Jiu Jitsu is like sales
On a graffiti-streaked avenue south of Market Street in San Francisco sits a nondescript Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym. Inside, the coach once offered me one of the best pieces of sales advice I’ve ever heard.
Every day, a new Jiu Jitsu student gets wrapped up like a pretzel and cries for the coach’s help. Each time, he points a fat finger and shouts, “You f***ed up a long time ago!”
That’s because Jiu Jitsu is like sales: You win and lose based on the fundamentals. It’s not about how many advanced moves you have under your belt when things go badly – it’s about never getting into trouble in the first place.
Kurt Osiander is so famous for this phrase that he’s become an internet meme.
Your biggest mistake is at the data layer
Salespeople don’t ‘suddenly’ lose deals. When a sale unravels, it’s because the rep made an error several steps earlier in the cycle. Are they stuck in a painful price war? It’s probably not their negotiation skills. It’s because they failed to uncover true pain or differentiate their product. In short, they f**ed up a long time ago.
This is the great parallel to Jiu Jitsu. When fighting or “rolling,” your first move matters most. If you give your opponent an arm or open up your neck, the rest of the match will be ten times harder. In sales, that first touch is equally critical.
And you know where that first touch begins? In choosing opponents. Your rep could run a textbook, perfect cycle but if they’re talking to the wrong person, it doesn’t matter. They won’t get a deal.
And if that rep cried out, “Coach, how can I close a prospect that has no timeline?” you know exactly how my old Jiu Jitsu coach would respond.
Better data means picking the right opponents and starting out with an advantage. Bad data means your reps can’t perform even the most basic moves.
Moves your team can’t make when your sales data is bad:
1. Build pipeline fast enough
If your data was perfect, your reps would only need a phone. They’d pick it up and call eager buyers. The worse your data becomes, the more steps get added. The vast majority of companies have such low data quality that they need piles of tools like CRM, contact info vendors, firmographic data vendors, sales automation tools, ABM plug-ins, direct mailers, and analytics to track all the activities needed to find the right people.
Reps in these environments are stuck asking questions about which new-fangled tools and strategies to use. Do I drop all my prospects into an email drip or a social drip? Should I challenge their objection or use a reverse-negative? They’re basically asking how to escape a painful arm bar that they wouldn’t be in if they had better data and prospects who actually wanted to talk.
2. Prioritize their time
If each of your reps got to make one phone call this month, who would they call? If they (or you) can’t answer that question, they have a prioritization problem. Without knowing exactly which companies are actively researching your product across review sites and the web, your reps will likely spread their effort evenly across all of them.
With intent data they needn’t thrash around on the mat and exhaust themselves trying every move. Instead, they can see which companies are surging on given topics and focus their efforts on the best bets, in order of buying likelihood.
3. Expand their database
Just about every rep has, at some point, claimed to have run out of accounts. That’s because even in a market with millions of companies, most sales organizations have purchased their data from legacy vendors who could only deliver coverage or accuracy, but never both.
This is because legacy vendors who prioritized coverage couldn’t possibly clean it all, and it was riddled with mistakes. And legacy vendors that prioritized accuracy used humans for cleaning and could only cover a small number of accounts. Even when combined, this left a gigantic pool of high-fit accounts for which you either had bad data or no data at all.
Reps who reach this point often beg for new territories or dumpster dive in the CRM. But all you have to do is find a data vendor that has both high coverage and high accuracy.
4. Compare and select accounts
Speaking of coverage and accuracy, how are your reps supposed to choose their deals if the data is different for every company? Without being able to compare accounts apples-to-apples, they can’t make decisions on which ones are a fit or not. There will be lots of false negatives where good accounts appear bad and false positives where bad accounts appear good.
In this scenario, your reps are basically blindly wrestling everyone they come across. It’s a tremendous waste of time and effort and a big reason that salespeople only spend ⅓ of their time selling according to Hubspot. Again, better data focuses their effort.
Deals are won and lost in the CRM
Start your reps out on solid footing with better data and they’ll win deals more easily. With the best fundamentals on earth – the ability to choose the right opponents every time – even weak sellers will find themselves winning high-stakes matches. And that’s a strategy you can hang your quota on.
Need better data? Try EverString today.