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Moneyball and Sales Growth

While browsing Netflix a few weeks ago (as is the case for many of us during these times), I noticed Moneyball was trending at #2 in the nation – one of my favorite movies. Coincidently, last month I joined a podcast featuring Billy Beane, (the former general manager of the Oakland A’s who was convinced baseball needed to be reinvented - for those not familiar), and he was exactly as I would have expected – witty, relatable, and smart. Along with Peter Brand, he challenged the sport’s old-fashioned traditions and recruited players with game-winning potential that other scouts deemed as "flawed."

Moneyball may not be a recent release, but several important aspects of the Moneyball strategy translate to the world of sales; here are a few favorites:

Use a data-driven approach.

The Athletics' had their traditional way of finding players, which often involved biases and false perceptions until Beane decided on a mathematical approach to find the best players.

"It’s about getting down to one number. Using stats the way we read them, we’ll find value in players that nobody else can see.” – Peter Brand, Moneyball

Are you using an analytical, evidence-based approach when it comes to filling your pipeline, cross-selling, or managing client risk?

Leverage your biggest promoters, reduce client risk, and know the level and status of your customer relationships with an NPS® survey report. Manage and grow your existing accounts with an account management tool that provides important data, alerts, and action steps.

Did you know – when it comes to prospecting, most salespeople stop after 4 attempts? There’s plenty of evidence that suggests response rates rise with each outreach attempt, with averages ranging between 8 and 13 depending on the industry. And getting a meeting with a prospect is where opportunities become real. By utilizing a touch plan strategy and Call Meeting Plans, you’ll track your progress, be better prepared when that meeting takes place, and increase your odds of success.

You're not a catcher anymore.

Change can be hard but also very rewarding. Whether you are a leader or part of a sales team, developing skills that benefit your personal advancement as well as the growth of your team or company are important now more than ever. Don’t be afraid of change – it may be your chance to improve, develop new skills and achieve more.

Former catcher, Scott Hatteberg, on his new position as Oakland’s first baseman:

Billy Beane: Scott, you’re not a catcher anymore. If you were, our call wouldn’t have been the only one you’d gotten when your contract expired. Scott Hatteberg: Yeah. Hey, listen. No, I appreciate it. Billy Beane: You’re welcome. Scott Hatteberg: But the thing, the thing is, uh… Billy Beane: You don’t know how to play first base. Scott? Scott Hatteberg: That’s right. Billy Beane: It’s not that hard, Scott. Tell him, Wash. Ron Washington: It’s incredibly hard. Billy Beane: Hey, anything worth doing is. And we’re going to teach you.

Hatteberg went on to have his best year with the A’s in 2004 as a first baseman when he hit .287, scored 87 runs, hit 15 home runs, drove in 82 runs, and had an on-base percentage of .367.

Don't read your own press clippings.

I am all for celebrating wins but don’t linger too long. Time spent patting yourself on the back instead of continuing to build new business, develop new skills, or grow current clients will result in long-range losses and client risk.

“I’m not paying you for the player you used to be, I’m paying you for the player you are right now.” – Billy Beane

And don’t think a client owes you anything. If you provided the service and they paid their bill, you’re even. Enjoy the successes but work toward becoming a trusted advisor by continuously bringing value, understanding your customers’ operating reality, and helping them solve their problems.

Adapt or die.

After the success of Oakland, other teams adopted this new model and strategy to stay competitive. Now, baseball data analysts are part of college teams and MLB teams may have more than a dozen on staff. This model no longer provides the advantage it did in the beginning.

What worked yesterday will not work tomorrow as the competition catches on. To stay ahead of the competition, find additional KPIs for success, foster a growth mindset, and continue to develop and strengthen processes and skills. Be brave enough to implement new ideas and go where others have not.

As a research firm, we understand the value of reliable data. As a training and consulting company, we know what it takes to convert that data to actionable insights and create a roadmap for your success. Butler Street is a management consulting, training, and research company with one focus: to help companies and their people grow. Contact us to learn more.


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