Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Anyone for Tennis? How Does Sales and Marketing Create Forehand Winners?

Grand slam season is kicking into full gear and the spring weather has arrived.  It doesn’t matter what level you are at, there are few things more invigorating then getting outside to whack the tennis ball. 

The sales and marketing cycles are like a really good rally on the tennis court.  Back-and-forth, back-and-forth until the key moment you decide to change directions and go for the winner.

What makes you go for the winner?  What are the triggers in the cycle that give you the confidence to change directions and drive it down the line, or take a swinging ground stroke in the air to come to net and finish off the point with a crushing volley?  In marketing, lead scoring clearly defines what stage your lead is in the cycle. Did they attend a webinar, download a white paper, or request a demo? At this point, your CRM or marketing automation system of choice pushes this MQL to sales saying, “Needs Demo - STAT!” In sales, although the moment when they agree to sign on that dotted line is defined, the moment the you decide to go for the close is subjective.  You need enough conditional data in order to provide context to individual information about your prospect.  In other words, when do you crush the forehand down the line for the unforgettable winner?  Not only is it important to read the body language of your prospect, but also to know the entire picture of the company and the triggers that have occurred to lead the prospect to you. 

What’s the point of making this analogy?  Because we all know that it isn’t always this easy.  We need to work for those points.  We need to carefully construct the point to set up that winning opportunity.  We also need to react to the shots that are given to us.  If they force us into the corner we need to know when to lob it up so we have time to recover and get back into the point; this isn’t the time to go for a low percentage drive.  Try to think of every sales and marketing interaction like a game.  Knowing when to react is equally as important as when to step up and set up the point.  Think about the moves that it takes to get you in the right position, while also realizing that triggered events could change your course.  In other words, be willing to adapt and be flexible in your cycle.  The best matches are when you equally challenge each other to be better players pushing your skill sets to the next level. The next match you play – you will have learned how to perform at your best level.

At iLantern we say – Know, Act, Close. But we could also say – Game, Set, Match!

Go Gettem’ tiger!

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  2. I have always believe tennis teaches us a lot about life, your stance, eye on the ball, and if you don't get the shot change your position...