The Draft: What the NFL Draft shares with the success of sales teams

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Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Tom Brady, those Manning boys. With the NFL Draft upon us, it’s time for the prognostication and wild speculation as to whether the top prospects of teams will actually pan out. One thing is for sure, this is no exact science. No pedigree that forecasts success. But it seems as though there are some teams that consistently build well through the draft. It is often referred to as the “Patriot way” or the “Packer way” etc. It’s an attitude…a culture…and most specifically a process.

How good is your “way”? Do you have a process to help ensure success for your salespeople?

In the commercial finance business, and in most businesses these days, there is an increasing LACK of focus on creating a real business development process. A process that enables the success of salespeople. The keys to creating a “way” are:

  1. Data – the scouting report: A new salespeople should start with more than a laptop and a telephone. A company’s commitment to ongoing and accurate customer and prospect data will not just get new reps off to a faster start, but actually get more productivity out of existing ones. And we get it…salespeople hate to enter CRM data. But as a sales leader, you need to enforce the suck it up and embrace it attitude. This is simply an integral component not just to sales success but to business success. DO NOT let this priority slip to the bottom of your list. This is critical.
  2. The message is your playbook: Immersion into your unique message is really important to the success of your new salespeople. They may be great natural sales folk, but they need to understand your company’s value prop, differentiation, unique objection handling and other items that create your company’s sales playbook. Just like football, you might be a great quarterback at Oregon, but the offensive playbook in Denver looks a wee bit different. Lack of immersion of your sales team early on means a lack of clearly establishing value once they are in the game. Spending time on the playbook is a huge cavity in commercial finance. Wanna know how we know that? You all look and sound exactly alike and complain about establishing a value connection and too much rate based competition.
  3. Tools – Time in the weight room: Give them a string of articles that force the market to think differently, case studies, success stories, a website that looks like you give a damn about making any kind of impression on the audience. Help your sales team challenge the status quo, sound and look different while educating them on how to bring up your value proposition through the changing needs of target audiences, industries, macroeconomic concerns. Get it?
  4. Leads- The film room: If you do 1-3, leads should be the easy part. Give them some air cover with email, webinars, events, etc that drive those passive aggressive CFOs, Dealers or other passive aggressive audience down a path of loving your story before they even know you. It’s amazing what 10 decent leads a month can do for the mentality of a salesperson, much less your bottom line.

And if you are not employing the key steps of creating a business development “way” for your company, you draft a bunch of folks that were “can’t miss prospects” and end up with stories that begin with “Man, I really thought s/he was going to work out, but…” Or you end up building a culture that looks like this:


If you ever wanna talk about creating a “way” for your draft picks, give us a holler.

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