The time to get back to selling is here. That means sellers should be focused on prospecting rather than being dragged into operations needs or busy work.
NB: This is an article from Knowland
But how is this accomplished, and how can it be maintained? It must start with sales leaders doing what is necessary to protect selling time vehemently. To do this effectively, you need to speak in a language that makes sense to owners and operators. That language is cold, hard Benjamins.
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A brief history
Let’s break it down. If you are familiar with the book “Moneyball,” you know the secret to the Oakland Athletics’ success in the early 2000s was to break down their (comparatively) minuscule budget for players, to recruit overlooked players who would give them the best chance to win.
They analyzed every metric needed to win and then searched for the players to help them achieve it. It meant every metric had a dollar value. This helped quantify each statistic and place a value on things the league had never really valued. Billy Beane focused on two metrics, on-base percentage (the times a player gets on base for any reason—excluding errors) and slugging percentage (total bases divided by at-bats). Beane believed these two metrics answered two questions. Can the player hit? Can the player create runs?
Data analytics was nothing new to baseball. Baseball has been tracking statistics since the 1800s. What Beane (and his team) did was distill it into the metrics most likely to win. He eschewed the power players for players who consistently made it on base. Fortunately, these players also cost less. This created an entirely new way to manage baseball teams that successfully allowed lower-market teams to compete with big-market teams.
What does that have to do with sales?
What does a complex baseball theory have to do with sales? The short answer is nothing. The shorter answer is everything.
Think about where we are as an industry. We have sales teams distracted by RFP spam inundating inboxes. The same lead that used to go to six to eight hotels now goes to 20 to 25. This means hotels are getting more unqualified leads. But as sales teams are often measured by response time, it’s the perfect excuse to stay “busy.”
Compounding the issue, our operations teams are still understaffed. This means sales teams get dragged into helping in operations. Additionally, we have newer sellers who are afraid of NO! They believe prospecting will take too much time. Ultimately, they don’t know what it takes to sell vs. take orders.
This is where Moneyball comes into play:
- Those selling need to know what effort they must put in to achieve their revenue goals.
- Leaders need to know how sellers are performing and who is optimizing their efforts.
- Operations need to know the “cost” of redirecting sales from sales into other activities.
So, how do you accomplish that? The same way Billy Beane did. You’ve got to analyze the data. This is not the time for group goals. This must be done at the individual seller level. And it requires a maniacal focus. Managing and leading a team goes beyond looking at the top-line numbers. You must have a plan and visibility for each and every person on your team, and across the various tasks for which they are responsible. The outcome is closed deals, and it takes a calculated level of effort to get the desired results. Knowing how many calls, leads and proposals it takes to achieve your desired goal is what every seller needs to understand.
A sales calculator, like the example below, is a great tool to help you understand the value of your selling time.