In almost three years running Get After It Sales, I have trained almost 50 organizations that span the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, MiLB, NASL, USL, AHL, NASCAR, NLL, sports recovery technology companies, tour organizations, and colleges. My goal has never been to "teach" sales training. My goal has been, through a collaborative effort with each property, to create a one-, two-, or three-day training program that positively effects change where it needs to be addressed within the organization while empowering its salespeople to fight for their own success.
There are some common training themes I see by sport, by the size of the sales teams, or based on the location in the country. And there are some common themes that I see based on who I’m training within the organization…or the general age of the sales team. Every organization has its own unique challenges.
But there is one training topic that I’ve heard REPETITIVELY regardless of situation: "How can we get better at selling to companies?"
Over the past decade, teams have become good at modeling or retrofitting their premium areas to help move premium inventory. And it worked for a while. Unfortunately, we’re not in a buying environment that wants the newest or shiniest thing. Businesses want to know what’s going to help solve their challenges, yet sports salespeople are conditioned to just pass along information. It’s not our inventory that’s the problem with sports teams selling corporate hospitality. It’s the process their salespeople take to do so.
There are thousands of books on selling to businesses. There are also thousands of websites and blogs. So problem solved…right? Actually, it’s not. Selling in Corporate America's B2B space is a VASTLY different sale than a professional sports sale. In a general B2B sale, there’s almost always an assumed need. You are talking to the copy machine salesperson because you are in the market for a copy machine. You are speaking to the consulting company because you believe you have an inefficiency in your organization that is halting you from maximizing revenue.
It’s not our inventory that’s the problem with sports teams selling corporate hospitality. It’s the process their salespeople take to do so.
This assumed need does not exist in sports. We are an accelerator. We are a support system. We are NOT the answer. I spent almost three years successfully selling to all kinds of businesses in my time at Corporate Executive Board (CEB), author of the immensely popular book The Challenger Sale, and I can promise that the sports ticket sale is almost wholly unique.
This collaboration between ALSD and Get After It Sales has been created to help fill the information gap in selling sports tickets B2B. While we believe that we have tremendous information to pass along, and you will be hearing from us, we are going to enlist help to fill this knowledge gap. Each week, there will be blog posts from different people in the sports industry on specific aspects of selling premium seating. We will be doing podcasts with some sports sales powerhouses meant to divulge the secrets of their B2B sales success. We will be highlighting success stories from all around the sports industry that are successes of process, not inventory change.
When I first started at CEB, where it was my role to make calls to set up meetings for others to go on, I looked forward to Noon on every Friday. It was always around then that Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy, would release one of his weekly articles. They were so poignant and important because they took the viewpoint of every sports fan…not the media slant. The goal of this website is to become a voice for the industry of premium and corporate ticket sellers by providing insight as to what their peers are doing that’s causing success. We want everyone, from team Presidents, to SVPs, to VPs, to Directors, to Managers, to AEs, to Inside Sales Reps to look forward to the voices and insights that appear each week.
This is a project of passion for both ALSD and Get After It Sales, and we will be looking to you, sports business industry-mates, to continually give us feedback on what’s working, what’s not working, what you want more of, and what you want less of. We want to hear the frequency you want to hear the voices, as well as the types of voices that you want to hear from. The goal is to not just make this a collaboration between ALSD and Get After It Sales. The goal is to make this an ongoing conversation with everyone in the industry who cares about improving how we sell B2B.
Can’t wait to get after it!