Moneyball – How Data-driven Insight Transformed Baseball (and B2B Sales)


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There are few movies that manage to be highly entertaining and remarkably insightful. Moneyball is one of those movies.

Based on Michael Lewis’ book, the movie tells the tale of how the Oakland Athletics– under the direction of Billy Beane – managed to achieve extraordinary performance relative to their meager financial muscle. In the late 90’s, the Athletics were near the very bottom of the league in terms of their financial capacity to spend on acquiring talent. Yet, they were able to consistently make the playoffs over a number of years.

So, how did the Athletics manage to achieve this highly improbable feat?

The story focuses on Billy Beane – a lackluster ballplayer who becomes the visionary GM of the Athletics – and his Harvard-educated quant whiz kid protégé Paul DePodesta. Together, they turn the conventional wisdom of baseball upside down. Through detailed analysis of every imaginable baseball statistic, the duo uncovers the true underlying drivers of success for a baseball team. They uncover the massive inefficiency in how baseball talent is priced and are able to exploit this inefficiency to their advantage. They acquire players that every other team has rejected, and rejected for all the wrong reasons (i.e., conventional wisdom on what a great baseball player ‘looks like’). Billy and Paul discover data-driven insights about how to gauge and price the true worth of every ballplayer.

Moneyball, Sony Pictures 2011

Moneyball is a great book (and movie) for anyone who loves baseball and numbers. But it’s an exceptional must-read for B2B sales leaders. Moneyball shows that data-driven decisions result in significantly better outcomes than gut feel and intuition. B2B selling is undergoing the same transformation that baseball went through 10 years ago.

We’ve entered the age of data-driven selling . Thanks to the exponential growth in data about companies and prospects, and the ability to extract actionable customer insight through predictive analytics, it is now possible for a sales-person to achieve dramatically higher sales productivity. True sales intelligence can enable reps to know exactly whom to contact, when to contact and even how to engage. As selling time becomes a scarce resource, selling activities are all geared to maximize the return on that time.

I was heartened to see Gerhard Gschwandtner’s blog on the topic and I look forward to speaking about data-driven sales intelligence at the next Sales 2.0 conference.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andrew Somosi
Andrew Somosi is the SVP of Marketing and Business Development at Lattice Engines. Prior to Lattice Engines, Andrew was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company. Andrew has a BA in Economics and Political Science from Columbia University and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


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