The Sales Management Equivalent to Baseball's Pitch Count

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 19, 2008 @ 12:09 PM

Yesterday at lunch, four of us were discussing pitch count - the theory that a starting pitcher should be held to 100 pitches, regardless of whether he is pitching a great game or not. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, here are two examples of how a manager manages the game using a pitch count.

Freddy Fast is in the sixth inning of a gem.  He has shut down the other team on three hits and hasn't allowed a run while strking out 11.  However, he's had many multi-pitch at bats and his pitch count is now at 106.  His manager comes to the mound and brings in a reliever despite his effectiveness and lack of fatigue.

Casey Curve is in the sixth inning of a game in which he has already allowed 5 runs, all on home run balls he served up in the third inning.  He's only thrown 72 pitches, his team is ahead by two runs, so his manager opts to let him continue to pitch.

One friend suggested I find a way to correlate pitch count to sales.

No problem.

I am not a proponent of a sales manager doing the closing for his salespeole, however, should a two-call close cycle be on its fourth call; a six month sales cycle be in its tenth month, an exception is certainly called for.  Or, if you consider a salesperson who is expected to perform certain levels of activity, who isn't meeting expectations, another exception might be called for. 

When a salesperson isn't moving an opportunity forward or getting it closed and you believe it should move forward, go to the bullpen or put yourself in the game. 

When a salesperson isn't performing the agreed upon activity, bench or demote the salesperson.  

So what does benching or demoting a salesperson involve?  

In baseball, the team might demote, or send a young player down to the minor league - as punishment for not hustling, for more seasoning, to rehab an injury or to learn a new position.  They go down with an understanding of what must happen to get back to the major leagues. You can bench a salesperson by stopping the required activity all together, serving notice that until that individual is ready to perform at the required level, there won't be any performing at all. 

You can demote a salesperson by placing him or her on an exit plan, where it is clearly stated that unless certain goals, accomplishments, milestones and activities are met in a certain time period, their employment would be terminated.

Yes Rick, Baseline Selling can be applied to Sales Management too!

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan


Topics: Sales Coaching, sales performance, Sales Accountability, Baseball

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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