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The Sales Triple Crown – Activity, Improvement and Results

Jun 19, 2015

Written by: Walter Ruckes
(View Author Bio)

It’s the hardest race to win in sales but if you can master the sales Triple Crown, you will motivate your team, improve their performance and get the results you’ve been looking for.

This race takes a little longer than the three individual races and the combined 6  ½ minutes American Pharaoh needed to achieve fame and fortune.  But there is a roadmap that exists to help you and your team gallop to glory.

Here are the three races you need to win, and some ideas to give you a head-start:

Race #1: Encouraging the right activity

Good sales managers know that success starts with a high level of activity. But how can you tell which are the right activities to focus on?  Technology can help. With sophisticated CRM systems, there is more data than ever to help determine which type of activity leads to results. Watching top performers can also help your new reps understand where to spend their time and energy.

But be careful, because what works for one sales rep may be a waste of time for another rep. American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, said this about his horse: “the way he carried himself … he was doing it in a different way.”

And the only two men alive who have trained Triple-Crown winners, Billy Turner (Seattle Slew) and Bob Baffert (American Pharoah) are firm believers in tailoring their training and development plans to the specific horse, not based on what’s worked before.  Baffert said this about his winner: “Every time he runs, he shows me something we’ve never seen.”

Each of your reps is unique. It’s important to understand the activities and motivators that work for them and encourage and recognize those activities, because many times the race is won or lost before you even approach the starting gate.

Race #2: Rewarding improvement

From the horse’s perspective, racing has to be an odd experience.  As Jerry Seinfeld said, “The horse must get to the end and say, ‘We were just here. What’s the point of that?’”

The point, as good leaders know, is to continue to improve. Each customer or opportunity offers your sales team the opportunity to grow. Initial contact leads to increased trust, which leads to problem-solving and ultimately, results in  a loyal customer who doesn’t view your rep as an order-taker but rather as a solution architect who is there for the long-term.

The second race in the sales Triple Crown is to recognize and reward those improvements that lead to longer-term success. Rather than setting goals for your sales team, ask what goals they might set for themselves? Break those goals down into achievable milestones and your reps will be off and running.

Race #3: Recognizing Results

What most people remember about the Triple Crown are the parties and the celebrations of victory. But these only happen for the best of the best. It’s probably the same way in your organization.  Once a year you get together to celebrate the winners and hear the stories about what made them great.

Bob Baffert may have said it best: ““If you want to find out if you belong in the Derby, you’ve got to run with the big boys.”

From the moment you onboard your reps, teach them what success looks like. As they set goals for themselves, don’t discourage them – encourage them to dream. Make sure to reward them for milestones and improvement along the way.

Then, when they are in the winner’s circle, you can celebrate the Triple Crown along with them.

Walter Ruckes BI WORLDWIDE

Walter Ruckes

Vice President
Sales and Channel Engagement

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Sales & Channel Engagement Group, Walter Ruckes' primary focus is to develop sales and channel engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of sales people, distributors, dealers and channel sales representatives. An expert in sales incentive strategy, he educates sales professionals around the world on how to best engage their sales force through sales engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.