For me (and for all other lifelong Cleveland Cavaliers fans) this NBA season certainly hasn’t disappointed. While every year has its share of ups and downs, the 2018 playoffs have been particularly nail-biting.
Tuesday night I watched with pride as my favorite team came from behind to tie in the conference finals after being down 2-0 to the Boston Celtics.
Admittedly it was a relief to see the team come back, but not entirely a surprise.
Well-run organizations, as the Cavaliers have been for the past several years, know how to regroup, play the long-game, and position themselves for a comeback.
With a multi-decade career in B2B sales, most of those years as a principal and co-founder of a successful lead generation firm, I have continually applied lessons learned through watching successful salespeople, and successful athletes, come back for the win.
The following are some of my favorite B2B sales lessons learned from watching the recent comeback from the Cleveland Cavaliers:
1. If You Lose Your Way, Revisit and Get Back to Fundamentals
This is something I see with frequency, especially when there is a slump in calling campaigns. When people get off track it’s often because they have strayed from proven methodologies. If you’ve hit a losing streak,revisit the fundamentals and apply them.
2. Be Consistent
Winning teams don’t work sporadically, and your sales team shouldn’t either. It’s commonplace for sales calls to happen in fits and starts due to internal pressures, or a draw to the lead that is closest to a sale. But to build a solid pipeline and ensure that leads continue to funnel in, consistency in qualifying leads and working through a prospect list is imperative.
3. Be Flexible and Make Necessary Adjustments
Because professional sports seasons are long, winning teams need to stay flexible, make adjustments as necessary, and keep themselves prepared for surprise plays. Make sure your sales team is also capable of flexing to fit any anticipated bumps in the sales cycle, as well as those you can’t see coming.
4. Past Success Does Not Guarantee Future Results
We don’t have to go back too far in NBA Championship history to see that past success is just that – in the past. I watched in 2017 as the Cavs fell to the Warriors in a one-sided championship series that surprised many. Bring your A game every time, even if it feels like you’ve got it wrapped up.
5. Have a Plan
Every sales call needs a game plan. While there is no place in high-quality B2B sales calls for one-sided, scripted conversations, unscripted does not mean unprepared. Create a clear plan and vision for how you want the call to play out before you pick up the phone so that you are ready to guide the conversation where you want it to go.
6. Never Give Up
Don’t write yourself off when you’re down and the competition appears to be sailing towards the championship. The greatest comebacks in history only happened because the losing team didn’t give up.
No matter what the final outcome is of this current season, the Cavs have proven that they have the mindset and fundamental will to win.
It’s thrilling to watch an effective team take on challenges, and come back from defeat to continue to compete. Can your sales team say the same?