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Your 2021 Growth Strategy Starts With Evaluation

Heidi Ellsworth Grow your Business
December 7, 2020 at 6:00 a.m.

RCS Influencer Heidi Ellsworth says that marketing can be a key driver of growth for your business in 2021.

For years, many roofing contractors’ marketing programs consisted of an ad in the yellow pages along with a good salesperson and for many it worked.  But with the new age of technology, the playing field is changing and traditional marketing is not going to make the cut.

The industry is seeing younger roofing contractors and some early adopters using technology and strategic marketing to change the dynamics of roofing sales.  This is being seen more in the residential arena where these contractors are no longer even considering using traditional marketing.  They have recognized that they are now in the digital age and have begun using the power of technology to reach customers faster and more effectively.

In the past, if a contractor had strong community relationships, they did not always need to spend money on marketing beyond a phone book ad, but those days are gone.  Contractors that are marketing their businesses and understanding the newest trends in how to reach their customers online are finding growing success and passing contractors who once controlled the market.

Most people know that it is good for business to engage in marketing, but they don’t necessarily know what they should be doing. Often, when thinking of marketing, what comes to mind is advertising and many rush to buy ads in local publications without really knowing if they are reaching their target audience.  So, while running some ads is better than no marketing at all, there are ways to maximize marketing efforts with specific, targeted activities that will deliver a much higher return on investment (ROI). 

But before you can put together a marketing plan, you need to evaluate what you have.  The first step is always evaluation.  Ask these questions:  What is already working?  Are you tracking responses and leads?  Are the leads you are generating turning into sales?  What technology are you using to support your marketing efforts?  The fact that customers are gathering information in a totally different way today, shows that it is time to seriously look at making changes to the way you market your business.  It may be time to change out print ads and strongly analyze budget-busting phone book advertising.  Look at technology and make sure you are up-to-date.  Do you have a website?  Is it up to date?  How is your social media presence?

Before you can decide on new marketing tools, you need to understand your market and customers.  Now is the time to ask an important question of your customers, “Where did you hear about us?”  By monitoring incoming phone calls and asking questions, you can begin to understand why they are calling.  Of the contractors who I talk to, many realize that most of their incoming phone calls are referrals with very few referencing local ads or yellow page ads.  When asked how they got the information on the company they are finding that the answer is the Internet.  Unfortunately, there are still many contractors who have not made the commitment to a website.  In that case, how many of those referrals are not even converting to a phone call? 

It is important to understand that while evaluating your marketing it is also crucial to include your sales process in that evaluation.  It plays a role in how you manage and handle your leads; how you generate leads and how you make your sales presentations.  Marketing is prevalent throughout the job itself and after the job is complete.  It’s one of those things that is intertwined into your day-to-day activities and plays a larger role than you might think. 

Start out by looking at your sales team.  How many leads can the team handle in a week?  How much production is possible while still providing the type of service that you believe in and that fits your core values and business model?  Many times, it may be just one salesperson in addition to the owner.  Well that owner also needs to run the business but often they have some of the best relationships in the community.  So realistically, how many leads can or should your team run a week?

It is important to also look at who is answering the phone.  Is this a person trained in customer service?  Do they know how to qualify customers while also making sure that they gain important information for the sales team?  And are they asking how the customer heard of the company?  These types of questions and qualifications can make it easier for your sales team and help the marketing effort.

In evaluating the sales team and phone strategy, it is obvious that not every phone call turns into a sales call.  In fact, in reviewing most sales efforts at the front desk, usually only about half of the calls turn into appointments.  But that is a question that needs to be answered by your leadership team through a strong review of lead processes.  Once you know the percentage or closing rate, it is then easier to figure out the required number of leads that should be coming into the front desk.  The sales team’s closing rates should then be evaluated and by combining the two, you will have a better understanding of what you will need to do marketing-wise.

These are just a few items that should be examined and evaluated before starting a new or refreshing an old marketing program.  Take the time with your team to look at what you have right now and what you are looking to accomplish in the new year.  Winter is an excellent time for these types of business exercises. 

Heidi Ellsworth is owner of HJE Consulting Group and a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com. See her full bio here.



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