What Is a Paceline and How Does It Apply to Business Success?

“There is no draft riding solo.”

A paceline is a group of cyclists riding in alignment to create a more effective “draft” for each other. The goal is to create efficiency and speed by sharing the load of being the lead cyclist. While the group will perform better as a whole, it is not necessarily a full team – just yet.

You know a team has been formed when all members, at the appropriate time, contribute to maximize the efficiency of the group. The majority of the team are sacrificing their own individual achievement so that the team (and paceline) can be more effective than any individual riding solo!

Optimizing the team and its’ paceline requires leadership to realize the goal of getting the entire team across the finish line/end goal.

For a business team, it’s the job of the team leader to develop products, strategy and tactics but most importantly to develop favorable access opportunities for the sales talent inside the company.

Without customers, there are no sales.

Without sales, there is no income or profit. 

Without income and profit, there are no jobs in the company.

Though it is not always easy, or something that the product development, engineering or administrative staff believe is the most important, everyone needs to prioritize riding support for your sales team and its efforts to prospect, sell and provide service to customers.

It starts at the top; when everyone in the company sees the leaders pull to support sales the other “riders” will sacrifice personal efforts for a better outcome for the team and company. 

How do leaders pull to support their sales team? Through their ability to create “favorable access” and “demand-pull.” 

Favorable access is when your prospect knows you, your company and/or your product. Favorable access is transferable. The question is how to create and transfer favorable access from company leaders to your sales team through marketing, advertising, PR, and current customer’s referrals. 

Demand-pull is when your prospect’s desire for products, services, or relationships is greater than the cost of your product. Demand-pull is combining that desire with a sense of value that compels the prospect to purchase your product/service in lieu of your competitors because your value exceeds the price you are charging.

Just as in the paceline, the individual employees of the company can align together and work effectively to develop, retain and grow customer relationships more effectively than leaving the sales team to ride out on its own.

When the team is riding in a paceline the goals are realized for everyone.

Doug Reichardt and Brent Donaldson

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