Success is About 10% Inspiration, Leadership, Experience and 90% Anxiety.
Mark Quinn: Extreme Team Leader
When we started this project I don’t think that any of us realized the amount of work it was going to be. In addition, I have learned a lot about change and how difficult that can be, mostly to a retailer that has had success over the years doing it their way.
And we didn’t always agree.
Keith and the Leggett Team have disagreed on products, pricing, logos, website design, store layout, store messaging, print advertising and radio scripts...so pretty much everything. Not only have we disagreed but we have had some very heated discussions about them to a point where I am sure that both groups probably said, “I’ve had about enough.” There were times we dug our heels in and there were times that the Bedzzz Express Team did the same thing. When you do that, you put yourself out there in a way because if your way fails, not only will the result fall short of expectations but you have a big fat “I TOLD YOU SO” coming! read more
In phase two, “implementation” we got to install many of the things that we had been working on for the past month.
That took some 14 hour days to do, but that was the easy part. The challenge came when we had to sell the concept to the sales force of Bedzzz Express. If that group did not wholeheartedly BELIEVE that this was going to help their business then the execution of the plan was going to fail and the results would not follow all of the hard work. It was critical that management had bought into the solutions and we had them on our side because we involved them from the beginning. They had some ownership in the final result and when it came time to sell it to the rest of the Bedzzz Express team, they were behind it 100%.
The training was probably the most important piece during this phase. We spent three days with Bedzzz Express showing them the concepts, and coaching them on the new sales approach and products. I think at the end of the day it all came down to how they were going to separate themselves from others in the market and improve the consumer experience. We talked to them about looking at themselves NOT as a mattress salesperson, but instead, a sleep consultant that could literally help their customer improve their quality of life in choosing the right bed/sleep accessories. I believe that giving purpose to people helps them to do a job with more passion and enthusiasm. When you tell people that they can impact somebody’s life, and then you all start sharing stories about how that has already happened without even trying, based on past examples, people’s faces start to light up and you can see the self concept transition start to take place.
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The Right Tools and the Right Products
Brian Croft - Director of US Retail Sales
I introduced Keith and his team to a performance scorecard that measures volume, average ticket, and attachment rates of accessory items.
I was not sure if I had an instant buy-in from Keith, but he pulled some numbers anyway for the past several months for each salesperson.
He called me and was completely surprised with what he found. read more
But first, let me say that I believe in the comfort and health benefits of an adjustable bed, and that those benefits become apparent when you introduce customers to them.
But I also believe that skilled performance metrics combined with powerful, effective sales training can take a retail bedding store that has some success to a retail bedding store that has nothing but success.
And let me add the scorecard protects Keith’s privacy because it does not share information on a volume basis, but rather on a percentage of volume. Since the scorecard is formatted on a percentage basis, he can compare the performance of all of his sales people on an even playing field independent of the size of store they might work in.
Neither he, nor his sales managers, were able to name the top five sales people on the scorecard. Keith told me that who he had thought was the best, or second best, salesperson turned out to actually be one of his average people.
In one case, someone he had a hunch was under performing turned out to be his best salesperson. The exercise proved to be enough evidence for Keith that he needed to start keeping score and start holding people accountable for their performance.
After reviewing the performance management ideas with Keith and his team, I got the feeling that Keith really appreciated the fact that he will have more control over maximizing his revenue and gross margin. He will know exactly who he should promote to run a new store when he expands, who deserves recognition as “Salesperson of the Month”, what kind of training each person needs to grow their individual performance, and in what areas he needs to proactively recruit new talent. Taking the scorecard a level higher, he will also be able to find out which of his sales managers deserves a promotion when the times comes by comparing the performance of the group of stores each are responsible for.
Herman Tam - Head of Marketing, Consumer Products Group (Sleep Related Products and Accessories)
The first task in Keith’s store was to create a better visual merchandising area for sleep accessories. We introduced Keith to a POP Display that is part of the U.S. patent-pending Leggett & Platt® Retail Solution™ (LPRS), designed specifically for furniture and bedding retailers.
This display showcases sleep related products and accessories in various categories, presenting them in a simple, systematic and aesthetically pleasing way that appeals to female consumers. It also helps position sleep accessories as much needed complements for optimal comfort, and must-get protection to insure the warranty and longevity of any new mattress.
Certainly, this merchandising and POP Display are important parts of the Leggett & Platt® Retail Solution™. Nevertheless, to make this work, consumer marketing, branding and training are critical as well.Read the Products & Training Reveal >>
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Your Brand is MORE than Just Your Product
John Walsh - Director of L&P Creative Services
Immediately after our first visit with Bedzzz Express, our team of artists and writers went to work on their new messaging and look. As with all clients, we started with a strategy and analyzed the key issues; the marketing environment, the target audience, the primary needs of their audience, their consumer’s current behavior, the desired behavior, the main benefits and the “selling idea”.
It was critical for Keith (especially in this economy) to approach his branding and marketing strategically. With these efforts, Keith began to understand that how they present the Bedzzz brand DOES make a difference. read more
Doug Marshall (our Creative Director), Scott Clark (Art Director) and John Mack (copywriter) began developing the marketing materials we needed: a new and updated logo, wall graphics that promoted the emotional and scientific benefits of sleep, a “Sleep Well Experience” Brochure to assist the RSA’s in the selling process, table tents promoting their guarantee , coordinating “sale” balloons, newspaper advertising, radio scripts, business cards and the “Triple ZZZ Guarantee” banners. In addition to the printed materials, we knew the interior of the stores needed a fresh new look and we coordinated new wall colors (to compliment the new branding), new side tables in the shape of a “Z”, new contemporary lamps, new desks and chairs for the check-out counter and instructed the stores to eliminated clutter and all unnecessary “big brand” promotional items. Once the materials were designed, it was time to coordinate production.
Susan Chapman (our Traffic Manager) ensured that all items we’re routed, approved and scheduled for delivery. Alan Snow and Kim Wilson (within our Printing Solutions department) produced all the printed materials and ensured they we’re delivered on time. The extensive coordination, scheduling and attention to quality and detail by this team guaranteed that our efforts became a reality for the implementation stage.
All of these elements and efforts combined created the new brand that Bedzzz Express needed. It now sets them apart from the competition, elevates their product in the minds of the consumer, creates a clean, welcoming environment and motivates the Bedzzz team to look at their product (and services) in a new light.
Whether your a Fortune 500 company or an entrepreneur opening your first bedding store, it’s critical (especially in this economy) to approach your branding and your marketing strategically. Separating yourself from the competition and concentrating on the BENEFIT of your product (versus just the features and the price) has never been more important. Keith and his team also understand that today’s consumer is more sophisticated and sensitive to branding...and how they present the Bedzzz brand DOES make a difference.
The development of these marketing elements was truly a collaborative effort. Keith and his team made great suggestions during the process and occasionally “pushed back”, especially when it came to the re-design of their logo. Trusting an agency (or a design firm) with your brand development should not be taken lightly. The partner you choose for such an important initiative should fully understand the industry, the retail environment and most importantly, approach each decision strategically. Bedzzz Express recognized our talents and experience in this arena and welcomed our suggestions - making the process both fun and productive.
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Create Qualified Sales Leads With an Effective Site Architecture
Tom Hawkins - Director of L&P Internet Solutions
Going into the Makeover I was thinking a comprehensive site update to solve their problems might be in order. After seeing the site condition and hearing the expectations of the site I immediately knew a complete new site architecture would be in order so that their site would successfully acquire new visitors, then convert those site visits into qualified sales leads on a systematic and repeatable basis. read more
Here is what we began working on for the Bedzzz Express website:
Specific Efforts: A complete new site was developed using copy and images supplied from vendor materials and Bedzzz Express.
A web marketing architecture was implemented to satisfy the highly targeted user and task patterns that occur on each web visit.
This meant targeted marketing placement of categories and action requests were implemented to ask for the sales opportunity at each level.
SEO - Search Engine optimization was implemented. It could take between 1-3 months for all of the search engine’s to re-index their databases with the new site so this may not occur overnight.
The end results will be many more site visitor acquisitions from Alabama residents searching for mattresses and mattress stores.
This will result in more qualified sales leads for Bedzzz Express to gain more sales opportunities.
To measure the results we employed Google Analytics to monitor and then track the progress of the site over the next few months. We will then be able to optimize the marketing metrics as required to help them boost web generated sales leads.
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Taking Time to Serve Your Community Yields Lasting Results
Mary Leigh Wallace - Vice President of RLF
My role was to build awareness and goodwill for Bedzzz Express and to help them learn how to communicate with their audiences.
I worked with Keith to find venues wherein Bedzzz Express could be an active participant. We found that within the Birmingham area there were opportunities to participate in social service clubs, charity events & nonprofit boards.
And it was important for Bedzzz Express to be more than just a member. We encouraged them to take a leadership position - chair a committee, join the board of directors or be the lead organizer for an event. read more
The next tactic we engaged in was media relations. In conjunction with Keith, we developed a year-long news calendar - a list of stories that Bedzzz could release throughout the year.
First on the list of stories was personnel, any new hires or promotions.
Next up on the news calendar, talking about community involvement. Is a store manager on a nonprofit board? Did you sponsor a charity event?
Another category to consider is awards. What awards do you give (salesperson of the year) and have you received any recognitions from the community or your industry?
Finally, don’t forget that you can be an educational source. As the largest bedding retailer in Alabama, people need to consider you as sleep experts. Write tip stories on better sleep or comment on a new research study related to sleep.
Bedzzz also needs a strategic focus on their charitable contributions. They need to concentrate on a few core areas instead of sponsoring things at will. These core areas should relate to the business and the personal passions of the owner. In Keith’s case, the core focus should be on his concern for the homeless. It is a worthy cause and one that relates to the mattress business. Keith is in the business of helping people create a home.
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