There are a lot of totally obvious reasons to watch a big game until its conclusion. You saw it during the NBA Finals. You’re seeing it again in this year’s FIFA World Cup. Big games like this are one of the best examples of how the start of something doesn’t necessarily reflect its conclusions.

Ever had the same thing happen to your B2B leads? A customer looks interested, they were eager to talk to your sales reps. But gradually, things start looking difficult. Unexpected problems arise. The next thing you know, your sales rep failed to close it.

What’s funny is the tendency to see it from just the perspective of the start or the finish. This is not the best way to analyze the quality of B2B leads. Just as the most exciting games are those where competitors are neck-in-neck, your best marketing experiences are those that leave you analyzing every single step.

This problem is more prevalent than you think. How often do you see salespeople reaching bad conclusions about prospects before they’re qualified? How often do they misjudge a process based solely on its conclusion? In times like that, it helps to remind both the reps and the B2B marketers than your sales process is longer and guaranteed to be more complex. There’s plenty of room for mishap in the middle so why aren’t your eyes on that instead of the start or the finish?

  • The middle is where the action is – You can’t always predict how a game’s going to go just based on who scores the first goal or makes the first steal. What about the action in the middle? Likewise, there’s plenty of action during each step of the sales process. You don’t only just think about creating eye-catching content. You also think about how to respond when you’re engaged. What about your salespeople’s schedule?  What kind of presentation will be made?
  • A different path can branch in five directions – You don’t blame the start of the trail when something goes wrong along the way. You go find the point which things started falling out. To do so however requires analyzing the whole process step-by-step. It’s start to finish, not start and/or finish. If something went wrong with your last B2B leads, take the time trace back the steps. You think coaches keep records of all their superstar matches just so they could fast forward to the end?
  • Don’t throw the baby with the bad water – Finally, it’s pretty clear that if you judge a process from just the start or the end, you’re going to be ignoring the things you did right as much as the mistakes you made. But if you look at it step-by-step, you’ll get more in your next try because you only sorted out the mistakes you made.

There’s nothing wrong with being results oriented or in being optimistic after a good start. What’s wrong is if you base the quality of your entire lead generation process just on that. A lot can still happen and that is why you still need to watch the rest of the game.