Dave Knowles founder and president of TopBuilder Solutions joined the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast to discuss the magic of implementing a CRM program for your home builder business. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) allows you to track how things are coming into the funnel, how well you're converting them, while also helping you ensure that you meet your goals. In this episode, you’ll learn how CRM programs can positively impact your business.
After attending Texas A&M Dave focused in on sales and marketing solutions starting in the 1980s with Arthur Andersen/Accenture and Hewlett Packard, followed by many years as a consultant implementing CRM solutions such as SalesForce.com, Siebel/Oracle, JD Edwards and more. Dave Knowles is now a seasoned expert with almost 3 decades of experience and training in commercial software, home construction, and real estate sales.
In 2008 he started TopBuilder Solutions based on a need he saw in the home building industry, creating solutions that bridge the gap in technology for Residential and Commercial builders. TopBuilder Solution is an excellent CRM tool that has been proven to help home builders across the nation increase profits and efficiencies to help your business reach its goals.
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[00:00:00]Greg Bray: Hello everybody. And welcome back to another episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse.
Greg Bray: And today we are thrilled to have with us, Dave Knowles. Dave is the founder and CEO of Top Builder Solutions. Welcome, Dave.
Dave Knowles: Thank you.
Greg Bray: So Dave, you know, we're real excited to have you, why don't you go ahead for those who don't know you and just give us that quick introduction to you.
Dave Knowles: Yeah, so, well, first of all, thank you for inviting me today and for this great [00:01:00] relationship we've developed with Blue Tangerine and Outhouse.
So yeah, I am the founder and CEO of Top Builder Solutions, a CRM company that is 100% focused on home builders.
Greg Bray: And Dave, what's something that may be a lot of people don't know about you may be from a little more personal standpoint. So we get to know a little bit more about the secret, Dave.
Dave Knowles: Okay. So there's, there's a little, there's a funny story, a behind, behind this, but bear with me.
So I was actually in, literally in jail for a while and I get a, I get, I get the reaction that you would expect from that, but. The funny story is, I guess I was in jail, but, but what we were doing is I have a degree in mechanical engineering and I was working inside the Texas department of corrections inside the jail, actually building a hospital.
And I'm kind of strange hanging out with, with, uh, with prisoners, but, um, [00:02:00] that's the story.
Greg Bray: No is that where you met, is that where you met Kevin or is that,
Kevin Weitzel: and I was going to say, and I was going to say, Oh man, Dave just got wicked interesting. And then I'm like, Oh, working in a jail.
Dave Knowles: Oh yeah. Yeah. It was there's stories behind that. We can fill up the whole podcast. There is a lot of stories there.
Kevin Weitzel: So what, what brings you to the home building industry? What was your overall pathway to get here?
Yeah, well, it's, it's gonna be interesting and a bit long, I'll try to try to summarize, but I started my, my real career in engineering and in construction and, and it led me to work for Arthur Anderson or what's now Ascenture. A long time ago, which, which got me a software background and, um, and eventually led me to a CRM position with Hewlett Packard.
So I was the [00:03:00] CRM manager at HP. Well, at some point I had a, uh, you know, started developing relationships. I had friends that were in the home building industry. I have two really, really good friends that are home builders. And, you know, we're just chit-chatting and talking about things. And, and they obviously know I had a background in software and CRM and they said, you know, Dave, we got a problem.
We don't have a really good CRM for home builders. And so, you know, I'm like that doesn't make sense kind of peel the layers of the onion back a little bit and realize, well, that, that is, that is the case. And, um, this was in 2008. So, you know, with the CRM and background that I have, and the friends with construction, but also coincidentally and people find this a little bit hard to believe it's just a pretty big coincidence, but my wife, it has been in new home sales for two different home builders for 21 [00:04:00] years, way before, way before TopBuilder even existed.
So, um, those, all those things came together. The software, the CRM friends that are in home building, and the wife that's in new home sales brought me, to realize that we've got an opportunity here. So it really helps some people. And so top builder got started
Greg Bray: and do was top builder founded
Dave Knowles: 2008.
Greg Bray: Okay.
Dave Knowles: At the peak of the economy.
Greg Bray: So you came in, right? It, you came in right at the right time to, to really start grabbing your ankles. Right?
Dave Knowles: Well, the timing is interesting. Um, but it's also good because home builders, uh, we're challenged with, uh, with, with sales and marketing and a lot of home builders, especially smaller custom builders.
Um, they don't have marketing departments, they don't have, you know, a sales organization. They may have salespeople. But they were kind of out there without the [00:05:00] resources to do a lot of marketing. And so, you know, we're going to talk about some of the things that we do here at TopBuilder, but, you know, newsletters and email marketing was just something they couldn't afford, you know, to hire an agency to do.
So we were trying to fill that gap.
Greg Bray: And I also think to Dave, you know, well, yeah, you think about. A tough economic time, challenging time to start a company. It's actually when a lot of companies do get started in some of those times where people, you know, see an opportunity or, or maybe what they were doing before, and now they are looking for that next opportunity.
But, but also from a sales standpoint, at that point, my, my memories, you know, when I get past the pain that those members bring, um, uh, you know, every lead mattered in a whole new way of being, and being able to manage those leads and take care of them and nurture them, you know, became, uh, even more critical.
And so I can see how, how that would open up some opportunities [00:06:00] for you.
Dave Knowles: That that is, that is absolutely true. And the other thing that the home builders were doing at that time, It was a lot of them we're branching out. And what I would say pivoting into, you know, people who aren't buying homes as much as they are now, but they would pivot into remodeling.
People were remodeling. And so they would use their crews and their traits to do some remodeling. Um, so there, they had to communicate. To the public, you know, we're now on the remodeling business. So if you need help with your home, you know, they had to do that marketing. And so they needed, they needed a good tool to do that.
Kevin Weitzel: So in the automobile, I come from the automobile industry. So I am absolutely floored when I hear, you know, when I'm talking to builders that they don't even have a CRM, what benefits are builder going to gain from having a CRM.
Dave Knowles: So, um, the, well, I'm Floored as well. And, um, I mean it's obvious that, that the benefits are that you're going to sell, sell more [00:07:00] homes.
Um, and you're gonna, you're, you're gonna, you're being more efficient and cost-effective, but, um, I find also find it very hard to believe. I mean, I think every company should have a CRM. I don't care if you're real small and you, you manage a very short number of leads or, um, you're, you're big and you, you have so many leads that you can't possibly manage them, but, but definitely, you know, to increase your sales, um, and, and get, become more efficient and save money are definitely the main advantages of any CRM, but yeah, home building, uh, and in, in, in construct, it's really, really important to be able to, to collaborate and communicate and capture leads that are coming in online because you're going to get a lot of them and, you know, Blue Tangerine and Outhouse is generating lots of leads.
And to be able to nurture them, follow up on them, [00:08:00] communicate with your agents, communicate with your, um, your home buyer. But there's also an interesting thing that, that a lot of people don't expect from a CRM. Uh, and, and the definition of CRM is changing over time. It's not the same that you, that, you know, it used to be basically a Rolodex.
But, but CRM, these days are allowing you to monitor your funnel and, and, and keep track of your sales goals. So if you, you know, if you want to sell 200 homes a year and you convert them from online leads to onsite, Visitors at a certain rate. Um, and then of course you don't have a conversion rate into actual contracts or homeowners.
Well, if you want to sell those 200 homes a year, well then how many, how many qualified leads do you need to get from, from your website or your marketing activities? And, um, if you don't know that number and how are you going to, [00:09:00] you know, how are you going to reach your goals? If you're not tracking that, you know, what will happen is you'll get to the end of the year.
And all of a sudden, you'll say, whoops, didn't, didn't meet that 200 homes a year ago, you know, but this, you know, the CRM is allow you to track how things are coming into the funnel, how well you're converting them and ensuring that you're going to get to your goal. And if it looks like you're not going to get to your goal, you can make adjustments to your marketing or your processes or something, just to make sure that you don't reach the end of the year and you haven't hit your goal. So that's kind of a, it's kind of an interesting thing that people don't think about with CRM is actually being able to, to, to facilitate your marketing programs and know if they're working or not.
Um, and then if you need to invest more in marketing or change, uh, processes,
Greg Bray: So so Dave, I think, you know, just to. Just to define CRM as a, as a label, their customer relationship management. [00:10:00] Right? Just for those who, who, you know, we're talking about people who may not have one and the name may not mean anything to them either if they don't.
But, but I also think that to say someone doesn't have one. I think everybody has one. It just may be sticky notes on the desk. It may be, it may be an Excel sheet. It may be emails buried in their email account. They have something that they're doing to manage this. It's just not very good. Right.
Dave Knowles: I totally, yeah. I absolutely agree with that. And it's funny because some people even rely on their memory and that's, their CRM is weird as that sounds, but you know, if it's a small builder, they got five leads. They know who they are and their head, you know, they kind of remember the last time they talked to them. What the next step is and you're right. I think everybody does have some form of CRM.
Kevin Weitzel: I think that sales professionals and I use the term professionals with quote marks. I think the sales [00:11:00] professionals keep in their memory, those a leads and only, only a half a dozen of them. The rest of them all kind of get lost in the wayside.
But the B's and C's, which are still viable completely viable sellable clients, they just take off the radar because they don't have the memory in the brain to keep track of all that
Dave Knowles: I absolutely agree. 100%. And Kevin, I even had an in at IBS this year, I had a customer walk into my booth. Um, and I was talking to some other prospects and he's a home builder here in Houston and he's, he walked into my booth and he says, I love top builder, but I don't need TopBuilder for my, what he called his A leads.
I need it for my B, C and D leads, um, because I can't keep up with them, but I know who the leads are, you know? Um, and, uh, and you know, handful of those, but, um, yeah. Agreed. so Greg, to answer your question yet, it does stand for, um, customer relationship management, but frankly [00:12:00] that's a really, really old term.
Um, even that term was developed before the internet actually. So it has the term CRM has kind of evolved to mean a lot of different things and CRM will also be different depending on the industry you're in. So CRM for roofing is a lot different from CRM, for homeowners or CRM for, you know, somebody that's selling clothing.
Um, but in this case, it's, really a tool to allow you to, to manage all your leads and follow up with them and communicate with your prospects and your, we call it a circle of influence, which is your agents, your homeowners, your potential buyer. Um, so it does, it does the meaning does change depending on the industry that you're in.
Kevin Weitzel: Motorcycle industry, they call it client retention because it's not about selling them that first motorcycle it's about selling them [00:13:00] motorcycle after motorcycle, after motorcycle, as they stay involved in the sport
Dave Knowles: Yeah, exactly and parts and service and other stuff.
Kevin Weitzel: Absolutely.
Dave Knowles: Yeah, absolutely nailed it.
Kevin Weitzel: So let me ask you this, when you, when you're talking about, you know, maintain, maintaining that client relationship and having those communications.
Do you find that home builders are receptive or not necessarily receptive to allowing other people into their CRM, like real estate agents that maybe they see on a regular basis, you know, that they're doing Colebrook deals with
Dave Knowles: No, it's funny that you mentioned that some are receptive and some are not.
Um, a lot of them don't want to take on a big project and we try to streamline that implementation, but they, once, once you talk to them about the benefits and how they can they can set a goal. You know, I'm going to sell 200 homes a year and, and they really, they wrap their head around that and they say, Oh wow.
I can make sure I'm on track to get those 200 homes a year. They're [00:14:00] extremely receptive. And they actually make it policy like you will use the CRM because we're tracking our key performance indicators to make sure we're on track to reach our goals. And, you know, it's different, no matter what level, depending on the level of organization that you're in, if you're at the top management level, you're tracking the trends through the funnel, you're tracking your goals.
And at the, at the bottom end of the funnel, start at the bottom end of the organization. I don't mean to say bottom in terms of. You know, their level of expertise or anything, but then, the people that are on the ground using CRM to manage their leads day to day, they're trying to close a deal, but they're also trying to satisfy their bosses, you know, desires to have data to look at.
So, I would say they're receptive that the hurdle that you really need to get over mainly in home building and in new. And when I say normal, like, I mean, new home sales, let's be real clear. We're talking [00:15:00] about new home sales sometimes the agents don't want to jump in, but once they start seeing the benefits, then they're very open to it.
Greg Bray: So, Dave, if I can go back to what we said just a minute ago, kind of this ABC concept, on, on the leads. You know the idea that I remember the A leads because they're the ones that actually call me back. Right. They're the ones that, that are responding. They're the ones that are making the next appointment.
So I'm actively engaged with them. Right. And so now we're trying to, to pull the value from what we call this B and C lead again, moving them to an A right at some point in the process. How, how does the software help with that? Other than just, Oh, now I can see them all on my screen on a big list. What else can, can you do thereto, to kind of help the software do some of the work?
Dave Knowles: So, so there's that we can take up five hours talking through that, but, but one of the things that we really focus on, you know, you know, [00:16:00] walk before you run kind of stuff. And there's a couple of things, first of all, you can automate some of the followups, um, with, and when I say automate.
There's a couple of different types of automates. So you get a new prospect in it. Let's just say, you know, for this discussion that comes in through the website and you'll send them an email, but if there's no contact with them if you've tried to call them or whatever after that first email goes out, you may send another email, you know, in other words, you haven't moved them into another stage in the pipeline in the, in the sales funnel or you haven't changed their status in the CRM to say, Hey, we actually, you know, made contact with this. You know, you can continue to send them emails or text messages, or it'll remind you to say, Hey, we haven't called this person in a while. Um, it's time to make another attempt to either call them or email them.
Um, and so it really, really [00:17:00] helps you stay on top of that follow-up and until they get to the point where you've switched them to that a prospect or they've they've walked into the model home or something to change that. But the other thing that we, we really advocate with all of our new home sales professionals is, is you need to use the CRM as a collaboration and a communication tool.
So you're collaborating between. Your online sales counselor, you know, the person that's managing leads coming in from the website, your chat, everything that's coming in online you're onsite sales counselors, which are the folks that are working in the model or the design centers. Um, and you know, you can, you can collaborate between that, especially now, since a lot of them are working from home and not in the office, or some of them are not even in the model now.
And so they have an appointment set. So having somebody to be able to set that appointment and collaborate between the [00:18:00] online sales lead management manager called the OSC and the onsite person, which is the person in the community, managing the model is really important, but that's the collaboration part.
The other very, very, very important thing that people tend to forget is this is a communication tool and the most important thing to do is to communicate to your prospects. I call them your influencers, your prospects, your realtors because they influence the sale, even existing homes homeowners, in the neighborhood, or that you've sold a home to and tell them what's going on or tell them what's important.
If you have inventory to sell a home, to sell and it's completed. Send them send out an email and say, Hey, this home is for sale. You know, maybe even before you've listed it on the MLS and the realtors will automatically say, [00:19:00] okay, I've got the inside screen from the builder. I'm going to go out and I'm going to contact my clients.
And we're going to book an appointment to go see the home. Or you may have some buyers going on. You may have a realtor event. An open house in the model, you may have a party in the model, maybe not these days, but you may have some sort of event. Um, in the model, you may have a grand opening in a community.
You may be closing out a community. There are so many things that you can talk about that you need to use CRM because it's your database of influencers to communicate what's going on and it will increase your sales tremendously. Because it's really, you're, you're blasting it out to all these people, um, in a very professional way, I would say.
But then, um, you know, they'll respond to that. They'll react and you'll, you'll see it. You'll see the trend, through your sales funnel will increase every time you send [00:20:00] out one of those emails, we do it ourselves. We use, we use TopBuilder for ourselves. And when we send out an email about a webinar or IBS or whatever it may be, we see a spike in the leads that we're getting for sure.
Kevin Weitzel: Now, Dave, I heard you use the term party. I'm just kidding. Um, no, I've got a question for ya. And that question is, is that I'm a firm believer, you know, coming from a different industry into the home building industry. I'm a firm believer in using the one three seven and the three, 10, and 30 rule as far as outreach auto-response times.
I hate as a consumer autoresponder, but I love automated processes. Yeah, their way with and not, and I know this is more educational and less about, you know, you know, selling top builder, but on the top builder platform, is there, how involved is your system for the brass? If you will to be able to monitor a big brother, the processes that are in place?
Dave Knowles: Well, that's a big part of it and I'm a process [00:21:00] is a workflow or a followup plan. And, the, we always tell people, you know, once you set your goals, once you determine your key performance indicators, they'll be put into the software so that you can monitor them. But then you need to develop a standard operating procedure or guidelines, which is what you just mentioned, Kevin.
So, you know, we expect that you're going to follow up this way. I think we got, you know, salespeople don't like that, but some, some guidelines, it doesn't have to be very rigid or, you know, if you don't follow up within this hour, then you know, you're ding, but, but have some guidelines like that and put those into a followup.
What we call a followup plan. Sometimes we call it workflow, but then the management teams can monitor those plans and say, okay, well what's getting done and what's not getting done. It's really that simple. And yeah. And then they can take action. They can say, well, Mr. Or Mrs. Sales, new home [00:22:00] sales specialist, we see that we have a plan and it ain't getting done well, we don't have a phone number or they're not, you know, Their emails were bouncing. I don't know. But, but if you don't, if you don't have that in place to monitor that workflow, that follow up plan, you don't know whether it's happening or not. You have no idea.
Kevin Weitzel: I'll tell you what I, as a salesperson, way, way back time machine. Uh, I too hate it. Uh, CRMs because it's just a process and stuff.
But the epiphany that really made that light bulb just shine bright above my head. As far as me having full buy-in the CRM process is that it sets a standard. I put this many at the top of the funnel and this next action will create this many leads. That next action will create that many. Sit-downs this many writeups, not many closed deals.
And you can literally look at the whole process and those numbers and know exactly where you are just by the amount of action you have. Now granted you may fall slightly outside of those ratios, but for the most part across the board, [00:23:00] those ratios are always going to hold true.
Dave Knowles: I would agree. I would agree.
And I don't know if that's, there's a question in there, but that's absolutely true. And it almost, it almost becomes kind of fun in a weird way because yes. Um, sales guys do not, or women don't necessarily want to. Use a CRM or have, you know, big brother watching over them. But, but they're mostly on commission, right?
And so they even can set their own goals to say, look, if I want to make $100,000 this year, I know I'm making X percent on every home. I know every home is hypothetically a hundred thousand dollars. And you work backward through the funnel and you say, okay, well guess what, if I'm going to make a hundred thousand dollars this year, I have to sell this many homes or, well, I should say I have to get this many leads because I [00:24:00] know exactly what you said, Kevin.
I know they're going to convert generally within this conversion rate through the funnel now. Right. I can try to improve that with a good CRM, right. Or, you know, um, maybe I'll go to sales training or something, but assuming that conversion rates are the same, I know I need to get that. What, we're, what we're going to call as qualified.
Um, if I'm going to hit my sales number and then, you know, you can watch the trends are my conversion rates getting better or worse? Are my qualified leads getting better or worse? In other words, they're getting worse. I'm never going to hit my sales goal for the year. I'm not going to be able to get my commissions.
I need to do something now before it's too late, I need to go hire Blue Tangerine or Outhouse or somebody to come, help me get better leads.
Greg Bray: So, Dave, as, as you ponder kind of implementing this, especially somebody who hasn't done it yet. I, I can see, [00:25:00] um, the concern that as I try to automate some of this followup, I lose the personal touch.
You know, I no longer feel like I'm the, you know, the computer sends them that email. I didn't send them that email. How do, how do we balance out so that I can follow up with a larger number, be effective with my time, but not make the customer feel like they're getting an automated followup that knows nothing about them?
Dave Knowles: Yeah. Well, that's a great question. And it's, it's, it's a perfect, perfect question because, because let's, let's be real. Okay. They're selling new they're selling homes and had that. That's a very personal transaction. Okay. And you're selling a home, you're selling a lifestyle. It is personal, I mean, I just bought a home.
I know. I mean, it's a very emotional, a very personal experience. If it, if, if they don't like the agent, if it's if it feels right disconnected and you're in the, and they don't [00:26:00] care, I'm going to use the word care because if they don't care about you, it. It's not going to work out. It's not going to be a good experience.
And so that personal touch, if you don't have at least some of it or a good degree of it, then it shows that you don't care. So if everything is an automated email or an email blast, well, do they really care about me? No. So what we, what we advocate is only automate emails where it's necessary and an automated email that goes out after you fill out a contact form on the website.
Is normal people expect that you know, they expect and actually they may, they may wonder why they didn't get an email. Yeah. But you know, in some cases, but you know, they fill out a contact form on the website. You send a thank you email. We know, thank you for your interest. You know, we've got your information, we'll be in touch.
Um, and then, then what you would want to do is you would want to automate [00:27:00] reminders to pick up the phone and call them, or send them a personal email from your outlook or your Gmail account or whatever you're using and do that in a, in a surgical way, you know, at the right time, maybe the day after they visited the model home.
And you put those in your followup plan to say, Hey, um, I know you visited the model yesterday today. Did you enjoy the experience? But what's really important, Greg, with this question. You use your CRM, even if that CRM is in your head or on a sticky note to jot down some personal information about that meeting about that, visit everything you can gather to really make that a good personalized experience.
And when you pick up the phone to call them, or you send them an email, you know, you include some of that personal touch that you've gathered from that meeting in that communication. And that's one of the biggest [00:28:00] benefits of CRM because I cannot remember every single we talked to thousands of builders a year.
I can't remember every single one of them, but, but you'll even use, you'll even use your CRM too. Right. Put, put something about that person. They wore a red sweater and they were drinking your Starbucks coffee. They had two kids running around the model home. One was not feeling well. You know, those kinds of things.
And then you said, Hey, you know, I remember this person you're, you're, you know, how's your, how's your daughter, you know, she didn't feel, and that's where you keep the personal touch in the home sales, even though everything has gone kind of online. Right. And especially with COVID, that's how you use your CRM to keep that personal touch.
Now you'll also want to automate if somebody goes dark or somebody goes quiet and they're not responding to your emails or not responding to your phone calls. Yes. Let's automate some emails that would go out to them and say, Hey, we're here and we haven't forgot about you, but don't, don't overdo that.
[00:29:00] Kevin Weitzel: I agree. So I have another little kind of a tangent, the offshoots from there. I could probably learn a lot from both you and Greg, as far as the implementation, because you know, I sell widgets and visualizations that I have built are struggling with implementing that. Which have just plugins to literally any website on the planet?
So when you're talking about something like a website or a CRM, when you're when you do get past that hurdle of getting them to buy into the concept of implementing it, what pitfalls are you running into with builders? As far as them. Getting the most out of their CRM reaching that full potential of, of, uh, the major benefit of that product.
Dave Knowles: I love the question. Um, now had I not been in there business for as long as I had, I would have no idea. Right. So, but, but, but we've lived this, we lived this for years and we've done thousands of implementations. And it's very, very, very clear. There was one, one hurdle more than anything, [00:30:00] and that is not committing and not, you know, you'll implement it.
You'll set up, but you don't commit. And, um, And to me, that means it was never really implemented. So even though you turned on the software or you set it up, it's branded, you've got your workloads in there, but if you're not using it, you really have not implemented and you haven't committed. So we actually, um, We go through a process on this and we help them get over that commitment.
Um, I'll call it for this, for this podcast, but the commitment hurdles start with determining why you want your CRM in the first place. What is your goal? Okay. What do you, what do you want it for? And let's document that let's let's set goals. How many homes do I want to sell a year? Develop some KPIs around that goal.
And then, um, develop operating procedures or guidelines [00:31:00] around that. Okay. So we're going to end the leads this way. We're going to take notes. We're going to set up the next steps. We're going to set up, follow up, follow up plans every step of the way as they move through the funnel. This is what we're going to do.
These are your guidelines for using the CRM, and then you're always going back in the reports that you run. The meetings that you're in the conversations that you have, they all point back to those original goals. You can change the goals of course, but they need to go back to that original goal. And you and your CRM will tell you if you're on track for that goal, you know, I want to sell 200 homes a year and you talk about it all the time.
You socialize that. And then you tell you, make sure everybody's on board. This is our goal for the year. This is how we're going to get there with the CRM. And then you commit to it and then you use your CRM to monitor it. So people aren't using the CRM, then you have no idea if you're on [00:32:00] track to meet those goals.
Cause you don't, you don't know where the leads are in the, in the funnel. You don't know if it's if it is even is a lead right in the system. And so you have no idea if you're going to meet the goals. And, um, we, we do, I don't like to tell builders what to do because of this, and this is a little bit contrived, I would say.
Um, you know, they don't, one of the things some of our builders have said is like, you don't get paid unless the lead isn't in the CRM. I think that's to the extreme cause these are, these are professional people, but, but you know, it is part of their job. And if you set your goals, you know, why you have the CRM in the first place and you, you're using the CRM to track those goals. Everybody will be on board, but we get a lot of people signing up for CRM because they think they need a CRM. You know, somebody told them they needed a CRM or their builder 20 group said, Hey, you need a CRM. Right. But they don't really know why. But, but when you do get your CRM, understand why [00:33:00] you want the CRM, understand what your business goals are, understand what your marketing goals are, understand what your sales goals are, and use that to use your CRM, to track that.
And everybody will be on board and you'll be successful for sure. And we do this ourselves. We did this exact same thing at top builder ourselves within our own company. And we're not talking about this stuff with my team, I'll just pick up, Hey look, our, our, our qualified leads are trending up. That's cool.
You know, and it's, it becomes more of a social, you know, you've socialized the whole project within the company because you talk about it and you meet on it. And you use it regularly. So sorry for the long answer there.
Kevin Weitzel: No and that statement of fact, I, you know, when I have my sales team, I'll actually tell them when I, when they first get onboarded on like, you're you have the potential to be a highly compensated professional that is technically an independent contractor.
Here's a tool that you didn't have to pay a penny for. The only expectation I have is that you utilize it. And if you [00:34:00] utilize it, you will find success and your compensation level will go through the roof.
Dave Knowles: I love it. I love it. Yeah. I mean, you know, obviously, I'm very passionate about this. I get, I get really excited about it.
I'll go on and on and on, but you know, it's interesting, Kevin, that what you said, it's kind of, I've heard people speak on this and even in IBS about your sales team and your management or your marketing teams. You think of it as a contract between the upper management and your sales team. Upper management's responsibility in that contract is to provide funding for marketing websites, other activities.
And, you know, kind of their that's their role. Um, yeah. You know, there's a lot more to it than that. That's their role there's a contract. And then, like you said, the salesperson is an independent contractor. They're under contract and their role and their goals are to do these things. And you, maybe I was thinking right now, I don't know, but I like that model.
It's interesting. These are my [00:35:00] responsibilities. These are your responsibilities. And, um, yeah, it works for some people.
Greg Bray: So Dave, to follow up on the implementation challenges that you were describing, have you seen any patterns for kind of how long I should plan that it takes to really decide, yes, we've done it or we've failed and we need to start over or try something different, you know, kind of, I'm sure there's a huge variance based on that commitment level, but, but, you know, thoughts there.
Dave Knowles: Yeah, there is, um, it's really a matter of, of a process, Greg, and it you're right. It is, it varies from builder to builder, but it's really about, you know, going through the process and saying, in defining your goals, defining your key metrics, you know, we're going to get this many qualified leads a year.
And if you divide it over weeks or months, this, you know, this is how many we would need to get them up and whatever, [00:36:00] but once you've defined your goals and you've got your reports that track those goals, and everybody's on board with that, then almost immediately, I'll say like your first KPI review meeting, you can do them quarterly.
I suggest not doing, I suggested to them weekly. But, but once those are in place and you start tracking those goals in your meetings, in your, in your, in your performance and your, your key performance indicator reports immediately you'll know if you're not implemented because people will not be putting their data in that tracks against those KPIs you'll know right away.
And so what you'll have to do is you'll have to regroup. And make sure everybody's onboard and understands their, their obligations, but that doesn't take very long. If you've got your goals set up, you've got your [00:37:00] KPIs established your reports set up and your, your guidelines, or your operating procedures in place, you know, that that could be a week.
That could be, it depends on how long it takes for you to put that together. Um, once you've got that going and you have your first meeting, that's when you'll know.
Great. Well, thanks, Dave. We really appreciate your time today. I know you've, uh, you know, shared a lot with us and a lot to digest, but as we kind of wrap up here, you know, if you have just kind of one piece of advice for, for those listening today, it doesn't have to be CRM related just to just any type of business advice you might want to leave with folks, what would you, what would you share?
Well, this may sound weird, but. But once you do what we talked about today, Have fun with it. And it really is fun watching the numbers. You can make a game, we've seen people make games out of it. So they'll have a sales [00:38:00] contest, you know, who has increased their conversion rates or, you know, who, um, you know, close this many deals this month, or you can come up with the game.
But, but, but it is, you don't want it to be so mechanical. And so like Kevin used the term, big brother. It's not about that, man. It's about selling more homes, selling, you know, increasing your sales. I really have fun with it. I, I use it, you know, myself and I love getting in there and running the reports and seeing how we're doing.
And it isn't a weird kind of maybe it's. Maybe I'm just a dork, but I just think it's fun. Cool. And how so have fun, make sure you understand what your goals are upfront, but then have some fun with it. And one, when your sales start going up, it will be fun. I promise. Um, so that's, that's a good question, but yeah, that's, that's my advice.
Greg Bray: Thanks, Dave. That's [00:39:00] that's terrific. We appreciate that. If somebody wants to learn more about top builder solutions or wants to just kind of reach out and chat, what's the best way for them to connect with you, Dave?
Dave Knowles: Well, yeah, sure. Of course. Our website is a, is a, is a great place. Um, it's TopBuilderSolutions.com.
Um, or you can email me directly. Um, it's Dave K D A V E K @builder solutions.com. Our phone number is on the website, of course. And, um, we have a contact form on the website, of course. And we would love to hear from you, especially if, uh, if you wanna, you know, ask questions about this podcast and, and how you can do some of these things would be happy to help you.
Awesome. Well again, Dave, thanks so much for your time today. We really appreciate it. Thank you, everybody, for listening and we hope you'll join us next time. I'm Greg Bray from Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse.