By Mark Porter
When your customers require a quote you take the time to calculate an estimate that they can use to make decisions regarding their company but you are also generating numbers that can be valuable to your company.
Everytime you generate an estimate you can be tracking numbers that can provide your own company with valuable information that can predict future work and predict future trends.
By reviewing and analyzing your estimates you can find desirable jobs, future business, changes in market conditions and monitor your customer base.
Every week you should review the estimates that you generated. Look for desirable jobs that you can follow-up. Whether it is a quantity level or a price level - flag these jobs and follow up these estimates to ensure you don't lose the order for a bad reason.
All companies have a won\loss ratio for the estimates they do. If you monitor the number of estimates you do each week it can be a predictor of how busy you will be in the future.
All companies specialize in and perform different types of work at different levels of success. Tracking estimates each week by job type can further strengthen your predictions of production levels in the future. If 80% of your estimates last week were for work you typically don't get - you may have a production slow down in the near future if you don't increase your sales effort now.
Won / Loss ratios should be monitored for Customers, Job Types and Sales people. Tracking your won / loss statistics can provide important information such as who are your best customers. Tracking won/loss by Job Type can indicate where your company excels. A shrinking won / loss ratio for a product you typically do well on could indicate a competitor is reducing their pricing.
Won / Loss ratios by Salesperson can indicate if the salerep is targeting their efforts on the type of work your company does well.
Tracking estimate activity can not only tell you who is giving you estimates but also who is not. This is especially true for your good customers. Monitoring information such as no recent estimates can indicate if a customer is starting to shift work to another finisher / binder and provide you time to try to correct the situation. This is especially true of your good customers. 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers - you must stay on top of these good customers.
Finally ask questions like when will this job be awarded and then track estimates each day. Find the desirable estimates each day and stay on top of these quotes. Don't lose highly valuable jobs because the printer didn't think you had the capabilities or capacity or simply lost your quote behind his desk.