Scoring big - what sales teams can learn from the Super Bowl

Mark Davis, Friday 2 February 2018

An athlete at the superbowlThe world-famous Super Bowl is enjoyed by an audience of millions and is one of the most highly anticipated events in the global sporting calendar.

The adrenalin-fueled and fiercely competitive event sees players at the top of their game battling it out for the ultimate prize – the right to be named champions and to take their place in history.

And it’s no accident that these titans of the sports fields are where they are today. A whole legion of people is silently working away behind the scenes, with comprehensive planning, strategy and good old fashioned hard work getting them to this point.

In this way, a Super Bowl team is like any other business that is battling to beat the competition and achieve success - and the parallels don’t end there.

So, what can sales teams learn from teams competing in the Super Bowl that will help them take their results up to a whole new level?

Keep your eyes on the prize

Every team playing in the Super Bowl has a goal. They know what they want to achieve and will have a plan for how they will get there – both as a team and as individuals within that team. This goal will guide everything they do.

For sales teams, it is no different. You need to know what you’re aiming to achieve and to have a clear plan for how you might get there. Your goals and targets need to be ambitious but also SMART, as impossible targets will do nothing except demotivate and stall your progress.

Always look at the bigger picture. Make sure your sales goals are aligned with the wider goals of the business and that everyone knows how their role fits within them. The strongest teams know what they are working towards and why.

Put the training in

Super Bowl players spend hours working on their game and perfecting their techniques. Sales teams should learn from this and never underestimate the importance of training and refreshing their skills.

If you’re stuck in a rut, then mix it up and try something new. As soon as you’re comfortable with something, think how you might build on it and further enhance what you’re doing. The most successful teams are always learning and will have an eye on the latest developments and thinking in their industry.

Have the right tools in place

Stats and data play an important role in the modern game, both on and off the field. Player fitness and performance will be analyzed to the nth degree, along with digital tools that will help model scenarios and predict outcomes.

On the sales floor, having the right tools in place and access to essential data is also vital. You’ll want to ensure you never miss an opportunity and also all the information you need to be able to strengthen the sales process and close more deals.

Having a good CRM is usually a great starting place. So too is thinking about time management and project management software, which can help ensure you never drop a ball, while making your life a little easier.

From a lead generation point of view, clever tools such as our own Lead Forensics software, can help you take things up a gear. You’ll be able to see who is visiting your website, even if they never fill in a form or make contact with you. You can also set up alerts for when your top target leads visit the website (giving you that all important timing) and also track the journey they have taken across the site, providing you with valuable insights you can use in your sales pitches.

Work on any weaknesses

There’s no point putting loads of effort into making an amazing interception, only to fumble the ball in the next pass. The whole process needs to be strong, smooth and efficient from start to finish.

Review your whole sales process regularly and check it is as strong as it can be. This is especially important when it comes to any ‘touchpoints’ you may have with a potential customer – by this meaning any time they will come into direct contact with you.

Try to spot any areas where more training may be needed and where other improvements could be made, to avoid leads dropping out unnecessarily. You want to be landing deals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Have a strategy

Top teams know what their goal is and will have a strategy for achieving it. They will also know what their strongest play is going to be, which will be based on research and experience.

For B2B organizations faced with modern day buyers, the tactics needed to pull them in and land the deal will be very different to those that have traditionally been used.

You need to consider what is going to be the most effective way to reach your target audience, communicate with them and what the information is that they will want to see.

Adapt to the situation

Even with all the planning in the world, something unexpected could happen on the day. If Plan A is out, then there needs to be a Plan B and a Plan C.

Teams need to be able to recognize when changes are called for and be flexible enough to adapt. If you ignore what’s in front of you and keep doing the same thing, then you’re only likely to get the same result. The quicker you can react, the better.

If something’s not working, don’t try to force it. Test, review and improve on what you are doing. Remain focused on the prospect and not yourself. Hear what they are telling you and see the signals they are giving off. Some people will naturally be stronger at doing this than others, but as with most sales skills, it just takes practice.

Do your research

One of the key lessons you can learn, is the importance of knowing who you’re up against. In the Super Bowl, teams will have studied each other in depth, watched past games, researched, looked for weaknesses, looked for strengths, analyzed and deconstructed performances to enable them to tackle the game from the strongest possible position.

Sales teams need to do the same. To be successful when prospecting you need to understand exactly who it is you are targeting. What problems and challenges are they facing? What is going on in their industry right now? What internal work pressures are they likely to be under? What type of approach are they likely to respond best to?

Thanks to the internet and social media, doing thorough research is now easier than ever before. A simple check on LinkedIn or Twitter could give you a valuable insight and help you form the strongest possible line of attack.

Work as a team

Sports teams know that they are stronger together and when they perfect this, it can be a beautiful thing to behold.

As a sales team, to be successful also takes team work. You may have individual targets and be feeling the pressure, but ultimately you are all working towards the same thing – generating revenue for the business.

If one person has success, you will all benefit, so celebrate wins together and share insights and ideas that will help the whole team be stronger.

This ideology should go wider than just the sales team too. Aim to get your sales and marketing teams aligned so you are creating the strongest plans, have the best targeting and are giving prospects the information they really want to see.

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Topics: B2B sales, Close Sale

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