I am often accused of writing about the nuances, science, complexities, and advanced concepts of sales force management and selling. Shoot me. Guilty as charged. So I'll give myself a break and in this post, make sales and sales management as simple as possible using some baseball analogies. After all, it worked in my best-seller, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball.
- When you don't make ability, competence and effectiveness of salespeople a priority and insist on carrying ineffective salespeople, then the sheer quantity of opportunities is the only remedy. Take enough big swings and one of those pitched balls is likely to accidentally hit the bat and leave the stadium.
- When you have salespeople who either aren't motivated or aren't emotionally capable of keeping their pipeline filled with opportunities, they must compensate with exceptionally high closing percentages and significantly above average order/account sizes. When you aren't in the starting lineup and don't often get to bat, you had better make good on the few opportunities that come your way.
- When your salespeople are short on opportunities and unable to compensate by closing a high percentage of large opportunities, perhaps a new sales manager will fix the problem. When the baseball team stops hitting they usually fire the manager.
- When salespeople struggle at any aspect of sales, you must provide training, coaching and development. When baseball players go into a slump or have difficulty making the transition to the big leagues they take lots and lots of batting practice under the supervision and guidance of a hitting coach. When that fails they are sent back down to the minor league for more instruction.
- When all else fails, fire the manager's boss. The General Manager gets fired when they've fired and replaced players and managers with no apparent change in results.