Smart companies are cranking up their marketing budgets to generate more business and leads. Even if overall business is down, devoting more to marketing is a great opportunity to grab market share and position your company for the recovery.
But managing leads from sources other than referrals can be a challenge for many remodelers. We talked to Kim Renstrom, vice president of marketing at K-Designers, one of the country's largest remodelers, to get tips on how the company successfully manages its flood of nearly 7,500 leads a month and gets the most out of them. The Gold River, Calif.-based exterior remodeler has 11 branch locations that serve 18 states in the Western half of the United States.
1. Make follow-up count
K-Designers follows up on every lead, no matter what the source, but the sheer volume means they have to be prioritized. The company tracks more than 30 types of lead sources. Of course, repeat business and referrals top the list of best leads, while past experience has taught the company that leads that come from events such as county fairs and community festivals are much less likely to result in business. Sources such as direct mail and the Internet fall in the middle.
2. Don't be too picky
While K-Designers' call center employees do prequalify some prospects, the company will usually make an appointment if the lead wants one. (Salespeople only go out to appointments scheduled by the main office in Gold River.)
"If they're willing to let us come out, willing to have both people home, willing to sit down and have a demonstration, we're going to make an appointment," Renstrom says.
That approach is even more important in the current economic climate, she says, if the company wants to keep its sales and installation teams busy.
3. Analyze the data
K-Designers relies on a robust database that tracks every lead from beginning to end. With hundreds of leads coming in every day, it'd be easy to lose track of them. It allows the employees to see where the lead came from, who has talked to the prospect so far and what the result was.
"That way it's not like going back to a cold call," Renstrom says. "We can say, 'We met you at the North Dakota state fair and you were interested in hearing about window products.' Our computer system is key."
If a client asks to be contacted again in 90 days, for example, the system will also track that and prompt the callback so the information is not lost or forgotten.
4. Favor the hot hand
The database also allows the corporate office to see at a glance the closing rate of the various salespeople, which they can use when assigning leads.
"We're always watching the numbers, and that helps us determine how many of these valuable appointments I want to give to a salesperson on any given day or week," Renstrom says. "If I've got somebody who's hot and putting up business like gangbusters, I want to give them as much as possible, and if I've got somebody who's struggling, maybe I want to give them less until their manager has a chance to work with them."
5. Remember: Persistence pays
It's a fine line between persistence and harassment, and K-Designers tries to walk it.
"We're very sensitive about it, but we try to be persistent," Renstrom says. "Even if they don't say yes once, they go into the file to call back in 30 days or 60 days or 90 days. A name and phone number of somebody who's willing to let us call them is a very valuable piece of information."