The Future of Selling from a Marketing and Sales Expert
The way we sell is constantly in flux, which can make it difficult to determine the best methodology to follow to ensure success. Enter: Dave Yoho Associates (DYA), the legacy company which has a history of developing sales systems that make home improvement businesses more efficient and profitable. We sat down with Vice President, Brad Yoho, to talk about his passion for aligning marketing and sales and his take on how to prepare for the future of selling.
Ingage: Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at Dave Yoho Associates?
Brad Yoho: I’ve always had a passion for marketing and content creation which is what I started out doing at DYA, as I handled most of the marketing strategies and promotions. It was exciting to join the company as an “outside voice” - one that had not previously worked in the home improvement industry. As I progressed in my role at DYA, I began to focus on the necessary strategic alignment between sales and marketing that many of our clients and customers were not adhering to.
Ingage: We love hearing how teams align their sales and marketing, how do you make it work at DYA?
Brad Yoho: It begins with the problem that many companies think of their sales and marketing departments as two separate entities - and they are. But in order to find success, they have to be on the same page in every interaction that occurs with prospects and customers. Next, you have to evaluate the different skill sets each team brings to the table and find the best strategy that holds your people accountable and also brings out the best in their specific qualities. Much of this has to do with behavior. Most sales representatives tend to take a more direct approach and are not necessarily detail-oriented, whereas many marketing representatives are more focused on data and metrics. When we work with a client, we take a comprehensive approach with our expert consultants to develop a thorough process that brings out the best in every team.
Ingage: Diving deeper into the legendary Dave Yoho Associates sales system, can you walk us through the basic fundamentals of the process?
Brad Yoho: My father is well-known for bringing step-selling into the industry, and the approach is highly rooted in the psychology of how people think, speak and make decisions. We believe that while there may be some “artistic” components to selling, the approach a company needs to take is rooted in science.
Many people ask how many steps they should incorporate into their sales process and the answer is simple, it doesn’t really matter. The goal of step-selling is to guide a prospect down a strategic buying path while presenting value over price to eventually arrive at a point where they either say “Yes” or “No.” One of the precepts of our sales methodology is that individuals can be taught to overcome a “No,” but a “Maybe” is much harder to deal with.
Diving deeper, most of the time when someone reaches out to us for assistance with their sales process or similar, we uncover additional issues that also need to be addressed in their business. For example, someone might contact us looking for help in hiring a Sales Manager, but we discover that they have a revolving door of Sales Managers. From there, our goal is to determine what the root of this problem is.
When a prospective client reaches out to us, generally the best method of working with them is a two-day onsite visit. We uncover a significant amount of information prior to the visit and then one of our Senior Account Executives conducts the “On-Site Appraisal” where we spend time addressing their needs and challenges, but more importantly, uncover numerous issues they were not aware of. These “surprise” issues are not necessarily there because they were doing things incorrectly, but because they are so busy that things have a tendency to slip through the cracks. Our Senior Account Executives are highly adept at uncovering these issues while meeting with key personnel, looking over financial statements and working directly with different departments. At the end of the visit, we provide a list of powerful and implementable recommendations to the client that are designed to make them more efficient and ultimately, more profitable. Many choose to continue to work with us on an ongoing basis. What’s great about this approach is that no matter what the company sells, be it HVAC, roofing or exteriors, we can develop a blueprint to fit their needs and help them make more informed decisions.
Ingage: Switching gears, can you speak to how Ingage plays a role in the DYA process?
Brad Yoho: My first conversation with the Ingage team was late in 2019. I instantly saw the value the platform could provide to the industry and its various businesses. The flexibility to navigate in a non-linear way combined with the design capabilities and analytics made it something that I encourage our clients to invest in. When it comes to how it plays a role in our process, I immediately think of the analytics dashboard on Ingage.
Because of the analytics, Sales Managers can keep their reps accountable, which is crucial to building efficiency and profitability as a company grows. I also like to point out that this isn’t like big brother watching every move a rep makes. We know that they are certain reps who may be “natural salespeople” and don’t need as much assistance. But, the majority of sales representatives need to be held accountable under a “system” and with Ingage analytics, we can train reps better and retrain as needed, which reduces turnover while freeing up the time of a Sales Manager.
Ingage: Outside of using Ingage analytics, how do you prove success with the teams you work with?
Brad Yoho: There are a few things we evaluate, one of them being a company’s overall marketing costs. Frequently, these are either mismanaged or misallocated, and as a result they are not earning the net profit they believe they are.
When we work with companies in the $3-5MM range, we tend to measure their success on how they can implement needed systems and grow efficiently and in a scalable manner. We saw a lot of companies during the pandemic double or even triple their revenue but they didn’t have the internal systems or people in place to support the surge in business. As the market starts to change, companies that outpaced themselves are now facing several hard truths, and may not be sufficiently prepared for the hard times ahead.
When we work with a larger company, a key determinant of success is how they’ve adapted their culture. This is something we often talk about at our industry seminars - large companies need to change their leadership approach. There’s a need to be assertive but also accommodating, which changes the way companies hire and lead their teams. You also have to balance accountability with more flexibility.
Ingage: It sounds like there are a lot of factors that can impact how a company succeeds. Jumping off of that, what are some of the main challenges leaders face right now?
Brad Yoho: We’re in an interesting time in this industry because there are a lot of positives, but there are just as many challenges. Of course, everyone knows about labor and material shortages and inflation, which are still the primary issues. However, inefficiency is beginning to become as big of a challenge. As mentioned earlier, companies who outpaced themselves - whether with spending or growing - and were hyper focused on increasing their close rates and revenue in 2021, may be losing money in 2022. There are also deficiencies in hiring, not only because of the labor shortage, but because many companies are not effectively nurturing and onboarding their new hires. Most of the time, it takes extensive training to get a new hire where you need them to be, and while this may be costly, it’s nothing compared to the cost of a mis-hire.
Ingage: With that, how do you envision the future of selling?
Brad Yoho: That’s a loaded question, and while I can’t speak to 10-15 years from now, I can say that there is somewhat of a shift happening at this time. I look at technological platforms like Ingage and see how it can transform not only efficiency but how you engage with customers. It’s extremely exciting, but also needs to be carefully managed because you can’t over rely on technology as the source to fix all of your problems. The need to present face to face with homeowners is still critical, specifically when it comes to balancing what a prospect “wants” against what they truly “need.”
Another critical issue is how reps build rapport and transmit value to their customers. Due to material shortages and backlog, many homeowners have to wait months for their project to even begin. As such, the post-sale communication delivered by the sales rep is more important than ever. Do not rely on emails, text messages and calls from your office to ensure customer satisfaction during the waiting process. To add immediate value, train your reps to deliver a powerful post-close that gives them assurance that they will be their Expert Advisor during this process, and ask for referrals while they are still in the home.
About Dave Yoho Associates
Dave Yoho Associates is one of the oldest, largest and most successful consulting firms that assists home improvement, remodeling and home services businesses in driving efficiency and net profit. To learn more about their next live event, The Growth Mastery Summit, on September 20-22 in Northern Virginia, visit www.hipsummit.com.