What is Your Red Zone Conversion Strategy?
The leaves are starting to turn; the heat of the summer is past. And fan or not, we are heading into the heart of football season. And like all sports, if you can think of a statistic that measures the performance of the team as a whole or individual players, it is probably tracked.
One stat you often hear referenced is a team’s “red zone conversion”. 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. This is where the team (and coaches) really bear down and focus on delivering.
Red Zone Conversions getting down to Business…15-7 or 6-14?
Performance in the Red Zone clearly is an indicator for success in football. Currently there are 124 Div. I football teams in the United States. Through the first 4 games of the season, the 5 teams with the highest conversion ratio (in the Red Zone) have a combined record of 15 Wins and only 7 Losses. Conversely, the 5 teams with the lowest conversion ratio have a combined record of only 6 Wins and 14 Losses.
In fact, 99% 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 57% of the time.
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 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 make a sale! Generate revenue!
Where is your Red Zone and what will you do to score?
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. Prospects who are in the pipeline are important, but they generally don’t warrant special attention. However at some point a prospect will enter the red zone…and that’s the point where your sales team and sales process have to step it up.
When you have a prospect in the sales red zone, it’s critical that the team is focused and that you have a clear plan for how you close that sale. You’ve 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 because someone on your team dropped the ball. You want the prospective client making an investment in your business. The team plays hard all the time, but they need to step it up even more when they’re in the red zone.
The Red Zone varies by industry – depending on your business that may be right after 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, when a prospective customer is in it and what your closing strategy is.
Take a look at 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. Remember the winning teams are the ones who convert regularly in the Red Zone. Once you do this initial assessment, brain storm 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.
Have you thought about your sales process as a team moving the ball down the field? What analogy do you use? We’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments below.