Mario Trafficante Talks Complex Sales KPIs & Athletes

Ed Marsh | May 14, 2024

Mario Knows His Sales KPIs and His People

mario-trafficante-on-sales-kpisThe first time I met Mario was in a crowded suite at Fenway Park. We chatted casually and ended up on the topic of sales.

I started asking him questions, and he never hesitated. I asked about KPIs, length of sell cycle, close rates, PIPs, activity levels. He knew his numbers.

Then I discovered that he'd been an NCAA hockey player.

Did Mario know his numbers because he was originally an accountant before he went into sales?

Was he a successful sales leader because of the leadership and teamwork lessons he learned on the ice and in the locker room?

I wasn't sure, but I knew I needed to learn more. Listen in on my conversation that covers the particular focus athletes bring to sales, pipeline management, complex sales, the role of sales management and role playing, doing the work and putting in the reps, the role of compensation, and how marketing and sales can collaborate to boost success.

And we boil much of it down into specific insights that are applicable to industrial sales teams.

Connect with Mario for Enterprise IT support and to learn from a true sales leader.

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A Sales Leader Knows the Sales KPIs - Mario Trafficante on Industrial Growth Insitute Episode 9


Show Transcript

Episode Recap


In this episode, host Ed Marsh interviews Mario Traficanti, an expert in technology optimization and sales. Mario shares his background and expertise in traditional technology and IT infrastructure, and emphasizes the importance of routine, discipline, and constant improvement in his personal and professional life.

Their conversation explores the connection between hockey and sales, highlighting the mindset of a hockey defenseman and its relevance in sales.

Mario also discusses:

  • his transition from finance to sales and the value of a finance background in enterprise sales
  • attributes of collegiate athletes that excel in sales and the role of competitiveness in driving sales performance
  • sales management
  • value of team sports in developing a competitive nature and camaraderie among salespeople
  • different sales methodologies and the importance of tailoring them to individual salespeople
  • role of compensation in driving sales results and the need for a balance between earning potential and company goals
  • significance of activity and quality conversations in sales, as well as the importance of coaching and developing sales reps
  • challenges of managing underperforming sales reps and the need for accountability
  • is perspective on effective pipeline reviews, avoiding deals that end in no decision, and the role of marketing in supporting sales.
  • the future of sales and the importance of personal interaction in a world driven by technology.


  • Team sports can help salespeople tap into their competitive nature and create camaraderie
  • Sales methodologies should be tailored to individual salespeople and their strengths
  • Compensation plays a crucial role in driving sales results, and a balance must be struck between earning potential and company goals
  • Activity and quality conversations are key metrics to track in sales
  • Coaching and developing sales reps is essential for their success
  • Managing underperforming sales reps requires a case-by-case approach and providing support through performance improvement plans (PIPs)
  • Effective pipeline reviews involve digging into the details of deals and providing guidance to move them forward
  • Avoiding deals that end in no decision requires asking the right questions and understanding the customer's needs
  • Marketing should focus on providing qualified leads and creating tailored, focused events to engage customers
  • Sales enablement tools should support personalized, intimate conversations with customers
  • Personal interaction and building relationships are still crucial in sales, despite advancements in technology
  • AI will have a significant impact on sales, but human interaction will remain essential
  • Continuing education in sales is important, and learning from various sources, such as military books, can provide valuable insights
  • Success in complex sales requires knowledge, courtesy, curiosity, and accountability.


00:00 Introduction and Overview
00:29 Mario Traficanti's Background and Expertise
05:03 The Importance of Routine and Discipline
06:49 The Connection Between Hockey and Sales
08:33 The Mindset of a Hockey Defenseman and its Relevance in Sales
11:11 Transition from Finance to Sales
13:09 The Value of Finance Background in Enterprise Sales
15:08 Direct Sales vs. Channel Sales
21:46 Transitioning from Sales Rep to Sales Manager
23:13 Maintaining Relationships and Losing Friends as a Sales Manager
25:42 The Role of Sales Managers in Company Success
27:13 Attributes of Collegiate Athletes that Excel in Sales
29:33 Selling to Manufacturing, Food, and Logistics Industries
31:15 The Importance of Prospecting and Discipline
35:06 The Role of Competitiveness in Sales
36:20 The Value of Team Sports in Sales
38:09 Sales Methodologies and Training
40:13 The Role of Compensation in Driving Sales Results
43:52 The Importance of Activity and Quality Conversations in Sales
46:47 Managing Underperforming Sales Reps
50:14 Effective Pipeline Reviews
53:03 Avoiding Deals that End in No Decision
55:46 Coaching and Developing Sales Reps
58:07 Marketing's Understanding of Sales
59:43 Sales Enablement Tools
01:03:01 The Importance of Personal Interaction in Sales
01:05:11 The Future of Sales and AI
01:06:54 Continuing Education in Sales
01:08:19 Keys to Success in Complex Sales

Do Your Sales Leaders, Sales Managers and Reps all Know Their Sales KPIs?

Check out the Overall Revenue Effectiveness™ Approach for more on how that's part of a revenue growth system.