Earlier in the year I was fortunate to run 100km along the thames with friend and colleague, Charles. I think we did it as a challenge. We started at the source, ran 50km, slept in a field in a bivvy bag and ran the next 50km. I only managed another 28km before I had to stop, Charles finished it.
In September another colleague and friend, Ali, 'unfortunately' found me a place in my first 130km ultra marathon with about 8000m of vertical gain around the Peak District. This time it was 80km, sleep in a tent and then run 50km. I finished in 17hours.
Why is this relevant to Saas sales? Being in an emotional rollercoaster for 17 hours gave me the time to pull some similarities together..
Ideal Customer Profile and focus - when selling it is crucial to identify an ideal customer and focus in. This allows your valuable resources to be pointed in the right direction (and later down the line reduces churn). Equally when selling it helps to build momentum in that specific market whilst becoming a domain expert. I believe when running we must focus on that event and what will help us best perform, it might not just be logging lots of miles i.e. working on a good stretching regime or strengthening specific muscles instead of an extra run might be better for you
Preparation - build a plan to execute against and prepare to act, once you start selling your boulder moves and grows fast and you are better off using that momentum to sell than having to reset a plan every day. I cannot stress enough how important this is in running. There are five of us training for a 5 day event next October and we have a calendar broken down by the weeks between now and then. It might change but at least we have a plan and our focus goes into execution and performance.
Cadence - as we know sales involves setting up cadences of contact points that must be high quality, relevant and regular. This is just like the training to run a good ultra marathon, the training needs to have a set cadence and be followed through to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
Measure and act - without repeating a cliche you need to measure from the off, this way you can look at the successes but more importantly observe challenges and learn from them. See a graph below. I am following a training regime of adding 10% to my weekly volume and increasing my longest run by a mile. If injury arises I will be able to pinpoint when and how. You can see where the events were as they followed a rebuild of my volume.
Hard and smart work - there are many a better runner than me that will not make a start line or drop out mid-race (in my 130km event 35% of the field retired during the race) so the lesson is not to just think that burying yourself will help you finish/win a race or be the best in sales, you need to apply your hard work to all of these points and be smart.
Team work and Building Champions - sharing information, keeping motivated, learning and sharing experiences are so key to this. In my last and current company I always felt a perfect combination of support, healthy competition and real feeling of everyone wanting to win together. I could not have finished either of my runs above if it wasn't for Charles or a few people I met along the way in the Peak District. Creating champions during and outside of the race, just like during a sale, is critical to success.