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Moneyball for Sales – Sales Pipeline Analytics


Moneyball is a baseball phenomenon – the story of Billy Beane taking the Oakland Athletics to the playoffs in 2002 and 2003 despite rebuild his small-market team on a limited budget. Instead of looking at traditional metrics such as stolen bases, runs batted in or batting average, Beane concentrated on interim statistics such as on-base percentages and slugging percentages....and along the way, forever changes the way the game is played. Now, let’s link this analogy to Sales.

We’ve all been there – we want more sales, we hire more sales people. With more data available than ever before, it allows us to look at new ways to increase the effectiveness of the sales process and the efficiency of the sales team. For example, we often hear the need to fill the funnel 3X to our target. In other words, our closing ratio is 34%. What if we can move the needle on the closing ratio from 34% to 50%? That means we can achieve without hiring. But how?

Think of the game of golf – it’s not possible to shave 15 strokes off your game overnight; not even if you take your last scorecard to the best golf pro. A good golf pro will have the student take a few trial shots so he / she can see what’s going on. The key to success is to identify a couple of improvements with the biggest opportunity. Concentrate on the grip, the stance, the follow-through and let the ball land where it may. Because you can only concentrate on things that you can control and focus on the means to the ends.

Now, think of sales – It’s not possible to move the needle from 34% to 50% overnight; not even if you have the best sales representative or manager. A good manager will watch the rep and see what’s going on. The key to success is to identify a couple of improvements with the biggest opportunity. It is important to remember that the couple of improvement areas will be difference for everyone - whether it’s qualifying the leads better, or making the value propositions relevant, or networking more effectively then let the opportunity work through the pipeline. An effective manager will work through the needle movers one at a time to drive an efficient sales team. Once again, because you can only concentrate on things that you can control and focus on the means to the ends.

Like Arnold Palmer said “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” It’s true – you can get the basics down and spend the rest of your life perfecting the game. Just like Sales.

What's your sales transformation journey like? Are you constantly looking at ways to make your sales team more efficient? What about your sales process - when was the last time you revisited it? Drop a line and tell us your story.


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