How is the building materials industry responding to increased demand, growing customer expectations, and a need to revitalize their sales teams? Companies must embrace five new opportunities to reorganize and serve customers.
Legacy sales organizations focused on deep customer relationships, creating a trusted bond between buyer and seller. However, digital selling strategies that include sales enablement tools and a data-focused approach to selling is now a priority for leading firms―one that the building materials industry has been slower to adopt. Embracing a more holistic approach that uses data, quantitative tools and relationships will help evaluate the growth potential of customer segments and across industry sectors.
Companies that adopt digital strategies can segment customers more discretely while optimizing the commercial resources dedicated to selling to each segment. Field-based roles must now partner with internal sales, marketing and operations teams to support evolving customer needs. Keeping pace means upgrading digital investments and investing in data analytics that provides enhanced market insights.
Commercial organizations are redefining their sales structure by focusing sellers on high-impact clients while providing self-service options for customers who no longer need sales reps for recurring orders. In addition, leading building materials firms create omnichannel strategies that combine high-touch selling with digital tools that empower customers. As a result, some sales roles may disappear as new roles emerge.
Companies must now identify the value proposition for each client, identifying what sales resources are needed for each customer segment. As a result, companies are reevaluating field sales, inside sales, and automated tools and how these resources contribute to the customer value proposition. In addition, specialized sellers can now target industry influencers – including architects, contractors and designers – giving them the tools and support that shape customer opinions.
Across industries, companies must now put customers at the center of their business model. This approach is in sharp contrast to traditional methods that placed products and services at the heart of their go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Understanding customer issues first, supported by the products and services that solve those problems, is a vast departure from traditional selling.
Historically, building materials manufacturers expanded their reach by acquiring new products. However, instead of product acquisition, companies are now integrating services that provide greater value for customers. Sellers must take a more consultative approach to understand customer goals and recommend the right solution rather than just the right product. Pairing products and services also requires sales teams and service departments to work closely to solve customer problems. This GTM strategy requires the establishment of clear rules of engagement across commercial roles as these functions work together more frequently.
The building materials industry is facing a steep retirement cliff. As traditional sellers head toward retirement, organizations must overcome legacy sales strategies executed by those tenured sellers. In addition, firms will need to capture the institutional knowledge of sellers with deep roots in the industry and relationships with key clients.
Account transition models must reflect new realities while mitigating risk. For example, ensuring legacy account owners are appropriately compensated throughout the transition process to a new seller will minimize disruption. In addition, new competency models should support hiring profiles that reflect the talents of a socially responsible emerging workforce in search of companies that share their values.
Companies now have an opportunity to redefine their sales GTM strategy and align new talents with the needs of the building materials customer segments.
Account personalization drives deeper client relationships. Enhanced personalization promotes perceptions of ease and convenience from the buyer’s perspective. However, personalization is data-driven, requiring companies to collect data and derive insights from that data. ABM managers can then use these insights for sales follow-ups, cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Buyers and sellers benefit when ABM staff are armed with the correct data to personalize sales, creating effortless client contact.
The building materials industry is undergoing a transformation, with the opportunity to redefine how sellers support customers. Gathering customer and market data will provide insight on where to deploy company resources. However, sales leaders must commit to an unbiased diagnostic of the commercial organization to construct the right customer segmentation strategy that will inform that resource deployment.
For more information on sales strategies for building materials manufacturers, please contact an Alexander Group Manufacturing practice lead or visit the Building Materials section.