What do cricket and a sales forecast have in common?

A few results in the current cricket season have led me to consider a number of things recently. It occurs to me that there are some similarities between cricketing and a sales forecast. One of those is the importance of a good bowler.

During a long match a bowler needs to be consistent, accurate, withstand the test of pressure and help to deliver the desired result. Essentially, a win over time. It is often true that the bowler dictates the speed of progress in the game.  The team captain will then  continually assess the risks associated with any change of pace or bowling style.

The Bowler Chart

The same processes can be applied to business development, managing the sales pipeline and budget achievement.  This in the form of a Bowler Chart. In this case, achievement (or exceeding) the agreed budget is the ‘win’ everyone is looking for. By using the right bowler, the percentage opportunity of winning the long game – achieving the year-end goal – can be greatly enhanced.

Most businesses will have a documented pipeline of quoted opportunities. Some of these  will be included in a long-term forecast. Alongside this, the budget will also be broken down month-by-month and so can be measured against that pipeline. Assuming that the usual (or average) historical conversion rate from quote to order can be calculated, a ‘Bowler Chart’ can be compiled.

This bowler is truly an important tool.

Measuring the budget v pipeline

If the required budget is measured against the available pipeline on a rolling basis, you can see at a glance where the business is likely to fall short of the required order intake. This is achieved by simply calculating what the pipeline needs to be. Then simply measuring it against the actual value.

In a Bowler Chart, this is visible at a glance. It highlights the immediate gap in any given month. Consequently, this enables the team leader to instigate a change of pace to address the shortfall.

The state of play

After this the team leader is able to assess the ‘state of the game’ very quickly at any given time.  Subsequently, this leads to clear focus in the wider team.  Which then allows them to concentrate on the periods that are likely to miss the target.

Just as in a cricket match, the bowler dictates the speed of the game. When to go faster, when to hold back and take stock; and when to push hard for the end result.

So, just as in a game of cricket, you might have a great team in the field, but if your bowler is inaccurate, you never win the match.  Having a bad bowler means that balls get hit all over the place, resulting in a scatter gun approach as the team chase it all over the field.

The winning game

The same is true of the sales activity. Keep the bowler tight and accurate, the focus on the game clear, and the accuracy of the team activity improves dramatically. This results in higher achievement and a faster and easier ‘win’.

As with the cricket match I watched, it’s all in the accuracy of the bowler…..


If you would like to talk about anything marketing on an outsourced basis, please get in touch by giving me a call on 07966 192597 or sending me an email.


Photo credits to: Alfred Kenneally on Unsplash and Lisa Scott from Pixabay

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.