Loop Ruhr Area Landmark - Image by Willi Heidelbach from Pixabay Challenger has announced Loop, a SaaS-based market sales coaching technology. Loop uses natural language processing (NLP) powered by AI to understand information about both won and lost deals. It then analyses those conversations to improve the purchase experience and drive more sales.

Recent research by Challenger indicates that the buyers are influenced by their experience during the purchasing process. Historically the decision to understand why a sale fails or succeeds is based on analysis after the fact. This is often based on quantitative facts, such as pricing or features and rarely on the softer side of selling, such as relationships or the actual experience.

Loop focuses on the latter of these. It aims to understand customers’ reactions to the whole sales process so that future engagements can improve. Loop collects data throughout the whole sales process and delivers a holistic view of the quality of the procurement process.

Another factor is that win/loss information is often entered at the end of the sales process onto a CRM solution. The data entered is influenced by several factors. The sales rep will want to focus on the next opportunity, not seeking to understand why they won or lost. The response may be hurried, brief, and/or biased to deflect blame. It’s also presented from the view of a single person, not everyone engaged in the sale, both buyer and seller.

Bringing the challenge methodology to life.

Challenger is named after the Challenger Sales method, first revealed in a series of three books, including The Challenger Sale. It aims to deliver the methodology into the hands of sales teams through technology. Loop brings an element of this methodology to life, providing real-time feedback and evidenced insights that drive success.

Andee Harris, CEO of Challenger
Andee Harris, CEO of Challenger

Andee Harris, CEO of Challenger, commented: “With Challenger Loop, salespeople and managers can, for the first time, improve in-motion deals by receiving and analyzing data and then injecting proven best-in-class training into that deal.

“We are adding a layer of transparency and clarity, so the customers’ perspective is continually top of mind throughout the sales journey, which will support short-term results and long-term success.”

Loop works by sending out survey results leveraging Medallia to collect feedback during the sales process. That feedback is captured, analysed and presented back to sellers, managers and leadership with insights do drive improvement and visualised information, including:

  • Purchase confidence scores
  • Skillset heatmaps
  • Competitive positioning insights
  • NPS gauges
  • Quality of the experience

Loop enhances the existing Challengers library of training resources delivering new coaching insights based on real selling experiences and thereby helps to drive better outcomes it claims.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

There are several unanswered questions about this announcement. Challenger talks about integrations to CRM, but it isn’t clear whether it is Loop that integrates or Medallia, nor which CRM solutions are supported. Medallia has at least an integration to Salesforce. It is unclear what this integration does.

Challenger is only collecting the information from the surveys. It is not collecting all the information from each customer engagement and analysing that. This seems to be a hole in the knowledge base it is using. It still leaves the data collected open to different biases depending upon the relationship between the buyer and seller. Granted, better than the traditional method but still incomplete.

Challenger needs to provide initial customer feedback on this new feature and provide more information about how it works. Who creates the surveys, have Challenger predefined them and are they founded on academic research? What are the integrations, and how do they work?

This is a good addition to the challenger portfolio but needs a better explanation of where it fits into the software architecture of organisations. Most sales teams do not want to flick between screens for insights. Can Challenger dashboards be presented within Salesforce?

However, Loop does provide a powerful tool for customers already using the challenger method and supplements the existing Challenger solutions and tools to help drive better outcomes.


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