Storm Guard Gains Full Visibility Into Their Sales Pipeline With Zoho One

"We're able to understand more about our business than we ever did before."

- Kyle Barr, VP of Franchise Operations for Storm Guard Franchise Systems

The Company

Storm Guard was founded in 2003, offering construction expertise and services to homeowners and business owners in need of roofing services resulting from storm damage or age. Starting with a single location in Minnesota, they decided to franchise the company in 2011, growing to become one of the largest residential roofing and construction franchises in the United States.

The Challenge

One of the main challenges Storm Guard faced as they began franchising was replication and the standardization of their processes. Their business model consists of sales representatives out in the field, canvassing neighborhoods to offer free roof inspections and following up with roof repair services. As they began to franchise, Storm Guard sought out experts to help with their expansion. They had a great team of franchise consultants with subject matter expertise and institutional training, but that could only get them so far without ample experience in selling roofs. Kyle Barr worked as a roof salesman in the business for years before consulting and eventually moving into his role as VP of Franchise Operations for Storm Guard Franchise Systems. The industry is specialized enough that real experience with roofing is important for efficacy. According to Barr, "There aren't many people out there selling roofs that could transition into business consulting, as well as building and refining the business processes so that they could be replicated." This presented a challenge for creating an efficient and uniform training experience across all of the franchises. "Trying to take that information and convey it to the right teams would take months and months of time. We would have to go out into the field together, and then bring that information to the franchise owners, and then from the owners to the sales people," Barr explained.

An extra hindrance to creating and standardizing processes was the fact that the majority of their employees were out in the field and not in an office. This resulted in a lack of direct oversight: Storm Guard had no way of knowing if their teams were saying the same things, representing the company the same way, or following the same processes to ensure that the homeowners and customers were receiving a consistent experience.

A paper-based process with largely verbal communications also meant there wasn't a way to track the progress of leads accurately. With a lengthy sales process involving insurance and mortgage companies, it could take months before a client was confirmed into the office with their payment. Without being able to track the time from making contact to the sale, managers couldn't definitively discern if sales representatives were on target, if they were balanced in focusing on both the sales and the production side, or if the business was about to hit a three-week lull while the pipeline was refilled. "The only way you would ever get an insight into this was if the sales manager sat down with their sales rep and checked what kinds of deals they had in their box, but that wouldn’t happen very often," said Barr.

Additionally, their sales representatives were operating in the field with a CRM that wasn't mobile friendly, which quickly became one of their biggest challenges. Since agents were almost exclusively out in the field, mobile access was the only way they were going to be able to keep their data up to date. "There were thousands of people we were making contact with that we weren’t retaining their information," said Barr

The Solution

Dissatisfied with the limitations of their paper processes and their CRM at the time, Storm Guard began to search for a new CRM. At the recommendation of one of their franchisee operators, Barr explored the possibilities of Zoho One as a complete operating system for their business.

Storm Guard needed to standardize their operations so that each franchise location delivered consistent and efficient client experiences. They also needed these systems to provide visibility across locations so Storm Guard could track progress and overall growth.

They started in Zoho CRM by creating a new Blueprint for sales opportunities. This was used in their custom jobs module to handle project management. Within the jobs module, different user profiles were given access at pre-determined stages. This allowed their sales representatives control of an opportunity within the sales stage before transferring control to the production team as it moved into the production stage. "The Blueprint forces people to make sure they hit every stage so you can see the conversion rates. We can also filter parameters for opportunities, like 'Last Activity Time,' which lets us know that there are dormant opportunities out there where follow-ups should be made," said Barr. This ensured the proper checks and balances were maintained by each team, as well as improving the accuracy of their numbers and predictions.

To make opening a new franchise a very replicable process, Storm Guard created checklists that would carry franchisees from signing to opening. This ensured that each location maintained brand consistency in operations and training. Additionally, they used Zoho Sprints for internal project management to help IT or support staff complete tasks to get locations up and running.

Production teams also found solutions in project management, with previous systems of magnets on white boards expounded on or replaced entirely by Zoho. "In the jobs module of CRM, using the KanBan view and customizing the job stages has really helped us because we have the different stages – you can see the pre-production, production, post-production, and exactly where everything is sitting," said Barr. Because of the severe impact of weather on roofing jobs, with their old system, everything would need to be taken down and rescheduled manually. With Zoho, Storm Guard can edit jobs with the ease of dragging a mouse.

Furthermore, with Zoho's mobile capabilities and integration options, Storm Guard was able to optimize operations for their sales representatives on the ground. By using a door-to-door canvassing app, Storm Guard was able to integrate data into Zoho’s CRM Leads Module using Zapier. The app lays out the route and each person interested can be added to the system from there. Once someone’s information is attached to the door, it is pushed into the Leads Module in CRM. Barr claimed this was one of the biggest challenges of their last CRM that Zoho has helped to solve. "Now, after a storm, if we’ve canvassed leads in an area, we can reach out and say, 'We know a storm came through your area yesterday, we’ll come back out today to do a free inspection and look at your roof,' which means we generate leads without having to get back out into the field. That’s huge for us!"

As of now, Storm Guard is using Zoho CRM, Sprints, Analytics, Invoice, Desk, Sign, Backstage, Workdrive, Cliq, Projects, Writer, Sheets, Meeting, Survey, Bookings, and Connect.

Benefits and ROI

Using Zoho Analytics to bring the data all together in one place has been a benefit both to corporate and the individual franchise locations. The ability to pull information from Zoho apps like Invoice and CRM alongside franchise-specific information in Excel sheets has helped centralize all of their data. "Zoho Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool–you can pull any data together, you can combine reports. We’ve got so many reports in there it’s insane! It’s been very helpful to identify indicators in our business that we never would have had before," said Barr. By integrating data from CRM into Analytics, Storm Guard has been able to compile reports and leaderboards that they can share with the franchise owner system.

Zoho helped Storm Guard gain insight into their sales process. "Before, it was hard to understand your sales team," Barr explained. "You couldn’t know who was performing well and who was not. But Zoho One created visibility of the pipeline for the owners, allowing them to plan their business and focus their efforts where they should." Storm Guard also embedded their leaderboard into the company webpage using Analytics. As a company, they hold national contests using different metrics each month, with the leaderboard reflecting those changes in metrics by selections made in Analytics, without anyone needing to re-embed the report. Recognizing leaders in certain metrics means they can then reach out to document and share select tips for other franchise owners to learn and implement, continually refining and improving not only their own process, but their franchise owners'.

An unexpected benefit of the new process has been employee retention. The combination of commission-based pay and the limitations of door-to-door sales in the winter resulted in a loss of sales representatives in the slower season, as employees sought supplementary income. By streamlining their data management within the CRM, sales teams can continue to make opportunities and sales even in the slow-season, which means more employees staying on year-round.

Looking Forward

With a standardized process for building and operating franchises as well as data systems that talk to one another for a more complete picture, Storm Guard has been able to streamline and strengthen operations. Their teams can take initiative to manage their own pipelines and progress tracking has allowed for more effective management oversight. Lead to sale conversions have increased with a more clear view of the sales pipeline, giving Storm Guard the ability to recognize who is doing their job exceptionally well, gather data on why, and disseminate that information to other teams. Barr stated, "We're able to understand more about our business than we ever did before." With Zoho One, Storm Guard has created processes they can trust so that they can focus on their future.

Storm Guard is constantly looking to see what else they can use within Zoho One. Next, they plan to explore Campaigns within CRM to reach out to previous customers and prospects when storms come through their area.