Advice: Sales is a Race. And Digital Selling Can Help Your Team Win.

Your salespeople are in the driver's seat of your team’s race car, and it’s up to you to give them the tools and environment for them to perform their best.

What do you think is the most expensive sport in the world? Golf? Horse Racing? Air Racing (racing planes)? Nope. It’s Formula 1. A recent study found that over the last decade the average winning F1 team spent an average of $285 million dollars annually! With a season containing roughly 23 races, that comes out to over $12 million dollars a race. And before you make any assumptions, the cost of the car and the fuel only makes up a small percentage of this hefty price tag. Most of the money goes into extreme efficiency and operational measures to maximize the car and team’s performance.

So why bring up F1 when we are talking about sales. Well, theoretically the two are very similar. Instead of a driver you have your salesperson. And the whole point of sales is to get your salesperson to close the deal (across the finish line), before your competitors do. There is a lot we can borrow from how F1 teams innovate to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of a sales team.

Two disclaimers before we dive in:

A. We must acknowledge the limitations. Just like Formula 1, sales teams are forced to obey the laws of physics, salespeople have their operating limits as well. None of the methods we discuss will cross privacy, security, and trust boundaries with your customers.

B. We must recognize and agree that selling is a team sport. And like any team sport, it heavily relies on strong communication. To keep it simple, we are going to zoom in on the way your marketing and sales team work together. But in reality, much of the techniques mentioned can extend to your customer success team, creative team, and even product team. 

One Application That Does It All

Aside from space programs, F1 teams are the gold standard in tight integration. They always prefer one tool that can do 5 things instead of 5 tools that each do one thing. This ensures that the team building the chassis can speak the same language as the team designing the tires, and the team testing the aerodynamics of the car. It’s less of an assembly line and more of a symphony. Everything has to work together at the same time.

For optimized efficiency, your sales and marketing team can operate the same way. Today, most marketing and sales teams use different tools to manage opportunities, store sales content, and engage. This divide creates huge operational inefficiencies between marketing and sales. Often both teams measure their success differently. Digital Selling (link to crash course) bridges this gap by providing a single, tightly integrated system for your sales and marketing team to work towards the same goal together.

Engagement Analytics Set Your Team’s Pulse

The steering wheel of an F1 car costs ~$55,000, almost double the cost of an average new car. In the middle, it is common to find a black and white screen. Everything on that screen is data that the driver needs at a moment’s notice. The data must be so critical, that some F1 teams choose to keep it empty, to avoid distracting the driver with unnecessary information. Usually, this screen will display speed, lap-time, gear, and revs. Information like fuel and air pressure are often considered too distracting, and will instead be monitored by the pit crew.

This is unlike most of the CRM systems your business may be used to using. CRMs are a data driven team’s worst nightmare because they rely on manual data entry to create loads of barely utilized visualizations. What you need is a unifying metric. A pulse. F1 teams use lap times as the pulse to get their engineering teams, drivers, and pit team on the same page. Sales and marketing are both working towards the goal of effective engagements to close a deal. CRM systems can’t provide engagement metrics because sales collateral is often stored in a separate tool. With Digital Selling, you create, manage and store your sales collateral in the same tool you store your opportunities. This allows you to map how one affects the other. Engagement analytics establish your team’s pulse.

Establish a Speed Minimum For Your Sales Team

Did you know that most World Series F1 cars have a speed minimum before they are able to turn? It turns out that their tires need to be spinning fast enough for the rubber to soften and grip the road before they can turn. So if you are going 150 miles per hour and turn, your car won’t grip and you will slam directly into the wall. You have to be moving at at least 180 miles per hour for the downforce to be great enough to turn.

While this sounds terrifying, it is backed by a logical explanation. An F1 car is not designed for people who want to drive slowly. Your sales engagement strategy should not be designed to support a team that wants to close a deal eventually. It needs to be designed for a team that wants to close more deals, faster. And to get there, they will need to engage more prospects, with better quality content, more often. Just making one part of your engagement strategy better won’t suffice. You need to synchronously evolve every aspect of your marketing and sales strategy to make this happen. It will require letting go of traditional sales practices, and replacing them with modern practices. 

If you found the information in this post useful, and want to learn more, be sure to check out the Digital Selling crash course on fullfeel’s website. It’s a complete guide to how you can optimize and unleash the power of your sales team.

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