Football season is here! Most diehard football fans know that are the great lessons from the game that apply to situations in real life. For instance, the strategy and preparation in football can certainly be applied to the dynamics of your sales job. But how does football relate to sales training?
Think about what happens the week leading up to the game…
Developing a game plan
The coaching staff spends countless hours watching film and breaking down plays. They determine what needs to be improved and practiced so players are ready to execute when it’s time to play the next game. All efforts go toward developing a game plan centered on winning the next competition.
The same methods and intentions apply to sales. You can revisit recorded sales calls to spot what you did well and what you can improve on. Then, you can make any necessary adjustments for the next call you make. The success rate of a sales call goes up when you have a solid strategy in place. A good strategy can properly define your goals and helps you build confidence.
Solidifying scouting reports
Good football teams study their opponents as thoroughly as they do their own players. Coaches and organizations create scouting reports for opposing teams, with the goal of being prepared for anything those teams may throw at them. Coaches aim to combat the other team’s strengths and exploit their weaknesses.
While you can’t study your prospects the way teams study opponents, you can at least be sure that the accounts you are targeting are the very best for your company. Not only should they fit your demographic profile, but great accounts are those that have similar characteristics to your most successful clients. It takes some data research and analysis to uncover that information, but it’s well worth the time. When our company did this exercise we realized that we were off on our target revenue range by $20M!
Behind the throwing, running and tackling in football are an array of statistics that are compiled to gain a leg up on the competition. These metrics expose vulnerabilities and take a deep dive into finding ways to improve performance, both individually and as a team. The organization with the best behind-the-scenes analytics team often finds great success on the field.
A great sales team is motivated by stats as well. Analytics and reporting gather sales data and provide a clear picture of current sales trends. Go beyond the typical stats of average sales price and conversion rates. Look at how long opportunities stay in each sales stage. Is there one sales stage where reps seem to get hung up? What vertical or revenue range moves fastest through your sales cycle? What is the average number of key decision-makers involved in your fastest or most profitable sales? These are the kinds of analytics that really move the needle.
Practice is an everyday aspect of football. It helps players get better on their own and teams get better as a whole.
Practice is just as important in sales. The issue is sales reps get so caught up in playing the game that they don’t spend enough time practicing. That’s why it’s important for a rep to set aside time throughout the week for identifying tactics and areas of opportunity. At FRONTLINE Selling, our team (and our clients) train on a digitized Call Simulator. Like airline pilots, our reps train through simulation so they practice and master skills before they get on a call. Ongoing training like this keeps all sales skills sharp!
Think about what happens during the game…
Execute the game plan
All of that pregame preparation takes center stage once kickoff occurs. If the plays are executed, the team is in sync and the strategy is front of mind, there’s a good chance you’re going to win.
All of the pre-call preparation takes center stage when the prospect is on the other line or when you see him or her in person. Execution is now the key. Remember the strategy for the meeting and do your best to keep control of the conversation. When you let the prospect drive too much of the conversation, you’re likely to veer off course. Answer questions honestly, but immediately turn the questions back to them to ensure you are getting the info YOU need to best position your solution.
Think about what happens after the game…
Win or lose, a football team will attentively reflect on its performance. While it’s important to have a short memory in sports – and in sales – it’s more important to review any flaws so the same mistakes aren’t repeated. At the same time, it’s important to review the successes to establish momentum moving forward.
It’s important to review sales calls or appointments to identify what went well and what did not. Each call is a learning experience, whether it results in a sale or not. Learn from the bad and run with the good. Recording and transcribing calls provides the perfect opportunity to review the exact conversation. If you didn’t win, where did the deal go south? What was the exact moment you realized you missed something? If you won, what was the winning strategy? Share that with your team so everyone can benefit from your experience – good or bad.
Feedback from peers
Postgame reflection goes far beyond the individual. The head coach gets feedback from position coaches, and players are welcome to offer input as well. As a united effort, the team will find positive and negative takeaways and will address those items throughout the week leading up to the next game.
Peer review can help immensely in sales. Win-loss reviews are critical to understanding where you excelled and where you could have improved. This is a great way to share details of the deal and get that feedback from others on what they might have done differently..or what they can use in the future to be successful.
Sales is a lot like football, so take that mentality with you into your next call. Prepare with an unfailing attitude and perform confidently when it matters most. FRONTLINE and our Staccato sales process will help guide you and your sales team to victory. We make your sales team more effective by eliminating sales prospecting guesswork and provide step-by-step guidance on how to create more meaningful interactions.