Ever feel like you’re drowning in unqualified leads – not sure which ones are best to pursue?  So we all know that you can purchase leads for just about every type of project or demographic that can be imagined.  For today’s topic though let’s talk about how you can maximize the opportunities from the construction lead platforms – especially when you start seeing the vast amount of projects available to bid on.

Most of us pay thousands of dollars to subscribe to some of the best lead generation tools in the industry, and we’re very proud to do it!  But can we all agree that it is getting increasingly harder to cut out a few hours per week in order to spend the time needed to dig into these leads, to see if they truly fit our business model or even our ideal customer?

Did you know that with just a few simple steps, you can convert those generated leads into some of the most profitable business on your books?

Understand the difference between a Generated Lead and a Qualified Lead

I get asked all the time – “What’s the difference between a generated lead and a qualified lead – aren’t they the same thing?”  Well, not really considering that some of the best known lead generators out there are true powerhouses and masters at collecting data on projects that could be a lead for you.

That doesn’t mean that everything you receive is a qualified lead that fits your ideal project though – and there’s a big difference that can hurt your efficiency.  The quicker your team understands this, the quicker they will be on board with only chasing the qualified leads – the leads that will result in better opportunities with far less time invested.

Let’s use my industry as an example – Architectural Surfaces and Countertops.  As a niche within commercial construction, is it worth having a subscription to these lead platforms for companies like ours?  Especially if the only scope that we’re interested in are projects with specialized materials such as Marble, Quartz, Granite or Solid Surface?

Is it worth the subscription to obtain the generated lead even if it’s not a qualified lead concentrating on your scope?  The answer is YES – but you have to realize that additional steps are needed to convert these generated leads into qualified leads as efficiently and as quickly as possible.  The keyword here being convert.

As for me, I was forced to the realization that there just wasn’t enough of my time as a leader to spend in front of each Bid Invite in order to determine if the project fit my business.  If I wanted to keep that pipeline filled as a top-performing sales leader, I needed to find the shortest path to efficiency as possible which led me to only dealing with qualified leads.  I’d be willing to bet that you’re in a similar situation.

This forced me to find the expert

Find the expert in what you’re trying to qualify

The vital component, I found, was using an expert in our unique field.  For this specific industry, it was training our own commercial estimators how to navigate and qualify – very specifically – which jobs we would pursue as a company.

If they could take a handful of Bid Invites from our sales team and dig through the specs, blueprints and details (not to mention doing it much more efficiently than our sales staff), then that was a win all around.  The sales staff received a truly vetted lead, while the estimating team essentially secured their future work by sifting out the unqualified leads and focusing on business that would only grow the company.

That single activity proved to increase our sales closing ratio by over 36% in a single year.  Definitely worth it – wouldn’t you agree?

Communication between your teams

Once you have your sales staff and your estimators focusing on what they do best, communication between the two is vital.  Likewise, creating those channels for your teams to efficiently converse will only contribute to its success on a few different levels.

  1. Team moraleTeam morale will be boosted when your sales staff can share the successes and the losses in a regular team update on qualified leads the estimators have worked with.
  2. Efficiency will reignEfficiency will reign the more your estimators give feedback about the generated leads your sales teams are sending them to qualify. This practice gives the sales team an opportunity to fine tune who or what they should focus their efforts on.
  3. Weed outWeeding out all the unnecessary noise will naturally occur the more your sales team and your estimators are talking. That inbox of project leads and opportunities won’t seem so intimidating to sift through when the right tasks are assigned to the right people.  Just like it’s pretty easy for a salesperson to figure out who their best prospects are, it’s just as easy for an estimator to know who are the most likely Architects, Designers and Material Suppliers to work with on your ideal project.

Sum it up

So let’s revisit the question I get asked the most; “what’s the difference between a generated lead and a qualified lead?”  The difference is your system.  The generated lead is simply your launch pad into an opportunity towards making it a qualified lead.  How you handle your generated lead will determine if the money spent on that lead will be worth it.  Likewise, how you handle your generated lead will determine if it turns into a qualified lead or if it simply ends up in the trash.

What systems do you have in place that help your staff be efficient at their work?  Are you using your team’s unique skill sets to build the company as a whole (i.e. sales staff probably shouldn’t be buried in blueprints and specs all day….just saying).  Take the time to evaluate just how you can turn your generated lead into a qualified lead making your team more effective all around.

Jason Bolton is President of AimBolt Consulting LLC, an industry leader in construction estimating and lead qualification services.  AimBolt specializes in helping fabricators, installers and material suppliers for the Architectural Surfaces and Countertop industry streamline their sales and estimating processes.  To find out more about AimBolt Consulting and how they can help you generate more effective business processes, visit www.aimbolt.com.