The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A Minor League baseball team for the Oakland A’s. Affiliated baseball teams, like the River Cats, have no say over their product – the team – as the players are directly contracted with the Major League organization. Thus, teams in Minor League baseball are really sales and marketing businesses rather than sports ones.
A significant challenge that these teams face is the short tenure of the ticket salespeople due to the earnings-level of the positions. Top producers earn approximately $50,000 per year which leads to these being high-turnover sales positions. Ticket sales roles are most often jobs, not careers.
These outside salespeople sell various ticket products to assigned markets like corporations, non-profit organizations and schools. Each product and market has unique nuances that must be mastered by salespeople to sell successfully.
Prior to the 2012 season, the River Cats’ executive team identified ticket sales onboarding as a key corporate initiative. At that time, there was only a rudimentary program in place to get new salespeople up to speed. When polled, the current salespeople shared that it took over a year to feel comfortable selling in their respective roles. Given the tenure expectation, high turnover rate and the required performance level of ticket salespeople to achieve revenue targets, the one-year comfort timeline was troublesome.
A sales onboarding engagement was launched using The Revenue Accelerator® with the goals of reducing ramp-up time and increasing revenue contribution from the ticket salespeople. A focused, three-week onboarding program was created using The Revenue Accelerator that concluded with a proficiency exam.
Midway through the 2012 season, the River Cats executive team described the salespeople as “the best sales team we’ve ever had.” While that was the perception, the reality was that this was still the same level of talent that had been hired in the past. The only significant change was how the River Cats prepared the salespeople to sell.
River Cats General Manager, Jeff Savage said, “The 2012 season was the best ticket sales season in the last several years. For some of our product lines, this was the best season in the history of our team! Much of that success can be attributed to how we handled the new salespeople we onboarded and used The Revenue Accelerator to prepare them for their sales roles.”