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For some of us, sports are everything. In fact, you’re probably picturing exactly the person in your office for whom that’s true right now. They’ve got their favorite team paraphernalia hanging on their cubicle, and you’re pretty set on avoiding them the day after their team loses—or wins for that matter.
But whether you’re a sports nut or not, team athletics maintain their rightful perch atop the mountain of great sales metaphors. There are few arenas of life more consistently inspiring than the throes of team-sport competition.
And sure, being inspired is great. But what if you could translate the lessons of our hoop dreams in to sales realities?
Well, we think it might be easily said and done. So with that in mind, we thought we’d share some of the core lessons that March Madness—one of sports’ greatest competitions—can legitimately give us to help boost real, meaningful sales numbers. Check ‘em out:
We talk about gamification a lot here on the Hoopla blog, because it’s something we believe makes all the difference in the world. There’s something deep inside of each of us that’s desperate to win—call it an evolutionary instinct, ego, or something else. But it’s there in all of us, and it’s not so tough to bring out of your team.
Just like the March Madness tournament brings out the best in college athletes, gamifying sales as if your team was in a tournament brings out the best in everyone involved. It gives them a clear goal, an awareness of their own performance, and a drive to come out on top.
There’s nothing quite like do or die, is there? For March Madness teams, that means that every minute of every game counts—because it could mean the end of the road. The same is true in sales.
As Matthew Cook explains over on the Square 2 Marketing blog: “A shorter sales cycle means more time to generate additional leads. This will ultimately lead to an improved bottom line. A faster sales cycle can also become your competitive advantage. It will allow your company to increase market share and grow your business.”
When we impose this sort of mentality on ourselves, and impose shorter sales cycles at different times throughout the year, we can learn how to be way more efficient with our leads, increase our pipeline, and start closing deals as if everything was truly on the line.
Few of us who’ve come back to the well of collegiate basketball fandom every year love anything more than the Cinderella story. They take all sorts of forms: from the Villanova teams of the 80s to the Florida Gulf Coast run of 2013. But we don’t have to look back even that far to find a truly great underdog story:
Just last year, The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers went from having never made to the tournament in 32 years of trying, to making it to the Final Four in their first appearance. What we can often get in the habit of thinking is that our consistent underperformers will always be just that. But nothing could be further from the truth. Remind your sales team that this week is a clean slate: as long as they’re willing to shrug off the haters, hunker down, and do the work that needs to be done, it’s anyone’s sales-championship to win.
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