I am looking into breaking up the sales approach into a team instead of having individuals generate leads and close solo. The lead generator would be on the road full time generating bidding opportunities, and the bidder/closer would take this information and put the bid together and actually do the presentation.
Both would need to be personable but have different skill sets. The lead generator doesn't need to have technical background in the field, they just need experience in sales (of anything, really - and plentiful. The bidder/closer would need technical experience and could be trained on a couple of closing techniques (not so plentiful but could be created from existing staff).
Do these positions have equal values? Meaning, do they get set up with the same pay and benefit structure? Or does one position have more value than the other? Do I run into an issue of possibly one member of the team not being happy with the other's performance level?
Or do I look at is as 3 separate positions - leads, bidding, closer? Most often the pricing is tweaked at the close with changing options around. We do predominantly residential, so it is not cut and dry proposals like commercial work. The specs are rarely spelled out in stone. That is why I was thinking of combining the bidder/closer position.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor P:
You think too much. In my experience very few salesmen can close. Most likely the salesman will end up generating bids and you will have to close. I would say just mow through guys until you find a situation that works. Don't let them linger.
Finding one who is willing to work this is key. I would come up with a statistic that monitors their production. No accountability will result in you wasting your time. To find a guy who has a track record in woodworking is unlikely, as he is not going to be looking for work. But I have found it effective to have someone who generates leads/bids.
One of my former employees runs an alarm business (hundreds of employees) that his dad owns. His dad said that they hire as many sales trainees as they can on commission only, and one in a million makes it, but after they leave, he still gets the leads. Ethical? I donít know, but it works - they are one of the leading sellers in the country. They are a marketing driven company (think California closets, not as custom). You are a manufacturing driven company, so it is a little different, but the concept is useful.
A more qualified lead generator should be able to generate better leads so some skills in the industry, type of work, size and scope would help make a subjective decision on how hard to pursue the lead.
"...Otherwise you are asking someone to make a decision in their best interest and your best interest and their personal economic situation may weigh in on the pricing."
The pricing system developed is cut and dry. No room for manipulation other than flat out not bidding a portion of the project. This would stand out like a sore thumb because everything is itemized. The pricing formulas are written by me and will continue to be until the day the business is sold.
Contributor B, that is the approach I tried first. Only problem is it takes a wide range of skill sets. Typically only found in owners and key right hand people of existing companies. Both very hard to come by.
Few real estate agents that I know generate their own leads. Yes, they have their own listings, but most of their leads come from double-agent situations, and through the agency where their license is held.
Absolutely no real estate agents close sales. Agents get the prospects to the closing table, and closing attorneys close the sale. With that said, real estate agents pretty much act in the capacity of what the questioner is seeking for the bidder in his 3-part contemplation.
Sure, there are exceptions to every rule. Some of the best real estate agents work further up the prospecting end, and further down toward the close. But in the end, a typical agent gets leads thrown in their lap, shows a few properties, helps a little in the negotiations and education of the prospects, gets a signed commitment contingent upon 100 variables, and turns the deal over to the title company and underwriter who are the true closers of the deal.
My opinion on this may be wrong. It is based solely on the 3 houses that I have purchased personally. I was never impressed with the agents and always wondered what in the heck did they do that deserved those exorbitant commissions? I guess they needed those big commissions to carry them through times like these.
The more I think about it, the more I like your division of responsibilities. In large part because you no doubt are working to create a structure for sales, and one that may be scalable and manageable.
I think the presentation/closer position is the more valuable and difficult to execute position, and therefore that person should be better-compensated. Creating a sale possibility or lead is relatively easy. It can be done with direct marketing, or some sales program targeting home sales in a specific price range, or any number of other methods that will yield a certain percentage of leads.
Winning over the customer, convincing them to spend $50k with you instead of someone else, and closing the deal, that's much more complicated, and requires a more diverse skill set.
What I'm working on setting up here is a structured bidding system, because generating bids can be very time consuming, and as the sole lead generator/closer for our business, I shouldn't be spending 20 hours bidding some large project. So the idea is to have an admin person with some cabinet knowledge produce the bid; then I can spend an hour or two reviewing it to make sure things look right. This will also create a cross-check, to make sure nothing is missed or under-bid. A structure like this might work for you as well, then your closer/presenter can be more focused on the other aspects of their job and you don't need three separate positions.