3 Strategies Pro Golfers Could Teach Sales and Marketing

by Eloqua on March 29, 2012 in Sales & Marketing Alignment

Ben Hogan famously said golf is 20% talent and 80% management. This week every golfer arriving at the Augusta National, one of the most demanding courses of the PGA Masters Tournament, the Augusta National, will have talent. But the player who wins the green jacket is the pro who most efficiently managed his way around the course.

Turns out this 20/80 rule holds true for sales and marketing. Some organizations might see early success purely on the talent of their sales force or product. But if aggressive, sustainable revenue growth is in the business plan, you’ll need a set of reliable tactics to manage your marketing.

Below I highlight 3 sales and marketing strategies gleaned from competitive sport of golf.

1. Get Your Team in Order
How does a pro golfer prepare for possibly the biggest week in their career? They align their team. This may include a swing coach, short game guru, caddie, fitness trainer and even a mind coach. They get everyone on the same page to make sure that day-to-day goals are clear.

Similarly, sales and marketing need to be aligned on the desired outcomes of their campaigns. If marketing is teeing off without sales, your success is going to be limited. So before you set out, everyone on the team aligns toward common goals.

2. Keep Score
Statistics are important. Each team at The Masters carefully analyzes statistics like percentage of fairways hit, greens in regulation, number of putts per round, etc. Benchmarking this in comparison to other players in the field and to past Augusta performances gives an understanding of which shots to take.

Marketing should have their own scorecard to share with their team, sales and executives. A marketing dashboard, completed with the metrics that plot a path to larger revenue growth goals, are vital to staying on course. The impact of today’s campaigns, and how it compares to the competition, determines what actions to take tomorrow to improve efficiencies and drive more revenue.

3. Know Your Way Around the Links
Strengths and weaknesses versus risk and reward is different for every player with a putter. Where some players may see a birdie opportunity, others go for par. And weather and wind changes the course each day. That’s why players show up at Augusta by Sunday night so they can get full three days to “feel” the course before tee off.

Understanding your market conditions, along with perceived strengths and weaknesses, are all prerequisites to winning the sales and marketing game. Product categories may require different treatment depending on the dynamics of the market. Emulating the competition in certain facets may be good strategy, while in others it’s a losing proposition. You can copy a putt, but not necessarily a drive. When and how to leverage competitive knowledge can make or break you.

Whether hitting the links or the phones, winning deals isn’t easy. But by benchmarking, measuring and managing the entire process, you can tackle any course – especially in a game where talent abounds.

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