Marketing to builders doesn’t need to be hard for building product manufacturers and dealers.
In this article, we highlight 4 actionable best-practices to help you market to builders more effectively.
1. Speak to Builders Face-to-Face
Builders are constantly pitched to by manufacturers and dealers. To rise to the top, it’s important to establish a good relationship at the outset.
Face-to-face meetings are one of the best ways to do this, and the data support it.
65% of outside (face-to-face) sales people attain 10% higher sales quotas than inside reps who primarily sell from behind a phone or computer screen.
But sales isn’t the only thing that benefits from in-person interaction with your customer – marketers can benefit from it to.
Like any marketing strategy, a solid plan for marketing to builders requires in-depth knowledge of their challenges and pain-points.
What do builders look for when choosing building products? What are their desires and frustrations? Is price really all they care about?
One way to get up to speed quickly is to go out and meet your target customers, face-to-face.
On this subject, Mark Goren of Point to Point says:
“You can’t talk solutions if you don’t know what the problems are. And you can’t be problem-centric unless you’re builder-centric.
So do your homework. Get your salespeople out to meet with builders. Get ‘em talking one-on-one, asking questions. And get ‘em visiting job sites, model homes and sales centers.”
Mark Mitchell from Whizard Strategy sees many marketers and sales reps who don’t have an in-depth knowledge of builders’ businesses. As a remedy to this situation, he suggests that:
“The best way for sales and marketing people to get trained is simply to spend time with builders. Reading about the building industry is always a good idea, but it does not replace meeting directly with builders. Ask lots of open-ended questions, visit job sites and sales centers. You’ll be surprised how quickly you are not only up to speed but ahead of many other manufacturers.”
2. Know Your Builder Buyer Persona
A “buyer persona” is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data about their demographics, behavior, desires and problems.
Creating buyer personas for builders will help sales and marketing people better craft their messaging and pitches so they can win more business. For example, you might craft different buyer personas for large, medium, small and custom-home builders.
But it’s even more critical to understand the role of the person you are marketing to.
Within a builder organization, you might be marketing your products to the purchasing department, construction manager, sales & marketing department, or some combination of the three.
Zach Williams from Venveo suggests that:
“When beginning a new relationship with a builder company, regardless of size, make sure that you target the right person. Their role in the company should be either in purchasing or management — or ideally, both.”
Each department has different goals, frustrations, and problems, and the marketing message for your products needs to be tailored to them accordingly. For example, a big problem for construction managers is call-backs. Mark Mitchell writes:
“If the builder is having callback problems with the product he is using and you feel your product will reduce callbacks, you will get their attention. And don’t forget—a callback can be caused by the design, the product or the installation. Find out which one it is and see if you can fix this costly problem.”
So if your company (and not necessarily just your product) can provide a solution that helps with call-backs, then you may be able to make the case for a builder to choose your product.
Your pitch might include elements of how your product is easier to install correctly, your warranty, your in-depth resources for training the builder on your products, or how your visualizer helps set better design expectations with homeowners so call-backs are less frequent.
3. Embrace Marketing Automation Wherever You Can
Historically, the construction industry has lagged behind other industries when it comes to digital adoption.
Construction lags behind almost every other industry in digital advancement
But the lagging digitization of the industry presents an opportunity for building product companies to lead the charge toward digital, and gain a competitive advantage as a result.
And there is movement in that direction.
Over the past year, we have seen an increasing number of Renoworks clients adopt CRM systems, streamline their ERP, and work on digital marketing automation processes.
Many manufacturers and dealers inherited an “analog” sales and marketing process, and the movement toward the digital future of the industry is slow.
However, building product marketing agencies are increasingly recommending that their clients adopt CRM’s and marketing automation to increase efficiency and revenue.
Zach Williams from Venveo suggests how marketing automation can be used to improve the sales process:
“[Marketing automation software] paints an extremely detailed portrait of what your potential customer is looking for in a product. If certain criteria are met, a salesperson then receives an automated email with all of the person’s activity explained in detail.”
And it’s no wonder marketing automation is being recommended to building product companies. The results are compelling.
According to industry statistics, 79% of top-performing companies have used marketing automation for three or more years. Further, businesses who nurture leads with marketing automation make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects.
4. Create Content and Marketing Support Programs
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times as many leads. With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why the building material marketing community is recommending an increased focus on creating valuable content.
“Digital marketing is excellent both for showing what you know and building relationships,” says Mark Goren of Point-to-Point. “You can do this on your website, through contractor-focused marketing automation programs and content that positions you as an expert […]”
Mark Mitchell echoes this point in his article on the subject by suggesting that building product manufacturers should:
“Offer marketing support programs that do more than promote your product and help the builder succeed”
Providing valuable content is especially important for marketing to builders because builders are extremely strapped for marketing resources.
“Builders don’t have money for more advertising, so they need affordable ideas they can implement.”
With limited marketing budgets, builders need help, and they appreciate brands that make their lives easier.
Luckily, this is an opportunity for building product marketers – an opportunity to differentiate your brand offering and add value to builders through high-touch services such as a visualization platform and blueprint design services.