Using MEDDIIC to Sell Yourself
As I mentioned in my first Medium post, I’m a former seller turned Sales Enabler. I spent much of Q3 2022 training our field on MEDDIIC, a widely-adopted sales framework for deal management. Now that we’ve entered Q4, year-end performance reviews are right around the corner. While preparing for my own, I realized that the very framework I’ve been teaching Sales could help me manage my most important deal of FY22 — landing a promotion.
I’ve had the privilege of working with many incredible women in tech sales. We’re highly confident in our craft. We can position the value of our company’s solutions against any competitor. We find ways to unlock budget during the worst economic downturns. We hold our ground in negotiations with the toughest Procurement teams.
But when it comes to selling the best products we have — ourselves — we’re more reticent, less confident, less assertive. The very skills that make us such effective salespeople for our companies, we struggle to apply to ourselves.
A rising tide lifts all boats, so I thought I’d share how I’m trying to “dog-food” my own sales framework in my own year-end performance review.
For those who aren’t familiar with MEDDIIC, it’s just a nifty acronym to help sellers stress-test various dimensions of a deal and quickly identify gaps and risks. When it comes to career planning, the acronym can also help you manage professional moves. Whether you’re trying to move upward like Cindy of ‘22 (e.g. get promoted in the same role) or laterally like Cindy of ‘21 (e.g. move from Sales into Enablement), the same principles apply.
Let’s break MEDDIIC down letter by letter:
M is for Metrics
In Sales, it’s about understanding which needles a company can move by buying your solution and how they’d measure impact.
In a performance review, it’s about quantifying the business impact you’ve delivered. As much as possible, you should align it to the metrics that matter most to your business.
For salespeople, this is simple — # of deals won, % of target attainment, revenue closed.
For non-sales roles (e.g. cost functions like Enablement), it’s a little harder. It’s not enough to just share metrics— they should be metrics decision-makers in your business actually value.
For example, I can cite the number of sales trainings I’ve designed and delivered (40), the number of APAC new hires I’ve spun up (70+), the number of MEDDIIC workshops I delivered (10), but that says nothing about the quality and resulting impact of Enablement.
Like with any sales deals, the more closely I can tie my (work) product to the business drivers my company really cares about — increasing revenue, reducing costs, mitigating risk — the stronger my case for impact. This is ESPECIALLY important in an economic downturn.
E is for Economic Buyer
In Sales, this is about understanding who will ultimately give the go/no-go on a decision to purchase, e.g. who signs the Docusign?
For a promotion/lateral move, you need to understand whose buy-in is required to make the move happen. Especially during an economic downturn when many companies are downsizing, multiple approvals may be required to approve a promotion. Make sure you’re crystal clear on who makes the final decision. Knowing who has final say will allow you to map out the spheres of influence and find ways to socialize your (work) product to the relevant decision-makers.
Dp is for Decision Process
In Sales, this is about understanding the internal steps a company follows to make purchasing decisions. Which functions are involved? Do they need to go out for RFP? Are they obligated to assess local and global solutions? Is external Board approval required before signature?
For promotions/internal mobility, this is about understanding the respective processes within your company and the mechanisms you can control. Is there a calibration? If so, who’s on the calibration panel? Are you being compared to people in your region, on your immediate team, or in your department? When do these conversations happen? What are the relevant deadlines? Once you know the decision process, you can build a mutually-agreed action plan (MAAP) with your manager to map out next steps week over week.
Dc is for Decision Criteria
In Sales, this is about clearly identifying the rubric by which your customer will evaluate your company’s Product/Solution/Services against their status quo (i.e. existing set-up) or alternatives (i.e. competition).
In a performance review, you need to demonstrate that you’re delivering against the expected competencies for your role.
For a promotion, you’ll likely need to demonstrate that you’ve been consistently delivering above and beyond the outlined competencies for your role and are consistently demonstrating impact at the next level.
For internal mobility, you’ll likely need to map your existing role to the competencies/job description of the new role you want.
In either scenario, you have to map the work and skills you have against the rubric of the role you’re eyeing. If your company publishes competencies for levels, ladders, and titles, consider that their “RFP” — request for proposal. Build your performance review and maintain an ongoing “brag doc” as if it were a response to your company’s RFP. For each of the required competencies, map out examples of how you’re already demonstrating these AND request formal feedback from stakeholders who can endorse you.
Ip is for Identified Pain
In Sales, Identified Pain is closely related to Metrics. Something has to be broken in their business for them to consider paying for a solution. There must be a cost associated with doing nothing and a problem they need to solve.
I frequently tell people during career chats that any job is just a set of problems to be solved. When it comes to selling yourself in your career, if you can tie your product (i.e. skills and experiences) with specific business pain points (i.e. problems worth solving), you’ll always be in-demand.
As salespeople, we use LinkedIn and Google news alerts to keep up with our prospect’s businesses. We read their annual reports and press releases to better understand the pain points that keep them up at night.
As employees and company-owners, we should also keep an ear to the ground on internal news, shifting organizational priorities, and corporate strategy. Especially during economic downturns, it’s crucial to understand the business’ top priorities and align yourself and your work against those.
Im is for Implementation Plan
On a sales opportunity, value doesn’t get realized unless the software/solution is technically deployed.
In career planning, your “Implementation Plan” has a longer time horizon than your “Decision Process.” While a “Decision Process” maps in the short-term to a specific promotion or transfer, “Implementation” is about catalyzing the Product of You.
Careers are long. Your current company won’t be your forever company. When creating your Implementation plan, make sure the promotion/transfer you’re working toward makes sense for your wider career strategy.
Going for a specific promotion may require you to kick things into high gear for a season, so it’s really only worth it if it fits into your longer-term career goals. As much as possible, align the short-term investments you make to get promoted into the skills you want to build and experiences you want to gain for the long term. This helps to ensure that you’re driving long-term value for yourself, not just short-term gains for your company.
Remember also that an Implementation plan is not limited only to what you do at your office for your company. If there are certifications you want to get or new skills you want to build, add that to your Implementation plan. Your company may have Education stipends you can use to invest in personal learning & development. Make sure you take advantage of these company benefits to invest in yourself.
C is for Champions
In Sales, we know that every deal needs a good champion, because a champion helps you unlock every other letter of MEDDIIC.
While coaches and mentors are important sounding boards for long-term career planning, Champions are crucial for promotions and internal mobility.
Ideally, your direct manager will be your #1 champion, but as with any deal, it’s important to test this. Are they willing to go to bat for you? Are they willing to sell your product (i.e. your contributions) when you’re not in the room (i.e. calibrations)? Have they committed to building a mutual Implementation Plan with you? Are they forthcoming when you ask questions about the Decision Criteria for a promotion? Are they willing to introduce you to the Economic Buyer and other stakeholders involved in the Decision Process?
While it might feel uncomfortable to ask these questions so directly, every seller knows the perils of having “happy ears.” Nobody wants to be that rep at the last pipeline review of Q4 reporting sheepishly that the Commit deal that had been a “sure thing” slipped into Q1. Why then would we shy away from asking the hard questions on the most important deal we’ll work this year?
Leveraging MEDDIIC in your career conversations is simply about applying your craft to your most important product — yourself.
While at first it might feel unnatural and self-serving, I’d venture a guess that we felt a similar discomfort when we first started in Sales.
Once we realized that Sales is about connecting our products and solutions to a customer’s business pain points and orchestrating a fair exchange of value, it became easy to take pride in our craft.
Similarly, when we realize that performance reviews are about connecting our work to our company’s priorities and promotion/salary negotiations are equally about fair exchange of value, we can be more assertive selling ourselves.
After all, a job is just a set of interesting problems to be solved. A promotion allows us to apply our skills to problems on a larger scale, thereby increasing our impact.
So why in the world wouldn’t we throw our hats in the ring as the best women for the job?
This is my third article on Medium. I welcome your feedback! Musings are entirely my own.