Monday, April 10th marks Opening Day at home for the San Francisco Giants –– to the delight of tens of thousands of fans, including pretty much the entire staff in our SF headquarters at Betts Recruiting.
As I started dreaming about our team winning yet another world series, it occurred to me how similar baseball is to a sales organization.
Just like in baseball, the world of business requires patience, speed, skill, and risk-taking. The outcomes are never certain. There are way more strikes, fouls, and outs than home runs. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes there are delays. And sometimes you have to go a few extra innings to win.
In either case, staying ahead of the competition is always priority number one.
So, here are six examples of how running your business is like playing the thrilling game of baseball:
It’s a clean slate, a chance to ‘show what you got’ to all the ticket holders – investors and consumers – who believe in you enough to put their hard-earned money down (investors get the box seats). Spring training, or sales training, has got your team prepared and pumped. Pressure is on, and the world is watching. The first game of the season is like your sales kickoff in Q1 – it will help set expectations for the year, and hopefully keep the ‘fans’ coming back.
The highest performing sales representatives are like your top players. They are ones that everyone follows, admires, and tries to emulate. With the start of a new season, it’s anybody’s guess who will be this year’s ‘Mr. October’ – that star who can give the ticket holders confidence and help put on a great show for the crowd. But, losing sight of your entire team, at the expense of a few MVPS and big deal-hunters is an absolute no-no. It’s all about getting the entire team functioning as a well-oiled machine. You’ve spent time on training them all – USE EM!
Fans have their teams, just like consumers have their products. You need their continued support to really go all the way, stay relevant, and keep the buzz up. Creating loyalty is key – you have to put on a good show, keep putting numbers on the board, make amazing plays, and WIN! If you have a good reputation as a successful team, your die-hards might be willing to weather the storm even during a losing streak. But the better your season goes, the more fans you will bring along for the ride.
In baseball, away games are just as important as home games. In business, your remote sales teams are just as important to your success as the HQ team. No matter where you do your thing, the outcome is just as vital to the success of the whole organization. Your core strategy and structure should always stay consistent. You also NEED TO KNOW how to adapt to the landscape beyond your own turf, and show your fans – who are watching from all over the country – how great you are anywhere, and most importantly, why you are better than the other guys.
A home run is definitely the most exciting moment during a game. Yet, any experienced manager will tell you that successful seasons are not built on homeruns, but rather on the ability to remain in play through steady and consistent advancement. IT IS THE SAME IN BUSINESS. Instead of wasting all your resources and time focused solely on trying to knock one out of the park, figure out what it takes to simply get on base and start making sales. Make it a goal to get that field occupied and keep those sales reps out there working. If you wait too long for that homer, you just might miss out on other opportunities to score.
Every once in a while some talented and fortunate soul – who’s been developing his skills in the minors for the past few seasons – gets a shot at the Big Show. From farm league to major league, this player has finally been deemed worthy of the move, and now the pressure is on to deliver. Getting a sales development representative (SDR) to become a good account executive is similar. Just like players in the AA and AAA leagues, not all SDRs are going to make the jump, nor should some of them, but you need to keep a constant, solid roster of upstarts that you can take the time to train and source from when need be.
The main point is that business is just as competitive as any group sport. To succeed, you need a good team, a good strategy, a positive outlook, and the ability to adapt.
If YOU have any examples of how you think America’s pastime is like running a business, leave a note in our comment section and we might tweet it out this season!
I don’t know about you, but all this talk about baseball has got me ready to see the Giants kick butt on Monday. Dodger fans, look out.