A lesson from the NBA playoffs

NBA Playoffs

Watching the Mavericks and Heat compete in these NBA finals is definitely quite an experience for basketball fans. While many may have written off the Mavericks given Miami’s “big three” – Dirk Nowitzki and his teammates certainly are giving the Heat a run for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

This post isn’t meant as a commentary on the playoffs – although they have been fascinating – we’ll leave that to the sports pages. But, watching playoff level clearly demonstrates how critical team performance is for success. Going back in time, watching a Phil Jackson team flawlessly execute the “triangle offense” is a sight to behold. Yet, only when Michael Jordan’s team mates started scoring more and he started scoring fewer points did championships come to Chicago. With these championships, each member of the team had a role to play and played their role to perfection – down to John Paxon and Steve Kerr taking final shots at the buzzer to win series.

But what are the implications for sales training? With major accounts increasingly we’re seeing more people involved throughout the sales process – from pre-sales support to post-sales involvement. And with the increased importance of the “team” in the sales process, they cannot be forgotten when companies launch a sales training effort. The more successful these role players are in the sales process, the more it frees up the sales people to focus on the unique things that they need to do to advance the sale. The morale of the story is: If you are going to play as a team, you need to train as a team.

Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection. 

©2011 Sales Horizons™, LLC

About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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