Over the years, I have experienced a lot of different sales training strategies. One of my favorites is one that was formulated by a mentor and friend of mine by the name of Dr. Scott Baird. He founded Griffin Hill Consulting.
We hired Griffin Hill to coach our sales teams for several years. It made an incredible impact. One of the best things I learned from this experience was the importance of measuring first downs.
I’m an old football coach. With four boys and a girl, I coached for eight years when they were in fifth grade up to eighth grade. Football and sports map quite well onto sales. Each of my kids is pretty good at sales — and pretty good in athletics.
You quickly learn while coaching football that it is almost impossible to score in four plays consistently. Those who know the game of football know that the best leading indicator of offensive success is being able to have more first downs than your opponent. That means you consistently move 10 yards in 4 plays (actually in 3 plays, most of the time.)
In football, we call it “moving the chains.”
What is a “first down” in sales?
A leading indicator of success.
Here are a few:
- First appointments held
- Demonstrations given
- Proposals sent
- Obstacles overcome
Inside sales is known for being more data driven and accountable than outside sales. Professional sports organizations wouldn’t dream of not tracking the key stats on every player, every game, and even the coaches. What else would the commentators talk about?
What are your most important first downs?
Are you making sure you are “moving the chains” toward success with measurement and reporting of leading indicators?
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