What do top sales teams have in common with the best international sportsmen? More than you think actually. When it comes to success and winning the game, there are some core strategies that top sales teams share with sporting giants. We understand that a high performing sales department is important to your business so we have listed the top scoring strategies you need to implement in your team right now, in order to win big in sales.


1. Train hard

Track stars, runners, cyclists and swimmers work daily to beat their times and shave milliseconds off their laps. Just like any top sportsman, sales people also need ongoing practice and training. Meaning that your sales reps need to be up to date with the latest in sales and technology, actively incorporating them into their jobs, in real time. As an example, cloud-based tools and software like CRM are an integral part of lead generation. Further to this, your sales team need to be able to think on their feet when it comes to responding to challenging queries. This can either be managed with scripts guiding them through common issues, or they can run their sales pitches in roleplays with corporate trainers. This needs to happen monthly or weekly, and the rest of the time they need to be putting these skills into practice in order to become more comfortable within the larger strategy.


2. Clear coaching

The best coach is always on the side lines, cheering their team through the game. This boils down to more than encouragement, and is rather about clear ongoing communication, in real time. In fact, good communication is what separates a good team from a great one. So who is communicating with your sales team? If you have a tiered structure you may have an Account Manager feeding strategy through to upper management on a regular basis. The Account Manager will then work closely with their respective teams ensuring quality, performance, follow-up and feedback. A good way to keep channels open and energy up is for the Account Manager to set clear and enticing KPIs and plan a clear strategy for each sales team to be followed on a monthly basis.


3. Working to improve 

Ever noticed what assistant basketball coaches do? In addition to recruiting the best players, they are also continuously watch old games. Analysing for mistakes in order to teach the players how to avoid their previous mis-steps. This is not unlike a Quality Assurance Analyst on a sales team. This person tracks each rep’s performance and then evaluates how improvements can be made to overall team performance. A successful sales team needs to continuously improve in all aspects of the game from listening, to probing for info, to pitching, presenting, and handling issues all the way to sealing the deal.


4. Always be prepared 

In football they use playbooks. These are a clear compilation of different strategies that the team may be able to use during a game in real time. Similarly, your sales team could use a sales playbook. This is a document that outlines your sales process, type of customers, scripts, negotiation strategies and sample emails. Make sure that your team has a go-to play for whatever scenario they come up against with the customer on game day. These need to be rehearsed and replayed in real time in order to feel natural.


5. Find your fans

During hard Lockdown one of the strangest things was watching professional matches like soccer or tennis with no fans cheering them on. Without a network of supporters, the energy of the game feels flat. In a sales context this can be compared to a network and community of clients or potential buyers who feed the sales force with energy. In order to grow this “fan base” sales people need to get into the habit of asking for referrals the moment a customer has signed the deal. Convert the satisfaction of that existing fan into a referral by simply asking for an introduction to others who may also benefit from this same service. This is actually a highly underrated and lucrative resource for lead generation.


6. Enthusiasm sells

Cheerleaders and rowdy fans build up energy at the match. Not only encouraging the players but also pushing the team to outdo themselves. In a sales context the job of the sales manager is to continuously encourage and cheer staff on. This enthusiasm then needs to pass through the sales rep and onto the customer. If the sales rep doesn’t feel passionate about the product, the customer will never buy in and the deal will never close. A healthy passion is really powerful and can be the deciding factor that persuades customers to buy-into the end game.


The bottom line


In the same way that a top performing sportsman works hard to play hard, a slick sales team has to practice to make perfect. Sales is a dynamic and difficult environment that requires hard work, enthusiasm, encouragement and practice. So by learning from the best and implementing these strategic tactics employed by top sports stars, your sales team will be well on its way to taking home the trophy.

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