The Celtics & Your Sales Team

Celtics 2024Just a superb win last night! 

Can't say enough about the game and, more importantly, the various sports reporters are saying and showing it this morning better than I could ever do. 

On to Sunday!



I always compare outstanding sales teams to outstanding sports teams, and there's reasons for that:

  • The best teams are just that: the best teams with the emphasis on "teamwork".  We saw that last night when the Celtics were pressed in the third quarter by the Mavericks, and they immediately responded in the way championship teams should!    

    We see that same level of performance all the time in our customers when they work seamlessly not only among themselves, but also in their tight relationships with Marketing, with Customer Success and with Finance. The culture and the vocabulary at that points is all about working together for the company's success!  In our work, no one does that better than HubSpot evidenced by their culture code which every HubSpotter embraces and which is why they have one of the longest retention levels among salespeople in the tech industry.  Also consistently rated in the top 3 large tech companies to work for in the U.S.  
  • The Celtics live what they work, and they work what they live. Success at work in Sales is not about a 9-5 job.  It's about whatever it takes.  In our work with our best sales teams, it's the number 57, hours a week, so we just round it off to 60 to make the math easier.  Over hundreds of our companies, the best performing frontline salespeople work an average of 57 hours a week.  More for managers. The phrase of "work/life balance" is not in the lexicon of anyone successful in Sales.  Sure, all of us understand pressure and the need for time off, and we do it well...but not at game time!
  • Playbooks are at the center of the game.  No difference in the best selling companies although there may not be a specific playbook for every sales call, our analysis shows that the most successful B2B sales companies, have highly detailed sales playbooks at the core of their success which are updated every quarter for the next 90 days and then reinforced with consistent training where skills are weaker.
  • The best sports team players don't happen by accident.  The actual process of bringing a team together in terms of consistent training, in succession planning and in constantly assessing future draft picks is a highly honed skill that the most successful college and professional sports teams do with excellence. The Celtics waited more than a month for Kristaps Porzingis to return, and he made all the difference last night!  Say thanks to Brad Stevens, president of Boston’s basketball operations. He gave up Marcus Smart and came away with Porzingis.

    Unfortunately, it's our experience that this level of player planning is not the same with the majority of sales teams where we are too frequently "surprised" when a key player unexpectedly becomes ill or resigns, and the company is then caught shorthanded without a territory being filled or a number of key accounts not being covered. If "always be closing" is a sales phrase that we all know, our equally important mindset should be "always be recruiting".  Our personal metric is that every sales manager should be spending 5% of their annual time always recruiting future draft choices even when they do not have any openings. 

Right now, it's game time for the Celtics, and it's all about what happens over a very short period of days!  That's absolutely no different for any of us this morning as we look at what's required of us and our teams over the next 15 days of the Q.  After we blow through quota for this month and celebrate our success, we all need to take a full day-maybe two-in July with our teams and plan out in detail what it will take to get to the finals in December.  Not a big ask if we want to be champions!

Have a great weekend and make sure you tune in on Sunday night and while you're watching think every once in a while what you can take away from that experience, that championship level of success, and that level of extraordinary teamwork that you can bring back and discuss with your team Monday morning!



sales planning-1-1For a few ideas on Sales and improving the productivity of your own team, you can click here for this new  "Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2024" for a few ideas on structure, sales models, process funnels and a number of productivity tools and how to recruit and hire the best.  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.




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