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  • Brett Zalaski

An Analytic...and Aquatic...Way to Sell Tickets

Corbin Weaver is an Account Executive for the incredibly effective and innovative text message platform ZipWhip, a company that has an increasingly strong presence throughout pro and collegiate sports. Corbin, himself, has a strong background in pro sports that has included stops in the NCAA, MLB, NFL, & MLS, while successfully selling for the Oakland Raiders & Portland Timbers. His desire for improvement and thoughtfulness about selling has always stood out in our interactions...and this article is awesome.

Congrats! You’ve passed the first test—you’ve recently been promoted from an Inside Sales Rep, and now you are a full time, full menu Account Executive in the sports industry.


You’ve learned how to cold call and hustle. You have a grasp of the sales process, and can hold your own on the sales floor. But now what? With more responsibility and standing within the organization comes higher goals and the need to produce more revenue and results. Converting sales from an older single game buyer list and selling mini-plans will certainly put some money in your pocket, but it won’t get you to your sales goal...or put you at the top of the leader board. Let’s take a look on how we can help get you there.


To make it to the top of the leader board, you are going to have to spend your time intelligently and efficiently in order to hit your number and generate as much revenue as possible. Oftentimes, younger reps will simply focus on prospecting the single game buyer list, group renewals, and old mini plan holders, and never reach their full potential. Even if you renew at a solid 90%, 10% of the prior year’s revenue isn’t in your book. You’ll “renew yourself to death”! Hence, why many teams have both a retention and new sales team.


Conversely, there are many times where a rep will only focus on the largest of opportunities—working them, prospecting them, and trying their best to get them to close. While doing this, they neglect steady sources of revenue and end up with an empty pipeline. In both instances, you are likely leaving sales and revenue on the table.


To help solve this dilemma, it is important to ensure that you always have a healthy mix of large, medium, and small prospects, or “Whales, Sharks, and Minnows” in your pipeline. That way, if a large opportunity falls out of your pipeline, at the end of the month/year, you still have other opportunities that will get you to your number and you and leadership are still happy. At the same time, you don’t have to convert on an unlikely large amount of small ticket plans to hit goal/quota. (Plus it is always fun to close some big deals!)


So how do we intelligently prospect and manage our time to help us do this? Let’s take a look!


Here is a quick breakdown of what may qualify for each of these “buckets”

You are probably thinking to yourself, “Great, Corbin, tell me something I don’t know.” And you are right, but to intelligently prospect, and to intelligently ensure your pipeline is healthy and full, here is the approach you should take:


Segment and tier your prospects and opportunities. Whale Opportunities and Prospects should be Tier 1. “Shark” opportunities should be Tier 2. “Minnow” opportunities should be Tier 3.


*I want to pause here, just because they are Tier 3, does not mean that we do not care about them, they are an important piece to any salesperson or departmental revenue goals. As Brett says—love your single game buyers!*


This idea comes partly from a sales trainer, John Barrows, that I encourage you to check out.


While prospecting, I suggest the following approach in attempting to contact them, and sell to them:


Tier 1: Quality. Why are you contacting them? Why now? Are these companies or groups similar to current clients of yours? Why should they take a meeting with you to discuss how your team could fit in and help with their business/group goals? You had better have a compelling reason or they will fry you. You must nail your cold call and must nail your meeting/pitch. You only need a few of these prospects to close to have a very large and impactful result on your business.


Adding a few contacts/leads to a prospecting cadence a day should maintain a solid amount of these opportunities for you. Be cognizant of the amount of time it will take you to prepare and present for these opportunities as they will take up a good amount of time, and will likely require multiple meetings and help from other departments as they are typically more complex.


Potential Time Devoted to prospecting/presenting: 35%


Tier 2: It is no secret that the salesperson who makes the most contacts and has the most amount of meaningful conversations typically will have the most sales. Get out there and hustle! Have those conversations, schedule those appointments, and close some business. This is where the bulk of your revenue will likely come from.


Since these opportunities look like many others of yours, you are already an expert. They will likely not require a ton of preparation/customization. That said, ensure you treat every prospect and conversation with care.


Potential Time Devoted to prospecting: 50%


Tier 3: For the most part, past plan purchasers renew at a good rate. Do your best to find the right package for them, whether that it is up the revenue escalator into season tickets, or a similar package as last year. However, the sad reality is that not all of them will. If you are starting to feel that they won’t renew because they are ghosting you, send a nice note/voicemail and go find your next best customer. The same can be said about past buyers who you’ve contacted a few times and aren’t progressing in the sales cycle.


One “power hour” or call block a day to call on past plan/group buyers or an older single game list should maintain a healthy level of these opportunities in your pipeline—who knows? You may even find a shark or whale swimming among the minnows!


Potential Time Devoted: 15%


Each rep is different, and each team is different. Be sure to adjust each tier and potential time devoted to prospecting so that it makes sense for you and your team. With that said, hopefully you can ensure that your pipeline is full of “Whales, Sharks, and Minnows” at all times to hit your sales goal at the end of the season!