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Al's column: How to better manage lead generation

February 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 17

By Jason Goldberg 

(First of two parts)

It stands to reason that more leads will result in more sales for your company, right? Not so fast. Leads only convert into dollars when they are properly managed by your salespeople, managers and marketing team.

Many flooring retailers make the mistake of thinking lead generation is the key to success, so they invest thousands of dollars driving potential customers to their stores. But before you start spending money on generating more leads, shouldn’t you make sure you’re getting the most out of the ones you currently have?

Take a moment to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you know how many leads your salespeople are handling and what stage they’re at in your sales pipeline?
  • Do you know the advertising sources that drove those leads to your business?
  • Do you know the history of each of these leads including job quotes, site diagrams and “before” photos?
  • Do you know the close rates of your locations, divisions and salespeople?
  • Do you know which of your stores is getting the most traffic?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you’re not alone. The good news is the right lead management system can answer these questions for you.

Lead management 101
A good lead management system is a software program that helps you keep track of your company’s sales prospects as they move through your sales funnel. The fields that are used to capture lead information and the sales pipeline can be customized to suit your company’s specific needs. When a customer contacts your business for service, the new lead is created manually in the system by the salesperson or manager.

Website leads can be automatically generated by the system if integrated with your website’s forms. The lead’s name, contact information, products of interest, store location, advertising that drove them to your company and any other information you deem valuable can be captured and stored in the system.

Next, leads are then assigned to a salesperson or manager who will be responsible for converting the prospect into a customer. Each interaction a salesperson or manager has with a lead is recorded in the system via a note or an update to the lead’s stage in your sales pipeline. Follow-up tasks can also be created to remind users to contact the lead until the sale has been closed. Once a lead is closed (sold or lost), the final sale amount, the products she purchased, or the reason why the sale was lost along with any other relevant information can be recorded.

The biggest advantage of a good lead management system is the operational efficiency it offers. If you’re managing leads with an excel spreadsheet or with pen and paper, you’re wasting tons of valuable hours that could be saved by transitioning to a lead management system. In short, the faster you get in touch with a potential lead and discuss her flooring needs, the more likely you are to close the deal.

Good lead management systems also provide increased visibility. Managers have a 360-degree view of all leads in the system; they can see the current stage of the lead within the sales pipeline and associated tasks, notes and documents. If the system is used correctly, you’ll never have to call another salesperson again to ask about the status of any given lead.

In the next installment, I will discuss other advantages of good lead management systems such as accountability, accessibility and data retrieval.

 

 

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Mullican Flooring, ASP Partner to build new homes

Johnson City, Tenn.—Mullican Flooring partnered with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) to build homes for more than 120 families affected by the 2016 West Virginia flood and Great Smoky Mountains wildfires.

To date, 42 new homes have been completed in Rainelle, W.Va., with another 19 homes currently under construction. Four homes have been completed in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and three are in progress. In an effort to reduce project cost and increase the impact and reach of ASP, Mullican donated hardwood flooring in excess of 100,000 square feet.

“Mullican Flooring has been a valued and consistent supporter of Appalachia Service Project and our mission of making the homes of low-income families in Appalachia warmer, safer and drier for many years,” says Walter Crouch, ASP president and CEO. “In the next year, more than 40 additional homes will be built in West Virginia and another 18 in Tennessee. When done, more than 120 families who lost their homes to disaster will benefit from the partnership between ASP and Mullican Flooring.”

In October 2017, the third and fourth of 25 new homes committed to being built in Gatlinburg and Sevier County were dedicated. The second and third dedications were for brother and sister Ernest Ogle, 75, and Trula Mae Bible, 84, who grew up in the same house and will now reside as neighbors in the newly constructed homes. ASP will continue to dedicate homes as they are finalized, sharing the stories of those in the Rainelle and Gatlinburg communities.

“Mullican Flooring has tremendous belief in Appalachia Service Project’s vision to continue to rebuild communities hit by natural disasters,” said Neil Poland, president, Mullican Flooring. “Walter Crouch’s leadership ability has enabled ASP to restore hope, enthusiasm and energy to the people in these areas. The organization truly does God’s work here on Earth.”

In recent years, Mullican has also donated and installed new flooring in both Appalachia Service Project’s Jonesville, Va., and Brenton, W.Va., volunteer and staff training centers. On October 20, Mullican Flooring was awarded a Medal of Distinction from Appalachia Service Project in recognition of the company’s efforts and investment in the Appalachian community.

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Living Product Expo: Tarkett pushes boundaries of sustainable building

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.43.16 AMPittsburgh—There are flooring companies that like to stake their claim to the “green” label when, in reality, their products mostly meet baseline certification for sustainability. And then there are those few companies that take responsible manufacturing to an entirely different plane.

That short list includes Tarkett.

From eco-design and installation to recycling and reuse, Tarkett has demonstrated over decades a commitment to continuously developing products with the planet and people in mind.

Tarkett North America has applied cradle-to-cradle principles to product development since 2011 and today holds more product and material certifications (175) than all other flooring manufacturers. “Having so many products and materials cradle-to-cradle certified demonstrates our commitment to both the built environment and the planet as a whole,” said Diane Martel, vice president of environmental planning and strategy for Tarkett North America.

Martel was a presenter at the Living Product Expo in Pittsburgh in September. She took part in a seminar titled: “Can PVC be made into a Living Product?” PVC, which is used in most manufacturing of vinyl flooring, has several advantages, including low cost and ease of replacing individual tiles. However, PVC is not inherently green, experts say. In fact, it has been called “the poison plastic” because the emissions from PVC—at certain levels—can create health hazards such as dioxins and furans, two of the most toxic chemicals on the planet.

During the discussion, Martel argued that PVC could be a sustainable product if done responsibly. “It’s about cleaning up the chemistry of PVC. We’re taking other people’s wastage streams and finding potential use for it. PVC is extremely easy to recycle. We should be closing the loop on PVC.”

By “we” she means the flooring industry at large. Tarkett wants to work with other companies to find solutions that will benefit the planet. “We can only solve this if we collaborate and people adhere to something that is actionable and reasonable,” Martel explained. “We find that opening the door to collaboration and cooperation is really the path to take. You have to be in a place where everyone is rowing the same direction. As a company, as an industry, as a planet and as a world, we have to be doing that.”

Tarkett will be doing its part. “We value our position as a global leader in sustainable flooring, and see these certifications as a way to guide our industry toward creating products that are better for people and better for the environment,” Martel added.

Among Tarkett’s achievements:

  • It is a partner of the World Economic Forum on circular economy, climate change and quality of life in the urban environment.
  • It was the first flooring producer to deploy phthalate-free vinyl flooring in North America.
  • Tarkett launched fully transparent Material Health Statements in 2016.
  • The company continually improves the chemistry within products to improve the built environment, including removing ortho-phthalates from products and developing Eco-Ensure, a fluorine-free soil protection technology for all Powerbond and modular products.

Sustainability’s evolution
When Martel took on her role as VP of sustainability a decade ago, she said sustainability was a lot about the planet (i.e., waste reduction, water reduction) but today it is a more balanced, holistic approach.

Rudi Daelmans, director of sustainability for Tarkett, said sustainability is evolving to what he termed “system thinking,” where everything is connected—the nutrients in the water, the safety materials, indoor air quality. “It is still evolving. It is a continuous drive toward sustainable business, which will drive innovation and new products. Staying on top of things and concentrating on sustainability makes you push your boundaries. If sustainability drives innovation you will have a company that is profitable and lasting.”

On the subject of innovation, Tarkett recently launched a backing material through its Tandus Centiva brand called ethos Modular with omnicoat technology. According to the company, ethos products are PVC-free and made from recycled PVB film commonly found in the abundantly available waste from automobile windshields and safety glass. In addition, ethos Modular is cradle-to-cradle certified Silver v3.1 and SCS Global Certified NSF 140 Platinum. Depending on the specified product, the total overall recycled content ranges from 26% to 51%. ethos is 100% recyclable through Tarkett’s ReStart program.

Paul Evans, vice president of R&D, Tarkett North America, said ethos addresses one of the most long-standing issues in new construction and renovation, namely moisture or other adverse flooring conditions that require costly delays in time as well as the potential for testing and remediation.

“Just as importantly, we make the backing using PVB derived from the recycling of film found in windshields and other safety glass, because a product that’s good for the health of those who use it and is made with respect to the environment begins with quality materials sourced properly.”