What's the best way to get revved up when you need to pitch an investor or land a big sale?
Ambition, an 21-employee startup based in Chattanooga that makes software to motivate and engage sales teams, has found a fun, simple way to do it: The company has compiled the best, most "epic" motivational-speech videos out there.
The first post, called "10 Epic Videos to Inspire Your Salesforce," appeared in February. It was so popular, Ambition did a second post on five more videos to watch to motivate your salesforce. Here are my favorites:
1. A glimpse into the mind of basketball legend Michael Jordan.
Why it's motivating: Former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy points out that Jordan's opponents coveted his friendship and respect, even as he kicked their asses on the court, time and again. "In sales, the Michael Jordans of our professions are those individuals who possess that kind of rare gift--the dual ability to genuinely gain the respect and trust of their prospects, while having that killer instinct to know how and when to close a deal," notes Jeremy Boudinet, Ambition's director of marketing.
2. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action.
Why it's motivating: It explains why sales reps should think of themselves as leaders. The reason? As Sinek explains, a true leader has the ability to influence action and outcomes. "In other words, the absolute essence of sales," writes Boudinet.
3. Alec Baldwin's speech from the film version of "Glengarry Glen Ross."
Why it's motivating: Of course, almost anyone who works in sales is familiar with this classic. But as Boudinet points out, "a sales-oriented list of epic, inspirational YouTube clips that omitted a mention of Alec Baldwin's speech from 'Glengarry Glen Ross' might as well be as valid as a Greatest Films list that lacks 'The Godfather.'" Why does Baldwin's speech hold up? Mainly because of its statements about toughness and guile in the face of adversity.
4. Actor Will Smith on motivation, success, and greatness.
Why it's motivating: Because you learn that as gifted and natural as Smith seems, his success is actually the result of his relentless work ethic. "Younger sales reps may often look at veteran top performers and wonder, 'how does he/she make it look so easy?'" Boudinet writes. "The answer is repetition. Dedication. Years of honing one's craft and putting in long man hours to master it."
5. Don Draper's "Kodak Carousel" ad pitch.
Why it's motivating: You see legendary TV character Don Draper from "Mad Men" do what the best sales reps are supposed to do: Forge an emotional connection between the prospective customer and whatever they're selling. "Here, the nerve Don touches upon is a profound one: The sense of family," writes Boudinet. "Does your product or service make someone's life easier or simplify an arduous process? Get your prospect thinking about it in terms of luxury, or innovation, or empowerment."
6. Retired football star Ray Lewis's motivational speech to the Stanford basketball team.
Why it's motivating: It discusses success in terms of the whole team. In addition, it provides impassioned reminders that every day, even every moment, contains the chance for a fresh start, a new beginning. That's important, given how resilient sales teams have to be, in the face of daily disappointments.
As you might imagine, both post have proven to be big hits for Ambition. The first one has become Ambition's ninth-most viewed blog since May 2014, when the young company began blogging regularly. More importantly, those who click on it are staying: The average time a reader is staying on the page is six minutes and 10 seconds--the company's third-highest time-on-page for any post. That duration is, indeed, "epic" compared to the company's average time-on-blog-page of three-and-a-half minutes per post.
With each post, Ambition has been able to garner more attention within its broader industry of software for sales teams. After the first post, there was an enthusiastic ("Love it!") mention on Twitter from an employee at San Francisco-based ToutApp. After the second post, an employee from RingLead, which is also based in San Francisco, replied with enthusiasm. He shared the post on his own LinkedIn page. RingLead then asked Ambition if they could feature the post on the RingLead blog. Boudinet was happy to let them.
The takeaway, for Ambition? Mainly that not every post has to be serious, analytical, or professorial. "We do that stuff, too, but this showed the power of content that is more universal and is really fun to read," Boudinet says. In other words: Gravitas has its place, but you can get great results from frivolity, too--from material that feels more like leisure than homework.