By Karen L. Edwards.
It sounds futuristic but it’s happening right now. Recently, RoofersCoffeeShop® attended the METALCON show in Pittsburgh where we had the opportunity to listen to a technology presentation by members of the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) which was moderated by RCS’s Heidi Ellsworth.
One of the panelists was Josey Parks, a roofing contractor and entrepreneur who shared how artificial intelligence (AI) and data can be a powerful lead and sales tool for roofing businesses. When Josey started his metal roofing business, he said he would keep track on a paper of what neighborhoods he had knocked doors in, then he advanced to using a bike trail app to track the locations where he and his sales team had been.
They have moved on today to using GIS technology. By sending emails and tracking the locations of who opened the emails, they can plot the locations on a map. Contractors can do this today by uploading their data into a free program like Google Earth. Once they map the locations of who opened the emails, the canvassers can better target the neighborhoods by calling on people who showed an interest.
As leads come into a business, whether through a contractor’s own efforts on platforms like AdWords or through a paid lead service, figuring out which leads are going to be more likely to buy and which ones are a waste of time has always been a challenge. The evolution of artificial intelligence is making this task much easier.
Determined to make it easier for contractors to prevent wasted time, money and resources as well as limit burnout and churn of salespeople, Josey partnered with an analyst and developers to create a solution. They combined the strength of data modeling, analysis, machine learning, and GIS technology to create a tool that is intelligent, customizable, and ideally suited to the needs of contractors.
Josey shared how the AI and machine learning works. “If you take the records for 1,000 customers and run them through an AI program it will learn from the data. It will recognize patterns of the first 70 percent (or 700 records). Then it will take the next 300 records and predict their behavior based on what it learned from the first 700 and provide them a score.” The more records that are analyzed, the smarter the tool becomes.
The combination of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning allows marketers to now process historical customer data to identify patterns of success. By comparing at a very granular level, customer households with non-customer households, marketers are now able to determine what factors best describe a leads overall quality level.
Josey explained that he is able to use AI to score and predict his leads to the point that it lets him know which salesperson is the best one to receive that lead, based on past performance of the salesperson. It’s important to optimize your business and not waste time and resources assigning the wrong leads to the wrong salesperson.
When the model is applied to any geographic market, the resulting output identifies all households that look most like your existing past customer households. This scoring and ranking of households can then be reduced to highly targeted lead lists for marketing execution. By only focusing on the high value households you will eliminate wasted spend and gain confidence in your marketing efforts.
Contractors have a tremendous amount of data in their businesses that, with these new technologies, they can leverage to position their companies for success.
There is a direct relationship between your business growth and how effective your marketing efforts are. Marketing spend is most often a significant percentage of your overall budget but unfortunately can be challenging to have confidence in the results returned. Effective marketing starts with efforts being focused on the right target audience. Your competitors are actively marketing their brand, effective targeted marketing can make sure you stay a step ahead and increase your market share.
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