In this presentation we are going to cover How I used an account based marketing strategy to get commercial cleaning contracts with schools. Schools generally depend on your specific location, in new york the public schools are all cleaned by government union workers, so we focus mainly on charter and private schools.
First I am going to share a couple stories, the first one on charter schools and then show the physical tool to actually do it. This can apply to commercial cleaning services, janitorial, carpet cleaning, floor cleaning or any specialty cleaning service.
What we are trying to do here is jump ahead of the competition, think about macro events, trends in your local market like political, social, economy and start planting the seed before anyone else even thinks of it.
One of the biggest drivers of long term growth can be starting to build a relationship with a company, school when they are first starting out and as they grow we grow with them organically. This is amazing for return on investment because it doesn’t really cost anything budget wise.
PEST, this acronym stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technology
With this tool what we are trying to do is think about what the future holds, what is the local market going to be like in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and then jump ahead of the game.
How? By reading the local newspaper business page, attending public chamber of commerce events, reading business journals like Business First. This way we get a read on what is going on in the local business community.
Example For Schools
- Political- maybe your public school is going to contract out certain cleaning services
- Economic- could be your school system has money problems and are open for ways to improve a service or do it cheaper with us.
- Social- can be connecting with decision makers in social media
- Technology- could be running digital google ads just to these specific decision makers (99.9% of cleaners don’t know how to do that)
Real Life Example Charter Schools
In this case the PEST tool was Political and the topic was charter schools and their future growth. In the early 2000’s our state opened up the laws to allow charter schools to compete with public schools for students. I was following the story casually but not for political reasons but I figured charter schools were private and would need commercial cleaning services, janitorial or maybe even just carpet/VCT.
See after the school opens every cleaner in the world is going to start calling on them and it’s going to become hyper-competitive. Well, we don’t really want that, we want to jump ahead and start talking to them BEFORE our competitors are and start a relationship.
I would just read the newspaper and whenever I saw a story about a new school opening, which would usually be 6 months or year in advance, then track down their office. Sometimes they didn’t even have a building leased yet so I really had to do some detective work and track down an office.
In one instance a board member was a local accountant so I contacted her directly at her office to find out where the school was keeping their short term office.
After the school chose a building we would offer to help them move in, build desks, cost out paper supplies, etc., we would become a resource to the principal because most had no experience with the private sector and hiring cleaning contractors.
This strategy ended up being a big homerun and at one point we had contracts with 6 charter schools, these principals network same as we do and one would lead to the next one like domino’s.
The point is I read a political change happening locally and started thinking how we could apply this to our business and most importantly started doing this well before any competitors even saw this coming.
A great idea is to create a card and every week, month, quarter, think about any opportunities that might exist in your market and start planting the seed now well before your competitors ever think of it.