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Sales vs. Development

Shaking Hands Upon Successful Deal

It is most often the case that the destinations we work with have someone in charge of the sports market.  It is also most often the case that that person’s title has the word “sales” in it.  When we see that, we cringe.  The word sales is very transactionally focused.  We like a different term…..


Development means you are building something, such as a relationship with the person on the other side of the table.  Development is more about the longer term than a one-time transaction.  Here are some synonyms for the word development:







We think anyone would like those outcomes.

Here are some synonyms for the word sales:





Those look pretty singularly focused to us.

Which list do you like better?  We will take the first one every time.

So how do you put this development mentality into practice?  Here are three quick tips…..

  • Tear up your sales focused business cards.  Change your web site.  Retool your org chart.  Insert the word “Development” wherever “Sales” used to be.


  • Examples of a new title could be Director of Sports Development or Sports Development Manager.


  • Lastly, the most important thing.  Create a development mentality within the organization.  Develop relationships.  Develop consensus.  Develop events.  Develop facilities.  Develop with the long-term in mind.


A development culture trumps a sales one every time.  Play for the long haul.  Make decisions with development in mind.  Attribute resources to things that will change the trajectory of your organization, your community, and those you serve. 

Scrap the transactional sales focus.  It’s boring.

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