How Do You Perform in the Red Zone?

The leaves are turning, the fall weather has settled in, and though this year has been anything but normal one sign of normalcy has been the return of football.  With or without fans attending, football has given us something to get excited about as an uncharted territory in our lifetimes continues to unfold.  If you’re a fan of the game, you know tracking statistics of your favorite teams vs. another is one of the embraced birthrights of the sport.  One of those statistics is how your team performs in the “Red Zone”.   

In football, the red zone is when you are 20 yards or less from the goal line.  Or to put it another way, at least 80% of the field is behind you!  Once a team crosses their opponent’s 20 yard line they want to do everything in their power to capitalize on this field position and not leave without putting some points on the scoreboard. 

Red Zone Conversions…25 wins vs 7 wins

Performance in the Red Zone is clearly an indicator for success in football.  There are 32 teams in the National Football League.   Through the first 7 weeks of the season, the 5 teams with the highest Red Zone conversion ratio have a combined record of 25 Wins and only 8 Losses.   Conversely, the 5 teams with the lowest Red Zone conversion ratio have a combined record of only 7 Wins, 26 Losses and 1 tie.   In fact, 80% (combined average) of the time the top 5 teams managed to score either a touchdown or field goal once they entered the red zone.  Meanwhile, the 5 teams with the worst performance in the red zone only managed to add points 41% of the time.

Your Red Zone in Business…  

Throughout history the term “red zone” has been used in war, business, movies, sports, geography, and many other areas.  In football, I am unsure who initially decided the last 20 yards of the football field was going to be the red zone.  Why not the last 10 yards?  Why not the last 25 yards?   The point is a line was drawn on the field and a clear objective is understood by the entire team that when you enter the red zone we don’t plan to leave without scoring some points…or in business terms: making the sale, finishing the project, adding the new product or service, or making a pivot in your business.

Defining a Business Red Zone…

Take sales for example: Knowing your basic conversion ratio from leads to sales is important.  It helps you determine how many prospects you need to have in your pipeline; if you need to increase your marketing budget and if you are adding enough new prospects.  But at some point, every sales process should enter a red zone.  A point where you cross a step in the sales process and commit to making a sale.  You have done your homework, you understand your customer’s needs, you have invested time (and money) getting to this stage and you don’t want them to disconnect from you without them making some investment in your business.

Depending on your business that may be during an initial call or after a 2 year cycle, but the point is everyone in your company involved in the sales process should know where the red zone begins and when a customer is in it. And have a commitment to ‘score’. 

A Red Zone Challenge…

Review your sales process, your current prospect list, the length of time in your sales cycle, and see if you can determine where your “red zone” begins and then calculate your Red Zone Conversion rate.   Then brainstorm with your sales team or a group of mentors on how you can increase your chances of putting points on the board when a customer enters your red zone. 

You can do this same process with just about any area key area of your business.  When your business commits to a major pivot?  When you add a new product or service?  When you commit to opening a new location?   Whether you call them “Red Zones” or not doesn’t matter, but it’s making a statement to your company the expectation from this point forward is a win.    

What about your business?  Do you know where your “Red Zones” start?  Have you ever thought of it that way?   Where could you apply this strategy in your business?   How does your favorite NFL team perform in the Red Zone?   My favorite team scores 65% of the time, they only have one loss through 7 games. It’s the “Big Red” zone. 😉 As always, we value your thoughts in the space below. 

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

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