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Lay the foundation for a strong 2021

October 12, 2020 -  By
Marty Grunder

Marty Grunder

With just a couple months left in 2020, many of us have shifted most of our focus to the year ahead. You’re already having conversations about budgets and growth projections, and you’re laying out the steps you need to take to get where you want to go.

The first considerations when you want to grow are what the sales goals for your team should be, what new equipment you may need and how many team members you’ll need to hire to do the additional work you sell. This planning can’t be overlooked, but in the final months of this year, I recommend all companies also tackle three projects to ensure they have the proper framework in place for long-term success. They include the following:

1. Align self and company interest. In the Profit Pros Virtual Workshop we held in August, I stressed that the best way to motivate team members to care about your company’s profitability is to clearly show them what’s in it for them. At Grunder Landscaping Co. (GLC), we structure our sales compensation so our sales team has a vested interest in the success and profitability of the job, and we pay commissions based on gross margin rather than on revenue.

On the production side, we watch for trends in job-level data like the efficiency rating, quality audits, and we do warranty calls throughout the year and take that data into account when making promotion and raise decisions. Our team members know which metrics are part of their performance review, and they understand what’s expected if they want to reach the next step in their careers. We make it clear that our team members will benefit financially when the company is profitable to align our team’s self-interest with the company’s interests.

2. Understand your costs. It’s common sense that you shouldn’t bid a job at $15,000 if it’s going to cost you $20,000, but do your salespeople have the tools they need to accurately project costs and bid profitable work?

We use Aspire Software at GLC, which standardizes our bids to ensure we’re proposing profitable work. There are other industry software options that can help with this, or, as a last resort, you can use spreadsheets to track costs manually. An effective sales process that includes standardized costs and quoting is key to a successful sales team.

3. Review your performance. After a job is complete, review your performance for both quality and profitability standards with the teams who were responsible for the job. Doing this step regularly helps to diagnose any issues before they repeat themselves. As the year ends, it’s a great time to look back for trends in this data:

  • Are there neighborhoods where we are consistently finishing over or under budget?
  • Is one salesperson responsible for a large share of our most profitable jobs?
  • Is one team leader particularly skilled at coming in under
    budgeted hours?

Then, form an action plan to replicate successes and address any shortcomings. Invest in training your team to prepare to hit the ground running, and make the promotion, raise and hiring decisions needed.

No one said running a business would be easy, but the tactics here will lay a foundation for measuring your business and assessing what can be improved. This foundation will help your team understand common goals and how their own roles impact them, and it will help you score your success for years to come.

We will be holding two virtual events, our Virtual Sales Bootcamp and our Sticking with Strategy Virtual Workshop, in November and December to help companies prepare for a strong 2021.

Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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