Janey Zitomer
December 4, 2020

At EZ Texting, VP of Revenue Navin Jagannath recently turned his attention to a new form of problem-solving. Its name? The Challenger methodology. 

Over the past few weeks, the SMS messaging platform’s customer team has been leveraging the sales model, which focuses on teaching as opposed to relationship building, in order to create a cohesive product pitch, beginning with marketing and ending with post-sales. 

“In the past, we’ve followed whatever our Salesforce pipeline has dictated as we’ve moved forward,” Jagannath said. “The Challenger framework allows us to make sure that we have structured content, collateral and talk tracks from the top of the funnel all the way through to renewal and retention.”

But if Jagannath has learned anything in his role over the last few years, it’s that neither consumer outreach nor training methodologies exist in a vacuum. 

“The Challenger methodology and JTBD complement each other at their core,” he said, referencing the jobs-to-be-done marketing framework. 

JTBD allows teams like Jagannath’s to contextualize an offering when speaking to a potential customer. It builds on the idea that, for example, it’s likely a small business prospect is in the market for a different SMS plan than a more established online retailer, whether they know it or not. 

“JTBD is focused on identifying exactly what problems prospects need to solve and ensuring that the way we position our product educates customers on how EZ Texting can support them,” Jagannath said. 

Below, he explained how implementing the two frameworks along with more mainstream tools has allowed his team to better tie product, industry and sales training together.

 

Frameworks & Methodologies

Developed by Strategyn Founder Tony Ulwick, the JTBD framework enables companies to deconstruct a job that customers are trying to get done into specific process steps, which helps users capture customer needs. The Challenger model, developed around 2009, is a sales approach that relies on reframing issues as growth opportunities and appealing to emotional impact, among other strategies, to help sales representatives tailor their process and take control of the customer conversation.

 

Navin Jagannath
VP of Sales

What tech platforms do you rely on most for sales training? How have they helped your team improve?

Chorus is the most recent and the biggest remote move that we’ve made this quarter. When we first shifted to a remote environment, we actually rolled out a brand new phone system, because we were originally on a landline one. It was a pretty phenomenal lift on the operations team. We also introduced the Challenger sales methodology around seven weeks ago. 

 

Tell us more about the Challenger methodology. How has it been useful for your team?

Challenger allows us to get very prescriptive in terms of how we approach any of our sales conversations. In the past, we’ve followed whatever our Salesforce pipeline has dictated as we’ve moved forward. The Challenger methodology helps us better identify the right prospect for us to be talking to in order to pitch. It ties in closely with our JTBD framework because it allows us to make sure that we have structured content, collateral and talk tracks from the top of the funnel with marketing and lead generation, all the way through to post-sales when it comes to renewal and retention. 

We hope and expect the Challenger methodology is ingrained in how we connect with our customers and how we move through our sales process. And by implementing Chorus, we can start to help diagnose where we could be better in our sales process. We can identify where we struggle to communicate the value of our platform to a particular persona. I think that the two of these things together will make our team better. 

 

EZ Texting
EZ TEXTING

 

Why did you decide to implement both methodologies? What were some challenges or obstacles you faced by not having these methodologies in place?

The Challenger methodology and JTBD complement each other at their core. Challenger is all about developing a strong point of view regarding why someone should support any product or service — this is referred to as the commercial insight — as well as creating an end-to-end messaging framework, which ensures content, collateral and talk tracks all align around the same message. 

JTBD is focused on identifying exactly what problems prospects need to solve and ensuring that the way we position our product educates customers on how EZ Texting can support them. By implementing them both, we ensure that we completely understand the customer’s needs and communicate our solution to them in a consistent and engaging way.

By not having these methodologies in place, we struggled to consistently communicate our solution and get the customer to their end goal in the most direct way possible.

 

From police officer to sales development manager 

About 18 months ago, Josh Odom set down his police officer badge of six years and walked into the EZ Texting Austin office. Despite being new to tech, he made a quick impact on the SMB sales team. And his efforts were quickly recognized. “I started off on our outbound phone team and was able to work my way up to sales development manager,” Odom said. “My managers have always been great about allowing me to take on different responsibilities along the way to prepare for my next move.”

 

What differences in team collaboration have you seen before implementing the Challenger and JTBD methodologies and as you continue to implement them? 

The team has begun to look at the way we communicate with customers differently. We’re now able to have conversations as a team about topics like whether or not we have been communicating to a customer’s specific needs based on their role in the company. There is a big difference between demoing all of our features and demoing the right ones.

 

EZ Texting
EZ TEXTING

 

How has the sales training processes changed over the last few months now that your team is following these frameworks? 

It's a more organized training program. As we moved to remote work overnight and began to hire, we found that we lost the osmosis effect of sitting next to other new and tenured hires.

That resulted in a bit of a back-and-forth effort during high-level product training, industry training, tools and process training, and sales training. By implementing the frameworks, we’re able to more acutely tie product, industry and sales training together into a cohesive process. That cohesive process not only allows for a smoother onboarding, but it also allows the sales enablement and sales leadership teams to build out assessments to track how our training has helped newer hires and understand where we can improve moving forward.

 

Growth opportunities, Part II

In addition to taking advantage of outside educational courses in his new role as manager, Odom has relied on the precise documentation that EZ Texting prides itself on. “Moving into a management role has been a lot of documenting and building out processes,” Odom said. “And professionally, learning such organizational strategies has been super helpful for me because I came from a completely different world.”

 

With these new methodologies and frameworks under your organization’s belt, what does 2021 look like for your sales team?

We have reimagined our whole marketing engine over the last couple of months. And going into 2021, we’re actually going to have a new system focused on building two separate pipelines. One will focus on the small business space and one will be focused solely on the mid-market team, which is brand new for us. In doing so, we’re going to need more SDRs on staff to qualify these leads and transition them into opportunities for the mid-market account executives.

As we continue to grow and expand the SDR team, we’re looking for people who understand why or why not certain leads are successful and can direct marketing accordingly. As our team scales, we’re not simply looking to put bodies and seats. We want to make sure that we have people who can take a holistic view and think, “How do I build a better engine for EZ Texting?”

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