In the first Marketing Makeover column, we began to share ideas, strategies and samples from success stories around the country that provided thought-provoking questions and exercises management teams could use to breathe new life into their sales and marketing programs. We’ll continue this interactive approach as we move into evaluating the sales process. The first step for any marketing program is determining need and following through. What does that mean? It means, do you need leads? And if you get them, what are you going to do with them? That may seem strange, since it should be obvious that all businesses need sales leads. But an example from a roofing contractor in California who thought all would be fixed if he could just get leads proves it doesn’t always work that way.

Joe’s residential roofing business had been stagnant. Although Joe had great relationships in his community and within the roofing industry, the business wasn’t growing. He met with a number of friends and industry experts, and, following their advice, he sat with his leadership team to evaluate his overall sales and marketing process.

His first step was to look at his sales team, which consisted of one full-time salesperson and himself. He figured that between running the company and selling, he was really half time. So, he did some calculations. How many leads can we handle in a week and provide the type of service that we believe in?

He also considered that not every phone call turns into a sales call. In fact, in reviewing his sales efforts at the front desk, his office manager was able to set appointments for about half of the calls. He figured he would need at least twice the number of leads coming in over the phone. His team agreed that 42 leads per week was a good number.

Joe then looked at his leads. He was using traditional marketing tools and also recently engaged a marketing firm to help with digital marketing. He felt that he needed to get in front of more customers with articles and information. The marketing firm was sending out weekly eBlasts. It seemed like he should be doing great; however, he hadn’t been tracking how customers were finding out about his company. The team determined it was important to know where the leads were coming from and how they were handling the leads. The other key discussion was determining if they really knew how many leads they were getting and what was happening with them.

It soon became clear that there were a number of leads coming in — far more than 42. The team realized they needed to understand the quality of these leads and make sure the marketing was bringing in the right clientele. They developed a questionnaire that walked their leadership team through some important questions. After reviewing the questions, the team determined how they wanted the process to look for handling leads.

In the end, Joe’s leadership team determined that what they really needed was an additional salesperson and some revamping of their marketing. They looked at the strengths of the company and the types of jobs that were profitable, rewarding and helped generate additional leads. For Joe’s company, that meant a strong emphasis on older neighborhoods with higher-end, more difficult roofing jobs. They started targeting these types of homes with articles on maintenance, preservation and ways of minimizing disruption. With a strong commitment to good customer relations, satisfaction and ongoing education, Joe’s reputation continued to grow, and the business supported additional hires in sales and sales support. All of which led to growing the business.

Every company is different. It’s critical for companies to commit time to their marketing strategies and evaluation every year, with check-ins every quarter. The beginning of strong marketing is a strong engagement of employees in the sales and marketing process. All aspects from operations to finance to drivers influence the brand of a roofing company. Their participation will make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful marketing plan and subsequent sales and profitability.

Discussion Topics

  • What’s your current sales lead process?
  • How many leads can the company handle a week to meet brand and quality standards?
  • Who’s your audience, and how do you make sure you’re receiving leads from that audience?
  • How does the marketing program support the right leads and, in turn, sales?

Action Items

  • Empower office personnel to track leads, where they come from and how they heard of the company. Then track the profitability on those closed jobs and compare lead to result.
  • Work with your sales team to understand the time it takes for a good sales call and how many visits are feasible per week.
  • Work with your top managers to determine weekly lead-obtainment goals and then share that information with the company so all employees can be brand ambassadors.