Moneyball is a great movie! I didn't think so at first, but every time I'm channel flipping and come across the movie I wind up watching whatever is left. I've now seen the whole movie once and bits and pieces many times (geez, I just realized I must be watching way too much TV!).
Moneyball is about the effective use of predictive modeling to win more baseball games while spending the least amount of money possible. If there is a sales organization of more than 3 people with a client base of at least 20 or more that has not set up some scalable form of Bill James baseball model, it is not a nearly as efficient nor as effective as it could be. A recent article in the Gallup Business Journal found that sales organizations that practiced "moneyball" were more effective than those that didn't. The primary purposes of a predictive sales model are to:
- Reduce the amount to time, tools and talent expended on prospects with little to no chance of converting into sales
- Identify specifics characteristics of a deal that you can effect to make it winnable
The results are hgher closing ratios, lower cost of sales and salespeople spending less time on creating "pipe dreams" and more time developing a winnable "pipeline".
The good news is you don't need to be Bill James to build and use an adequate predictive model. It only takes a simple but disciplined process and a commitment to work it. It's the commitment to work the model that is the most important aspect of the movie. Billy Beane was totally committed to putting in the time and effort to work the model as best he could. All the data he needed was available. Bill James just created a structure that allowed for all the insights and implications to be mined. To make sure he worked it as well as possible, Billy brought in someone who knew how to manage the model effectively and was as committed as he was to working it to its maximum capacity.
Now there are LOTS of expensive and elaborate variations of predictive sales models available that will cost you more than your salary to implement and be hated by your salespeople for all the new processes they'll have to learn - not to mention the new level of accountability. If you're a small to mid-size company it will most likely be more trouble than its worth. However, you can build one with just Excel and your own data. I know, because I've done it for over 20 years, across many different markets and various size sales staffs. Its called "The Saleshandicapper" and I can show anyone how to build one, work one and supply one.
Is your sales group ready for Moneyball? If nothing else, watch the movie as a team and let their reaction be your guide.