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February 04, 2016
The Super Bowl is Fun, but a Lousy Way to Sell
The Super Bowl may be the ultimate end to a long season, but make no mistake — it’s a one-time climax. NFL players who never made it to the big game say they’d trade records and pro bowl selections for a single opportunity. And those who get there say, “You’ve got to enjoy it. You never know if you’ll be back.”
So I'm looking forward to friends, food, and a few beers, but that all-or-nothing mindset is the opposite of smart selling. I'll say that even more strongly:
if you've got a seller you know is focusing all their effort on one or two annual big wins, you have at best a question mark and at worst, a liability.
Selling is a high-energy marathon. It's about activity on accounts that will close this quarter and activity to ensure pipeline health next quarter. It's about closing your biggest deal and immediately using that rush of adrenaline to pick up the phone to push another deal forward. Of course, elephant deals are exciting and blow out your numbers, but it’s the logo velocity that makes your quota quarter after quarter.
But how do you know if you got a marathoner or a wildcat putting all his money on red?
It's been hard for sales managers to know whether their sellers understand the steady drum beat required of winning salespeople. It requires long, frequent 1-1s focused on activity, contact frequency, and probing on both the number of meetings … and the number of different opportunities included. The problem with that isn’t just the time required, it’s that time spent debriefing on activity is time not spent coaching on deal-closing strategies. Fortunately, that’s changing. Increasingly, we’re seeing tools able to pull activity levels from routine selling activity automatically — to make sense of emails, calendars, call logs, etc. As more teams use tools like this, sales managers should finally have insight into their reps' cadence with even more time to coach effectively.
And the stakes are high. Managers who don’t bother to know their reps’ cadence play with fire. When their Commits slip and their pipeline is weak — they won’t know until it’s too late.
So I hope you’re looking forward to a fantastic super Sunday filled with fun and friends, but don't confuse that spirit of climactic excitement with the best practices of selling. And when Monday comes, take a couple aspirin and if you and your managers don't have clear visibility into rep activity, give us a call and let us show you how easy it can be.
Oh yeah, I’d love Peyton to go out on top, but I’m going with Carolina.
[By the way, when you watch the Super Bowl, if you like the looks of our knockout new Levi’s stadium here in the heart of the Silicon Valley, we’ll be there in May with 100 of the smartest sales ops people you’ll ever meet in the first-ever event dedicated to sales ops. Together, we’ll dig into how to invent the future of selling ... especially data-driven selling. We’d love to have you join us.]