Sometimes when we think about the New Year and all our goals we want to achieve, we over-complicate things. I like to keep it simple.
Want to grow your business? Focus on sales and marketing. Improving your production process won’t grow your business. Getting a new accounting software won’t grow your business.
I’ve been thinking a lot about growth over the last several years trying to grow my own business as well as our client’s businesses, and here’s what I’ve realized:
You have to invest in growth with Time or Money
- TIME: You have to put more time in and get more out of your existing staff and resources
- MONEY: You must either hire an outside marketing firm or hire another salesperson
Where you get that money can also vary. You can take outside money from investors, you can go into your cash reserves, you can cut into your profitability by raising your expenses, or you can borrow money.
Growth doesn’t just happen. It is intentional.
So, if you’re looking to grow your remodeling business this year, here’s what I think you need to do. If you focus on the following five sales and marketing goals this year, you’ll have a year to remember.
1. Establish Lifecycle Stages
Most remodelers we talk to and work with don’t have good naming conventions for types of leads. Even if you are the marketing person and the sales person in your company, you need to know which leads are qualified and to what extent they are qualified. Here’s what we recommend for lifecycle stages.
- Subscriber – a subscriber is someone that has signed up for your blog or newsletter but has only given up their email address. You don’t have a name or phone number.
- Lead – a lead is someone that has filled out a form on the website (case study download, e-book, etc.) You typically have a first name, last name, and email.
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) – a marketing qualified lead is someone that has shown significant interest and has filled out a bottom of the funnel (BOFU) offer. This could be a Remodeling Consultation, Scheduled Call, RSVP for an Open House, Scheduled Showroom Visit, etc.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – after a sales person has called on an MQL, sales will decide if this is an opportunity worth pursuing. Examples of sales ruling an opportunity out could be the MQL is in the wrong geographical area, they don’t have the budget, they made a mistake filling out the form, or they will never buy your services (maybe they are a student or a competitor). If they don’t get ruled out, they are now an SQL and are worthy of follow-up.
- Customer – A customer has purchased from you.
- Evangelist – This is a customer, vendor or just a huge fan, but they are outwardly vocal in a positive way about your company. They refer people to you frequently and are raving fans.
By establishing lifecycle stages, this allows you to see not only how many leads you’re generating, but how many are qualified. Marketing should be aiming to generate more SQL type of leads. Sales should be following up with all Leads and MQLs to determine whether or not they should be marked as SQLs.
2. Get Marketing Automation Installed
What is marketing automation you ask? I wrote a super detailed post explaining the differences between Marketing Automation software, CRM and project management software. That being said, marketing automation software gives you the tools you need to generate more leads with your website, nurture those leads and track them through the marketing funnel. It’s a critical step in building your marketing and sales systems.
3. Buy a CRM and Actually Use It
Do you have a CRM yet? Again, refer to the CRM article I mentioned above to make sure you don’t have a project management system pretending to be a CRM as well. If not, this is the year to get one. A CRM allows you to track all your leads in one place, set reminder tasks, and keep track of all your follow up activity. A CRM is absolutely critical to your success in growing your business.
4. Double Your Lead Volume
Double my lead volume? Really? Yes, really. I’ve been obsessed with growth for the last five years, and I ALWAYS underestimate how many leads it will take to hit my goals. Plus, if you shoot for doubling your leads, and you end up only getting halfway there, is that going to be such a bad thing?
So, how can you double your lead volume? Here’s a quick exercise to start with:
- Write down how many leads you generated last year.
- Look at which sources produced the most leads.
- Can you double down on your 2-3 activities that produced the most leads?
- Identify new areas to invest in:
- Website marketing (blogging, search engine optimization, lead conversion, etc.)
- Social media (Facebook, Houzz, etc.)
- Pay per click (Google, Facebook, etc.)
- Referral program
- Open Houses/Remodel Tours
Once you’ve gone through this exercise, here’s what you should have decided:
- The marketing activities that you’ll continue to do (these produced the most leads last year)
- As a result of number 1 above, you want to determine how much more you can get out of the sources by spending either more time on them or more money on them. This is the easiest move to make because you already know it works for you. It produced for you last year.
- What marketing activities didn’t produce much or anything at all? Cut them!
- What marketing activities can you add in that you didn’t do last year?
5. Double Your Follow-Up Activity
In addition to not having enough leads, the next problem usually lies in follow-up. Do you call every lead that comes through your website? Do you call them again when they don’t answer? Do you call them again when they don’t answer again?
But Spencer, I don’t want to annoy them! I left a voicemail once already.”
You know what? They filled out a form on your website. They are engaged to some degree, even if they are just researching. If they gave you a legitimate phone number, it’s your duty to help them find what they need. And if they need your services, it’s your duty to sell to them and give them what they want which is for a professional like you to transform their home.
Call. Email. Follow up. You don’t have to be pushy, but you do have to follow up.
If you don’t want to grow in 2016, don’t worry about these things. For all others, please consider the above seriously. You have to invest in growth to grow; it won’t just happen for you.
We practice what we preach. Here’s what we at BuilderFunnel are looking to do this year to grow regarding the above items:
- Lifecycle Stages: already using them.
- Marketing Automation: installed it August of 2010 and have been using it ever since.
- CRM: installed in 2011, but switched to a new CRM provider in July of 2014.
- Double Leads: we’re looking to double our MQLs this year.
- Double Follow Up: we’re actually looking to quadruple our follow up based on our current lead volume and sales goals.
We grew by 25% last year and are looking to grow another 25% this year. Its hard work to grow, but we feel it’s worth investing in. I hope you do, too.
If you have any questions or comments please share in the comments below. I love chatting with the savvy community here at Remodelers Advantage!