Is there a single software platform which provides lead generation, sales tools and business management solutions for installers? It’s a minefield. The window and door industry has gone digital with lead generation, sales tools, lead and business management platforms, used in some form or another in every business – but according to commentators, not necessarily always effectively.
“It’s intimidating”, says Elton Boocock, Managing Director, Business Pilot.
And I’m saying that as someone who has worked in digital for decades.
There are so many choices and each platform does something slightly different, so working out which is the right option for your retail business is tough.
“Is there a single solution out there? There are certainly platforms which claim to be. Is Business Pilot one of them? No, we’re not. We do what we do really well but we don’t do everything and we’d rather be honest about that because that’s not what our strategy is about.”
Business Pilot was launched in 2019. It was the product of a collaboration between two installation companies – Cherwell Windows and Thames Valley Windows – and a two-year development programme with their digital partners Urban Media.
A further two-years of development further on and the cloud-based business management and CRM system, can provide installers with precise data on everything from leads, and conversions, to job scheduling, installation and servicing costs and even financial reporting.
“We do a lot, but we don’t do everything installation businesses need.
“We do the stuff that makes customer relationship management easier; their operations more efficient and profitable, including automation of process, through to drag and drop job scheduling plus much more; and we allow them to understand their profitability in real time.
“We don’t help them to generate leads directly, although we help installers to understand where they can find them; and we aren’t a retail sales tool”, Elton continues.
“Could we be? Well, we probably could with time and investment develop those platforms but why would we when there are platforms that already do those things really well, we’d probably never be as good.
“That’s the problem, if you become a generalist, as opposed to a specialist, you’re spreading yourself too thin. You can never deliver those individual elements to the same standard as a company which specialises in a specific area.
The risk is that what you then get as a retail business buying that lead generation, sales and CRM tool is something that doesn’t deliver in any of those areas.
While he acknowledges his commercial interest, Elton argues that the platforms which claim to combine lead generation, management and CRM solutions fall into this ‘trap’.
“We’d much rather work with other specialists, other leading software tools, linking with them through APIs, so that installers can access the integrated solution that they want, but making sure that it’s the best it can be by partnering with other leading platforms”, he says.
An API (or application programming interfaces) is the digital handshake which introduces and allows one programme to talk to another. Business Pilot has written, and continues to write these for a wide range of industry software tools.
For example, our API allows Business Pilot to talk to pricing tools and pull in information back about quotations and leads. This leaves the design of the window and the sale with the homeowner taking place in your favourite point of sale/pricing tool, not Business Pilot.
“We then pick it up from there as either a sale or lead, make the sale, the conversion process; seamless, less labour intensive and more efficient, right through to installation and aftercare.
“As an installer you’re getting a fully integrated and the best tools for the job at each stage of the process. Not something which is clunky or a fudge, something that your staff will actually want to use.”
Business Pilot’s management dashboard provides real-time data from each area of business operation, presented in an easy-to-understand format.
This includes a Status Dashboard that allows installers to see – at a glance – the value of leads in the pipeline, the number of jobs that are currently quoted for, plus the value of quotes that are followed up or are waiting for a demo. That’s in addition to the value of jobs with completed surveys, ones that have been confirmed for installation but also those that have been put on hold or have been cancelled.
The Sales Dashboard highlights unassigned leads and can also identify the leads that have been allocated to specific individuals in the sales team, which allows managers to track their performance and hit rate.
There is also a Leads and Products Dashboard that provides an overview of best-selling products and where leads were sourced, and a People and Area Sales Dashboard that delivers a broader summary of lead allocation to salespeople.
This is accompanied by a Marketing Dashboard that can reveal precisely how much it has cost to obtain each lead, but the cost efficiency of any marketing campaign at any given point, as well as an Ops Dashboard. This draws in financial performance details such as the company balance sheet, outstanding orders, invoices fitted value, costs and gross profit, that is updated instantly whenever a bill is paid, or sale is made.
Business Pilot takes care of everything that you need to run your business effectively and we’re focused on doing that really well, constantly evolving and introducing iterations of what we do based on what our customers say they want.
“As a business management tool and CRM we’re investing in its constant development. We partner with other leading platforms and organisations, which combined make up the touchpoints that installers need to run their businesses effectively, seamlessly integrating with them to bring the very best of each to their operations.”