Hitting Home Runs in Sales

By Alina Biermann

Posted in Sales Tips


Giants’ Territory

San Francisco is home to the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and the  Giants. As a San Francisco-based company, we at Badger love watching the occasional game at the ballpark. But as much as we enjoy seeing home runs, it is just as satisfying watching our clients make them.

You might ask yourself:  “What do Baseball and sales have in common”? Aside from spending top dollar to acquire the best salesmen, there are more parallels that meet the eye. Baseball is full of great lessons that can be applied to sales so you can start getting more runs.

Hitting Sales

In Baseball, players are measured and compared by their batting average:

Batting Average = (# of Hits) / (# at Bats)

The batting average is equal to the number of hits divided by the number of balls faced by each player. This equation is just as applicable to the sales and business world. More often than not, you and your sales reps need to approach several customers before you ‘hit it off’ and win the sale. In order to get customers to purchase your service or product, your sales firm should ideally follow a 4-stage approach. This will get you the best batting average for your sales meetings.

Getting to the Home Base


The ultimate goal in Baseball is to get as many runs as possible. In sales, the main objective is to get your prospects to buy your product or service. When your customer purchases, you score a homerun. But there are several bases you need to pass in order to make the sale:

  • 1st Base: Awareness - The first stage in the sales process is awareness. Throughout this stage, your prospect becomes conscious about the solution you are offering. You, as the sales rep, need to ensure that you introduce the product to the prospect in the most appealing way possible for him to be aware of your offer’s value.
  • 2nd Base: Interest - Once the prospect has been hooked, you follow-up on his initial interest by further engaging with him. This can be done by sending out follow-up emails or calls. During this stage, the prospect should be able to try out the solution throughout a trial period to figure out if it is what he is looking for.
  • 3rd Base: Desire - Good on ya if you have made it through to the third stage. You are almost there. At this stage, the prospects have usually figured out that they like your solution and see it as a good fit for their company. In order to finalize the sale, they might want to discuss last details with you, negotiate contracts and have final questions answered. Make sure you and your team are knowledgeable and confident that your product can benefit your customer’s life. If you are competent there won’t be anything left standing in the way of the sale.
  • Home Base: Purchase - Congratulations! If you have gotten to the home base this means you reaped the sale. The customers perceived your product as an optimal solution to their problem and decided to implement it. Now it is important to maintain a good relationship with them and make sure that your product reliably meets their expectations.
  • Home Run - A home run works differently from the sales funnel process. Instead of working your way through the different stages until you convince the customers to buy the product, you skip this effortful process entirely and go straight to the sale. How? This can e.g. be done via referrals. 84% of respondents in a Nielsen survey said they were more likely to consider and purchase a product if it was recommended to them by their friends. Referrals are very valuable because they save you time and effort. If clients recommend your solution to their friends, they basically do the work for you.

Give Your Team a Good Bat

Home Runs are a nice thing to experience, nevertheless they mark an exception rather than everyday reality. In order to make it to the home base, you thus need to set up your team in the best possible way.

As the manager of your company or sales team, you are ultimately responsible for success and failure. It is your obligation to put your people in a position where they can succeed and, ideally, contribute to the team’s success.

With respect to bases, make sure that you position everyone so that they can fully exploit their potential. Firstly, have a strong marketing team in place, which initially captures the customers' attention. Then position persuasive salespeople to convince the prospects to buy your solution. For the desire stage, make sure your customer success team can confidently answer questions and negotiate contracts with the prospects.

Although the teams seem to be doing different tasks, their jobs and duties are intertwined at all times. The marketing team cannot function without the customer success employees, neither can the sales reps without the marketing team and so on.

Teamwork is the most essential principle; not only in sports but also in sales. Individual players can win a match and make a sale, but only teams are able to win championships and remain in business in the long run.

Badger can help you organize your sales reps and provides them with a valuable scheduling solution, that helps them optimize their routes, generate new leads and make them more efficient.

Surprise Bunts

Another aspect that is key in both - Baseball and sales - is flexibility. By adding surprise components to your strategy, you and your team can catch your competitors off-guard and more likely advance a sale. Surprise elements come in the form of a unique marketing campaign, exclusive and protected product features or any other unexpected factor that competitors fail to anticipate. Implementing a dynamic strategy helps you remain unpredictable and gives you a competitive advantage in your market.

Not Every Hit is a Homerun

No matter how well you prepare and lay out your strategy, one truth always holds: ‘Outs’ happen. Regardless of how much energy you dedicate to a project, thoughts you put into it and trainings you go through, there might always be someone whose ideas are better, whose solution is a better fit for a customer or who simply approached the prospect in a more convincing way. Not every attempt leads to a home run or even the next base.

Understand your “Out” as an opportunity to learn and improve your strategy accordingly. Try to examine where the mistake in approaching the customer was made or why a prospect preferred a competitor’s product over yours. Make adjustments to your sales strategy. Then come around to bat again.

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball

Lastly, never be afraid to get your uniform dirty. After all, the best businessmen are those that go the extra mile and put in maximum effort to be successful. If you give it your everything, your diligence will be rewarded.

Should you need more inspiration and input, help yourself to a hot dog and a beer and watch another Baseball game at AT&T Stadium. Sign up for a free trial and start making more strikes today. Let’s go, Sales reps, let’s go!

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