You Can’t Win a Championship Every Year – What Sales Can Learn from the Randy Moss Trade Part II

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England P...
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I don’t care how good you’re team is or how well coached they are, you can’t win a championship every year.   Maybe, two in a row and on that rare occasion a three-peat is possible, but eventually your going to lose.  There is nothing wrong with this.  There is nothing to be ashamed of.  You can’t win ALL the time and expecting to is debilitating. Therefore, the key is to win as much as possible while prepare to win a championship when the time is right.

Not to beat the Randy Moss trade to death, but there is something else about it that I found very interesting, which sales can learn from.

With or without Randy Moss, it was highly unlikely the Patriots were going to win the Super Bowl.  Their defense is too young and inexperienced. They’ve lost critical players in the backfield.  They still haven’t signed their All-Pro tackle, who is holding out.  The AFC east is becoming more competitive and the Jets appear poised to win it. It’s just not in the cards this year for the Pats and I think Belichick knows this.  That’s the other reason he traded Randy Moss.

Bill Belichik and the Patriots realized the chances of them winning the Super Bowl this year were 60-40 with Randy and 50-50 without him.  Knowing this, they determined it was a good bet to move him for a 3rd round pick and prepare for the future.

Most of the disenting sports pundits pooh-poohed the trade saying the Pats just put in jeopardy this years season by trading Moss.  The general consensus is the Pats hurt themselves – and their right — THIS YEAR.  But, the Patriots and Belichick aren’t looking at this year.  They’ve done the math, they’ve looked at the team and said, we probably won’t win a championship this year, so let’s make sure we CAN win one in the next few years.  This is EXACTLY how they should be looking at it.  The Pats didn’t gamble the future on a low probability bet.

Sales organizations are notorious for doing just the opposite in these situations.  In an effort to make quota we lower prices, give concessions, make deals to bring in business now rather than wait another quarter or so and do a better deal.  We create environments where we are always chasing revenue, because we beg, borrow and steal to bring it in today, rather than let the sales cycle play out.  We scurry at the end of every quarter and every year to “bring in” deals scheduled for next quarter or next fiscal year in order to make quota.  The cycle begins, as next quarter begins its funnel is empty, requiring us to “bring in” deals from the next quarter to fill the void created by the previous quarter.  Every deal then requiring a discount, special treatment, and incentive for the customer to buy before they are ready.   Sales, all to often, trades the future for today.  We train the customer to “wait,” as they know the deals will come at the end of the quarter.

We have become a society of NOW!  Yet, those with patience, and the understanding that you can’t win championships every year, win more than those chasing the now.

Growing 20% year over year forever can’t happen.  There will be up years and down years, accept it.   When the down years are upon you don’t try to make it an up year, make the investments necessary to get out of it.  Have a forward looking strategy, tighten the belt, set expectations and hold your ground.  The alternative is trading tomorrow for today and that rarely works.

There is a reason we have teams of the decade, 70’s Pittsburg, 80’s San Francisco, 90’s Dallas, 2000’s the Patriots.  We have them because they didn’t focus on the future.  The teams get old, don’t have young talent to back fill and they die a slow death.   Based on the moves the Patriots have made, they are positioning themselves to be the team of the next decade too, and trading Randy Moss will be another gambit in the strategy.

Sales, take heed.

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