Sales and company strategy inspired by Top-sports performance

My articles are meant to be an inspiration for people and companies to improve their performance. Managers who want to increase the efficiency of departments will find some ideas.

People that know me for a longer time, know that for my (sales) trainings I find inspiration in top-sport. Especially in soccer are similarities with company structures and with sales organizations.

Not interested in soccer? Don’t worry, I believe the content of the article(s) can be inspiring for everybody.

I was really inspired by this article on Xing: “Die zweite Karriere? Hatte ich mir leichter vorgestellt” Andrea Henkel, Ex-Biathlete, two-time Olympic champion.

Mrs. Henkel explains the importance of conditions or workfloor environment in order to be aible to bring top performances in a company. Revercon helps to create these conditions so your team can perform.
Mrs. Andrea Henkel at the World Championships in Ruhpolding in 2012.
Picture Source: Wikipedia by Kevstano

Especially this part in the article, Managers and leaders must take into consideration.

„Für Außenstehende mag es schwer nachzuvollziehen sein, dass Athleten, die als zielstrebig und leistungsbereit bekannt sind, ihre spätere Laufbahn so zögerlich angehen. Tatsächlich lebt man als Profisportler allerdings in einer Art Parallelwelt: Man hat ein Team um sich herum, das einem vieles abnimmt, sodass man sich vorwiegend mit dem Training und der Regeneration beschäftigt. Auf Wettkampf folgt Erholung, folgt Training, folgt Wettkampf … Sich von dieser Routine zu lösen und eine Vision zu entwickeln ist gar nicht so einfach.“

Top-athletes can only be successful if they do a lot of investment. I’m not talking about financial investment.

  • Hours of training, again and again(**)
  • Include resting periods for body recuperation
  • Focus on the important things and stay focused (**)
  • Skip the parties, the school and family reunions
  • Live the life of a Monk

Miss Henkel was top-performer because she was surrounded by the right people. People telling her what she could do to become better. Of course it was her career and she was the leader. It was her will and talent to become this top performer. The article explained the importance of the team around her. That was part of the success. I love it when great athletes thank the person(s) behind the screens.

Recently I had a first face-to-face meeting with a contact from social media. He told me he paid lots of money for consultants. These consultants did not fulfil the expectations because they were not a specialist in the field of Machine Tool business.

Compare this with Miss Henkel asking Mr. Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool Trainer) to become her biathlon-coach.

Mr. Jürgen Klopp is a top coach in soccer. He doesn't think to be coach in other sports. Revercon is your coach when it comes to CNC machines.
Mr. Jürgen Klopp with Liverpool at the 2019 UEFA Super Cup
Source: Wikipedia Photos from Farsnews.com

For sure Mr. Klopp can be of help:

  • He knows what top-sport is about
  • He can even be very inspiring
  • Bring new training methods that have not been used before

Probably in the beginning Miss Henkel will benefit from this cooperation.

What Mr. Klopp cannot give: (*)

  • Bring new tactics
  • Innovative materials
  • Training materials specific for this job
  • Coach on the performance strategy

Experience is even more important in face to face competing sports, like in basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball … You need tactical analysis of your opponent and come up with good strategies. Adapt to the situation and be surprisingly innovative.

(*) To my knowledge, Mr. Jürgen Klopp was never a biathlete but he’s a fan of winter sports. It could be he’s a good coach in biathlon.

This example reflects exactly the industry. It’s important to create for top-talents a top-surrounding. Top-performers can only be successful when they’re surrounded with the right tools. Let them focus.

A top sales talent should focus on customer visits. Make his or her performance efficient. How? I’m happy to help you out with that question.

Some ideas:

  • Don’t let the salesman focus on administration (losing time)
  • Don’t let him create a company presentation (should be done by professionals)
  • Don’t let him collect the representation materials (make them available)
  • Give him the right tools to make presentations at customer

Build your team to execute all tasks by your own specialists. If you don’t have these skills on board, buy them externally. Look for coaches, consultants that can help you. Try to find specialists in your domain. Machine Tools is a niche. However, be open for new ideas from other branches. Be innovative. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the success from other branches and copy them. You’re considered to be an innovator when you’re the first one to apply new strategies in your business.

While building a team, let top-talents do what they do the best!!! Collect the orders.

So for Miss Henkel it was hard to adapt to the new situation. Because she didn’t find the conditions she was used to work under. The environment in her new job was not the same as when she was a top biathlete.

Just imagine you hire a top-talent from your competitor. There’s no guaranty that she or he will perform in your team. Simply because there is not the same surrounding. He or she may fail the individual needs to perform. A manager’s job is to provide talents with the right performing equipment. Whatever the equipment may be. If you cannot provide this support, the talent may be not the right one for your team.

In soccer we find multiple examples of strikers that were top players in their team. After they transferred to another team they didn’t score goals anymore. They didn’t lose the talent. The leads to the striker are coming in a different way. The tactical game doesn’t fit for the striker. It’s better he or she looks for another team. A team that fits the talent.

Conclusion:

To make talents pay off, it is important that they work in the right environment. It’s the managers’ responsibility to create that environment. When applying for a job it is a legitimate question for the manager to find out what talents expects.

(**)In a next article I will focus on:

  • What’s important if you hire consultants.
  • The importance of training for a team or an individual.
  • The ability to be target minded.

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