As of today, there is an entire universe of challenges facing the green, snow, and paving industry. Pick up any industry magazine or listen to any podcast – you will see experts talk about inflation, labor shortage, supply chain constraints, and systemic inefficiencies.
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 green industry leaders, I have developed a two-part theory to explain this.
Table of Contents
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.”
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 green 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 landscaping sales process for once. You receive a bid request. You then size up the property on Google Maps. If you don’t have an estimating team, you manually measure it by visiting the site, which can take a couple of weeks if it’s a large HOA.
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
- Time is wasted measuring sites manually
Whether you are wheeling off the site or drawing polygons on GoiLawn or 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 heavily.
- 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 landscapers rely on guesstimates, which results in lost bids.
- Missed out $ on opportunities due to lack of time/accuracy
Most contractors are passing up project contracts for more than $200,000 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 landscaping and construction 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.
- 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.
- Multi-site portfolios are impossible to bid for
When you are relying on measuring wheels and drawing polygons, thousands of sites in the portfolio take weeks to measure. Often these bids end up being based on guesstimates, leading to heavily unoptimized bids.
What is the solution?
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:
- Save time and spend it on what you love doing – selling
- Accurately estimate costs to evaluate project profitability
- Send out as many proposals as you want
- 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.
At Attentive.ai, we have automated the most time-consuming part of the process – site measurements – with our AutoMeasure product. Call it a validation of my theory – the product has been very well received by the green 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 Mark, Director of Estimation at Juniper Landscaping has to say about Attentive.ai, “Attentive.ai is saving a lot of time for our team. The software is able to measure sites for us quickly and the measurements are spot on. It’s made our sales process highly efficient.”
But it’s just the start. Having solved the site measurement problem – the next step is end-to-end sales process automation which creates estimates and proposals, in a few clicks. This first-of-its-kind tool helps you automate takeoffs, estimates, and proposals. Why, of course! This way, no more inaccurate measurements, over or under bidding, or time wasted on crafting proposals.
All your measurements, estimates, and proposals needs in one tool- AutoBid.
Sign up here for a free demo.