It’s the start of baseball season, and a friend recently pointed out to me – “you aren’t a true fan”. My response, “I like beer and nachos as much as the next guy.” I was then reminded baseball isn’t about the beer, “are you sure?”
But no one can argue that I’m not a Brad Pitt fan. In fact beer, nachos, and Brad Pitt might be the perfect night. In Pitt’s recent film, Moneyball, all of us non-baseball fans were introduced to the sabermetric approach to baseball. A Robert Redfordesqe Pitt led the Oakland Athletics baseball team through an analytical, evidence-base approach to assembling a competitive baseball team. After generations of gut based decision-making, Pitt and his chubby little sidekick picked players based solely on the metrics. How handsome you were, how pretty your swing, or how much other teams wanted you no longer mattered. It all came down to the numbers and how many base hits were needed to get to the playoffs.
Now, I loved this movie because it was witty and unexpected, but most of all because I related to the love affair with data. In my business – franchise lead generation – a successful selling season also comes down to the numbers.
Batting averages, salary caps, base hits, doubles, and home runs are all synonyms for cost per lead, total spend, cost per contacts, cost per application, and sales. To set and execute a successful lead generation strategy, you’ve got to study the numbers like a Silicon Valley math geek. For example, if you know a lead source converts to application at a 25% to raw lead ratio, a 10% to application ratio, and a 50% app to close percentage, what budget do we need to allocate to that source to get to the playoffs? It doesn’t matter if it’s the handsome new social media campaign or the washed up classified ad from Wichita. It matters if the source is hitting your baseline metrics.
Of course, it goes without saying that major league teams don’t recruit players from the Parks and Recreation league. As a franchisor, you need to look the elite players in the industry for your tactics. For example, XM Radio has performed well for our clients over the last 24 months. XM/Sirius have recently merged, providing an even broader cost effective reach to a high net worth audience. But it’s not just about the lead; it’s about the conversion ratio of the lead that makes this lead source part of our lineup.
There is a scene in the movie when Brad calls up another coach and negotiates a trade. The dialogue includes a candid conversation about the team, the players, and the budget. What struck me was that, even in the highly competitive environment of professional baseball, the coaches shared information. As franchise executives we should do the same – the data can help us all improve the game.