It turns out that even though InsightSquared is #1 for Salesforce Analytics, we’re about #44 (of 44) for basketball-athleticism, as we learned last night at the annual Raise the Rim tournament to benefit TUGG. Though InsightSquared fought the good fight (officiated by new CoachUp advisor, former Senator Scott Brown) we came up short of victory (twice). Although we can’t help that our team ranked in the about 10th percentile in both height and weight categories, being a super-analytics-focused organization, we wondered what we could have changed to increase their chances of winning?  So, we decided to identify what aspects of the game we could “own” that would increase of probability for the “W” next year.

Taking a page from our own Sales Dashboard, we looked at the problem like we would with a struggling sales rep: what metrics (or in this case, actions on the court) could our squad improve, despite their welterweight status? For a cold-calling inside sales representative, we might look at:

  • number of calls logged
  • time on phone
  • number of demos booked.

If a rep were struggling to book demos, we could look at their activities and activity ratios to see where the problem started for them. Did they make the same number of calls as other reps, but historically book less demos? By cranking up their call volume, even if there conversion ratio was lower, we could improve the outcome for the struggling rep.

If our reps, er we mean players, had just increased their activities could they have improved their chances? Sure, they still won’t be shot-blocking or dunking next year, but with a tweak here and increase there they might just stand  a chance. We decided on 3 categories that would increase our probability for the W next year, without having to hire NBA drop-outs to join the InsightSquared team:

Overall Shots: you can’t make a shot you don’t take. In the probability game, lobbing more shots means more chances to score. Just like that sales rep who goes from 60 to 100 dials per day, we’re ramping up our chance of getting it in the hoop by shooting more often. Sure, it’s great if we can make higher-probability shots (like those lay-ups that our VP of Engineering is so adept at), but ultimately we’re just looking for a sheer increase in attempts. Swish. Count it.

Possession Time: it goes without saying, but the more time you have the ball, the less time the other team does. Like the rep who increases his call times from 30 seconds to 1:00 minute, we’re hoping for 15 more seconds of opportunity each time we take it down the court (and 15 less seconds our D-1 athlete stacked opponents have to score against us).

Turnovers: even if it means more fouls, we’re going to take our chances and force turnovers. Like the sales rep who asks to bring in a decision maker, you can’t get it if you don’t go after it aggressively. We’re reaching in there if it means one more opportunity for a possession, and we’re willing to take the risk of whistles and foul-outs since the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Think we’ve got it right when it comes to increasing our likelihood of dominating the tourney? Keep an eye out for InsightSquared, while we MoneyBall-the-daylights out of Raise the Rim next year! Are you looking at your sales rep performance as objectively as we’re assessing our basketball team?


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