Sales Management – Most Important Functions in the Sales Process

I was on vacation for the past 2 weeks and didn’t post – didn’t even want to – but I’m back and ready to catch up.  While I was gone, Business Week posted a podcast they did with me.  Michelle Nichols, the Savvy Selling columnist for Business Week Small Business, interviewed me on the subject of Baseball and Selling, based on my book, Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about Baseball.  Believe it or not, it was the first interview where the interviewer actually played around with the Baseball theme!

I’m often asked about the sales management side of Baseline Selling so I’ll include a few words today. In the table below, I’ve included the four bases in Baseline Selling, the sales criteria for reaching each base, challenges your salespeople must overcome to reach the base.  In the last column I’ve included the sales management functions required to help your salespeople execute the process.

BaseCriteriaComments Sales Management Function
 1st Salesperson got first appointment The path to first base
requires that the salesperson
conduct lots of prospecting
and pipeline building.
Motivation (to get started), Accountability (for
calls and appointments),
and tactical Coaching are all
 2ndProspect Needs What You Sell;
They Have Compelling Reasons to Buy;
They Have Compelling Reasons to Buy
from You;
Salesperson Has Differentiated Your
Company from the Competition by
Building a Strong Relationship
Asking Lots of Good Questions,
Showing Expertise, etc.
The path to 2nd Base
requires your salespeople
to have great listening and
questioning skills,
relationship building skills,
and no need for approval
so they can actually
Coaching (Pre-Call Strategy),
Pipeline Management,(base
moves) and Motivation (to
execute) are important.
 3rdProspect is completely qualified to
do business with you and you are
completely qualified to do
business with your prospect.
The path to 3rd base
requires your salespeople
to ask the tough questions
they are often uncomfortable asking.
Coaching (Post Call Debrief ),
Accountability (for complete qualification), and
Pipeline Management
(base moves) are important.
 Home Salesperson got the business. The path to Home Plate
requires the salesperson to make
both a needs and cost
appropriate presentation or
 Coaching (Post Call Debrief), Accountability (for only
appropriate proposals and
presentations), Pipeline

As you can see, coaching, albeit different coaching , is required for each base.  Motivation is most important for getting your salespeople to first base while pipeline management and accountability are crucial along the way.