Sales Process Automation: Fixing the asphalt paving & maintenance industry’s broken sales process 

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As of today, there is an entire universe of challenges facing the asphalt paving & maintenance industry. When I interact with industry leaders and experts, there’s talk about inflation, labor shortage, supply chain constraints, and systemic inefficiencies.

There is no doubt that the asphalt paving & maintenance and construction industry is lacking in skilled workers. Unfortunately, there is a global shortage of trained personnel across all trade professions, not only in the asphalt business. By 2020, there was a shortfall of 31 million trained tradesmen.

The World Economic Forum predicts that the construction sector will be virtually fully digital in ten years, with potential worldwide savings of $1.2 trillion as a result of enhanced productivity and efficiency. The industry must, however, be prepared to absorb those changes. Is it though?

But while some businesses have struggled to cope with inflation and supply chain constraints, others have remained largely resilient. They have managed to prosper in the face of a tough economic environment and the perennial manpower shortage.

So what is the difference? Having worked with asphalt paving & maintenance industry leaders, I have developed a two-part theory to explain this.

The first part

It is as follows: everything starts with your people. That is the absolute first. The best people bring the best results. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Brenda from Beary, Joshua from East Coast Facilities, and Michael from US Lawns and the common success mantra is: “it’s all about the people.”

Finding and hiring skilled personnel will continue to be one of the biggest issues facing the asphalt paving & maintenance sector in 2023. Construction companies, however, have a rare chance to revitalize their sector in order for it to come out stronger than before thanks to this challenge.

In this blog, learn how the biggest difficulties in paving maintenance and construction could also present our biggest opportunity in 2023.

The second part

The second part of my theory is –  systems. Businesses that have solid systems and infrastructure to enable their teams to live up to their potential, win consistently. Systems that promote employee productivity lead to better bottom and top-line performance. And not just that, they also help employees realize their personal goals, keeping them happy in the organization.

So I thought, why not write a blog and talk about the systemic problems that persist in the asphalt paving & maintenance industry and technology systems that solve these problems seamlessly? So here it is – a series of blogs: one blog each on problems with the current Sales, Operations, and Business Management workflows. This blog is on sales workflow problems.

Stay tuned for more in this series.

So what’s really broken with the sales process?

Imagine the entire asphalt paving & maintenance industry sales process for once. You receive a bid request. You then size up the property to measure asphalt and concrete sqft, wheel off cracks, and count the parking stalls. If you don’t have an estimating team, you manually measure it by visiting the site, which takes away time from core selling activities.

While you do all this, you try to set time up with the property manager, to establish a rapport and understand the requirements better. Once you are done manually measuring the site, you work on the production rates to arrive at the estimate. 

Then you write the proposal, sometimes very close to the submission deadline. Sometimes you are late or scramble to put a proposal together by guesstimating. Not to mention the proposals you could not send out because you did not have the time to work on those.

The moral of the story is – there is just so much to do to put that proposal together. As a Business Developer, your job is to open doors. Build relationships. Win business. That’s what you want to do. But what ends up happening is hours spent away from doing all this – just because you had to measure, estimate and write the proposal.

Let’s delve into these problems in detail

1. Time is wasted measuring sites manually

Whether you are wheeling off the site or drawing polygons on Google Maps, it is a drag on your productivity and keeps you away from selling. In the peak season, you would be spending up to 10 hours per week just measuring. 

Think about what you can do with 10 extra hours every week in the peak season. Over time these lost hours accumulate and multiply. It slows down your sales velocity heavily.

2. Poor accuracy of estimates 

Building estimates manually is a task in itself. You need to devote time to building the off-the-site measurements and you need the right production factors in place. The cost of a mistake here is huge: if you bid too high, you risk losing business to your competitors; if you bid too low, you shave your margins thin. What often ends up happening, due to paucity of time, is that paving maintenance professionals rely on guesstimates, which results in lost bids.

3. Missed out $ on opportunities due to lack of time/accuracy

Most contractors are passing up project contracts worth thousands of dollars per month without even being aware of it. They are preoccupied, lack the time to estimate, and are leaving money on the table.

The sales force in the asphalt paving & maintenance industry is stretched thin. This problem can especially be felt when instead of building customer relationships, sales persons are stacked with jobs that can be automated. 

No matter how skilled you are at your trade, you can’t win every job – especially if your team cannot get accurate proposals out the door.

4. Way too many tools to juggle at once 

The entire process requires you to use multiple tools for takeoffs, estimates, and proposals. Your manual takeoffs tool might not be so good when it comes to creating estimates or proposals.

Therefore, you are stuck in the busy work of exporting outputs from one tool and importing them into another.

Additional Read: How can Automation help Estimate Landscape Maintenance Jobs

What is the solution for the asphalt paving & maintenance industry professionals?

An end-to-end sales process automation solution that does everything for you – right from the moment you receive the request for a proposal to the moment you submit the proposal.

You enter the address, select a preset proposal template, and that should be it. You then go back to prospecting and spending time with your prospects while the software does everything for you in the meantime.

So it’s not just a tool, it’s your personal sales assistant. Smart, accurate, and agile. Flexible enough to accommodate your existing workflows. Just imagine what you could do with a sales process automation tool like this:

  1. Save time and spend it on what you love doing – selling
  2. Accurately estimate costs to evaluate project profitability  
  3. Send out as many proposals as you want
  4. Crush your quota with proposals that win

Remember everything starts with sales. So once a job is won, you can always look back by performing project reviews to compare actuals to the budgeted costs. This gives you an idea of how accurate your bids have been and helps your ops team plan better.

Automate your sales processes with Attentive

At Attentive, we have automated the most time-consuming part of the process – site measurements – with our AutoMeasure software. Call it a validation of my theory – the product has been very well received by the paving industry. Businesses of all sizes have adopted our AutoMeasure product which is a testament to the value great systems bring to the table. 

Here is what Ryan, Asphalt Sales Manager at Elements Mountain Company has to say about Attentive, “Attentive has given me peace of mind that I am sending out accurate bids. Time saved on travel and manually measuring parking lots had been a huge savior. The HD sitemaps help plan crew movement on site efficiently, aid in better communication with clients about the scope of work, and the takeoff maps look very nice.”

With AutoMeasure, you get auto-generated site measurements for asphalt and concrete area, line striping length, crack length, and count of parking stall – with zero manual effort and without having to visit the site in person.

With AutoBid, you get end-to-end sales automation which in addition to the takeoffs, also creates estimates and proposals for you based on pre-set templates. This first-of-its-kind tool helps you save time, bid more, and win more.

Are you interested to learn more? Book a call with us here.

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