2023 is shaping up to be slower and tougher, which means lead management becomes even more important. We report.
There are a lot of unknowns about what lies ahead in 2023 but with inflation at around 11% and energy prices at record highs, it’s likely that the first half of the year is likely to be tough for many.
“If we expected the market to re-adjust post-pandemic, we’re probably seeing that adjustment now”, says Elton Boocock, Managing Director, Business Pilot.
“It’s not been catastrophic, but demand definitely softened in the final quarter of last year. Year-on-year in December 2022 the market was down around 10% on where it was in 2021 (Business Pilot).
“That’s not a massive drop. It was expected. It’s about where we go from here.”
Inflation is likely to remain high for the first half of 2023 before easing at the year-end to around 5%. High inflation has been driven by a host of different factors but chief among them energy prices, with wholesale prices at record highs.
“That does two-things. If people have the cash it gives them a reason to spend it on energy efficient home improvements. For households with lower levels of disposable income, it locks them out of the market unless finance is available.
“It’s not the end of the line, we aren’t predicting a collapse in demand and the flip side of the coin is that rising energy prices may bring more focus to energy efficient home improvements.
“It’s just that things aren’t going to be quite as easy and that means how you manage and convert leads is going to be more important.”
Business Pilot, launched in 2019 it’s the product of a collaborative project between Cherwell Windows and Thames Valley Windows, and a two-year development programme with their digital partners.
Accessible across all devices, from desktop to phone, it supports installers in running their businesses more profitably, integrating with lead generation tools, supplier ordering systems and accountancy software to bring data into one place.
This includes an overview of performance through its Sales Dashboard. It tracks leads, demos, daily, weekly and monthly sales, plus closing ratios. “In the current market context conversion ratios are going to be more important.
“Business Pilot can help you convert more leads by helping you to manage them more effectively, through automation of repetitive processes, and through better and more professional customer communication”, Elton explains.
“That maximises conversions while lowering operating costs.”
One of the key features of Business Pilot is that it allows installers to map their lead-to-contract or contract-to-delivery process and make sure that their teams follow it, so no lead slips through the net. You can see the status of a lead at anytime and what and who needs to do it next, to progress it.
“One of the features our customers really like is that we don’t force a lead to sales process onto them. Everyone does things slightly differently. The sales pipeline in Business Pilot can be adapted by our customers to reflect what they already do, or what they want to do.
“We’re simply digitising and through that giving you the option to automate parts of that process, for example follow up emails or schedule follow-up appointments. The important thing is nothing gets missed”, Elton says.
For example, the lead pipeline showcases the status of each job instantly, either as created, followed up, demo booked, quoted, mark as sold, sold or lost; each status including tasks and steps that must be completed before moving to the next stage of the progression.
This data can also be searched and cut against each step, so that you can see at any one time, how many jobs have been quoted or demos booked etc. providing a headline overview of your likely onward order book or where each job is within the contract.
“Cashflow is going to be increasingly important this year”, Elton continues. “You need to plan more effectively to make sure that leads are converted, the job gets done and you get paid. Business Pilot gives you visibility of where leads are in the conversion process so you can manage your cashflow effectively.”
And because Business Pilot tracks every lead through to conversion, installation and aftercare, also integrating with other software including Xero through to FENSA registration, you only put in the data once when the lead is created or the job surveyed – everything is carried through to completion, billing and beyond.
“If you’re looking for leads the data is also there to support you”, says Elton. “Because the data is recorded and everything is linked you have a record of what converted, what didn’t, and even which areas deliver the best results.
“In making key data available to you we give you to access to the critical management information which can support you in running your business more effectively and growing it.”