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New business and sales opportunities

Departments - Ask the Experts

Find out how to get more sales leads, and how to distribute them.

Lawn & Landscape Staff | July 15, 2013


© Olivier Le Moal | Dreamstime.com

Q: I need to get more leads coming into my business, but I don’t know where to start. What do you suggest?

A: Your first goal should be to establish a solid lead tracking and lead management system – like a sales pipeline report – to know where your current leads are coming from and how many you get on a daily, weekly or by-campaign basis.

We recommend a simple Excel spreadsheet, but have seen everything from the simplest of systems (e.g., whiteboards and index cards) to sophisticated CRM software and database management programs. To juice up the success of your lead generation strategies, consider using a more compelling marketing message, strengthening your offer, improving your truck/yard signage, refocusing your direct mail campaign, narrowing your list demographics and tapping into low-cost advertising. Plus, look for more referral business, add a feature to your website that encourages visitors to sign up for something of value, and improve your materials.

Jonathan Goldhill ,The Goldhill Group


Q: For those companies that have more than one salesperson, how do you distribute the leads that come into the office?

A: All new leads are sent to our sales manager who has final say on where the lead goes. He executes in the following fashion: 

  1. Every project or account director (our term for the sales rep positions in D/B and maintenance) is assigned a geographic area of the city that is their primary area. At one time, we split them east and west, and, as we grew, it was broken down into its current format of northeast, southeast, central east and west.
  2. We separate maintenance leads from D/B leads and obviously D/B leads go to project directors and maintenance leads go to account directors. In the event it is a lead for both, we make a determination of what the primary client request was and then start with one rep on one side, depending on apparent priority. All are trained on how to get the other side involved as needed.
  3. We try to assign areas, if possible, near the sales staff’s homes as meeting clients often requires later meeting times. It also is easier to be involved in your sales area communities on multiple levels if they are part of your home area, which is good for relationship building and generating your own leads. It also is easier to know when a new development is going in or a new house is going up. This also works nicely for permits and such. If the same rep is working the same city over and over, he can develop relationships with the inspector and the architectural review board, which is helpful.
  4. When a new lead comes in, it is generally assigned to sales staff in that area. Having said that, we will always assign the most qualified salesperson to the project, or tag team for training to ensure the highest rate of success. For example, if it is a multi-million dollar home/property and a full master plan, typically one of the company owners will be involved at some major level. Or, if I have a sales rep who has never done a pool project and a pool lead comes from their area, we would pair him with someone who has.
  5. If a referral comes in from a client, 95 percent of the time, it is assigned to the same salesperson that did the work for the client who is referring us.
  6. The thing that plays into our assignment decisions is each salesperson’s client backlog. We have a pretty intricate and visual way of seeing each rep’s workload and where every lead he has is in the sales/design cycle.
  7. New calls must be addressed very quickly: same-day call back; first meeting within three days, unless the client is OK with a later meeting date. If the salesperson of choice cannot fulfill these time requirements, another salesperson is chosen.

Note: We have found for our process that during the course of a season, a project director/account director can handle 100 leads, the majority of which come between March 15 and Oct. 15. Any more than that and we tend to see a drop-off in all or some of the timely turnarounds and proposals, accurate estimates, client satisfaction, artistic detail, profitability of the project or account and timely payments from the client. 

Keep in mind that our project directors do not physically do the design. They are heavily involved in the design process but are not responsible for the drafting work. We have a separate design staff for that, which is something to consider when we say 100 leads. 

We don’t believe a combined design/salesperson could execute anywhere near that quantity of leads. L&L

Steve Pattie, The Pattie Group

Have a  question for the experts? Send it to llexperts@gie.net

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