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Simplifying MEDDIC: Tailoring Sales Qualification for Early-Stage Companies

The MEDDIC framework is a helpful foundation for sales qualification, but should be tailored depending on the stage of your company. MEDDIC stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, and Champion. While it serves as a northstar framework, especially for established companies, it can actually slow down early-stage companies that are still identifying their ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and decision-making processes.

Understanding MEDDIC

At its core, the MEDDIC framework is a checklist that guides sales teams through the intricacies of deal qualification. By assessing Metrics that matter to potential customers, knowing the Economic Buyer, understanding the customer's Decision Criteria and Decision Process, Identifying pain, and finding a Champion within the organization, sales teams can focus their efforts on the most promising opportunities.

  • Key Metrics: the performance indicators that are most relevant to the customer

  • Economic Buyer Insight: the key decision-maker with budget authority

  • Decision Factors: the primary criteria the customer will use to make their buying decision

  • Pain Points: the customer's challenges that your product or service can address

  • Champion Identification: an advocate within the customer's organization who believes in the value of your solution

The strength of MEDDIC lies in its ability to provide a structured approach to qualification, ensuring nothing is overlooked. It's a method that fosters not just a deeper understanding of the customer's needs but also aligns the sales team's efforts with the most viable opportunities, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful deal closures.

The Early-Stage Challenge

For early-stage companies, however, the application of MEDDIC in its entirety is at times futile because what’s “ideal” or “optimal” is still unknown. Startups are working with limited data and insights about what constitutes an ICP or a successful sales process. For instance, when a potential customer outlines their decision criteria, an early-stage sales team, with its lean structure, might find it challenging to adapt swiftly to meet these expectations. Moreover, the articulation of decision-making metrics by customers can often be nebulous, making it difficult for sales teams to extract actionable insights during conversations.

This ambiguity does not diminish the importance of qualification; rather, it necessitates a more adaptable approach to applying the MEDDIC principles. 

A Simplified Approach to MEDDIC

Recognizing this need, I adapted the MEDDIC framework into a streamlined one-pager that can serve as a guide for sales qualification and be tailored depending on the stage of your company (the later the stage, the more granular you can get). It is designed to evolve, allowing teams to add or refine information as they progress through conversations with potential customers. The key is to capture crucial information upfront, without being overly cumbersome and slowing down teams.

Below is the most simplified deal qualification scorecard:

Customer: 1-2 sentences about the customer

Source: How did we get introduced to this company?


  • What do they do/make?

  • What is their current solution?


  • Why are they coming to us?

  • What other alternatives are they considering?

  • What are they trying to achieve by coming to us?

  • Do we know the economic impact of this decision?


  • How is their team set-up?

  • What is the decision process like internally?

  • What is their timeline? How urgent is their need? 

  • Does it seem like we’re talking to a decision maker? 

Next Steps:

  • What are the next steps to advance the project?

  • Are we current on their timeline?

Our Capabilities:

  • Does their need match our current capabilities? 

Every company will need to tailor this simplified deal qualification differently. The point here is that this should be focused on what you know about your company / how to service your customers today; and then it should evolve as you grow and learn.

Implementing the Simplified MEDDIC

The objective is to fill this out for each opportunity. Every conversation with a customer should give you more clarity and add more detail to this document. Some sections might remain incomplete in the initial stages, but subsequent calls and interactions provide opportunities to fill these gaps. This iterative process ensures that over time, the sales team builds a comprehensive picture of the potential deal without overwhelming the customer or themselves with an exhaustive questionnaire.

The one-pager also serves as an internal communication tool, summarizing the opportunity for the broader team. This summary enables quick assimilation of the deal's nuances so that everyone, from product development to marketing, is aligned and informed.

Leveraging Insights

With this document (or a version of it), early-stage companies can capture data about the sales cycle and transform that into actionable insights. Sales teams can make better decisions about the viability of pursuing a lead. This process not only saves precious time and resources but also ensures that efforts are concentrated on opportunities with the highest potential for success.

For early-stage companies, where resources are often limited, this focused approach is crucial. It allows for a more strategic allocation of the sales team's time, helping funnel their attention to leads that are more likely to convert and are a good fit for the company. Additionally, the insights from the one-pager can inform product development and marketing strategies, helping the company remain agile and responsive to customer needs.

An Art, Not a Science

While the MEDDIC framework is in many ways the north star for sales qualification, its complexity can be daunting for companies still in the process of understanding their market fit and customer profiles. The simplified outline helps give a structured yet flexible approach to qualification that can evolve alongside the company.

Growing an early-stage company is hard enough as it is. Establishing a sales process should be one thing that doesn’t cause additional headaches and suck resources. It is an art as much as it is a science; and needs to be tailored to meet the needs of companies – no matter their stage.


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