Marks Out Of Seven

England line-out drill during warm-up before winning in SA for only the fourth time

Here’s part of an exchange with England rugby union coach, Eddie Jones.

From the immediate aftermath of halting their losing streak, through a 25-10 victory against an admittedly weakened Springboks at Cape Town’s stormswept Newlands (23 June 2018).

Focus was on mercurial flyhalf talent, yet dazzling matchwinner, ignored for the previous 111 Tests;

interviewer: Danny Cipriani, marks out of ten?

Eddie: I don’t give marks out of ten, I give marks out of seven.

(Incidentally he then awarded a rather tough ‘4’.)

Why 7? Why not 10? How come, Eddie? I was desperate to know. Alas, I remain in the dark.

Yet this outlook – one of the many quirky, contrarian, different that Coach Jones holds – has a clear Sales parallel.

How do you assign likelihoods to the deals across your forecast?

Yes, I have a particular bugbear on this one.

Even before the ubiquitous infestation of crm, sfa, spreadsheets or any technology of sales reporting, salesteams tended to pluck a percentage chance of closing out of the air for their prospective business sessions.

I have always railed against this.

Even today, a ‘system’ can insist on showing its users how clever it thinks it is. They treat deals like social media profiles. Automatically giving their ‘mark’ dependent upon how many boxes you’ve filled in.

Without knowing the rationale, I like the x/7 approach because it is trying something new.

Some salesteams do try to match gradings with items such as ‘gateways’. Yet in many a case, the deathrattle of coming second will still give misleadingly positive numbers.

Whilst this is a trap almost any forecasting measure can fall down, there is a better way.

But you need to know your process. Not the chronological steps traversed from pitch to signature. More, the type of happenings that when they all take place, are proven to mean you pretty much always win the deal.

And funnily enough, I’d bet that seven is a fairly universal amount of such ticks.

So, for each of your deals, what are their marks out of seven?

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