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Keeping Salespeople Productive In This Environment Takes Planning

17 Mar 2020 10:48 AM | Steve DeLay (Administrator)

Normally, I would use this forum to talk about ticket sales strategy or training.  However, this week is not normal times as teams are forced to send sales staff to work from home and games are canceled.

I work with numerous teams and leagues and spent all day on Monday on calls talking about how to keep salespeople focused and productive when either working from home or having nothing to sell since games have been postponed or canceled.

For the first time in a long time, you have time to plan, train and organize.  Take advantage of that time.

Here is a list of ideas and subjects gleaned from calls with the G-League, WNBA, ECHL and other clients.


Establish Clear Expectations for your staff.  This is critically important.  There are technology questions to be answered about computers, CRM access and phone capabilities if they are working from home but in either a work from home scenario or no games scenario, make sure each salesperson knows their activity metrics for calls, emails and online research.

Once you’ve established those metrics, here are some areas you can get a lot accomplished in a slow time:

Sales training.  Normal sales training involves getting together in a group setting with a sales trainer or with internal training.  Right now, that’s not as easy.  A couple years ago, we took all the group sales training content in The Ultimate Toolkit and turned it in to an online training class.  Now is the perfect time for online training.  You can go to to learn more.

As a special recognition of the challenging times we’re in, we’re offering our online training for $100 off per salesperson for the first 50 salespeople signed up.  Just go to   Where it says “Have a coupon, click here to enter your code”, enter the code ‘virus’ and you’ll see a $100 price break applied to the price.  If you have any questions or want to sign up multiple people, give me a call at 702-493-2661 or send me an email at
Group Audit.  Now is your chance to review how deeply you’ve penetrated specific group categories.  To do that, simply perform a Group Audit.  A Group Audit helps you determine the number of prospects in your market in each key group category and then how many you’ve actually gotten to come to a game. If you are in the midst of the current sales season, you can perform a group audit of where you are right now.  If not, you can build one from the last year. Click here to see more specifics on how to do a Group Audit.  This will give you an instant target list as soon as the lights are flipped back on and you can start selling again.

Group sales database building. No team I’ve ever worked with has maximized group sales.  After you’ve completed your Group Audit to determine which categories are your growth opportunities, assign those categories and leads to salespeople to build your group sales database.  After your Group Audit, you have your benchmark starting point. Then on a weekly basis, have your one on one call/meeting with the salesperson assigned to that category and make sure they are adding new contacts and relationships.

Top 100 Business Audit. Have you gone through the top 100 employers in your market and determined how many have bought tickets from you?  Season tickets, hospitality and/or group tickets?  Have they bought enough?  Sure, they could also be sponsors but that doesn’t mean their ticket purchases are high enough to meet their needs.  Identify those that are ‘short’ and build a strategy on how to get those larger companies more involved – specifically, who is going to call on that prospect and at what level? 

Group Renewals Evaluation. Now is a terrific time to review all the group buyers from your most recent complete season and what percentage came back the next year.  Don’t guess at the percentage of accounts that bought again.  Analyze them all by looking not only at accounts but also seats and dollars renewed.  Then, talk to your sales staff on why particular groups did not come back.  You likely will discover that your sales staff just didn’t make enough phone calls to that preferred group buyer.  Build a strategy now for when you know you’re playing again to immediately attack this group.

Client relationship calls.  A terrific time for your sales and retention staff to get to know your season ticket holders and group leaders in a more personal way.  Have an organized process and system for your salespeople to make calls, what questions to ask and then where to ‘store’ that information in your CRM.


One area that management can tackle now – separate from sales activity - is business planning for next year.  Whether you’re a winter or spring sport that has been canceled or postponed, you have some time to lay the groundwork for next season and ideas and strategies you’ve never had the time to think through in depth because you were playing a season.  You can also use this time for your action plan for when the lights go back on.

When I was Chief Marketing Officer at Mandalay Baseball Properties, we always had our business planning meetings in April, less than a month after our season started.  Bob Murphy, Mandalay’s COO and President of the Dayton Dragons always wanted to have those business planning meetings in February or March so we could get even further ahead of the curve.  You now have that chance and the time to think of the future.


Like everyone else, my business travel has been curtailed.  However, I am available by phone.  If you want a complimentary review of your business plan, want to bounce some ticket or sponsorship sales ideas off me or want help with, feel free to give me a call at 702-493-2661 or email me at

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