I was on vacation over the past couple of weeks, and I got to catch up on some movies. One of the movies I watched was Moneyball.
It’s a baseball movie about how the small market team Oakland A’s lost their star players to big market teams who could pay big salaries. Without the ability to match the resources of big market teams, the A's started using smart data analytics to find undervalued players - and successfully competed with big market teams with far greater payrolls.
There was one scene that really caught my attention.
In the scene, baseball stat geek Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) explains to Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) that "there is an epic failure by teams to understand what is really happening."
“People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn't be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.”
This line jumped out at me because it reminded me about how many B2B companies are making a similar mistake when it comes to boosting sales.
The conversation often goes like this. “We need more sales. To get those sales we need to hire sales people. But to pay for those sales people, we need the future revenue that they are going to bring in.”
What happens is either the company holds off on hiring a sales person or they hire one and it doesn’t pan out and they are back to the drawing board.
But like "the people who run ball clubs" that Peter Brand mentions, they are missing the mark.
With sales, the goal isn’t to hire sales people, it’s to get wins - i.e. sales. And in order to get wins, you need to talk to enough of the right potential customers (assuming you have your value prop nailed).
In baseball, you can’t get runs unless you get on base. In sales, you can’t close sales unless you first talk with the right potential customers - i.e. get qualified conversations.
So before you hire a sales person, you should see if there’s any way you can increase the number of qualified conversations.
With all the advances in marketing and sales automation, you can dramatically boost your outreach to potential customers in your sweet spot.
But the automation alone won't do it. The key is to have the right outreach, with the right message to exactly the right people.
In my experience, right now companies have a huge opportunity to amp up qualified conversations to put themselves in position to close more sales - before needing to hire expensive sales talent.
So before you hire your next sales person, start playing Moneyball to get your business to the next level.
Until next time,
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