Solution-Centric Sales Vs Challenger Sales: Decoding the Sales Conundrum

Exploring the Dynamics: Solution Selling vs. Challenger Selling in Modern Business. Which one should you adopt in 2023?

Rory Sadler
September 8, 2023
February 24, 2024
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Exploring the Dynamics: Solution Selling vs. Challenger Selling in Modern Business. Which one should you adopt in 2023?

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What is the optimal approach for your team - Solution Selling or Challenger Selling?

In the realm of sales, is solution selling or Challenger selling more effective in today's world?

Solution selling was born in the 1980s; however, does that make it outdated? Challenger selling, on the other hand, has only become popular in the last decade. This begs the question: is it a more 'modern' approach to sales?

Making a selection among the plethora of sales models can be a challenging task. Nevertheless, it is important to find the one that would fit the workflow, the prospects and the organisation the most.

Now, let's analyze the differences between these two well-known sales techniques. Subsequently, you will be able to get to know:

  • What is the concept of solution selling?
  • Could you explain Challenger selling?
  • How do solution selling and Challenger selling differ at a quick look?
  • When is the appropriate time to use each technique when concluding the sale?

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What is known as solution selling?

The purpose of solution selling is to comprehend the significant demands of the prospect and designing a solution that blends in with their environment. To do this, the representative must be accommodating and take the time to comprehend the particulars of each potential customer's requirements and conditions before providing a customized solution.

The core concept of solution selling is centered around establishing relationships and being beneficial. It is an approach that emphasizes the reasons why a product is being bought, rather than its features.

This particular approach to sales is most advantageous for companies that offer complicated items or customizable plans that require tailoring to each potential buyer.

A disadvantage of solution selling: This approach disregards the reality that buyers are usually already well on their way to making a purchase when they engage with a representative.

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What is the product line of Challenger?

The challenger approach focuses on providing useful insights to potential customers, questioning the status quo with concepts and perspectives that they may not be aware of yet. Rather than remaining within the customary boundaries of their prospects' environment, the challenger seller encourages them to look beyond their boundaries.

In today's age, customers have access to a vast amount of knowledge throughout the acquisition process. However, sales representatives who employ the challenger approach are able to gain respect and trust by offering their customers insights they may not have had, and providing a novel solution to their issues.

Challengers possess a thorough knowledge of the customer's business and sector and stimulate prospects to explore beyond their familiar sphere. They confront traditional beliefs with creative means of managing old issues. They are more than just salespeople--they are advisors and mentors.

Drawbacks of offering solutions: It is possible to fall into the habit of 'telling instead of selling,' attempting to compel prospects to pick your solution with an abrasive, forceful approach instead of persuading them.

At a glance, what are the primary differences between solution selling and Challenger selling?

What would be a brief summarization of the key distinctions between solution selling and Challenger selling?

Solution Sales | Challenger Sales

Emerged in the 1980s | Emerged in 2011

Constructs a custom-made answer to the customer's demands | Instructs clients to try different answers to their troubles

Optimal for prospects who don't know the solutions that are available | Optimal for prospects who are informed and open to being taught novel ideas.

Demands that sellers pose numerous qualifying inquiries to discover the requirements of their prospects | Requires that sellers possess in-depth knowledge of current tendencies and fresh ideas in the area of their prospects

Knowing When to Employ a Solution-Focused Approach and When to Utilize a Challenger Method When Finalizing a Sale

The optimal sales model for your organization and its staff is entirely contingent on the nature of the product or service that you are offering and to whom you are selling it.

A comparison can be made between solution selling and challenger selling. Which approach is better for the customer? This is a question that can be answered by taking a closer look at both approaches.

Solution selling focuses on identifying the customer's needs and then providing the right solution to meet those needs.

Challenger selling, on the other hand, is a bit more aggressive and puts the customer in a position where they must consider the solution presented to them. In the end, it is up to the customer to decide which approach works best for their needs.

It's impossible to state definitively that one sales approach, such as solution selling or Challenger selling, is superior over the other in all cases. If someone claims they can, it's likely they have an ulterior motive in mind.

The advantages and disadvantages of each approach must be taken into account; however, the same crucial element must be kept in mind for both: the solution selling and Challenger selling models must be modified to address the needs of customers, the team, and the current climate.

Below are examples of how these sales models can be used in various steps of the sales cycle.

Obtaining Qualification

Prior to using either of these two selling approaches, it is vital to ascertain the customer's needs. After determining that the prospect would benefit from the product with the help of fundamental discovery questions, the two models diverge.

The concept of solution selling is focused on exploring the issues of the customer in greater detail and discovering a suitable response. Through this system, sales representatives serve as advisors, aiding their clients in recognizing their requirements and deciding on the best answers for them.

When working with a challenger: It is essential for the rep to demonstrate their expertise in the area of the prospect's problem. To do this, they can restate the difficulty and then motivate the prospect to look at a potential solution that may not have been previously considered, creating curiosity.


This is an effort to present my idea and get a positive response.

When a sales rep has determined a prospect is a viable candidate, then they need to present the solution. This could take place in a sales meeting, with a product demonstration, or even via video conferencing with stakeholders. The techniques used in each of these scenarios are distinct from one another.

The pitch for a solution is tailored to the particular buyer. By this stage, the salesperson has a thorough comprehension of the customer's requirements and can modify their presentation to demonstrate the unique advantage the buyer will experience when they acquire the product.

By leveraging real-world industry knowledge and expertise: The rep helps the prospect re-examine any false assumptions they may have about their issues through questioning. This technique establishes the rep as a knowledgeable and respected individual in the industry, and allows them to reevaluate the problem and potential solutions, eventually pointing the prospect towards the product they are selling.

Concluding a Deal

The process of coming to an agreement and the eventual resolution of a deal is known as negotiation and close.

The end of the process involves both negotiations and finalizing the sale. Here is an overview of how these two models manage this critical stage of the deal:

At this point, the salesperson inquires to help the customer envision a situation where their product can be used. They create a story around the solution and work collaboratively to settle on the best answer for the individual.

A challenger is known for confidently negotiating with a "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude. They are ready to simply walk away from a deal if need be, giving them a powerful stance.

They are skilled in constructing stories that tug on the prospects' emotions, such as a fear of missing out and a fear of failure. By the time they reach the close, the challenger has positioned their product as the ideal answer to the issue the prospect is facing.

Deciding on the most appropriate sales approach for your group and your market

It is not possible to obtain advice on which sales model you should employ if you are here.

It's impossible to definitively decide which sales approach is superior. All strategies--solution selling and Challenger selling among them--have their own benefits and drawbacks. Every approach has its own advantages, so the most suitable one will depend on the customer.

In order to be successful, it is essential to be knowledgeable about the various types of selling tactics, and adjust your approach depending on the circumstances of the customer.

Does your potential customer appreciate a good argument about the best ways to do things in the industry? Are they open to trying new things? If so, the challenger approach may be the ideal fit.

The challenger approach could prove disastrous, however, if the prospect is not open to listening to another viewpoint.

The main idea is to be aware of the market and understand your customers. Additionally, it is essential to be aware of yourself.

Once you have done your research, you can select the model that is the best fit for you and your target audience.

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