Sales Scouting Report: Why you need a solid sales process
The ability to sell profitable contracts is critical for every business. With rising labor and material costs and a slowing economy, the green industry is starting to feel pressure. Even companies that have had success for the past couple of years may find the results were more a factor of lockdowns and government stimulus checks than actual sales acumen.
Few companies have a sustainable sales process that can deliver enough predictability and profit for operations to scale in a tight labor market. Here’s how to enable sales success with a quality process.
Consider the target
You should build a sales process around how specific customers choose to buy, so having a clear picture of the target market is the first step. The first step in defining a target market is considering which customers a business can efficiently serve to maximize customer service, retention and profit.
A great clue as to what your target market should be is your current most profitable or otherwise favorite customers. A quality target market profile will include the customer segment (residential, estates, retail, medical, industrial, etc.), geographic location and the unique features that make them the right fit for a given company (minimum lot size or maintenance requirements). What’s more, the target market statement should include the top benefit the customer values in the company’s service, the annual budget spent on that service and what specific service will resonate with the customer.
One example of a quality statement could be: We target residential clients with 30,000-plus-square-foot lawns in Wayne County, Mich., who value proactive communication and annually spend at least $3,000 on weekly lawn mowing and fertilization.
Choose the right lead generation
With a good target market statement, it becomes much easier to determine how these customers may purchase the service you offer. Will direct mail, social media ads, professional networking or cold calling be the most effective way to contact leads? The way in which a target market buys will dictate the best method.
The same demographic in different geographic markets will be accessible in different ways. For instance, commercial property managers in Ohio may be active members of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), where six local associations exist, but that same demographic in New Hampshire may be part of a different association. In the same way, you may approach a residential service target with different online strategies. According to the Pew Research Center, 45 percent of adults in urban areas use Instagram, while only 25 percent of adults in rural areas do.
Determine the steps
Your sales process should be highly detailed to ensure you can measure and improve each distinct step of the process. When selling commercial maintenance contracts, it may require no less than seven steps. First, some level of research on a lead followed by reaching out to those who seem like a fit.
Then, the sales team will qualify the match against the target market before having a discovery meeting. Your sales team may prepare a proposal for some of those prospects based on the meeting, and then conduct the proposal presentation meeting. Finally, some prospects become customers and there are steps to complete the sale and onboard the client.
Of course, each step can have few or many substeps or activities. This process allows you to track these metrics with the right customer relationship management software so your sales teams can track and improve their efforts.
Are your team’s sales unsatisfactory because they don’t have enough conversations with prospects? Or because the prospects aren’t a great fit for the company? Is a salesperson lacking skills at hunting or closing? A detailed sales process will reveal where you can make improvements to reach sales goals and enable your sales team to break through to the next level.
About the Author: Neal Glatt
Neal Glatt is a green industry sales coach and Managing Partner of GrowTheBench.com. Contact him at Neal@GrowTheBench.com.