Blog for Building Materials Companies

What Building Materials Companies Can Learn from Katerra

  |  Posted in Marketing, Sales

What Building Materials Companies Can Learn from Katerra

Working in this industry can be frustrating. Many building material companies really do have a better idea or product than their competition but they can’t figure out why more customers don’t buy it sooner.

One of the biggest reasons they don’t make more sales, even when selling something superior, is that they make it too hard for the customer to see the benefit.

Another reason is that they are giving the customer information about their product before the customer is interested in learning about it.

Think about the messages you’re offering your leads and potential customers. Cutaway illustrations or animated videos are great tools for helping your customer understand your product, but they’re for the middle of the funnel, not the top. They’re only effective once the customer has shown some interest in your product. Presenting those early on would be like Katerra showing how their production line works to start the sales conversation.

Here’s what Katerra has been doing instead. They use infographics to simplify a complicated story and to disrupt an industry that is very hard to change. It’s simple to understand and doesn’t bombard the customer with information. Because of that, it can get the interest of leads who are still at the top of the sales funnel.

Here’s a great example of this. They took a lengthy and very detailed article from McKinsey and boiled it down to this small and simple infographic. If you’re in the construction industry and worried about staying competitive, this will get your attention.

Supply Chain Savings

The simplicity cuts right to the point and gives the customer a very compelling reason to learn more.

I also love how Katerra repurposed someone else’s content and used it to tell their story. They didn’t have to spend money to develop it and they get added credibility because it comes from a respected third party.

Here’s another example of Katerra simplifying what could be a complicated message. They don’t say, “Hire Katerra to Renovate Your Multifamily Project.”  They don’t even say, “10 Reasons Why Katerra Is a Better Choice to Renovate Your Multifamily Project.”

They simply illustrate a big pain point for the customer.

Multifamily touchpoints

Notice that they’re not talking about themselves. They’re talking about issues that are important to the customer.  

The customer doesn’t want to buy from Katerra, they want to solve a problem. Katerra is keeping the problem front and center while still showing the customer that they have a solution to it.

The customer understands right away that the fewer people they have to deal with, the less likely they are to run into costly errors. At the same time, the customer realizes that working with Katerra would mean fewer chances for errors.

Communication Errors

Labor shortages are one of the largest problems in construction. A builder, developer or owner just has to look at this graphic and they’ll wonder, “And why am I still building onsite?”

Labor Productivity
Labor Productivity

Builders, developers and owners are trying to reduce unnecessary costs. This graphic gets them thinking about the inefficient ways they are building, including the fees they pay architects.

Architect Costs
Architect Costs

What Building Materials Companies Can Learn From Katerra

Getting a customer to change and start using your building materials product is very difficult. They are not looking for a better product. So, unless you are willing to wait patiently for your competitor to drop the ball so you can make a sale, you should probably learn a few things from Katerra’s approach, starting with:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Start at the top of the sales funnel
  3. Focus on the customer’s problem
  4. Don’t assume you have to show your product or even a building

Be a Disruptor

Most building materials companies do not see themselves as disruptors. They see themselves as producers: they make a product like cladding, and it’s basically the same as the products made by all the other cladding companies.  

If you thought of yourself as a disruptor like Katerra, what you do differently?

Hint: You would probably start identifying your customer’s pain points with your type of product and offer them a solution. Then, chances are you would discover that your difficulty growing sales had nothing to do with the product itself.

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About The Author

I am the leading sales growth consultant in the building materials industry, I identify the blind spots that enable building materials companies to grow their sales and retain more customers.  As I am not an ad agency, my recommendations are focused on your sales growth and not my future income.

My mission is to help building materials companies be the preferred supplier of their customers and to turn those customers into their best salespeople. Contact me to discuss your situation.