Sales Management: Ryder Cup Torment: Would You Re-Hire Jim Furyk?

Posted on October 4, 2012. Filed under: account management, Funnel Audits, Lead Generation, negotiation, Pipeline Measurement, Sales, Sales forecasting, Sales Funnel, Sales Goals, Sales Management, Sales Metrics, Sales pipeline, sales process, Sales Quota, sales training, Sales Velocity, strategic account management, Uncategorized, win win | Tags: |

The Agony of Defeat

When does experience become a liability in selling?

If you watched the recent Ryder Cup matches you might be asking questions about experience.  The ‘experienced’ players – Mickleson, Woods, Stricker, and Furyk combined for a total of 4 points won and 10 points lost.  Take out Mickelson’s performance with youngster Keegan Bradley and the remaining three veterans (two were captain’s picks) won 1 point and lost 9 points.  Ouch.

If you’re a sales manager building a team, or if you’ve ever found yourself having to complete a team and considered recruiting people you know very well what’s the best way to make the right decision?

For golf fans in the US thinking of this topic is not just a therapy session to recover from the fresh wound of the Ryder Cup outcome.  Soon, President’s Cup captain Fred Couples will be making his captain’s picks for the 2013 squad that will compete in Dublin, Ohio on Jack Nicklaus’s Muirfield Village course.  Couples is recently quoted as saying he would love to have Jim Furyk on the team.

If you were Couples would you feel the same?

Is this a case of a buddy gone blind or a buddy who knows his buddy better than we do?

You’d have to consider experience right?  Let’s take a closer look at this word ‘experience’.

Is the experience of our politicians working in our favor?  If you’re a West Virginian you might say yes as Robert Byrd carried truck loads of cash back to your state for 47 years.   On the other side of the aisle sits another long experienced senator, Orin Hatch.  He’s made the Senate his summer home for 36 years.

Are you an ‘experienced’ worker looking for work and too often considered ‘over qualified’ for the job?

If you’re a school teacher in the Chicago public system and you’re laid off your ‘experience’ means you’ll get called first when the school needs to rehire teachers.

Is experience the reason the US women’s national soccer team has won the gold medal at the past three Olympics?  In 2012 the roster was made up of 61% of players who played on the 2008 gold medal team.  In 2008 the team was made up of 50% of players who had played on the 2004 gold medal team.  The current team has seven players who are age 30 or older, and two of those have a combined 28 years of national team tenure.

Experience defined means comprising knowledge of or skill of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event.  Therefore doesn’t it suggest that experience is useful only when the person is placed in the event or circumstance identical or very close to the event where experience was gained?

Would you put more weight on Furyk’s overall career or recent performances?

He has won 16 PGA events including some big game trophies like the US Open, The Memorial, The Canadian Open, the Western Open, and the Tour Championship in 2010.  These events are played on the toughest tracks in the US – Cog Hill, Muirfield Village, Olympia Fields, and Eastlake.  He’s had some bigtime wins in past Ryder Cups.  In the 1997 Ryder Cup he beat a Goliath Nick Faldo in the Sunday singles (Europe won).  He beat Garcia in the singles in 1999 (US famous comeback).  He beat Howell in singles in 2004 (Europe killed US).  In 2006 he lost (Europe again killed US) and in 2008 he sat out the singles matches (US won).

His record in non Ryder Cup match play kind of play is not impressive.  And his sudden death playoff record is 3-8 which looks worse than it is.  It means he won 3 tournaments out of the 11 he tied for first.

Would you put more weight on his recent performances and specifically the Ryder Cup?  At Medinah while he didn’t fare as badly as Steve Stricker or Tiger (combined winning zero points and losing 7 points), he didn’t impress either, winning just one point.  The match he lost to McIroy and McDowell was close.  Perhaps it was the points he lost that’s causing the bounty.  He missed makeable par putts on the last two holes of Sunday’s singles match to lose.  This summer he blew his lead in the World Series of Golf in Akron, making a 6 on the final hole.  Perhaps not as bad as when my good friend Kenny Perry collapsed on 17 and 18 to lose the Masters in 2009. I recall his comment as much as I recall the pain of watching him on those holes – “If the worst thing that ever happens to me is coming in second at the Masters then I’ve lived a pretty good life.”

I recall one manager building a sales team saying that hiring the people who had worked for him at other companies was like ‘devil you know’ instead of new hires being ‘the devil you don’t know’.

Like a lot of management decisions they never get second guessed when the outcome is positive.  You look like a genius.  But when the outcome is bad you’d better be able to live with the heat.

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4 Responses to “Sales Management: Ryder Cup Torment: Would You Re-Hire Jim Furyk?”

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Mark, As a 54 year old with over 30 years of IT sales and Channel Management who finds himself unemployed I don’t agree with your analogy.
It suggests that selling is about youth and enthusiasm and that age is a factor in sales ability.
I would counter with the story of the father and son bulls at the bottom of a field who spot cows coming into the field at the top of the hill, I am sure people know the story so i won’t broadcast it 🙂
The world we are in is about change, adapting to it and selling it. Some people can do it some can’t.
I speak to many C Level people who are frustrated that the “young” people that try to sell to them have little life experience and everything they know is out of a text book ( oops showing my age again) or learned in university. I am not going to generalise and say all young people are poor salespeople but it is about a balance.
In any team you need a mix of skills and a blend of experience and if you have a very young inexperienced team then yes I would want some more experience on my team.
If you were having a major operation who would you choose to do it , a 50 year old who has done hundreds of successful and not so succesful operations, has encountered all that can potentially go wrong…. or a young guy that has done 10 operations that have all been a huge success…….Younger people need to get experience which they can gain from the people they will eventually replace but there is no cut off, when are you old when are you past it, not when you reach a certain age, it’s about performance.
None of us have a crystal ball so you can only judge on past performance not potential future performance. Don’t write off the older guys and girls just yet…….

Thanks for you comment. I think we agree more than you think. I would put Furyk on my team.

Good article, Mark. One experience I’ve can share is as a young member of a Sales Team (long ago of course) where I was floundering in my Sales performance. One, very experienced Team member took time and effort away from his job to help me pinpoint exactly where I was falling short and then to help devise a recovery plan. He didn’t have to do it, he was my equal, not my Manager. He had nothing to gain by spending his time and energy with me. At the risk of hitting his quota and losing out both financially and professionally, he spent some late nights and also some productive work hours to help me instead.

His insight of the sales process, the customers and the way he related his own prior experiences with me allowed me to finish almost 15% above plan. He finished the year with a respectable 95% of plan and the Region finished at 99%

The moral of the story: Not every one gets to kick the winning goal (to follow your soccer theme). It took the individual Team Members to get the ball into scoring position, someone had to assist.

As a young, relatively inexperienced Sales Rep, the tools he taught me over long distance phone calls from hotel rooms and the example of selflessness he exhibited will never be forgotten. If he was not a member of my Team, we would have failed as a Region and I would have possibly been looking for another place to work. So, sometimes the value an experienced member brings to a Team is not that they can score, but that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Thanks for reminding me of this story and keep up the good work, I really enjoy your contributions to the profession.

Great story Darron. Sometimes the statistics don’t always tell the whole story do they?

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