet, or positive word-of-mouth. The reality:
Loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be “wowed”; they want an effortless experience. And they are far more likely to punish you for bad service than to reward you for good service.
The Effortless Experience takes its audience on a fascinating journey deep inside the customer experience to reveal what really makes customers loyal—and disloyal. In this presentation, Dixon lays out the four key pillars of a low-effort customer experience, along the way delivering robust data, shocking insights and profiles of companies that are already using the principles revealed by the research, with great results.
The Effortless Experience has been described as “a business detective story in which cherished truths are systematically investigated and frequently debunked” (Dan Heath, coauthor of Switch and made to Stick).
The rewards are there for the taking, and the pathway to achieving them is now more clearly marked than ever.
The Challenger Customer:
Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results
The bestselling authors of The Challenger Sale overturned decades of conventional wisdom with a bold new approach to sales. Now their latest research reveals something even more surprising: Being a Challenger seller isn’t enough. Your success or failure also depends on who you challenge.
Picture your ideal customer: friendly, eager to meet, ready to coach you through the sale and champion your products and services across the organization. It turns out that’s the last person you need.
Most marketing and sales teams go after low-hanging fruit: buyers who are eager and have clearly articulated needs. That’s simply human nature; it’s much easier to build a relationship with someone who always makes time for you, engages with your content, and listens attentively. But according to thew latest research from Matthew Dixon and his coauthors—based on data from thousands of B2B marketers, sellers, and buyers around the world—the highest-performing teams focus their time on potential customers who are far more skeptical, far less interested in meeting, and ultimately agnostic as to who wins the deal. How could this be?
The authors of The Challenger Customer reveal that high-performing B2B teams grasp something that their average-performing peers don’t: Now that big, complex deals increasingly require consensus among a wide range of players across the organization, the limiting factor is rarely the salesperson’s inability to get an individual stakeholder to agree to a solution. More often it’s that the stakeholders inside the company can’t even agree with one another about what the problem is.
It turns out only a very specific type of customer stakeholder has the credibility, persuasive skill, and will to effectively challenge his or her colleagues to pursue anything more ambitious than the status quo. These customers get deals to the finish line far more often than friendlier stakeholders who seem so receptive at first. In other words, Challenger sellers do best when they target Challenger customers.
The Challenger Customer unveils a research-based approach that will help sellers and managers to distinguish the “Talkers” from the “Mobilizers” in any customer organization. It also provides a blueprint for finding them, engaging them with disruptive insight, and equipping them to effectively challenge their own organization.
Matt Dixon is the Chief Product & Research Officer of the Austin-based AI venture, Tethr. Prior to his role with Tethr, he was the Global Head of Sales Force Effectiveness Solutions at Korn Ferry Hay Group and, before that, held numerous global leadership roles in research, product development and management for CEB, now Gartner. An accomplished business researcher and writer, Matt is known for his frame-breaking and provocative work in the areas of sales, customer service and customer experience. He is the author of three Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestsellers—The Challenger Sale, The Effortless Experience and The Challenger Customer—and he is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review with more than 20 print and online articles to his credit. He is a sought-after speaker and advisor to management teams around world, having presented his findings and insights at a wide range of industry conferences as well as to hundreds of senior executive teams, including those of many Fortune 500 companies.
Matt Dixon is Chief Product & Research Officer of the Austin-based AI and machine learning venture, Tethr. In this capacity, he has responsibility for product strategy, product management and product marketing. Prior to joining Tethr, Matt was a Senior Partner and Global Head of Sales Force Effectiveness Solutions at Korn Ferry Hay Group and, before that, held numerous global leadership roles in research, product development and management for CEB, now Gartner.
A seasoned business researcher, Matt has been involved in dozens of original quantitative and qualitative research studies on topics ranging from customer experience strategy to customer service and sales effectiveness. His first book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation (Penguin, November 2011), was a #1 Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestseller and has sold more than half a million copies worldwide. The Challenger Sale has won acclaim as “the most important advance in selling for many years” (SPIN Selling author Neil Rackham) and “the beginning of a wave that will take over a lot of selling organizations in the next decade.” (Business Insider). Matt is also a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, having been published more than twenty times in both HBR’s print and online editions. Among his noteworthy HBR articles are “Reinventing Customer Service” (November-December 2018), “Kick-Ass Customer Service” (January-February 2017), “Dismantling the Sales Machine” (November 2013), “The End of Solution Sales” (July-August 2012) and “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers” (July-August 2010). His two most recent books are The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty, (Penguin, September 2013) and The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results (Penguin, September 2015).
Matt is a sought-after speaker and advisor to management teams around world, having presented his findings at a wide range of industry conferences as well as to hundreds of senior executive teams around the world, including those of many Fortune 500 companies.
Matt holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh as well as a B.A. in International Studies from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and four children.