Five Ways to Strengthen Your Sales Team - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

We recently updated our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use this website, you acknowledge that our revised Privacy Policy applies.

Five Ways to Strengthen Your Sales Team

Your sales team works hard to bring in quality clients who can provide meaningful cash flow to your company. Just like how you invest in new trucks and equipment for your field staff to operate successfully, don’t forget to evaluate how you can come alongside and aid your sales team’s efforts.

Create a Demo Area

If a picture is worth a thousand words, can you imagine how helpful it is to convey your landscape design/build capabilities with a demo area? Having a showcase space at your headquarters allows you to display different styles, materials and layouts of outdoor living spaces.

“It introduces a layer of trust and allows clients before they commit to a project to see what we are capable of building,” says Cara Doyle, vice president of Summit Hardscaping. “It has become the ultimate referral of sorts. Clients recognize that even though their project may be completely different, they can trust that it will be well built.”

While building these spaces is a significant investment of time and money, the ROI is considerable. Companies who have built these spaces not only see an increase in projects but also are able to use these areas for team-building activities.

Develop A Strong Lead Qualification Process

Another way to help your sales team is to develop a strong lead qualification process. Rebecca Snow, a landscape designer with Bella Terra Landscapes & Garden Center estimates they have cut at least 40 percent of their wasted lead time since they started qualifying prospects better over the phone in 2019.

Create a playbook your team can go through and ask the same questions for consistency. Determine the client’s needs, budget, authority, timeline and positioning with your company. You can have clients answer these questions online in a form, or you could have the receptionist handle qualification so your sales team is only working with customers who are already a good fit.

“You can learn everything right at the beginning before you invest any of that time or effort, but we don’t,” Neal Glatt, managing partner of GrowTheBench. “People don’t ask, ‘What’s your budget?’ People don’t know how and when they’re going to make a decision. They don’t ask those qualifying questions upfront.”

Create Sales Scorecards

It’s hard for your sales employees to know where they need to improve and where they are succeeding if you aren’t tracking their key performance indicators. Sales scorecards hold your sales reps accountable, and identifies top performers and areas where your sales process can improve.

Scorecards can also help with the gamification of the sales team and drive healthy competition. They should encourage behaviors that drive more sales, such as making more calls or improving the qualification process. With sales scorecards, sales reps can easily see where they need to improve, and it provides clear-cut goals in their day-to-day.

Don’t forget to set goals, as these metrics won’t mean much without context. To determine goals for individual sales reps, work backward with the quota you’re wanting them to reach and what steps they have to take to hit that quota.

Coach Them

If you have sales scorecards, analyze them on a weekly basis as they provide specific coaching opportunities.

Not all of your salespeople are going to be rockstars from day one, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be. Taking the time to invest in them and coach them along can significantly boost their abilities.

If a rep has strong first appointment numbers but their closing ratio is low, they might be failing to meet with the decision-makers who can close the sale. Or they could be failing to establish the level of trust a decision-maker needs to sign the contract. Both of these cases call for coaching to reduce these types of issues.

Have one-on-ones to review their performance and discuss the individual’s goals, where they can improve and how they can take their performance to the next level. Celebrate their wins and have them set new goals for the upcoming week. 

Investing in Estimating Software

If your sales staff are responsible for project estimating as well as closing on projects, you need to take advantage of the various types of technology available to overcome bottlenecks that can occur in the process.

Estimating can be time-consuming if your employees still have to go out to sites to measure properties. There are a number of automated property measurement options out there, including SiteRecon, RealGreen’s Measurement Assistant and Go iLawn. Meanwhile, takeoff tools can aid in determining how much of each material is needed to complete a landscape job.

Other all-in-one estimating software can not only generate estimates but provide proposal templates with custom designs. This can help your sales team get accurate, professional proposals out faster and allows them to focus on the next potential lead.  

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.