By Simon Knowles.

If we look at any professional or semi-professional football or rugby team each has a manager and at least one or more coaches to enhance performance. So why in our highly competitive outsourcing industry do so many service providers still only hire sales managers?

Doing it the ‘old way’ is not enough to win

I believe the answer lies in the fact that senior management today still operate their bid teams in the same way they used to in the ‘good old days’ when there was rapid market growth and fewer competitors. Managing a reasonable sales team in a rapidly growing market to a reasonable set of processes, with a reasonable cost saving proposition generally did the job. However things have changed since those dizzy days of rapid growth. Outsourcing is not a black art anymore; customers have matured and expect more, whilst competition has increased exponentially. So what can we learn from this?

What needs to change?

Well lessons I believe can be learned from any professional or semi-professional sports team. If we look at the support team deployed, what do we tend to find? Firstly we see that they have a manager; a person responsible for ensuring the team is focused on the right fixtures and delivering winning results – something akin to the sales management function of today. However what we also see is the deployment of at least one team coach whose specific role is to coach and enhance an individual’s and or a team’s performance. And that’s why market-leading outsourcing providers are starting to use what we call ‘Deal Coaches’ to help win new business.

Deal Coach in action

To bring this to life, I would like to draw on a real-life example from one of our Deal Coaches. In short, our Deal Coach was hired by an outsourcing provider to help the sales team position and engage with key decision makers in a way that would significantly enhance the provider’s win probability. By deploying Value Based Selling as a strategic methodology, backed up by ongoing deal coaching, the team were able to differentiate their proposition and engagement which ensured this outsourcing provider, who was considered a rank outsider, come from nowhere to win a $500m+ IT outsourcing opportunity in Europe.

If you would like to find out more about the value of using a Deal Coach, please email