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Using challenger marketing to navigate the B2B maze

challenger marketing

According to Brent Adamson, the well-known author of “The Challenger Sale” the biggest competitors of a business is its customers. He believes that skilled sales representatives should focus more on providing insight for changing customer’s opinion about their businesses. The secret of successful marketing strategies lies in challenging the customers, rather than in providing thought leadership. Here in the following you will find our how challenger marketing can help your business in prospering.

Decoding challenger marketing

Challenger marketing is all about changing the direction of customers in the buying process so the business sees profit. It is a brand new approach to lead generation and content marketing that is very different from traditional relationship building or thought leadership strategies.

There are generally five types of sales representatives, namely hard worker, relationship builder, lone wolf, problem solver and challenger. The challenger sales representative is someone who understands the business of the B2B client very well and has the guts to bring them out of their comfort zone. Studies conducted by CEB show that the challenger sales representatives bring far better results than the relationship builders.

Why is challenger marketing necessary?

Before the new approach of challenger marketing was coined, business marketing was entirely customer centric. Emphasis was laid on developing a good relationship with the customers to gain a better and clearer understanding about their needs.

However, the modern customers are acquiring information about products from various free sources and making their own purchase decisions without the guidance of the sales representatives. That’s why the old approach does not work anymore.

Challenger marketing disrupts the customer’s journey through the purchase process, challenges their purchasing decision and shows them that despite their research they have missed some vital points which can be crucial for the betterment of their business.

With this approach, the challenger sales representative can show the customers that they have missed the point how a product or service can help them earn more or penetrate new markets or mitigates risks.

How is challenger marketing different?


For successfully applying challenger marketing strategies, marketers must understand attributes of the customer’s business. Just like any other marketing technique, challenger marketing too involves customer segmentation, content, campaign creation, brand management and lead nurturing.

The main difference between challenger marketing and other types of marketing is not in what to do but how to do the same thing in a new way. Challenger marketing aims to un-teach the customers what they have learnt on their own and teach them something about their business needs and challenges that they have not learn on their own.

What are the attributes that a challenger marketer must possess?

Two types of marketers are required to handle challenger marketing strategies. The first type of marketers are those who have an in depth understanding of the customer’s business and the second type are those who utilize various content marketing channels for providing the insight that customer’s do not have.

The first type of marketers must be capable of learning about the points through which the customer’s learning can be disrupted to change their mind. The second type of marketers will skillfully create compelling stories with the insights gathered by the first group.

Competing with the customers

Challenger marketing will work only when disruptive content is easily accessible to target customers. The marketers have to provide commercial insights that are compelling. The customers will recognize how their business can get benefited by these new commercial insights and change their direction.

Challenger marketing success also hugely depends on finding out the unique strengths of your organizations. These unique strengths are what help your business in standing apart from the rest.

Challenger marketing is a brand new approach that endeavors to disrupt the self-learning of customers through third party sources and showing them a new aspect in which a product or service can help their business.

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