Most building materials companies settle for less growth than they could achieve. They have a product that gets used on a regular basis, so they aren’t trying to change the market or introduce anything new or revolutionary.
They’re on a wide-open highway – yet they’re driving slowly.
There are four elements to growth, and too many companies are stuck on the slowest ones.
1. The Economy
As long as the economy stays positive and construction activity is booming, most building materials companies will grow even if they do nothing. The rising tide really does lift all boats.
This is shown as the lowest line on my graph.
Some companies settle for this level of growth. They let outside forces determine their destinies.
Their sales and marketing efforts are more about going through the motions than actually accomplishing anything. As long as they maintain their product quality and customer service, they can reduce their sales and marketing expenses and those savings can go right to the bottom line.
If you have no long-term plans, this is probably a smart strategy. And frankly, if this is your approach, you probably aren’t reading this anyway.
If you plan to do more, you’re already starting with a gentle wind at your back.
2. Normal Sales and Marketing Plans
If you take action – any action – you will grow your sales more than if you do nothing. These actions will help you gain market share and grow at a faster rate than the market.
This is shown as the second line on my graph.
Most likely, these plans will be a simple update to what you have done in the past.
This is the approach people take when they have the attitude that “This is how we do sales. This is how we do marketing. We call on the same type of customer with the same sales message.”
Unless a competitor or our customers make a drastic change, we will probably have the same level of sales success we’ve had in the past.
With our marketing, we go to the same trade shows, update the website and so forth. Unless they give us more money for marketing – a lot more money – we really can’t do anything more.”
That kind of thinking is very prevalent, and it assumes that any new marketing activity is an additional cost. But in reality, a new marketing activity should usually be treated as a new, more effective replacement for an outdated, less effective program, like exhibiting at trade shows.
An updated (but not dramatically different) approach to your sales and marketing will lift you above simply relying on the economy, but it won’t get you as much as you could achieve.
Something like a new website, no matter how much it costs, is not the solution.
3. Smarter, More Aggressive Sales Plans
As the red line on my graph shows, you can achieve an even higher level of growth. Most of the time, you can achieve this added growth with the very same resources and budgets you have today.
Most building materials companies settle for less growth than they should.
They’re not able to step back and take a fresh look at the market, their company, products, competitors, challenges and opportunities. Everyone is too close to their business.
At least once a year, it is very valuable to step back and gain a fresh perspective.
Working with an outside facilitator who is an industry expert can get you out of the weeds and show you how looking down on your situation from 30,000 feet can make things a lot clearer.
Changes you should make become more obvious – not just to you, but to everyone on your team.
When you can take a fresh view and approach to your sales growth, you can move up to the red line on my graph. You’ll get the growth from the economy plus the even higher level of growth from doing everything smarter. You’ll be in a place where every marketing dollar yields a greater payback and every sales interaction has a higher percentage of success, lowering your cost per sale.
4. Point of Resistance
The lower straight blue line of my graph depicts the point at which companies believe they will hit a higher level of resistance to their continued growth.
Most companies feel they’re already at this point. But the top blue line of my graph is where I have actually found this resistance to be.
Every company or product faces a point where continuing to grow takes much more effort than it did before. Look back at your sales over time and you’ll see that most of you have now hit a plateau in terms of growth.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you are the market leader or not, there are faster paths to growth available to you.
If you are not the leader in your category, your path to faster growth will have much less resistance.
It is actually easier for a smaller company to grow faster than their larger competitors. The difficulty is that looking at your business up close and from the inside prevents you from seeing these wide open paths to growth.
As a smaller company, it is easier for you to adapt and change to better meet customer needs than it is for your larger competitors.
For market leaders, the opportunity for faster growth is still there; it’s just more challenging to recognize and follow the new paths to growth.
Larger companies are set in their ways. It is much harder for them to notice that they are being outflanked until it’s too late or they are surprised by the loss of an important customer.
Larger companies seldom have an early warning system to identify and counter smaller competitors. Even if they see them, they usually do not take the threat seriously – it’s in plain sight but they literally don’t see it.
Every point of market share has tremendous value to a larger company. For leaders, acquiring each added point is very difficult and costly.
Even with this high cost per share point, larger companies frequently allow smaller competitors to steal business from them. Many of these losses are unnecessary – or you could at least make it much more difficult and costly for your competitors to take it from you.
Market Leaders Can Grow Faster in Four Ways:
1. Follow the old adage and become a small fish in a bigger pond. Redefine the market to make it bigger. It is very comfortable to be the big fish in a small pond. It is also very dangerous.
2. Create a new pond. Find a new market for your products and pursue it as if you were a startup. The challenge here is that your company will need to think differently about how to succeed.
3. Take a fresh approach to your sales and marketing. This will block paths that smaller competitors could use to outflank you. It will also open paths to growth with much less resistance.
4. Big companies only look for big opportunities to grow. But there are paths to growth that start out as small streams and then grow into wide rivers. Large companies are looking for rivers that don’t exist yet. But there are rivers of sales that are waiting to be created.
Why Don’t More Companies Look For Paths to More Growth?
I have yet to meet a company in an established product category for whom I couldn’t find wide open paths to growth. My ability to find these paths comes from being able to look down at your situation from 30,000 feet, without the limitations you place on yourself.
If you would like to grow faster, deal with competitors more effectively and find wide open paths to growth, I can show you how.
As an outside expert with years of helping building materials companies grow faster, I can show you the opportunities that are there for the taking. If you’d like to discuss how you can grow your sales faster, contact John Boedecker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-377-7406.