The NFL season is half over, and the teams that will be competing in the playoffs are starting to emerge. And while my office mates are rethinking their Fantasy Football picks, I'm thinking that lead generation success has a lot in common with winning football teams.
From the draft to the playoffs, football coaches and managers are constantly looking at player stats to tweak their game. The same should be true with lead generation. At every step of a lead generation campaign, early indicators can reliably show marketers if their campaigns are on track while also providing insight that enables course corrections before it’s too late.
Teams assemble players during the draft period then get a good look at how they perform during training camp. Just because a player is drafted doesn’t mean he won’t be cut.
Marketers should look at the first hours of a lead generation campaign as training camp. During this time, enough information is available to make decisions that can positively affect the rest of the campaign.
One of the best ways to know if a lead generation program is working is by looking at what prospects are saying during a live connect. “No interest,” invalid, and “not a fit” trends start to emerge that show if the message is resonating, if the team is effective in conveying it, and if the list is good. If there is a problem, it’s easy to pinpoint and make changes to your lead generation “roster.”
The same is true for first appointment data, which can provide helpful insights into what’s working. For example, is one title path more likely to set an appointment than another? Are certain title paths being referred that you aren’t already targeting? Is there a day of the week or time of day when appointments are more likely to be set? This insight will advance the winning season of your campaign.
A lot can happened during the regular season. New plays and formations are tried out, players get injured, and winners and losers emerge. The coaching staff reviews player strengths and weaknesses, and watches game tapes to develop a new strategy for every game.
Lead generation campaigns also benefit from constant review and assessment. As the campaign progresses, trends emerge that are indicators of what’s working and any potential problems that exist. Just as football teams make changes week to week, lead generation campaigns benefit from mid-course tweaking.
In the post season, some teams progress to playoffs, while others regroup for next season. Even winning teams that make it to the playoffs will go back over the season to see how they stack up compared to other teams.
While it’s easy to compare one season to the next (“We did better this year than last”), the valuable metric is how the team performed compared to other teams. This insight is crucial for the coaching staff to determine where their true strengths and weaknesses lie, so they can go into the recruiting season with a good idea of their needs.
Marketers also should benchmark their campaigns against others in their industry to determine the success of the campaign. For example, a 2.5% response rate may seem low until compared to peers and competitors. Some lead generation partners can provide this information and help you understand how your campaigns fared against specific metrics, such as appointments and revenue by title path.
These indicators have the added benefit of shining a big light on other potential problem areas. For example, if you’re meeting all your expected goals but revenue lags, perhaps the market isn’t ready, the product isn’t priced correctly, or there’s a problem in the sales process.
In football as well as lead generation, there will always be winners and losers. However, the more you know about your lead generation campaigns, the better they become.
Here’s to winning campaigns!