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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How March Madness Can Help You Improve Sales Performance


It’s March, and basketball madness is upon us. Three of the key elements in basketball are the goal you are shooting at, the equipment you use (basketball, shoes, etc.) and the plays you run. Sales is no different. You need goals, equipment, and plays.

I was performing a sales diagnostic with a client recently and thought of this comparison as I was evaluating their sales performance. That’s when the connection between March Madness and sales hit me.

Sales Goals

In sales, you need to study two types of goals: Performance Metrics and Leading Indicators.

  1. Performance Metrics: What is most important? What do you want to be sure you achieve? Of all the things you measure, which 3-4 are the most important?
  2. Leading Indicators: What behaviors will you measure? The things you are most confident will get you to the performance you are shooting for?

Sales Equipment

There are many things you might consider sales equipment. A few I will focus on here are structure, process, talent, and compensation.

  • Structure: Which members of the team are focused on account acquisition? Who is focused on fulfillment? Who handles data entry? What about fulfillment? If two or three of these functions are handled by the same person, how will you ensure no one area is getting shortchanged?
  • Process: Given the structure you have, what clear lines of distinction do you have in job roles?  Where do the handoffs happen? How do you ensure everyone stays in their lane?
  • Talent: Do you have the right people? Are they in the right roles? Study your performance metrics and match that with objective assessment of talents?
  • Compensation: Is the incentive clearly focused on what you want them to do? If your sales managers are paid for one thing and your account executives are paid for another, you are asking for trouble.

Sales Plays

You need a sales playbook so you know which plays to run and how to run them effectively. All of this will be more productive with proper sales enablement tools, but sales enablement software without a playbook is like a football team with a fabulous practice facility and great players, but no game  plan or playbook from which to design the game plan.

Your playbook will include things like buyer persona, sales process, account list management, lead definitions, leading indicators, elevator pitch, common objections, response talk track, and more. 

So how can March Madness help you improve sales performance? Download our Thirty Provocative Questions to challenge your thinking in all areas of your sales operation. This might provide the spark to improve performance. If you want us to jump on a quick call and help you consider the most important action steps, we can do that as well.

30 provocative questions


Topics: sales playbook