Execute Sales like the Patriots, Coach like Belichick

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Feb 02, 2017

Being successful in any business is tough work.  Always has been, always will be...and that's what makes it both an exciting career and very rewarding. Once in a while, we get lucky, but rarely, and then only for short periods of calm in a turbulent ocean of constant change.

With the maxim of "Success in business is all about success in Sales...and then a lot of other stuff", when one takes apart the components of true success in Sales, and therefore true success in business, there are only three maybe four, dials that any manager can turn.

  • I need to recruit, hire, onboard, train and develop my players...like Coach Belichick 
  • I need to be constantly searching for new draft choices...like Coach Belichick 
  • I need to have formal succession plans in place for all of my players...like Coach Belichick

Belichick-4.pngNo question, sales success for any coach or owner of a professional sports team, is based on process, training, play books and equipment, but all of that is secondary to the actual players, who need to be rigorously trained in process, need to formally memorize their play books, and need to use that special equipment in exactly the right way. Those of us who follow the Patriots have seen numerous times the reaction of Coach Belichick when a player comes off the field after he received a penalty for not adhering to the rules or the formality of the playbook.  Not a pretty picture.

And Yet...

When I and my team go into a new company to assess sales and marketing performance and 2017 growth opportunities, invariably, the primary issue, either #1 or #2, is all about people.

..."we can't find the right people", or, "it takes forever..."

..."we kinda have a sales training program"

..."our top people need to do their own thing"

..."they are just not going to use our CRM, no matter what we do"


These type of responses would never be tolerated in professional sports.  

Quite frankly, they would never be accepted in any Division 1 or Division 3 collegiate sports team of any kind from swimming to women's lacrosse to men and women's hockey and basketball to football.  So, why do so many of our companies allow their sales players to color outside the lines, invent their own messaging and value propositions and wander down crooked paths pushing too quickly to close the deal rather than paying formal attention to their sales process and tools...such as CRM?  

Two very simple-to-answer, but complex to execute...answers:

1.  We lack formal processes in recruiting, onboarding and consistent training of our most valuable and most expensive asset-salespeople.  That fault is ours as managers, not the players.  Our ten years of research and hard data in assessing this definitively state that the best players desperately want formal processes and tools and the ability to compare their performance with hard metrics and systems to other players and other teams.  They want to be trained.  They want the winning technology equipment.

Just take on this simple assignment Sunday afternoon as you're prepping for the game:

  • Grade- A+ through C - all of your salespeople based on their 2016 sales performance.  Should be easy, and it's probably already done.  
  • Now go back, add three more columns and grade them again on adherence (1) to your sales process steps, (2) your CoM-Command of the Message, and (3) your Value Propositions .

Take a step above and view the results from 100 feet off the deck of this first pass grading. What's it tell you?  In a very basic, 45 minute exercise, it should give you a directional view of where you need to apply investment of your personal time and consistent training for the balance of the year in terms of implementing formal sales process and technology tools.  

It should also tell you very exactly where to eliminate people.  Don't wait until the end of the quarter.  Do it now based on January's results, if someone is clearly off the mark and there's no real difference from Q4's results. Data conclusively shows that sales management failure is not only an inability to hire the right people the first time and actively manage the succession bench, it's also a failure to fire the wrong people more quickly. Remember that our job as coaches is not to try to develop the C or B- players; it is to work with the rest of the team and make the "B" players, all "A" players.

2. Get Rid of The Lone Wolf

Success in football, at any level, and success in any sport at any level, is all about the team !

Patriots-2-4.jpgToo many times in my younger career I listened too much, I patted on the back too hard, and I gave permission too often for "The Lone Wolf" to color outside the lines since he (they were always men) was
"The Lone Wolf", who brought in the big bucks, but had his own way of doing things, which invariably broke the rules of process, CRM use and showing up for Saturday morning training.   My hard-lesson-learned is that today if any one player is not going to be a vocal participant in our process, our tools, our equipment, our religion of selling, and our training methods, that person is given a choice...once.  Are you on or off the team?  Any hesitancy, of any kind, the lone wolf is off the team that day, not end of the quarter, not Friday, that day.

In hindsight, my mistake was that of a naive rookie manager (who was under the gun) since invariably the Lone Wolf's orders I discovered were based on singular personal relationships which totally fell apart at a point when that person left, resulting in not only lost revenue but in lost customers.

Bottom line here on this Wednesday...

Train and play the game like any of the Patriots...and manage like Coach Belichick !
Go Pats!

Good Selling Today!


Tags: sales management coach, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales producitivity