THINK LIKE THE NCAA DOES TO BUILD YOUR B2B SALES TEAM
Most of the business owners who are clients within my firm are bringing home $500K to $1M in personal income each year, and want MORE. But not necessarily more MONEY. Instead, like you, they are interested in refining their business asset to make it more valuable and ultimately more enjoyable. They want fewer headaches, and more time for leisure, pleasure and their family.
So how do you cultivate a business asset to provide for you without the growing pains and slavish hours required of a start up? One obvious solution is to build a championship B2B sales team. However, this isn’t a short term goal – it’s a three-to-five year game of talent scouting, training and maturing, following a patient path that is very similar to the planned trajectory of an NCAA recruiting class.
Let me explain from my experience in NCAA baseball, where I was a four year starter. My freshmen class had seven recruits, and by the time I graduated, only three remained.
Building toward Success.
It’s a fact: Upperclassman athletes are generally better equipped to play at a higher level than underclassman. After even a year of experience in collegiate sports, student athletes have developed heightened awareness, pattern recognition, and the savvy to be in the right place at the right time. Recruiters and coaches invest a lot in their youngest players to get them ready for game day. They know that, along with talent, it takes time to grow All-Stars.
Similarly in business, even with the best sales training in the world as a starting point, it takes time – often three, four, five years – to grow great salespeople and assemble a team of winners. During that window, your rookie sales pros are gaining knowledge and honing skills, the upperclass sellers are fine-tuning their approaches and learning by mentoring the newest hires, and the field is opening up by attrition, as older pros head out. Wisdom, abilities and relationships give mature sales professionals the most value. Be patient to cultivate your championship team!
Winners Play Hardball.
College teams have a fairly consistent schedule for each season. They see the same competition again and again, watching who wins and how, and who loses and why. Every team knows the opposing fields, coaches and players very well, and continually assesses their strong points and weak areas. Games are won when one team plays to its opponent’s vulnerabilities from the confident position of its own strengths, while mitigating its own weaknesses.
What if business sales teams played a similar game? Think of the knowledge that could be gained by scouting the weaknesses and mistakes of a business competitor, and then pitching their customers by showcasing your relative strengths.
Go to your competitor’s website, look up their customers’ page, and then call on these businesses to demonstrate that you can provide superior service. Reaching out to the competition’s clients keeps everyone on their toes, and ultimately elevates customer service and products. This isn’t unethical, it’s competitive. Sales is a game of hardball, in which exceptional salespeople win over new companies in the marketplace, and take dissatisfied customers from competitors who aren’t as talented or developed.
Invest for the Best!
Every class of senior athletes has a player or two that coaches would die to replicate… players who will leave a tangible void in the team when they graduate and move on.
Business has one advantage here. Sales stars can stay around for as many years as they shine, while recruiting talent happens continually. I recommend you grow your sales team in the same manner as the big corporate dogs – hiring “recruit classes” of between three and eight people, each seen as a potential All-Star after three to five years.
While this will require a bigger investment up front, the advantages are significant and quickly realized on the books. For instance, training costs are actually lower per person with more hires. Trainings are energized by the comradery and spirit of competition. The older team members get amped up by the vigor of the new players, and sales revenues fly over the centerfield wall.
If my theory and experience gained as an NCAA athlete and a sales manager is right on, the business owner who wants to recruit, train and implement a truly exceptional sales team over five years has the potential to produce five to ten All-Stars.
Now that, my friends, is an asset that will let you enjoy the greatest game of all. It’s called LIFE!