Improving Novascape’s Lead Quality
How form design increased project value and improved efficiency..
As Novascape Landscaping’s web presence has grown, so too has the quantity of incoming leads via a number of forms on their website. This volume increase has seen them win more work. However, there has also been an unwanted side-effect; the estimators have been spending more time preparing estimates and liaising with clients on projects that have a low likelihood of ever going ahead.
Novascape Landscaping is about 10 years old and has grown from a sole proprietorship to a company of eight tradesmen, one apprentice, two estimators and two office administration staff.
Novascape’s lead process
Before addressing the issue, Novascape’s lead process looked like this:
- Enquiry submitted through web form
- Estimator responded with a phone call or email to setup a meeting time on the job
- Estimator reviewed works required onsite
- Back at the office – estimator created an estimate using software
- Estimator submitted estimate via email and followed up by phone
In this process, the most time consuming steps were the site visit and subsequent estimation back at the office.
So how did we improve the quality of leads while maintaining the steady growth in incoming enquiries?
Defined the goal
In order to reduce the cost of the high number of incoming leads Novascape needed to reduce time spent estimating projects onsite that were not likely to go ahead.
How did they know if a project was likely to go ahead?
Novascape’s estimators had discovered that many enquiries indicated that they wanted to carry out significant works including costly retaining walls, expensive advanced plants and significant earthmoving. However, when Novascape submitted an estimate for the work, they often got the response that their price was too high. Of course, it seems odd that a potential customer would know more about the cost of landscaping than the landscapers…
We started asking questions about the types of people that Novascape wanted to work with.
We worked out that the projects that typically proceeded were those where the prospect understood that the work Novascape would do would have a cost. And the more complex, time-consuming it would be, or the more advanced the plants were, the higher the estimate would be.
Adding a filtering step
To filter out prospects with unrealistic expectations we decided to filter them out before they even submitted an enquiry to Novascape. Using contact forms on the website, Novascape now asks prospects to identify what kind of works they would like done as well as asking them if they have a budget in mind.
By doing this, Novascape’s estimators could immediately assess whether or not the prospect had any understanding of the cost of their project. A phone call could quickly confirm whether a site visit was even worthwhile.
Refining the filter
In the initial filters, we allowed prospects to indicate that they did not know what their budget was. After a couple of weeks using this, it became clear that the overwhelming majority of prospects simply entered their budget as ‘Not Sure’. The problem remained.
We removed the ‘Not Sure’ option and forced prospects to decide in what range their budget fell and the results were immediate.
Novascape realised significant time savings by filtering out enquiries where the prospect had unrealistic expectations.
It’s early days, but it also looks like we managed to increase the average value of projects!
There is a risk
One side-effect that we dealt with was the risk that people would not select a budget that they were really willing to pay. In addition, we were concerned that some people would not lodge their enquiry because they did not want to let Novascape know how much they were willing to spend. It’s unclear whether this has actually happened. We’re monitoring the overall volume of leads to see if there is a drop.
Content should further improve results
The form that prospects complete is reasonably detailed. In order to better prepare prospects, Standing Man is now developing a range of supporting content that can be viewed online or downloaded to help people better understand landscaping and costing so that they can submit even more accurate enquiries.
Through educating our future clients, and using simple online filtering mechanisms, we’ve cut the time spent estimating low value projects and increased the value of those that we win.Sheridan Armstrong, Operations ManagerMORE ABOUT BUSINESS DESIGN