The year was 1997 and Space Jam had officially cemented Michael Jordan’s legacy. It was the NBA Finals and the Chicago Bulls were up against the Utah Jazz. The championship game was coming down to two teams that had amazing seasons and were filled with NBA Hall of Famers.

It was 3-2 in the series and an ongoing battle between two of the most impressive teams in the league. It was amazing to watch as the team’s battle back and forth but one thing stood out. In Basketball, like many sports, there are two sides of the game: offense and defense.

The Utah Jazz were amazing on defense; grabbing rebounds, generating steals and forcing turnovers. Yet, the Bulls, matched them defensively and surpassed them offensively. This allowed the Chicago Bulls to beat the Utah Jazz two years in a row and be coined one of the most impressive dynasties in all of sports.

The idea of having a strong offense and defense is something that is just as important in business as it is in sports. If you could make a comparison, it’s fair to say that in business, customer service, crisis management and public relations goes along the lines of defense. It’s built on the importance of protecting your brands reputation and ensuring that issues are resolved.

But where’s the offense? Offense puts points on the board. It’s what differentiated the Bulls from the Jazz. It’s what differentiates the companies who survive and the companies who thrive. It’s the idea of developing a sales funnel that is fully integrated between both marketing and sales.

The beginning of a successful offense is found in their ability to identify key opportunities to score. It’s important for sports teams to create plans that will make it easier to score and get the ball in the hand of their most valuable player.

In business, the concept is the same. Sales teams need to develop plans and strategies that will help them score. They need to practice and build their talents so they can beat the competition and stand as leaders in their industry.

It all starts with opportunity. If a defender is slow to the line, it presents a better opportunity for a player to score. If a point guard has a clear path to the hoop, it presents a better opportunity for them to score. Opportunities are the livelihood of a solid offensive strategy and team.

In business, opportunities are found in leads. Leads are the livelihood of a healthy sales process and sales funnel. Yet, there are a handful of leads going untapped every day in a variety of different industries. Whether it’s leads in automotive or leads in the telecom industry; these are missed opportunities to put points on the board.

Today, we live in a world that is more connected than ever before. Brands are connected with customers and sellers are more connected with buyers due to the power of technology and social media. As such, there has been increase in the number of people communicating on social media about their needs and wants. And while brands have been reactive in responding to complaints (playing defense) they have missed an opportunity to fulfill demand (playing offense) when potential leads are sharing messages that indicate intent to buy.

It’s time for businesses to start playing better offense. It’s time for businesses to look in the mirror and determine whether or not they want to be the Bulls or if they want to be the Jazz.

How is your organization playing offense on social media? Have you seen any brands doing well? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!