More companies are investing in CRM, marketing automation and other programs to make their sales and marketing more efficient. These are powerful tools, but only if you use them in the right way. If you’re using them to reach the wrong people, you’re just amplifying an ineffective strategy.
Implementing a fancy CRM system can be like investing in an automated rail polishing system for the Titanic. It makes things more efficient, but that won’t keep you from sinking.
Unlike the sinking of the Titanic, however, the changes in building materials sales are hard to see when you’re so close to them. So, to help you pinpoint where your sales and marketing strategy might need an update, let’s look at why calling on builders and architects might be a waste of your time.
If you want to grow your sales in residential new construction, you’re probably calling on homebuilders. For some types of products, that may not be the most effective approach.
If you call on a builder and they like your product, it often won’t lead to a sale. I’ve heard lots of builders say, “This is a better product than the one we’re using. It would be great if my contractor used this.”
Why Can’t the Builder Make the Change?
- Your product may be better, but the builder doesn’t have any problems with their current solution. That’s important because builders are more focused on solving problems than making improvements.
- It will cost more. Even if your product costs less and saves labor, the contractor sees it as a change and they charge for changes.
- There is no time. Builders will tell me, “I could work with the contractor and make this change, but I don’t have time to make this happen.”
Why Not Start with the Contractor?
If the contractor is an important part of selling a builder, why not start with the contractor? In many cases, the contractor is more important to the builder than you are.
If you start with the builder, you are handing them the task of selling your product to the contractor. But if you’ve done the work of convincing the contractor, you just made it much easier for the builder to say yes.
Companies that want to grow their sales in commercial construction tend to focus on the architect. The results are less than stellar.
That architect might seem like a key decision maker, but for many types of products, their specification has little to do with making a sale. The companies selling to them will invest a lot in catering to architects only to lose the sale to a competitor.
In commercial construction, it’s general contractors, subcontractors and owners that have the power to replace you and choose a competitor’s solution. So, why not start with them?
How you sell to them matters, too. They aren’t just looking for lower cost products – they want to reduce waste and inefficiency.
These customers are also much more involved in the planning stages, along with the architect.
If you aren’t connected with these audiences and don’t have a sales message that speaks to them, increasing your efforts with the architect will be like adding automation to the Titanic.