What is MEDDIC?
MEDDIC (for metrics, economic buyer, decision criteria, decision process, identify pain, and champion) is a sales qualification framework. The goal is to focus on the prospects most likely to become customers while not clogging up your sales funnel with those who are unlikely to convert. MEDDIC is especially suited to B2B sales and other situations with complicated buying journeys.
MEDDIC sales process history
If you read online, there seems to be a bit of controversy around who developed MEDDIC. Three names are associated with its creation: Jack Napoli, Dick Dunkel, and John McMahon.
Some articles claim Jack Napoli and Dick Dunkel created MEDDIC in the 1990s while working at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). Others claim it was the brainchild of John McMahon, a legendary salesperson who is a Board Member at MongoDB and Snowflake.
However, Monica Evans, who was working in sales at PTC during the formation of the MEDDIC sales framework, says the truth is they were all involved in its development. Here’s how she puts it:
“I believe John McMahon (and anyone else from PTC at the time) will agree with the following:
- MEDDIC/MEDDICC/MEDDPICC is John McMahon’s sales brain codified;
- Dick Dunkel was the first to write it down;
- And then Dick and Jack told everybody at PTC (Parametric Technology Corporation) about it.
So that being said, the actual "biological" father of MEDDIC is Dick Dunkel.” ~ Monica Evans, SMG
Who should use the MEDDIC framework?
The MEDDIC sales methodology can help businesses of any size or industry better identify and qualify prospects. However, it is especially useful for complex B2B sales, which have longer cycles and require more resources (usually with more money on the line).
Six-step MEDDIC sales methodology
The MEDDIC sales process is designed to gather lead qualification details to make sure sales teams focus on the right businesses, the right person in those businesses, the right product and service offering, and the right benefits of using the product or service.
MEDDIC is formalized around six steps of lead qualification, and each step uses specific questions to get the right information.
Here’s the MEDDIC acronym.
Here’s a simple summary of each step in the MEDDIC acronym:
- Metrics: These are the KPIs your prospect is looking to improve with your product.
- Economic Buyer: Only the decision maker can onboard your tool, so you need to make sure you are speaking with the right person.
- Decision Process: Every company purchases new products and services in a different way.
- Decision Criteria: Every company evaluates a new purchase differently.
- Identify Pain: These are the specific pain points a company is currently looking to resolve with your product or service.
- Champion: These are the influential people within the company who already like your product or service and will push the company to choose it.
Let’s take a look at each step in detail, including what you are trying to find and the questions you can ask to get that information.
Businesses are looking for return on investment (ROI). Whenever they invest in a new product or service, enterprises are looking for that investment to pay off in some way.
That ROI can come in many different forms, from money and time savings to faster revenue growth. It’s possible that your service can provide all of these things, but you need to focus your sales message on the specific needs of the customer.
The way you focus your sales message is to find out exactly which KPIs your customer wants to improve, by how much, and over what time horizon. Some customers will give you a very precise metric, such as “sustain our 6% monthly revenue growth for the next 12 months.”
However, without prodding, most businesses will be more vague about their goals, for example: “we are expected to keep growing our department’s productivity without hiring any new staff.”
Understanding the metrics of interest gives you the ability to prove the economic benefit of your product or service. If the metrics you’ve been given are more accurate and specific, then your economic benefit messaging will be even better.
- What goals are you looking to achieve with our product?
- How do you plan to track your progress towards those goals?
- How do you plan to measure the success of your investment in this product?
Economic buyer is the term used in the MEDDIC methodology for the person who can actually authorize spending on your product or service. They are the final decision maker. Depending on the cost of your product or service and what it does, this could be anyone in the company, a senior manager, or a person performing a specific task such as VP of Sales or Head of IT.
Whenever possible, you should be speaking with the economic buyer because anyone else will ultimately not lead to a sale. However, as you’ll see under “champion” below, there is still value in speaking with another person if you can’t immediately locate the economic buyer.
When speaking to the economic buyer, be sure to ask them about their personal goals, metrics, decision process, etc. Sometimes they are different from that of the company as a whole, and you want to appeal to both the company’s best interests and those of the economic buyer as well.
- Who here can make final purchasing decisions?
- Does [economic buyer] need to see our product before they approve it?
- How do we get [economic buyer] involved in this process?What does success for this product look like to you, [economic buyer]?
Companies rarely onboard the first product or service they see. Even when there is a ticking clock, companies want to compare multiple products before deciding which one to purchase. They do this evaluation based on varying decision criteria.
Some MEDDIC sales courses separate decision criteria into technical decision criteria (TDC) and business/commercial decision criteria (BDC). TDC are about how the product works, while BDC are about the budget impact.
Here are some common decision criteria:
- Good user experience/user interface (UX/UI) (TDC)
- Easy to use, easy to learn (TDC)
- Effectively solves the issue (TDC)
- Integrates into current technical architecture and/or standard operating procedures (SOPs) (TDC)
- Good customer support/success reputation (TDC)
- Meets the budget for the project (BDC)
- Will reach positive ROI within a specific timeframe (BDC)
- Has a capital expense (CAPEX) or operation expense (OPEX) pricing system (BDC)
- What do you consider the most important factor when making a purchasing decision?
- What do you need to see from our product to be convinced it’s the best fit for you?
- How do you measure ROI and what’s your timeline to reach positive ROI from a new service?
- Does this project have a specific budget?
While the decision criteria are how a business evaluates which product meets their needs, the decision process is the way a company selects the product and approves the new spending.
Just as there are technical and business decision criteria, some MEDDIC sales systems break down the decision process into two buying decision components. Technical decision making (TDM) is how the company confirms the product or service will work within the company including security and IT personnel signing off on the project. Business decision making (BDM) usually follows TDM and is the process management follows in approving the new budget line. TDM includes all of the paperwork, any board approval, and the legal checks on the contracts to make sure there are no privacy concerns.
Understanding the buying process of your prospect helps you keep track of each stage of their procurement process and forecast when the deal is likely to close.
- What steps do you take to make a final decision?
- Who is involved during the decision making and do they need to see our service before approving procurement?
- Is there any paperwork that I can fill out to make the decision making process smoother?
- How long does the decision making process typically take?
“Pain point” has become a common internal phrase when developing or building new products and services. In the 1990s when MEDDIC was first created, it was a novel idea to focus not on what your product can do but rather the specific difficult issues faced by your customer base and how your product resolves them.
Pain points can be issues suffered by a business as a whole, but they are often the issues causing the individual stress as it is their KPIs and career being personally affected. That’s what makes solving pain points such a powerful sales and retention message.
Pain points are the things about which people say “if you could solve X, I’d sleep better at night.” They are the issues behind the metrics you hear about under “metrics.” Again, if you can get a prospect to describe their pain points in detail, then you can better tune your sales message. You can work with “we have productivity issues,” but “productivity issues are costing us $100,000/month” helps you build expectations and a case for ROI.
- What’s the root problem behind you missing your target?
- Do you know what is causing your issue with [mentioned metric]?
- How is [mentioned paint point] affecting your bottom line?
- How valuable would it be to you if you solved [mentioned paint point]?
- What would happen to your company if you no longer had [mentioned paint point]?
- How would you feel if [mentioned paint point] went away?
A champion is someone inside the prospect company who will push for them to use your product. A champion does not have to be the economic buyer, but they should be someone at least loosely involved with the project. For example, the person who will actually use your product or service can champion the buying decision to leadership on your behalf.
The ideal champion is well respected, hardworking and influential.
- Who in the company will get the most out of our service?
- Who will use our product, and should they be involved in this meeting?
- Has [presumed champion] mentioned what they think of the product?
How to implement the MEDDIC sales methodology
Here’s a five-step strategy to implement MEDDIC with your sales reps today.
- Review your previous sales calls. Most people start the MEDDIC sales process because they have a sales qualification problem. Getting your sales managers to go back and listen to previous sales calls will help you understand whether you’ve been pursuing the wrong leads or leads in the wrong way.
- Catalog the common objections. Objection handling is one of the hardest but most crucial jobs for a sales rep. It’s important to identify the pain points and metrics your prospects are interested in and then showing how your product or service addresses them. Listen to the objections to get a list of the ones that can be handled and the ones that are disqualifying.
- Update your buyer personas if necessary. After your sales managers have listened to previous calls, it’s time to update the buyer personas. This might mean targeting different companies or different people within those companies.
- Visualize the MEDDIC process. The MEDDIC sales process requires a lot of research, on the phone with a prospect as well as before. Disqualifying leads early reduces the amount of wasted effort. Consider creating a flowchart of how and when you should get different pieces of information, and what answers are disqualifying.
- Get your account executives to document their sales calls using a customized MEDDIC template. MEDDIC requires meticulous note-keeping. Whether your sales reps do this by hand or in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, they should be filling in information before their first call and updating it after every interaction.
Here’s an example MEDDIC sales qualification template:
|Data and Research Info
|Sales call answers
|Objection handling and positioning