The World Cup will provide an exciting distraction from work. But there are huge learnings we can take from sport into business. For instance, the role of a salesman has transitioned away from its historically instinct and people skills-base.
While these on-the-field reactions will always be important, business are increasingly realising deeper technological insight is essential for keeping pace with the modern game.
In the moment vs the game plan
The in-the-moment inspiration can truly turn a game on its head. Whether we’re thinking back on World Cup wonder goals or a snap decision at a sales pitch, there is massive opportunity in being able to react to the unexpected. That’s why in sales, there will always be a place for those moments of genius from your star player – the spark that justifies their big contact.
This is no longer enough though. A successful game plan is needed to enable all the players to capitalise on the gaps and mismatches in the market’s defence. A successful manager must find the balance between arming the team with an understanding of the competition and market opportunity to perform, while still giving your stars an opportunity to strike.
Can’t lapse for a moment
Letting your attention slip for a second during a match can have fateful results. A team is most vulnerable when they’ve just scored, when complacency starts to set in. Understanding the current play and what might come next is crucial to take every opportunity and evade unnecessary losses.
Organisations must also keep the bigger picture front of mind. Collect information on what’s happening now, in every corner of your operations, then simultaneously analyse that raw data centrally and see the complete picture. Given the pace that the modern markets operate, businesses can’t afford any lag time in this process.
Armed with the entire picture, football teams and businesses alike can model and test future plays. This process of connected planning is transforming the way the enterprises work and maximise their sales teams’ effectiveness.
Behind every player is an even better coach
Success on the pitch is not just down to the players. Only with the tactical prowess of a manager to build an effective and dynamic game plan, that considers the opportunities of both the individuals and the whole, can the team secure victory.
Similarly, when teams are looking for that big score, modern businesses need to coach and arm employees with every possible piece of data and analysis to execute the perfect play. But to do this, it’s essential to get more granular than that overarching picture of the field.
Planning in traditional IT legacy tools, like spreadsheets, doesn’t support this and can, at best, provide a top-level view that is likely to be obsolete by the time it is actually delivered. And prepping for the old line up won’t give you a leg up on the team you’re actually going to face.
The ability to drill down into each region, location, and even the team, is important for global businesses to identify potential areas for improvement, where more resources are needed and where opportunity is rife.
As we’ve seen from World Cups past, no team is guaranteed success. Even the greatest teams can be usurped by a challenger that has built a game plan that enables them to capitalise on every opportunity and weakness their opponent presents. Modern businesses must also be ready for that challenger with the hunger and insight to take control of the field.
In a data driven world, intelligent strategy and forward planning are the name of the game. Empowering the sales team with the foreknowledge to take advantage of every opportunity and gap in the market will enable your whole team to become superstars.
Jackie Shelton is regional VP, UKI at Anaplan
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