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Why your sales team should be like the New York Yankees - Nicola Brookes - Blog

Why your sales team should be like the New York Yankees

By Matt Tuson, NewVoiceMedia

While the sales office may seem a long way from the baseball pitch, there are a lot of similarities when it comes to the factors leading to success.

There have been plenty of articles arguing that sports stars would make great sales people – and I’m sure most of your sales team would like to think they’d make great sports stars too.

Both sports and sales have one outcome in mind: winning. It’s about competing to get the result you want as a team. And this is something the New York Yankees regularly achieve.

Here’s why your sales team should be like the New York Yankees.

They work as a team

Where many sales teams go wrong is that they compete too much internally, and not enough with their actual competitors.

Of course, a bit of competition is healthy and is a great way to motivate your team – but ultimately, sales people need to collaborate and share information, so an overly competitive environment is counter-productive.

It’s hard to imagine the New York Yankees winning a game if each player had their own agenda and that’s what you’ve got to remember in sales.

However, embrace a healthy rivalry – so long as it inspires positive behavior and motivates your team – similar to the longstanding rivalry between Yankees and Boston Red Sox, arguably one of the greatest rivalries of all time.

They bounce back

The effort a sales person has to put in in order to make a sale can be huge, so if it all falls through, it can be quite a blow. From relationship building efforts to extensive research, it can feel like you’ve wasted your time. 

These are the kind of setbacks sports people face all the time. Every player in major league baseball today has suffered countless defeats in the past.

You need to motivate your team to bounce back. Use every sale that’s fallen through and try to find ways to improve.

They are motivated

You don’t get into the New York Yankees unless you’re motivated – the same should apply to your sales team.

Part of this is about hiring motivated people, but another part is being able to motivate your team with targets, goals and competitions.

Only 30.6% of US sales people in 2014 were engaged in their job. This is sure to have a huge impact on the success of a business.

Harvard Business Review has also found that there’s a correlation between setting ambitious targets and the success of a sales organization. 75% of high-performing sales organizations raised their 2014 annual quotas more than 10% over 2013 quotas.

Whereas, only 25% of average sales organizations raised quotas this high and just 17% of under-performing sales organizations.

They hire right – but are quick to fire under-performers

The primary way the New York Yankees improve is through acquiring new talent. However, this is not the only way to build a team – when Gene Michael took over the Yankees in 1993, he spent more nurturing talent rather than buying it – and saw great success.

In sales, it’s important to employ both tactics. There are times when you need to hire star performers, but it’s also important to develop the team you have.

What is interesting with the New York Yankees (and virtually all top sports teams) is that underperforming players and managers don’t last long.

The same is true of top sales teams. The better a sales organization is, the quicker they are to fire a poor performer. According to the Harvard Business Review, 78% of high-performing sales organizations would fire a poor performer within a year, compared with 63% of average and 52% of under-performing sales organizations.

They don’t stop adapting

You can’t stick to the same tactics forever. Just because a certain strategy won you the game five years ago, doesn’t mean it will today.

For instance, the Yankees have embraced modern tactics like the defensive shift, plus other changes in strategy in order to stay competitive.

The same applies to sales teams – you need to ensure you can adapt to industry trends and embrace new tactics and technology that can help you make sales.

They are managed by the crowds

While your sales team are not likely to have ‘fans’ and crowds cheering them on, they still have an audience to impress – and that’s your potential customers.

Ensure your team have this goal in mind. Creating lasting relationships with happy customers is key to success.

If you want your team to be the sales equivalent of the New York Yankees, you need to invest in the right technology to support them. NewVoiceMedia's gamification solution, Motivate incentivises your sales team to emulate best practice sales behavior and promotes healthy competition – all with the goal of engaging and motivating your team.

How do you motivate your sales team? And which baseball team would you want your sales team to be? Share your thoughts below.

Publish Date: September 2, 2015 6:01 PM

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