Building a Winning Sales Team – The Moneyball Way

Building a Winning Sales Team the Moneyball way
Posted by Paul Madott in Blog 07 Jan 2020

Moneyball – Is the 2011 film based on the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and their attempt to assemble a competitive team.

Faced with the franchise’s limited budget for players, the Oakland Athletics build a team of undervalued talent by taking a unique and sophisticated approach towards scouting and analyzing players.

“There is an epidemic failure within the game of baseball to understand what is really happening.  And this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams.  

People who run ball clubs think in terms of buying players.  Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players.  Your goal should be to buy wins.   And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.”                                                                                                         – Peter Brand, Oakland Athletics

Taking it one step further, in order to buy runs, they have to buy hits and walks to get on base.

Comparatively, there is an epidemic failure today within the corporate game of sales as well.  This often leads those who manage organizations to misjudge their salespeople and mismanage their sales teams.

For example; executives who run companies often think in terms of buying salespeople. Perhaps the goal shouldn’t be to buy salespeople; the goal should be to buy sales, and in order to buy sales, they need to buy meetings, and in order to buy meetings they need to buy initial conversations.

Many organizations operate with a very small “training budget” similar to the story in Moneyball. In many cases, the strategy is to hire experienced salespeople or those who have supposedly been trained by their previous employer.  The reality is that many salespeople have not been trained effectively by their previous employer and the belief that “experienced” means competency is often inaccurate.  Furthermore, inexperienced salespeople are simply trained on product knowledge with little focus on “how to get initial conversations”.

When companies hire salespeople and then choose not to invest in key skillsets, much like in Moneyball, this leads to an imperfect understanding of where their sales come from.

For example; the way that many salespeople prospect for new business today is by implementing BTN+L: “By-The-Numbers + Luck.”  Unfortunately, it’s really all they know.

As Soar Selling puts it: “This is a desperation formula.”  Salespeople are required to make numerous calls and send out a series of emails, which ultimately results in minimal contact or replies.  “It’s a brutal methodology and a failing system causing salespeople to quit or resort to unethical strategies, because they simply don’t get results.”  Essentially, they’re working really hard…at doing it wrong.

So, with so many “sales training” options to choose from today, here are 7 different criteria to consider when seeking a training company with the objective to “get more initial conversations”.


Very few “sales training” companies are subject matter experts when it comes to “how to increase initial conversations”.  Tip: Select an organization that is focused on “Reaching decision makers” rather than just “sales training”.


The training must be applied during the actual training; theory alone won’t translate into post-training success. Tip:Be sure the training organization demonstrates proof of concept during the session – not simply run with their check.


Involving managers and team Leaders is essential. Leaders cannot support and reinforce what they don’t know.  Tip: Their attendance in any contact training should be mandatory.


T organization you retain should offer a scope of work that includes reinforcement and support beyond a simple 1 or 2-day workshop.  Tip: Partnering with a mutual strategy takes precedence over an ‘event’ based program.


This should be a major priority for all companies.  Tip: Simply ask: “What ROI % can I expect from your training?”  Their answer will speak volumes.


Having this option will allow you to implement internally on-demand.  It also will provide you with insight regarding how transferable the training is, therefore not leaving you completely dependent on one person to deliver the work. Tip: Ask to see a proven Train-The-Trainer strategy.


Mindset is a critical component for any training platform that is focused on “increasing initial conversations”. Instructing Mechanics, (the “how”), alone is not enough.  The “why” as well as the “how” will have a greater impact on those participating in the training, thus allowing for a better likelihood of translating into post-training application and a faster return on your investment. Tip: Ask what portion of the training is focused on Mindset and what the trainer’s background is with this area of instruction.

For more information regarding SOAR Selling and it’s potential fit for you and your team, give me a call.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

Paul (647) 962-7201