Here at Fullbay, we cover all sorts of topics relevant to the heavy-duty industry. Among them are sales and marketing, which is becoming an increasingly critical part of making your commercial shop successful in the twenty-first century.
In our most recent webinar, Jacob Findlay and Chris O’Brien (Fullbay’s co-founder and executive chairman and Fullbay’s COO, respectively) sat down to cover the ins and outs of hiring someone (or several someones) to handle the delicate topic of getting the word out.
You can watch the webinar in its entirety here, but we’ll recap some of the discussion in the following post.
So, do you need to hire someone?
Before going any further, let’s highlight one thing: You may not need to hire someone for sales or marketing. If you’re happy with your shop’s current position and numbers, then maybe you just keep trucking along as you are.
But if you want to grow your business and increase your revenue, well, sales and marketing people can help you with that.
It’s not just closing deals, Chris points out—rather, your best sales people will know how to nurture the relationships you already have (say, with fleets and other customers) as well as grow new ones.
And yes, sales and marketing are as much about building relationships as it is getting your shop’s name out there. You’ve probably all heard the cautionary tale about the shop that only had one customer, and that customer pulled out, and then suddenly there was no way to keep the lights on. Or that shop that lost two techs and couldn’t keep up with their biggest customer, leading to that customer’s departure.
If someone leaves, you need someone else to help you fill that space in the bay (and the bank account).
“If no one knows who you are, you’re in trouble,” Jacob says.
Now, as we said above, you might already be in great shape. But if the scenarios described set off even a single faint warning bell, start thinking about the following questions:
- Are you looking to expand the business?
- Think about tomorrow, not today—if you suddenly lost a regular customer, would you be in trouble?
- Are you looking to uplevel customers and start bringing in fleets?
If you even thought about saying yes to one of those, then head back to the webinar and give the full thing a listen.
Finding the right fit
So, you’ve decided that you do want to hire someone to help you with sales and/or marketing. What exactly are you supposed to look for?
Again, the webinar itself is packed with the kind of information you’ll need to zero in on the right person, but both the guys stressed the need for flexibility and inventiveness in the person (or persons) you choose.
Why? Well, as anyone who’s lived through even one decade of this crazy century can tell you, things change really fast. “The last thing you want is a marketing person today doing the marketing tactics of 20 years ago,” Jacob says.
(He’s right—20 years ago we had barely even been introduced to social media, much less social media advertising. Friendster was barely a thing!)
To get the right person, make sure you know what you want their role to encompass. The guys touched on several potential duties:
- Reducing customer churn
- Increasing customer satisfaction
- Identifying effective marketing channels for your shop
- Finding new sponsorship/event opportunities
- Managing PMs and keeping customers compliant
- Expanding overall revenue
How to attract a pro
OK. You know you want to hire a sales or marketing person, and you know how you want them to contribute to your shop. But how do you find this perfect person?
Well, first of all, don’t look for the perfect person. Chris and Jacob are both quick to point out unicorns aren’t real, and you should be wary of anyone who claims to be good at everything. Everyone has their special skill set and one or two (or even a few!) things they’re really excellent at. Look for someone who is upfront about their strengths and weaknesses—that kind of honesty is a great starting point for anyone.
You also don’t necessarily need someone with a degree. Not that we’re knocking degrees—they definitely have their place in the world!—but some of the best marketers we know didn’t go to school with the intention of, well, being marketers. It’s a field you can absolutely learn as you go.
Understanding that you might not hire someone who can do everything can open up a lot of hiring options, by the way. Maybe you don’t get one full-time person. Maybe you hire two contractors, or three part-timers, or some other combination that works for your shop.
Or maybe you promote someone from within!
Jacob and Chris discuss a number of other choices a commercial repair shop can make, including writing a good job description to attract outsiders:
- Do your homework and find the most accurate job title—the little details matter
- Be exhaustive—it’s important to limit the amount of surprises when they start
- Sell your shop! A shop summary is as important as the tasks and responsibilities for the role
All in all, it’s a fascinating and useful webinar (and we’re not just saying that because we made it!). If you have the slightest interest in expanding your business through sales and marketing, give it a listen!