Complete Guide to Managing an Effective Sales Pipeline
BY ASHLEY KORNER, SENIOR VP SALES & OPERATIONS, CARR WORKPLACES
Part 3 of the free eBook: The Complete Guide to Growing Your Flexible Workspace Business
Sales and pipeline management for operators of flexible workspaces is just one step in the lifecycle that is tightly integrated into all of the surrounding steps. The goal is to drive a revolving door of revenue opportunity while building lasting relationships with your prospects who will become your lifeline.
At this point in the lifecycle, you’ve secured your lead, provided a tour and there is a promising opportunity to close the deal. How you juggle the many moving pieces of the sales process can determine your success.
After a prospect has toured your workspace, operators must be agile and efficient in managing the opportunity. For due diligence, identify your prospect and research the company ahead of time, especially if they come from overseas, to avoid payment default and to safeguard against possible scammers.
Strike while the iron is hot. Have a proposal template on hand, generate a customized quote and send it via e-mail immediately following the tour while the experience of your workspace is still fresh in their mind.
Sending the proposal with the legal terms, license agreement and ability to execute electronically makes the prospect-to-customer conversion a cinch. The objective is to make the entire lifecycle a seamless and effortless experience for your members from day one.
Your quoting engine should run like a well-oiled machine. Track correspondence and be quick to respond to any further questions they may have on services and pricing.
Win Some, Lose Some
Not every tour will lead to a sale. Some prospects will prefer another workspace over yours, some operators will be quicker to respond or to negotiate on price, prospects may lose their funding or just not need the space anymore. There may be other reasons for losing a deal, but having a license out should not stop you from selling the space. To prevent this, operators need to be in the know at all times on their inventory and client move-ins and move-outs.
Managing your workspace inventory effectively is almost just as important as selling the space. As alluded to in the last article on Mastering the Workspace Tour, you may not always have availability to show a space that matches a prospect’s needs but having real-time insight into your inventory is key. Having visibility into when renewals are due and matching prospects with flexible move-in dates means revenue in your pocket.
Brokers and big operators like Regus have more resources at their disposal to view, manage and even filter inventory based on specific categories. Smaller single site and multisite operators mistakenly think that access to these capabilities is out of reach, but there are workspace management tools that enable you to compete. For example, being able to distinguish when inventory is booked and understanding the actual revenue associated with each space allows operators to manage terminations and renewals in parallel to managing your sales pipeline.
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Let’s take a look at the factors that may affect the price of a space. In order of importance, they are location, density, duration of the lease and quality of the office.
In our experience, the location of your workspace will make the biggest impact on price. If you have five offices in Manhattan, there will clearly be more business potential and greater opportunity to set your prices at a premium. A city location also means a higher concentration of competitors versus being the only business center or coworking center within a 20-mile radius in the suburbs of the city.
This will be determined by how many people you’re trying to pack into your shared workspace. The more people in a flexible desk area or in private offices, the less you should charge. While you may be able to offer cheaper space and attract more prospects, cramming your clients into your workspace like sardines will never create a good member experience.
- Duration of the lease
As a general rule of thumb, the duration of a lease is typically a function of availability, lead flow, and a sense of the market. If the market is on the rise, you’ll be less inclined to write longer leases. If it’s falling, however, you’ll want to lock your tenants into longer leases (this varies based on countries and territories – be sure to check regulations per country).
High lead flow and low space availability allows operators to charge higher prices, while less incoming leads and greater space availability limits how much they can charge. Operators may need to evaluate if writing a longer term lease is less lucrative compared to writing three short term lease deals that can be priced higher. If you’re confident that you’ll fill the space, then you’ll take the multiple short lease deals.
- Office Quality
The devil is in the details. Keeping your space in tip-top shape and ensuring frequent and thorough cleanings are a must. There is no room for visible dust, crumbs or dirt. It’s a given, but often times operators must encourage members to treat the workspace as their own home.
Keeping an eye out for troublesome or conflictive members is imperative. Both the state of the facilities and the quality of the community are factors that contribute to greater member satisfaction, allowing operators to price their shared workspace at a premium.
Offering basic amenities such as Wi-Fi, printing, and (free!) coffee are expected. What distinguishes your space and delivers a slicker member experience is how your members can access these services. For example, providing mobile and self-service access to their workspace – to book meeting rooms from their tablet or purchase additional bandwidth on the fly – is a premium service that is highly valued and adds to the quality of your space.
Seal the Deal
Compared to the old days of the flexible workspace industry when the buying cycle was long and drawn out, today it is much more accelerated and streamlined, similar to that of a hotel. Inventory can be viewed and toured virtually and memberships procured with a few clicks.
Operators can build their pipeline with positive first impressions, a reasonable price-quality ratio, and making it easy and seamless for prospects to seal the deal.
Underpinning your business with the right tools and software that seamlessly connect the steps of the sales cycle and make management easier and more efficient is key.
Continue to Part VI: Onboarding New Tenants and Members in the Shared Workspace