Thursday, March 22, 2012

Could Event Triggers be the Marketing Assist that Sales Needs in order to Score?

Being a Boston-based company and with the Stanley Cup approaching, we thought what better way to explain the importance of triggers to sales and marketing then with a hockey analogy.  Don’t worry baseball and fishing fans, we will be sure to make those analogies as the spring and summer kick into full gear.

In any given hockey team, we have these key positions: Goalie, Defense, Right/Left Wing and Center. 

Here is how we equate hockey positions to your org chart:

Goalie: VP of Marketing/Sales
Right/Left Defense: Marketing
Right/Left Wing : Marketing or Inside Sales depending on the size of your company
Center: Sales

Left/Right Defense gets in there to grind out the puck from the corner and push it out to an open Left/Right winger.

Left/Right Wing carries the puck out of the defense zone and into the neutral zone, ideally passing the puck off in the neutral or offensive zone to the center.

Center is available to receive the pass, particularly in the offensive zone.  They are poised and ready for the pass. They shoot; they score!

This is, of course, the most ideal scenario that any coach would love to see their players execute flawlessly.  We know that it gets a little more complicated in practice. Why? Because the neutral zone is where communication breaks down. It is in the neutral zone that it is mandatory to read the other player’s signs and make adjustments accordingly.  Something we like to call triggers.  What events occur to make us decide to puck handle versus make the pass to center?  Should we nurture that puck a little longer in order to have the center move into a more prime position to receive the pass and increase their likelihood to score? 

Luckily in business, we don’t need to make Nano-second decisions, but can react to event triggers daily to see what events occurred to make us want to pass the puck to the center versus carry it through the neutral zone a little bit longer.  We may even need to make a pass back to defense.  But, we must be in position to read the digital body language™ in order to see where the puck should go. This takes both, agility and flexibility and a willingness to see this dynamic data as key to making your next move as a salesperson or a marketing person.

In your next Marketing and Sales meeting try this explanation:

1.     Know your positions – Don’t chase the puck.  Get yourself into the right position to receive the pass.
2.     Communicate in the neutral zone --You want to know when and who to pass to, but you need to read the signs; the center might not be open yet, in which case you should stick handle a little longer. 
3.     Remember that an assist is just as important as the goal --The center wouldn’t be able to score unless you pushed the puck to him at the right time.
4.     Evaluate – Even after the winning goal is scored, analyze the steps along the way, see if there is any room for improvement or if what you did as a team is repeatable.

And because we wouldn’t be Boston fans without a little shout out – Go Bruins!  See you at the Stanley Cup – Fingers X!  

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