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Sales vs. Marketing for Contractors – Which Comes First?

This article is by Tim Brown, CEO of Hook Agency – a 20-person Google-specialized team focused on marketing roofing companies, that writes content for you and reports monthly on SEO + PPC progress + leads with a live dashboard. 

The age-old chicken 🐔 or the egg 🥚 conundrum.

What do I hire first? 

Do I hire a marketing company or person to make the leads happen? Or do I hire a sales coach or another salesperson to make sure we’re closing the deals we do have?

For contractors – I actually believe the answer is one you might not expect. 

The 3rd Option: Service Is Always First 🥇

If you spent a bunch of money tweaking your sales (or your marketing) before you nail down your service, you could hurt your business by trying to scale too soon.

This is why it’s great when a home-service or construction founder can be the sales person themselves for a while so they master the art of delighting their customers at a small scale first. That way, you’re ensuring customer service is high and the reviews you get at the beginning reflect a tight service offering (which will help sales and marketing later).

Next, Sales Should be Your #1 Priority 💰

An early business coach of mine (thank goodness for outside perspective) once told me I was “hiding in marketing.” He asked me to change my mindset from 30% sales and 70% marketing with my extra time to make sales my 70% priority.

Doing this, and intently learning to sell, has been the single biggest driver of our businesses success that I can point to.

No More “Lead Babies.” Hunt and Have Your People Hunt 🔍

Having an aggressive Google-specialized team or spending your budget on Angi Leads and Google Local Service ads is all well and good, until you have a bad month and your sales people go around pouting. 

  • There’s more than one way to hunt. Encourage your team to take coffee meetings with referral partners at other home services, realtors, and insurance agents. 
  • Make sure they are closing the leads they do have at a high-percentage rate. 
  • Track closing rates per lead source and per sales rep.

Ultimately – you need a sales process.

You need scalable training systems to keep your people on track and excited about what they’re doing. They need you to be a closer and confident in your sales systems so that they have an example of what it means to have control in a sales situation.

Once Sales Is Locked In, Pour on Gasoline With Marketing ⛽

You’ve got your systems in place for improving sales, closing more of the leads you do get, hunting, and getting everyone to increase referrals and word-of-mouth by delighting customers.

How exciting! 😁

Now it’s time to crank up the heat on marketing. 🔥 Whether that’s by hiring a sharp, killer in-house marketing manager or working with an outside agency – you still want to take “extreme ownership” over the results that you’re getting. 

I see too many company owners saying “We just got burned by our 6th agency.

Vetting an agency is a skill, and you need to get better at it. 

Check references, look at reviews, talk through their industry-relevant case studies with them. Make a better decision. 

  1. Know your numbers so you can hold people accountable. You can’t pay people enough to care about your business more than you care about your business.
  2. Choose a niched agency so that they have ‘skin in the game’ and want to protect their reputation in your industry. 
  3. Make sure you make your meetings, and give them pivots occasionally with the context from the company. 

And if you’re hiring a marketing manager – check out this article with job listing examples and how to get the most out of the hire. 

Service, Then Sales, Then Marketing

This article has been touching on hiring order, but I think it’s also good as a mental priority list towards the beginning of your business. 

Eventually, you may get service on a roll and be focused entirely on your sales team and process, but if something is off with service, you’ll always have to go back and tweak before going hard on sales again. This is the difficult part of creating and running a small business. 

Marketing is the frosting on the cake, and is ideally done all along the way in addition to these things. But you can’t do marketing alone without sales & service being tight, or you’ll just waste gas. 

Where are you at in the game? Ready to go hard on sales? ​​Schedule a free consultation with Sales Transformation Group today to learn more about how the 5 Pillars of Sales Transformation apply to your business.

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