CHAMP Sales Framework: How to Qualify Leads With 4 Questions

Discover how the CHAMP sales framework helps you focus on prospects that are ready to make a purchase by asking qualification questions on the front end.

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CHAMP is a sales framework used to qualify leads by understanding their challenges, authority, money, and priority during a discovery call. This framework considers the challenges the lead faces as most important, and their budget as the second to last qualifier. Implementing CHAMP starts by targeting leads, hosting discovery calls, qualifying the lead using CHAMP questions, and then using their answers and insight in how you nurture the lead and eventually close the deal.

4 Core Elements of the CHAMP Sales Framework

During the lead generation stage of your sales process, qualify your leads by asking them questions about the challenges they’re experiencing, the authority they hold in purchasing solutions like yours, their allocated funds, and their priority of implementing a solution. These four elements can be found in other qualifying frameworks, but CHAMP specifically frames the challenge your lead faces as most important and their priority as least.

Champ qualification components infographic
Champ qualification components infographic


As the first element of the CHAMP sales framework, understanding the need or challenge your lead is facing is essential. Your goal here is to create a space where your lead is comfortable enough to share a vulnerable part of their team. You want to get your lead talking about what gaps they have and how their business is affected.

If done well, you’ll have your lead put it in their own words exactly what their problem is and what they need your solution to remedy. You’ll use this later on for lead nurturing by using the same language they used and keeping the lead invested in your product or service because it will be a true solution to their challenge. One question to get the conversation started around your lead’s challenge is:

What’s stopping your team from hitting your goals?


Next, you’ll discuss who makes the final decision regarding purchases like your product or service. This power over purchasing decisions is an indicator of authority. If there’s more than one key decision maker, identify them all and include them into your lead nurturing by inviting them to meetings and further qualifying them.

Communicating with the correct decision makers ensures you aren’t wasting anyone’s time. If your current lead doesn’t hold that final purchasing authority, ask for a referral and introduction to whoever that player is. To quickly confirm if the lead you’re currently meeting with is a key player, ask questions like:

Are you the final decision maker when making a purchasing decision like this?


This element of the CHAMP framework aims to uncover your lead’s budget or funds dedicated to purchasing products or services like the one you sell so you know they can afford your solution. Bringing up money can be intimidating during the discovery phase, but since it's second to last in the CHAMP framework, your lead should feel warmed up to discussing this with you.

Don’t just ask questions about their budget currently, but also how it compares to last quarter or last year, and how they think it’ll change in the future. This way, you get even more perspective. Start the discussion around money by asking:

What is the allocated budget for a solution to your problem?


Conclude the CHAMP qualifying framework by discussing priority. This element references the degree of urgency your lead has when it comes to purchasing and implementing a solution. Your lead should have a timeline in place for implementing a solution if not immediately, and you’ll want to know this. It’s also an opportunity to ask if they’ve pursued a solution from another company and what that experience was like for them.

Having your lead commit to a timeline like this helps you visualize how and when you’ll begin pitching. You can also use this information later in your sales process to hold your lead accountable if you feel they’re dragging their feet to make a decision. A priority-based question to start that conversation is:

How soon would you want a solution implemented into your business plan?

CHAMP qualifying capitalizes on the lead’s challenge, authority, money, and priority, in that order. Since it prioritizes challenges over the other elements, the CHAMP framework works best for particular businesses that can customize their solution to the exact need of their customers.

Who Should Use the CHAMP Sales Framework

Since the CHAMP framework prioritizes the challenge(s) faced by your lead and leaves conversations surrounding budget or priority for afterward, it caters best to certain B2B companies. This includes companies that can customize their product or service, that have low priced solutions, or that target large companies.

  • Companies That Offer Customizable Solutions: Businesses selling services that are customizable, like staffing, can benefit from CHAMP qualifying since you’re able to immediately understand what solution(s) your lead would be interested in.
  • Companies That Sell Inexpensive Solutions: If a business offers a solution at a competitive price for their industry, CHAMP can be especially useful since you don’t need to confirm the lead has a deep enough budget right off the bat.
  • Companies Selling to Large Businesses: Since CHAMP holds authority as the second most important factor in qualifying, it can be helpful for salespeople selling to large businesses that typically have multiple decision makers or complex organizations.

These are three primary examples of companies who should consider using the CHAMP sales framework. If you don’t identify with these three types, or you're interested in learning more about alternative frameworks before committing to this one, including BANT, GPCTBA/C, ANUM, and MEDDIC, we’ve summarized them below for you to consider. Jump here to skip ahead and check those out now.

Pro Tip:

CHAMP is a great framework to use when you’re confident your lead can afford your solution. When I was in IT staffing, my clients were large companies with huge spend dedicated to outsourcing hiring. I rarely had to start the discovery phase by asking about budget. Due to their company size and my company's competitive vendor pricing, I would instead focus on the need the hiring manager had.

How to Qualify a Lead With CHAMP

Choosing to adopt the CHAMP framework as a tool to qualify or disqualify leads requires you to schedule and host a discovery call, follow the CHAMP questions, and decide if the lead is a fit. We’ve provided guidance below on how to do this, along with insight as to how to use the information you gain with CHAMP effectively throughout your sales process.

1. Define & Engage With Your Leads

Before qualifying a lead using any sales framework, first you must define, attract, and engage with them using a lead generation process. This step requires research and preparation before engaging directly with leads. To know which leads to target, create a customer profile. This profile uses hard data like demographics and firmographics to define who your ideal buyer is. Use it to strategize exactly how you’ll start engaging with leads using either inbound or outbound tactics.

  • Inbound Lead Generation: Also known as online lead generation, it’s the process of creating an effective lead magnet that attracts leads to engage with your brand directly via online methods. This includes website optimization, social media, and blog ads.
  • Outbound Lead Generation: Also referred to as, sales prospecting, it’s the process of salespeople initiating contact with leads. The most popular sales prospecting tactics include cold calling, cold emailing, business referrals, and business networking.

Once you’re satisfied with your customer profile and have engaged with your leads using online lead generation or sales prospecting techniques, your next goal is to set a discovery call with your lead. This is the first formal meeting that can happen in person or virtually, as long as there is enough time blocked off to really dig into your qualifying framework questions.

2. Host a Discovery Call

As your first official verbal interaction with your lead, hosting a 30-minute discovery call is the ideal opportunity to qualify or disqualify your lead. After scheduling and confirming the call with your lead, research them and do as much pre-qualifying before the call. Research their company and the lead themselves, checking out their company page and LinkedIn. This is information you can reference to build rapport and connect personally with the lead.

Once the lead is on the call, don’t rush into asking your discovery CHAMP questions. Introduce yourself and any other reps you have on the call. Then, set an agenda so your lead can get an idea of what to expect during the meeting. Confirm you have buy-in from your lead at this point of the call by making sure they’re ready to engage in discovery questions. This can be a brief check in by asking, “Are we good to get started?”


Additional Reading:

To learn more about discovery calls, check out our article where we list the nine steps to holding a successful call, provide you with a complete script, and have expert tips to reference yourself.

3. Ask Your CHAMP Questions

Follow your discovery call script to organize how you want to transition from small talk and introductions into asking the actual qualifying questions of your CHAMP sales framework, which should take 15-20 minutes of the meeting. Introduce this section of the call by reminding your lead that your goal is to understand their need inside and out, so you can make sure the product or service you pitch is an appropriate solution to that need.

More example questions to ask using CHAMP are:

  • Challenge: So, what’s the number one need your team has as of right now?
  • Authority: Are you the sole decision maker for a purchase like my solution?
  • Money: What’s the approved spend for a purchase of this scale?
  • Priority: When would you ideally have a solution purchased and implemented?

Asking these questions in this order shows your lead that your first priority as a partner is to understand their problem, even above budget. Each example question above should lead into a deeper conversation around the component topic. If there is a moment where you want to dig further, don’t hesitate to find a pause in the conversation to address it, prompting it by stating, “Before we move on, I want to make sure I understand {CHAMP Component} completely.”

4. Qualify or Disqualify the Lead

After concluding your CHAMP questions, rely on your seller’s intuition to qualify the lead on the spot. Since you’re using CHAMP, you’ll know the problem your lead has right off the bat and if your product or service is an actual solution for them. Continue checking each box of the CHAMP framework, including if they’re the correct contact to be building with, if they can afford your solution, and if they show serious buyer intent.

Measuring if a lead is qualified is dependent on your own business plan, but the rule of thumb is if three out of the four criteria are met, they’re a viable lead. If a lead is under qualified, never end a discovery call abruptly, which can come off as unprofessional. There’s still insight to learn. If the lead admits to not holding authority, ask who that contact is and request a referral. End the call thanking them for their time, record it in your CRM, and send any appropriate follow-up.

Pro Tip:

At the start of my career, I’d ask my sales manager to join meetings. I’d lead the meeting as usual, asking CHAMP questions and scheduling follow-up. Afterwards, we’d recap the conversation making sure we were on the same page on whether the lead was qualified. It’s a way to get direct feedback and hear how someone more experienced would dig in even more on a discovery call.

5. Tailor Your Lead Nurturing Accordingly

At this point, if you’ve found the lead to be a fit, they should now be progressing through your sales process. You should also have valuable insight into their needs, their ideal timeline of implementing a solution, and their budget. Use this information while you strategize what lead nurturing stages you’ll use, catering directly to the lead and what they’re looking for in a product or service. 

The standard lead nurturing stages are:

  • Sales Email: Following your discovery call, immediately follow up with the lead with a recap of the conversation with a strong call-to-action prompting them to take action like scheduling the next meeting or checking out client testimonials.
  • Sales Call: This is the meeting where you give your full sales pitch to the qualified lead. Reiterate the challenge they’re facing along with a crafted unique selling proposition that specifically reflects how your product or service is a valuable solution.
  • Live Product Demo: Since the CHAMP framework puts so much emphasis on the belief your solution can address the challenge your lead faces, the use of a live product demo can help support that claim by visually demonstrating it for the qualified lead.
  • Sales Presentation: Another stage that pairs well with the CHAMP framework is a sales presentation. It's your opportunity to describe in detail the value your product or service can bring a lead, pitching it as a true solution to their challenge.
  • Business Proposal: Following the CHAMP framework questions, you’ll know who all the key decision makers are, if there are multiple. Include and address all decision makers on any formal business proposals.

The information you gain during the discovery and lead qualification phase will directly impact which of these stages you use and how you’ll use them. Prove you were actively listening to your lead disclosing their specific challenges, their authority, budget, and priority, by only taking them through nurturing stages that get them closer to wanting to make a purchasing decision and not wasting yours or their time on stages with little impact.


Additional Reading:

To learn more on the different nurturing stages, along with examples and resources, check out our complete guide on lead nurturing.

Following these five steps will help with implementing the CHAMP sales framework into your lead generating and qualifying process seamlessly. Though CHAMP can work great for many businesses and scenarios, it does have its limitations as a qualifying framework and an alternative might be better suited for you and your sales process.

CHAMP Limitations & Alternatives

CHAMP’s main limitation is that it lists your lead’s priority as least important when qualifying the lead. When it’s the final component to discuss with your lead, it leaves little room for conversation around your lead's decision making process. The top alternative frameworks realign the same four elements that CHAMP has or adds new elements entirely. The most common frameworks include BANT, ANUM, MEDDIC, and GPCTBA/C&I.





The BANT sales qualification is a popular framework that is the top alternative to CHAMP. As a time tested framework, BANT uses the same four components to qualify leads but in a different order based on significance. Budget is the single most important component in this sales framework that salespeople target immediately. Next is the authority the lead holds, their need, and finally their projected timeline.

The ANUM framework has the same four qualifiers as both CHAMP and BANT, but unlike those two frameworks, authority is prioritized as the top qualification indicator. Using authority, need, urgency, and money, sales reps using ANUM immediately target the key players and decision makers. ANUM is also one of the only frameworks that places the least amount of import on the lead’s budget or funds, making it best for salespeople with extremely cheap solutions.

The MEDDIC framework consists of six qualifiers including metrics, economic buyer, decision criteria, decision process, identify pain, and champion. MEDDIC starts by immediately prioritizing what specific metrics your lead tracks that measure their success. This includes where they are currently, and where they want to be. Another new indicator in MEDDIC is identifying a champion in your lead’s company to act as an advocate for your solution.

The lengthy acronym of GPCTBA/C&I stands for goals, plans, challenges, timing, budget, authority, and finally consequences & implications. This sales framework covers similar qualifiers that are found in CHAMP like the lead’s needs, budget, authority, and timing. GPCTBA/C&I also includes a new identifier, consequences & implications. Here you discuss the negative effects if your lead doesn’t pursue a solution like yours.

These four sales qualification frameworks are alternatives to CHAMP selling, and might fit your lead qualifying better depending on your solution and overall sales process. Since BANT is so similar to CHAMP and is a popular alternative, we’ve created a guide to help you better differentiate the two sales frameworks.


The CHAMP and BANT frameworks are often compared since they have identical components. Starting with the budget of the lead, BANT opens by directly addressing the funds set aside for a purchase like yours. Similar to CHAMP, authority is the second qualifier. Then there’s discussion around the lead’s need and their timeline or priority. The biggest differentiator between the two being what qualifying criteria salespeople deem as most important in a lead.

To best visualize the difference between the two frameworks, we’ve created sample scripts for a salesperson using each:

Sample CHAMP Script

In this script, the salesperson is qualifying a lead using CHAMP framework questions.

Salesperson (S): Thanks again for taking the time to connect with me this morning. Like I mentioned, my biggest goal for this meeting is to just get a better understanding of you and your team, and how I could potentially help you get where you want to be. That said, are we good to jump right in?

Lead (L): Yes of course. Let’s get started.

S: Okay awesome. First off, do you mind giving me a 1000 ft overview of what your team is currently working on?

L: We're currently in the middle of a major system upgrade. We’re transferring all of our company's data from our onsite servers to the cloud. It’s been a migration my team’s been working on for more than a year now.

S: So this migration started back in 2022 or 2021? When do you anticipate it to be complete?

L: Yep, January 1st, of 2022 is when we started. We were hoping it’d be done by Q4 of last year, so safe to say we’re a little behind.

S: Oh wow, why do you think the migration hasn’t been completed yet? (Challenge)

L: I’ve lost a lot of my best developers to other job offers, or the ones who’ve stayed just aren't as skilled with such a technical task as this.

S: Are you the one actually interviewing and hiring your developers and staff? (Authority)

L: Yes. I include some of my team leads in the interview but I have the final hiring decision.

S: That’s good! I always suggest having other team members on interviews, especially with such technical skill sets. Are you hiring these developers as contractors through vendors or are they full time employees? (Money)

L: No, we hire through third party agencies. I have an allocated budget for a team of six developers for a minimum one-year contract each. And currently I have only four team members. And not having those extra two, is proving to be a big hurdle.

S: I can imagine! It’s delayed the migration months at this point. Does this mean you’re interested in hiring these last two cloud developers as soon as possible? (Priority)

L: Absolutely, I would ideally have them hired and on-boarded by the end of the month. This is my number one focus right now.

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Now that you can see how a salesperson would ask questions using CHAMP, we have the same scenario below with the salesperson now using BANT for you to compare flow.

Sample BANT Script

Similar to the script above, this salesperson is a representative of a staffing agency meeting with a lead and is using the BANT framework to ask qualifying questions.

Salesperson (S): Thanks again for taking the time to connect with me this morning. Like I mentioned, my biggest goal for this meeting is to just get a better understanding of you and your team, and how I could potentially help you get where you want to be. That said, are we good to jump right in?

Lead (L): Yes of course. Let’s get started.

S: Okay awesome. First off, do you mind giving me a quick rundown of what you and your team is currently working on?

L: Sure. So I oversee a huge migration project that spans across the entire company. I’m the manager of a team of four developers. We’re moving all of the data we have stored in physical servers onsite into the cloud.

S: Wow, that’s a huge task for a team of only four!

L: Exactly, that’s why I need to hire at least two more senior cloud developers.

S: Do you have a budget already set aside for hiring more developers? (Budget)

L: I do! I have clearance for two more hires for a year-long contract each. I am currently even considering rearranging my funding to hire a project manager to assist me as well.

S: So you’ve got a lot of hiring needs coming up. Are you the final decision maker when making a hiring decision for this team? (Authority)

L: Yes I am. I may pull in a team lead into the interview just to make introductions, but I get final say.

S: Understood! Just so I understand fully, you’re looking to hire two new cloud developers to help with this enterprise level data migration? (Need)

L: Exactly. It’s a migration that’s been going on for a little over a year now. I originally had a team of six but I lost one developer to another internal team and another one’s contract was up.

S: When would you ideally have these two new developers start with your team? (Timeline)

L: I’d need to interview next week or the following to get them onboarded in time to start at the beginning of the next quarter.

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The biggest disadvantage of using BANT is leading with conversations around budget can be off putting to some leads. The best use cases of companies who should consider BANT are those selling expensive solutions, companies who don't publicly list their pricing, or companies who sell to mid-large businesses.


Additional Reading:

For a complete guide on this sales framework, check out our article on BANT. There you’ll find a list of who should use it, step-by-step instructions to qualifying leads with BANT, and the best tips to keep in mind.

Bottom Line: CHAMP Sales

The CHAMP framework is a valuable tool for sales professionals to consider when building out their lead qualification tactics. Utilizing CHAMP will help standardize your discovery calls and how you qualify your leads. But deciding if it or any of its sibling frameworks are right for you and your sales process, requires trial runs. So, implement the four questions above that represent the elements of CHAMP, and see what insight you learn from your leads.

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