July 13 by Cordelia Solomon
There’s an old baseball philosophy that says you should never make the first or last out of an inning at third base. In other words, don’t let aggressive base running get you out.
With adrenaline running through their bodies and their attention firmly on home plate, this is easier said than done for baseball players. Same goes for a salesman eyeing the big close. In baseball there’s the guidance of the third base coach. In Sales, there’s Deal Management solutions.
The 3rd Base Coach Guides His Base Runners, Similar to How Deal Management Guides Sales Reps
A third base coach guides each base runner, telling them how to come in, whether they should hold or run, and where to stand during an at bat. All these things seem pretty simple, but when put in context, they can change the outcome of the game. Like a third base coach, deal management guides sales reps to negotiate the best deal for the company, while also expediting the sales cycle. When reps can discount at will they are able to close deals quicker — a good thing in relation to the total cycle time and revenue speed, but not so much for the overall margin. Reps often implement these discounts for personal benefit rather than as a strategy to win the optimal deal for the company. With effective deal management, companies are able to customize deal parameters, ultimately allowing them to maximize their key goals including overall margins, profits, and revenue.
The 3rd Base Coach Adjusts to the Situati on at Hand, Similar to How Deal Management Adjusts to the Deal at Hand
Parameters set by a deal management solution are able to adjust a sales rep’s approach, and guide him to the most advantageous deal—a perfect blend of goods, services, and up-sell or cross-sell possibilities at the best overall price. These adjustments are valuable to reps that don’t have much insight beyond their accounts and target markets. Similarly, a base runner doesn’t have the same awareness of a play as a 3rd base coach does; therefore, the adjustments made by the 3rd base coach are essential to the runner. He may call him in for the score, or signal for him to change his speed so he can slide in safely. These sorts of adjustments have to be made on the drop of a dime, based on various factors including how the other team defends the play, the strength of the throwers arm, and the speed of the runner.
A 3rd base coach must be willing to risk outs at the chance to score more runs, but must also be wary of being too aggressive. Deal management software can play the same role in the sales cycle. Based on the parameters set, sales reps are able to aggressively pursue their prospects, without precarious discounts that ultimately compromise the company’s goals.
Like 3rd base coaching, Deal Management lowers the risk of “getting out,” or in sales terms, losing value in a deal. The recommendations increase the probability of a sales rep closing an optimal deal. They allow insight into how deals rate in relation to the company’s overall goals, who is involved in the approval process, and what the various discount levels are. In conclusion, a 3rd base coach is to base runners what deal management is to a sales rep. They are each the vehicles that drive their respective “game” strategy, while also preserving speed, control, and profitability.