What Sales Can Learn From Baseball

Predicting sales is a lot easier than it sounds.

Baseball is the perfect lab experiment. All teams track attempts and successes, revealing odds by stage, player, and team. Some teams use these probabilities to lower their cost-to-win by 75%. What are the key lessons? Know your odds by measuring. Place consistent bets on the highest odds. Don't over pay for chance.

Four Simple Steps

  • First, track the number of attempts, failures and successes by stage. As in baseball, you will see a pattern of success rates by stage.
  • Once you have this data, compare success rates by team, deal size, buyer, industry, and product. If you are like most teams, success rates will vary widely. This is the key.
  • Next, focus time and resource on the highest and most predictable success rates. By focusing on players who get on-base consistently, the Oakland As had more wins in 2013 and paid only 23% of the Yankee’s cost-per-win.
  • Finally, the most important thing is to use your own team’s data. Recent and current wins and losses made by your team simply work better than complex analytics, big data, and benchmarks.We researched the S&P 500 to see how baseball metrics could be applied to sales.


  • Reporting is seen as an administrative burden. When was the last time your sales team were excited about entering data into your CRM?
  • CRM reports distort true success rates. Funnel probabilities are rarely tested. Most seasoned sales leaders know four $1 million deals at 25% probability doesn't add up to $1 million, but 0.
  • Accurate failure rates are much more important, but rarely tracked. Why? Because failures always outweigh successes, often by 300% to 900%. So mathematically, when you have an inaccurate failure count, you will have a distorted view of success.
  • But who in their right mind would want to report failures? Much of what we see in enterprise and consumer apps is highly distorted, simply because people tend to only want to post good news.

Here is a brief video on how we help overcome some of these roadblocks....