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“Omaha, Omaha!” Audible into Your Best Sales Play

Author: Bill Taylor

Published May 2020

“Omaha, Omaha! Blue-20, Blue-20…Hut-Hut!”  Many of you who enjoy (American) football have heard Peyton Manning barking these signals on TV.  You may have wondered why he is yelling out these goofy words while 75,000 fans are screaming?


Peyton has called a play (from his Playbook) in the huddle, walked to the line of scrimmage, pointed out the defense and determined the play will not be successful because of the defense he sees.

Therefore, in a matter of 2 or 3 seconds, he changes to another play that he thinks will be successful – “he calls an audible”.  His ten other teammates now change their assignments to the “audible” and execute the new play.  Eleven players are now ready to explode in unison. Teamwork, change-readiness and execution all within 30 seconds.

How ready are you?

B2B Sales leaders and their teams are having to call a lot of “audibles” given the remarkable disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our B2B sales best practices, sales strategies, sales playbooks, client relationships, data analytics, sales coaching, etc. are not working as they have in the past. The sales “play” we have called so confidently in the past, will not work against “this new defense”. We must “audible into another Sales Play” to be successful today and tomorrow. Defenses and circumstances are changing constantly, so says “Captain Obvious!” 


As the “quarterback” of your team, how prepared are you to call the correct “audible” to ensure your Team will be successful?


How ready are your teams to respond to your “audible” and change their actions and assignments to execute successfully?

Calling an audible…

I can relate in two ways to the challenge of calling “a sales audible”.


One, I have been a sales leader, sales coach and facilitator during two recessions, 9/11 and now in the COVID-19 Pandemic. What worked before has to change (audible) in a matter of hours, days or in minutes to successfully lead your Sales Teams.


And, two, I had the privilege (and hard knocks) of playing Quarterback for 9 years, through High School and College, plus four pre-season games as a Free-Agent QB for the San Diego Chargers (…got cut!).


Calling an “audible” feels a bit more comfortable to me than most! But you can develop the skill with practice.

Audible checklist

The following is a quick “audible checklist” for you to assess how quickly you have been reacting to your “new normal” by revising your Sales Playbook – let our Mentor Group Team know what other “sales audibles” you have been successfully calling.

Sales Play “called”

“Audible” into a new sales play


Face-to-Face Sales Calls & Presentations

Virtual Sales Calls & Presentations

Flexing to the current reality of no travel and WFH (working from home)

Sales Coaching 1:1 or “ride-alongs”

Virtual 1:1 or joining the Video Conference sales call for coaching feedback

Continue to provide just-in-time sales coaching for enhance performance and development

Conventional Prospecting / Lead Generation

Social Selling practices

Accessing all available social media to market your brand & and drive lead generation.

Sales Kick-Offs, Classroom Sales Training, Traveling

Video Conference-driven virtual Sales Training Delivery & SKO’s (“will we ever have SKO’s again?)

Skill development, product and sales process introductions move to virtual and scale faster (saving T&E!)

Current Sales Activity, Sales Dashboards & Forecasting

Reassess & redefine leading indicators of Sales behavior, Seller and Sales Leader Dashboards (data analytics)

Alignment, role clarity, rules of engagement, revised Sales Blueprint and new analytics plus forecasting disciplines

Sales Engagement & Buyer Process (Sales Playbook) is calling the wrong plays

Revise your “Sales Playbook”, agree on “audible” calls and confirm changes in roles / responsibilities to execute

Sales Leaders, Sellers, Sales Enablement, Data Analytics, etc. are aligned and ready      to respond to any “audible” called

What else?


In conclusion…

Successful “sales quarterbacks” and their teams’ practice, practice and practice after they have revised their “sales playbook”.  They know each other’s voice even when chaos breaks out.


Peyton Manning is going to the Hall of Fame because he practiced his craft sacrificially (watched miles of game-film, worked out, etc.), was decisive in the midst of any “changing defense” and created unilateral trust with his team to execute under enormous pressure.


Contact me to start a conversation about how your sales organization can learn to call “great audibles” that will lead to success against the most challenging defenses.  You can reach me at


“Omaha! Omaha!  Blue-20, Blue-20, Hut-Hut!”  Watch out for the Blitz from the “blind-side”!

Bill Taylor is a Senior Consultant, Executive Coach and Master Facilitator for the Mentor Group. He also facilitates extensively for Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning, a division of Harvard Business School.  He is native of Southern California, enjoys family, an avid golfer and his personal purpose is to “become a servant leader to everyone he meets to unleash their talent, encourage self-awareness that leads to transformation, deliver results and enjoy fulfillment where they live, work, play and serve.”