With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread, you’d be forgiven for thinking, how will this affect my building products and construction business?
We’re unsure on how long it’ll last and the true extent of its severity, but one thing’s for certain: it will have a lasting impact on the industry.
And we’re not only talking about the distance it’s placed between us and our prospects. COVID-19 has forced us all to think about new approaches to how we work and the steps we should take to protect ourselves and our business.
No doubt, most of the articles you’ve read on coronavirus will have all been doom and gloom and ‘panic stations.’ Here, our intention is clear:With the correct digital sales and marketing strategies, you can begin to take steps to adapt and prepare.
Protection Strategy #1: Improve Your Online Presence
Never before has your online presence been so important.
But, what does that mean? Your website is your strongest weapon. You may be surprised to realise, however, that an expensive, shiny website won’t do much to improve your online presence.
What’s more important is a website that is customer centric and SEO-driven.
This will give you the best chances of ending up on page one of the SERPS (search engine results pages), so that when a specifier is carrying out essential product research, he/she will end up on your page…
…and hopefully specifying your solution.
Picture via Moz
Many companies we speak to rely heavily on the charm of their sales guys, whilst neglecting the potential of their online presence. But in this current climate, can you afford to be sending your reps out to network?
Instead, focus on your website’s content. Content encompasses many different things in the building products industry. Content could be articles, guides, videos and technical drawings-all aimed at maximising your specification potential, so that when a specifier finds your page, they are assured that you’re the ones to offer a solution.
Photo via Neil Patel
Let your website become the trusted advisor for your clients. Then when this crisis is over, you’ll have a awesome tool to support your direct sales efforts.
Protection Strategy #2 Adapt Your Sales Approaches
Now that your sales teams aren’t on the road so much (we hope), how are they going to win those projects and close those deals?
Photo Via MFS
Well, the answer is simpler than you may think. It’s sales automation.
What is this wonderful automation term you speak of?
In the face of a deadly pandemic, sales automation might just be your closest ally.
Have you or your sales reps ever:
- Lost a deal because you forgot to follow up?
- Spent precious minutes adding opportunities or leads to your CRM?
- Overlooked an issue in your sales process for a dangerously long time?
- Called leads in alphabetical order rather than best fit?
- Went back and forth with a prospect figuring out a good time to meet?
- Wasted half an hour digging through your files to find the specific case study or customer testimonial you needed?
Sales automation aims to automate manual, time-consuming sales tasks using software, artificial intelligence (AI), and other digital tools. It aims to manage or own responsibilities that sales reps and managers do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
With free software like The HubSpot free CRM, you can organise, track and nurture your leads and customers. The CRM itself has automation tasks, such as logging prospect activity, rep outreach and contact data and information.
The Benefit of Sales Automation
The overarching benefit of sales automation is that it saves heaps of time and resources. What’s more, it allows your sales team to work smarter, not harder, when faced with the prospect of having to work remotely.
Photo Via IceBreaker
Protection Strategy #3: Rethink Your Approach To Trade Shows
One of the most obvious things to be affected by coronavirus is our ability to network face-to-face. Quite often, these opportunities arise during the plethora of building product trade shows that take place every year.
With trade shows already being cancelled, and an uncertainty around the fate of others, we recommend that building product companies take this chance to rethink their approach to expos and events.
Re-invest your money on improving the strategies outlined above (content marketing, sales & marketing software). By adopting a more digital approach, you’re opening yourself up to a virtual window of SEO-driven opportunities.
Protection Strategy #4: Webinars Instead of CPDs
Now’s the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate your approach to CPDs. Why not host your CPD as a webinar instead?
CPD videos are a huge benefit to a company because they are a quick and easy way for architects and specifiers to consume content that’s relevant to their industry. It will also be beneficial to their training, meeting the criteria of being educational.
CPD videos are all about showing that you’re competent in your field. Accessing construction videos for the purpose of CPD is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge in a way that will reflect in your continued accreditation within the field.
So, now you can build relationships and establish authority from the comfort of your home or office, without the risk of catching a virus!
Protection Strategy #5: Rethink Your Sales Message
Last, but by no means least, the coronavirus has taught us all to be more aware of hygienic practises. If your product promotes healthy practices, make sure you tell everyone about it. Are your building products easy to clean? Do they stop the spread of infection?
And, if not, is this a feature worth considering in the future?
Once the fuss of coronavirus has subsided, our society will be left with an acute awareness for hygiene and cleanliness, so take it as an opportunity to rethink your sales message and improve your products to meet new demands.
Protection Strategy #6: Get On Video
We touched on this earlier when we spoke about rethinking your approach to CPDs. But, the benefits of video can transcend all approaches within your organisation. Examples include:
- Inter-team communications
- Cross-team communications
- Tech support
- Customer support
- And so much more!
Why should internal operations stop if people have to self-isolate? So much of what we do relies heavily on the use of computer-and let’s face it-you can work anywhere as long as you have a laptop in front of you.
Software such as Zoom allows you to video call team members throughout the day to keep updated on projects. The free version of the software allows you to have one-to-one conversations with team members, whilst a small monthly subscription enables you to host team meetings with unlimited participants.
Zoom allows you to share your screen during project meetings so that participants can actively see your progress on various tasks. What may, at first, sound like a ‘clinical’ way to do business, could actually focus your team more, leading to heightened productivity.
Just because people have to self-isolate, doesn’t mean your business has to suffer.
To survive the stress test that is COVID-19, building product businesses may need to adapt, rethink and re-evaluate their sales and marketing strategy in order to stay ahead of the game.
Have you taken necessary steps to work smarter, not harder?
Get in touch with an expert today to help change your approach to sales and marketing. Specialising solely in the building products and construction industry, our team can help you get in front of the decision makers to increase your specifications.
And, most importantly, stay safe out there!
As the only HubSpot certified agency to major on construction marketing, we bring together construction marketing strategy, digital strategy, website design, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, sales automation, marketing automation and HubSpot CRM implementation to produce successful campaigns and great results for our clients.