MEDDIC Sales Explained: A Simpler Way To Qualify Buyers

The Dock Team
August 21, 2022
TABLE OF CONTENT
TABLE OF CONTENT

Every sales rep has experienced the agony of a deal falling apart when they were certain it would close.

It’s painful to be inches away from the finish line only to discover that your buyer has had their budget pulled from them at the last minute.

The MEDDIC sales methodology aims to avoid that situation. It’s a simple sales qualification framework that asks, “Am I actually talking to a prospect that’s ready and willing to buy?”

With MEDDIC, you can improve your close rates and more accurately predict your sales pipeline by focusing only on the prospects with strong enough pain points, enough authority to approve a purchase, and enough personal investment in your product.

In this article, we’ll cover why the MEDDIC framework is used by elite tech players like Salesforce, Zendesk, and Sprinklr, and how you can implement MEDDIC in your sales organization with Dock.

What is the MEDDIC sales methodology?

MEDDIC is a B2B sales methodology designed to help you qualify your prospects and spend time on the right buyers.

MEDDIC is a helpful acronym that asks sellers to uncover the following:

  • Metrics - How does your prospect measure their success?
  • Economic buyer - Can your buyer contact authorize spending?
  • Decision criteria - What is your prospect basing their decision off of?
  • Decision process - How is your prospect reaching a decision?
  • Implicate pain - What pain point (if any) is forcing them to buy?
  • Champion - Who will advocate for you on your buyer’s team?

MEDDIC was first developed in 1995 by Dick Dunkel, John McMahon, Jack Napoli, and the sales team at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). Using the MEDDIC methodology, they tripled their sales from $300 million to over $1 billion in under a decade.

Not bad!

However, buying and selling have gotten considerably more complex since the mid-’90s—especially in B2B tech. 

To adapt, the acronym has been expanded to MEDDICC or MEDDPICC to include two new letters:

  • Paper process - What contracts, legal, and security documents need to be signed?
  • Competition - What other alternatives could your buyer consider?

How does MEDDIC help sales teams?

MEDDIC can help you:

  1. Better qualify your prospects - By asking smarter questions of your customer, it stops you from wasting time on bad deals.
  2. Simplify the sales process - It makes sales about gathering information rather than using tired tricks.
  3. Forecast better - By understanding the customer’s buying process, you can better predict when deals will close.
  4. Coach new reps - You can identify missing information and potential roadblocks to a deal.
  5. Create a common language - By using a common framework on your sales team, you reduce the subjectiveness of what makes a good prospect.
  6. Increase close rates - By working hand-in-hand with the buyer, you can guide more deals to the finish line. 

How do you know if MEDDIC is right for your team?

A sales methodology costs time, money, and discipline to implement. For example, you may need to modify your CRM to add more fields.

So how do you know if MEDDIC (vs. another methodology) will move the needle?

You’re struggling to forecast - If you aren’t closing deals you thought were likely to close, you have a qualification problem.

You have a well-defined target customer - MEDDIC is similar to the Sandler Selling System in that it prioritizes finding the customers with the right pain points rather than pushing sales. However, whereas Sandler is a step-by-step relationship-building process, MEDDIC is more about diligently collecting information.

You’re an enterprise SaaS company - Because of its ability to predict recurring revenue, MEDDIC is most popular with enterprise SaaS companies. According to MEDDICC.com, it’s used by major enterprise tech players like Salesforce, Zendesk, Sprinklr, Zuora, and hundreds of others.

What about MEDDPIC and MEDDPICC?

You should add a letter or two if…

You have complex contracts - The ‘P’ for ‘Paper process’ encourages reps to be proactive about getting in front of any legal agreements, procurement issues, and security requirements that can push back a close date.

You have lots of competition - Add a ‘C’ for ‘Competition’ if you have lots of direct or indirect competitors. For example, can your solution be replaced with in-house tools or extra headcount?

MEDDPICC - The acronym explained

Let’s deep dive into each letter of MEDDIC or MEDDPICC, including questions you can ask your buyer, and qualification questions you should ask of yourself.

Metrics

Metrics are your customer’s measures of success. They’re the objective goals the customer is trying to achieve.

These are typical SMART goals anchored around quality, time, and money. e.g.:

  • Increase productivity by 300%
  • Reduce time to market by 20%
  • Save $200,000 per year

A good buying team will justify their purchase by the quantifiable gains they’ll achieve by choosing your solution versus an alternative.

From your perspective (as the seller), Metrics are the measures of value that you can provide to your customer. They’re the best way to prove your solution’s ROI.

Therefore, you need to uncover and understand your prospect’s baseline and target Metrics.

If your prospect doesn’t have clear goals, consider it a warning sign that they’re window shopping or too junior to make a purchase.

When discussing Metrics, you shouldn’t focus on Metrics that showcase your company’s strengths, but rather Metrics that match the customer’s needs.

For example, telling your customer you have a 99% customer satisfaction rating does not speak to their goals. Telling your customer that you helped a similar company reduce time-to-market by 20% does.

Questions to ask your prospect:

  • What goals are you trying to achieve by working together?
  • How do you measure the success of your project?
  • Based on your goals, where are you today and where would you like to be?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your customer have clear objectives?
  • Can your product have a measurable impact on their goals?
  • Are there any additional Metrics you could share to help your customer understand your impact?

Tip: If your buyer doesn’t have their baseline or target Metrics available offhand, get the data from an existing client. Having an understanding of your qualitative impact on existing clients allows you to ask better discovery questions—plus it acts as a compelling case study.

Economic buyer

You can’t sell to someone who can’t buy. The Economic buyer has all the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ purchasing power for this project. They’re the final decision-maker you have to convince.

Your goal is to identify the Economic buyer, and if possible, work with them directly to understand their metrics, pain points, and decision factors.

If you can’t work directly with the Economic buyer, you’ll have an uphill battle.

To make matters more complicated, your contact may think they are the Economic buyer because they’re the budget owner. But if there’s someone else who could take away your contact’s budget or create budget when needed—that’s your Economic buyer.

So how can you tell if you’re talking to the Economic buyer?

Ask probing questions and read between the lines. Because they’re tied to the budget, Economic buyers usually speak the language of business. They are primarily focused on profits, losses, and big-picture goals rather than day-to-day details.

Be tactful and patient with your questions, as being too direct may offend your buyer.

Questions to ask your prospect:

  • What does success look like for you?
  • What is your role in the decision-making process?
  • If you and I decide we have a good fit here, is there anyone else who would need to be involved or approve the project?
  • Do you own the budget for this project?
  • Would you be the one signing the contract?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your contact have profit and loss responsibility?
  • Are your contact’s goals aligned with their organization’s?
  • Does your buyer have purchasing power if other stakeholders disagree?

Tip: While it’s a big mistake to underqualify your Economic buyer, don’t overqualify them either. You don’t need to go all the way up to the CEO if they’re not involved in the decision-making process.

Decision criteria

It’s likely your solution will be compared against other options. Decision criteria are the factors that your prospect’s company will consider when making their decision.

If you can prove you meet their criteria, you’ll make it much harder for them to turn down a sale. 

Most criteria break down into three major categories:

1. Technical criteria: These are most often validated with a technical demo, trial period, or proof-of-concept project.

  • How easy is your solution to use?
  • Does your solution match your prospect’s use cases?
  • How does it integrate with their existing infrastructure?
  • Do you meet their security needs?

2. Economic criteria: This is the business case for your solution.

  • Does your solution fit their budget?
  • Will your solution provide economic benefits or return on investment?
  • Does your solution meet their cashflow needs?
  • Will your solution take lots of resources to implement?

3. Relationship criteria: These criteria ask if you’re a good partner.

  • Does the prospect trust you and your business?
  • Does your business have a good reputation or name recognition in their industry?
  • Do your product roadmap align with their goals?

Questions to ask your prospect:

  • What are your technical criteria for making a decision?
  • How will you be justifying this investment?
  • How soon are you hoping to see ROI from this project?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Will your solution still be a fit for the prospect six months from now?
  • Does your company have a good reputation in their industry?

Tip: Unless your customer comes with an RFP, they often won’t have their requirements written down. In that case, ask them to put their requirements in writing. Not only does this help you show that you meet their most important criteria, but you can also influence your client’s criteria by helping them build the list.

Decision process

Your prospect’s Decision process is their route to making a decision. The Decision process includes:

  • Who will be involved
  • How they will make technical decisions
  • How they will make business decisions
  • Their formal approval process
  • Their timeline for each step

Knowing your client’s decision-making process helps you predict the deal timeline, plus it makes it much harder for the deal to stall. When you know their process, you can be their partner in moving things along.

The Decision process can be roughly broken into two phases.

Phase 1: Validation - Your client checks that you meet their highest-priority Decision criteria. Here, you’ll likely give a hands-on demo to their top stakeholders.

Phase 2: Approval - The sequence of formal approvals, processes, and compliance reviews necessary to get a deal signed.

If your prospect doesn’t know their own validation or approval process, take it as another warning sign.

Questions to ask your client:

  • Who will be involved in making the decision?
  • What steps are needed to reach a decision?
  • What does your approval process look like for a project of this budget?
  • What are the critical terms and conditions we need to satisfy?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the buyer’s timeline realistic?
  • Does the buyer know their decision-making process?
  • Are all key stakeholders involved?

Tip: You can document your client’s decision-making process for them with a Dock space. For example, you can create a mutual action plan with high-level tasks and timelines to help them keep the deal on track.

Paper process

Paper process (or Paperwork process) is the biggest reason that forecasted sales get pushed back.

This is all about avoiding late-in-the-deal delays from the buyer’s procurement or legal department.

This also includes identifying any logistical snags that could impact the sale. For example, are there any key employees on the buyer’s side that could impact the deal’s timeline if they left?

As with the Decision process, this is just as much about getting your client to think about the paper process as it is building an understanding for yourself.

Questions to ask your client:

  • If we were to work together, what contracts would need to be signed?
  • What’s the anticipated timeline for getting everything signed?
  • If we decide to work together, do you foresee any potential implementation risks?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your client have a clear understanding of their legal requirements?
  • Are there any risks for your timeline?
  • Are there any key individuals who pose a flight risk?

Implicate pain

To Implicate pain (formerly known as Identify pain) means getting the customer to express and reflect on the pain that’s driving them to look for a solution. 

Pains can be high costs, inefficient or slow production, low revenue, and existing solutions that are too complicated.

Pain, along with your Champion, are the two biggest qualifiers in the discovery process

If there isn’t enough pain, there’s no urgency to buy. Otherwise, they’re just exploring their options and could be wasting your time.

“We’re looking to make our delivery process more efficient” is a weak pain.

“If we don’t find a solution within two months, we won’t hit our delivery deadline,” is a much stronger pain.

Pains with numbers attached tend to be stronger. “We’re losing $100,000 per month because our QA process is only 60% as productive as it should be,” shows that the client has put a lot of thought into their pain and is ready for it to be over.

The biggest mistake most sales reps make with MEDDIC is assuming there’s sufficient pain. Most salespeople will identify the buyer’s pain, repeat it back to them, and then immediately jump to how their product solves the buyer’s pain.

In contrast, implicating pain is about asking deep-diving questions that get your customer to sit with their pain and realize the impact it’s having on them. Feeling the pain creates a greater sense of urgency. Don’t jump straight to solutions.

This isn’t about twisting the knife. It’s about helping the customer see what will happen if they don’t act soon.

Questions to ask your prospect:

  • What would happen if you didn’t decide on a solution?
  • What could happen if you made the wrong decision?
  • How soon will the pain become unbearable?
  • Can you put an exact dollar figure on your pain?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your customer’s pain urgent?
  • Is your customer’s pain specific?
  • Is your solution likely to resolve their pain?

Tip: Open-ended questions and authentic, natural conversations are the best way to uncover your prospect’s real pains.

Champion

Your Champion is the person on the buyer’s team who is most invested in your solution and wants to see the deal go through. 

They’re typically your boots-on-the-ground end user.

They’re normally not the Economic buyer, but they will be your biggest influencer in convincing them from the inside.

For example, if you’re selling an HR tech solution, your Champion will likely be the HR manager who wants to get more done in their day-to-day job, but your Economic buyer may be the Chief of Staff who’s most interested in the ROI of your solution.

Without a strong Champion, you don’t have a deal.

So how can you identify if you have a strong champion?

First, identify if there’s something in it for them. Will you help them hit their targets? Get a promotion? Learn a new skill?

Second, determine if they carry influence. Do the stakeholders listen to them when they speak? Can they introduce you to the Economic buyer?

Third, figure out if they’re an experienced buyer. If they haven’t bought something like your solution before, it’s a red flag. It’s actually a bad sign if they’re overly optimistic. Experienced buyers know the bumps and bruises that come along with buying an enterprise solution.

If you decide you do have a qualified Champion, then it’s time to leverage each other. Ask them for any information they can give about their Decision criteria, Decision process, and Metrics.

In return, you can arm them with information to help you make the sale. Give them your most compelling content marketing materials. Invite them to your webinars. Give them your sales sheets.

Questions to ask your prospect:

  • How will our solution make your life easier?
  • How would you describe our solution’s benefits to your team?
  • What can I do to help you move this forward?
  • When’s the last time you bought something like this?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s in it for them?
  • Does this person carry influence?
  • Will this person stand up for your solution when you’re not there?
  • Is anyone championing your competition?

Competition

Finally, consider your Competition.

Even if your prospect says they’re not considering any competitive solutions, they probably are. Only 17% of a buyer’s time is spent meeting with potential suppliers during the buying process. 

What makes things complicated is that there are four types of Competition:

  1. Direct competition: Other solutions in your space
  2. Indirect competition: Alternative solutions that solve the same pain points or achieve similar benefits
  3. Internal competition: In-house DIY alternatives or other ways of spending the budget
  4. The status quo: The prospect does nothing

For example, if you were selling Zendesk to a client who wanted to reduce their customer service inquiries, your direct competition would be Intercom, your indirect competition could be a customer onboarding tool, and your internal competition could be hiring another customer service rep.

To qualify your prospect’s odds of choosing you over the Competition, do a SWOT analysis.

Questions to ask:

  • What other solutions are you considering?
  • How have you previously tried solving this problem?
  • If you didn’t go with our solution, what other ways could you fix your problem?

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • Who are we competing against?
  • Could they do nothing?
  • Could they take a DIY approach?
  • Do you have a competitive advantage?

Tip: Don’t knock the Competition—it will leave a negative impression on your buyer. Focus on your own strengths and unique benefits that answer what you learned in the discovery process.

How to implement MEDDIC with Dock

Dock can help sales managers implement the MEDDIC sales methodology while creating transparency with your customers. Check out Dock's MEDDIC template.

By creating a shared Dock space for your client, you can document all the key MEDDIC information in one place to make it easily accessible for both you and your prospect.

If you’d like to try out our MEDDIC sales template, you can request a quick demo now and our team will reach out to you.