Three winning streaks from le Tour de France to Sales

Tour de France 2012 arrives in ParisThe Tour de France was exceptional in 2012 for the English riders and the Sky team. Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish all did extremely well, and exceeded expectations. It was compelling viewing, to watch the highlights of the day’s riding in the evening, since we are a cycling family ourselves, purely recreational though.

What I’m seeing is exceptional performance in three areas, that combine to create winners, both for individual riders for teams. There are parallels with marketing, sales and for business owners too, and I’d like to highlight three that I can pick out, that make a winning combination, and contribute to winning streaks.

The rider

While the top riders make it look relatively easy the stats for speed, distance and endurance, are a reminder that this is an incredibly grueling competition for any rider. The long hours of punishing training in the gym, on the training bikes and out on the road create, and demand, mental and physical toughness and discipline. It’s a similar situation in sales and in business, needing dedication and determination to win new customers and deliver value to current customers, and manage staff, and the many other aspects that make up a successful business.

The team

Individual riders can only perform and win as part of a team. Slip-streaming team mates makes such a difference to the energy required to push through the air – some 20% reduction – that rotation of riders taking the lead keeps the group moving faster. Break-away riders from different teams also work together to keep themselves ahead of the peloton or main group. It’s a form or co-opertition – co-operation and competition. They work together and then time their final assault on the winning line for the ascent, the stage or the race. Mark Cavendish for example follows his Sky tam-mates until the final few yards when he makes his explosive sprint for the finish.

But on other stages Mark has been a ‘domestique’, taking food and drink to the other riders in his team. Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have also played second fiddle for the good of other team members. Then of course there are the support crew, the managers, drivers, mechanics, nutritionists, caterers and many more that work tirelessly to keep the team on the road. attack on the sprint  – other riders and support crew.

Business too relies on effective teams, either employed or in partnership, as customers, suppliers, and in the support crew also. Creating High Performance Teams is a business goal as well as a sporting goal.

The equipment

The innovation, design and technology of the equipment used by the winning Sky team, and by other teams is an important contributor to gain vital seconds. The bikes are very sophisticated, and some now using elliptical Q rings (at the front of the chain) to transfer more leg effort through to the wheel. Clothing and helmets are also being developed and improved all the time, with better skin-suits to reduce wind resistance.

Marketing and Sales is increasingly supported by development in technology, in all sorts of communications, information management and decision-support areas. Technology and systems won’t replace relationships and teams, but when they are all working in harmony they can enable people and teams to be more effective and efficient.

In marketing and sales this often means integration between many systems that provide email, and social media communications, the website, CRM, billing and additional applications.

Social CRM – the latest technology for sales and marketing

One area where marketing and sales technology is developing rapidly is bring together the tools and information to manage communications in multiple media, contact profiles and information, calendar and tasks, collaboration, and leads and sales pipeline information. With the introduction of new tactical applications this integration is often overlooked, or just not possible.

One system that is at the forefront of Social Relationship Management is Nimble. If you are looking for a way to regain control over information, communications and time, this could just be the answer for you. Take a look at the Nimble highlights here, register for the 30 day trial, and/or drop me a line if you’d like more information or a demonstration.

Technology alone won’t make a winner, on the Tour de France or in Sales. But for people and teams with the potential to be winners then having the right technology can certainly make a big difference.

Have a great week.

Mark.

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