Moneyball-Style Sales Management

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In the sales game, it’s easy to become trapped by the inertia of what worked. We become resistant to new ideas and approaches that would upend our established ways. And that is why Jeff Fotta and his company Gryphon Networks are such a disruptive force in the world of sales.

Gryphon’s cloud-based technology collects and analyzes call data, creating sales intelligence that didn’t exist previously. Today, over 600 companies, including Fortune 500 banks, brokerages, healthcare organizations and insurance firms, use Gryphon’s software. Jeff was instrumental in the company’s initial client sales and early development efforts.

Today, as President and CEO of Gryphon, Jeff is pushing sales leaders to question their assumptions and reinvent their game. He is a proponent of ‘Moneyball-style management,’ the data-driven approach made famous by Michael Lewis’s book about the Oakland Athletics and its manager Billy Beane. If you’re ready to grow beyond your sales comfort zone, Jeff has ideas for you:

Jayna Cooke: Jeff, tell us about your approach to sales. What makes your perspective and strategy different?

 Jeff Fotta: People have said that selling is a numbers game, but there’s more to it than dialing 150 numbers a day. You have to determine what actually works. For example, most companies waste expensive leads. Their salespeople make 150 calls but only call each number once. They’d get very different results if they called the same number multiple times. With Fortune 100 companies, we’ve found that the sweet spot is to make eight calls before tossing the lead. That’s the difference in my approach – I believe that data, not assumptions, should drive sales strategy.

For a sales manager, the best indication of what to expect from sales reps in the future can be found in analyzing their history. By applying good judgment to the historical performance data, a manager can establish a realistic, activity-centric standard of performance.

Jayna: You’ve talked about Moneyball-style sales management in your column. What does that mean and what does it look like?

 Jeff: Traditional sales leaders with distributed teams will get on the phone with their sellers and ask, “What does your pipeline look like?” or “What do you have closing this month?” Typically, that data is overly optimistic and possibly inaccurate. But when you are able to automatically collect data from thousands of reps all the time from anywhere they are calling, you can see what the pipeline actually looks like by focusing on the activity that predicts the pipeline. You identify who’s successful (and who needs coaching) and why. You will see if new hires are just afraid of the phone or having other issues that you can address and fix before they become bigger problems.

Read the rest on Forbes. 

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