Why Modern Selling Needs More Rally, Less NASCAR

NASCAR is up there with apple pie and country music as one of the most uniquely American things around. In Europe, they don’t care quite as much as Americans do about NASCAR.

But they do love rally racing.

In NASCAR, cars are optimized to race in a circle as fast as possible, over and over. There is only one route to the finish. In rally, the route has twists and turns and may not be revealed to the competitors until the day of the race. NASCAR is highly predictable, and a huge amount of work goes into preparing and optimizing along a very narrow scope of possible situations. There is only one way to go: Left.

Rallying, on the other hand, requires both a driver and a navigator to think creatively and react to a huge variety of situations to make it to the finish line. Teams get very creative with how they get from point A to point B.

The sales world could learn a lot from the world of rally racing.

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The times are changing, and 2015 poses a dilemma to many sales organizations. Some companies are only just now beginning to shake off the vestiges of antiquated sales methods. We still have companies with sales teams of mostly field operatives, and sales process handbooks as thick as a phonebook. A team structure like this is as out of date as phone books themselves. It’s nearly impossible to stray from the prescribed path in this old model, and agility is critical in today’s world of sales.

Even as their markets shift below them, many sales organizations are still trying to optimize for the same left turn they’ve been making for years.

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In rallying, race teams hurtle up, down and around all sorts of obstacles, in conditions varying from frigid cold to pouring rain, often having never seen the route before. All they have is a description of the route, called the pacenotes. Pacenotes are read to the driver by the navigator in real time during the race, with route features being described sometimes just seconds before the car reaches them. Rally racing teams don’t have the luxury of memorizing their course prior to the race. They have to be prepared for almost anything around the next corner, and rely on teamwork and communication to get them across the finish line quickly and safely.

Sales teams today face a course ahead that looks much more like a rally route than a NASCAR track. They’re chasing prospects on half a dozen channels, having to revise their tactics on the fly in a chaotic information economy. As technology enables faster and faster go-to-market strategies, new competitors can enter the race at any time. Instead of practicing the same thing over and over again, sales teams need improve their ability to learn on the fly, work well within a team and communicate better than ever before. If they don’t, the next hairpin turn might take them out.

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Datahug equips teams with the tools they need to stay agile in today’s breakneck sales atmosphere. For the latest techniques on scaling and running a cutting-edge sales operation, download our B2B Sales Ops Playbook.

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