Baseball's General Managers versus Business' Sales Managers

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 @ 05:03 AM

The 2010 Major League Baseball season officially gets underway this Sunday evening with its greatest rivalry, the Boston Red Sox versus the New York Yankees, at Fenway Park.  It gives me a great excuse to write a baseball themed article.  But hey, what else would you expect from the author of Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball?

This week is one of the most active weeks for General Managers because they need to trim their rosters to 25 players.  The best 25 players.  The 25 players that give their teams the best chance to win, the greatest depth, and the best protection in case of injury.  General Managers have several tools they can use to evaluate who gets those final roster spots.  They can go by what they witnessed, first hand, during Spring Training.  They can go by the players' statistics from the Spring Training games, or they can use a player's statistics from the last year, two years or three years to make their decisions.  There are dozens of statistics being used these days, with the traditional stats of HR, RBI, BA, and ERA being overtaken by newer stats like OPS, OPB, and WHIP. I'm all for the newer stats because of the insights they provide.

You should be evaluating your sales team's performance as the first quarter of 2010 comes to a close.  You have many ways to evaluate sales performance.  Observation, statistics, sales force evaluation, performance, etc.  As part of a sales force evaluation, sales force optimization - the optimal number of salespeople for your sales force - should be considered.  Unlike baseball, the number is probably not 25.  But once you have the number, it becomes much easier to determine who the best salespeople are. The ones that give you the best chance to win, the best depth, and the best protection in case of injury.  Baseball doesn't award roster spots for tenure, appreciation, or effort.  The spots go the best, period.  You should do the same.  

You have one huge advantage over baseball General Managers though. Forward looking indicators. Except for observation, all of the statistics they use in baseball are lagging indicators.  They tell the story of how a player has performed in the past, not how they will perform in the future.  And while past performance can be an indicator of future performance, it can't be relied upon.  Too often, companies rely on lagging indicators to evaluate sales performance by citing revenue.  While revenue is important, forward looking indicators are more significant.  They can accurately predict future sales performance in a way that would make baseball's General Managers drool!  I wrote this comprehensive article on What to Do With Your Useless Sales Pipeline for AlisterPaine.com.

Rely on your forward looking indicators - your sales pipeline and the metrics that keep it filled and balanced - and you can accurately predict your revenue before, instead of after the fact.  Not only will you be able to predict revenue, but you'll be able to impact it as well.  Don't like what you see?  Change something!  It's just a lot easier to change the numbers before they happen than after.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales pipeline, Baseball, red sox, sales metrics, yankees

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,850 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards  

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs 2021

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

2020-07-20_14-45-52


 

2020-Bronze-BlogIndi

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter

Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

2020_Top20_Web_Large_assessment_eval

2020-Gold-AssessTool

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader