Winning more building product specifications is not something that can be answered in one sentence, or even one blog post. It’s a complicated process involving a multitude of skills and techniques that encapsulate a deep knowledge and understanding.
Today, we’re focusing at the start of the journey: Your audience.
We often refer to your audience as ‘Buyer Personas’, and understanding your BPs is crucial to winning more building product specifications.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Our partners over at HubSpot have coined an accurate term for a Buyer Persona:
“…a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers”.
To learn more, you can read our in-depth blog post on Buyer Personas, here.
When done right, a Buyer Persona will help you to understand how your target audience thinks, works, what they value and how your product fits into their world.
If you want a slice of this billion-pound industry, you must understand who is specifying and why.
The Changing Role Of The Sales Rep
Traditionally, understanding your Buyer Persona was the job of the sales rep, knocking on doors and picking up phones.
Nowadays, to win more building product specifications, it requires a more digitised approach. A digital marketing strategy should support sales reps in order to understand your customers and what motivates them.
Quite often, smaller companies with limited resources will skip the time investment required to understand their audience, resulting in not arming their sales reps with the ‘right ammunition’. The result? Countless missed specifications.
The Uniqueness of Architects and Interior Designers
They are creatives. They are artists. They are problem solvers. Whether they’re developing unique ways to provide the best in care and comfort in a mental health setting or crafting a unique outdoor space in a high-rise building, architects and designers are constantly utilising variety of form and function.
And this is what they’re looking for in the products they specify.
Great Design Needs To Be Measurable
In recent years, there has been a rise in the use of technology to aid specification. Whilst this has eased the design process, it has also increased accountability for those decision makers.
In other words, your product must solve a problem and deliver the measurable data to prove that the requirements of the project were met.
As we’re aware, recent tragedies involving combustible materials on cladding have shed light on UK building regulations, further emphasising the need for increased accountability for those involved in the manufacture of building products and those in charge of specifying them.
Architects and Designers are Different
Of course, professionals work in different ways, which is why you will need to build multiple Buyer Personas to represent different demographics. For example, a millennial architect (aged 21-35) is likely to have different research habits to a baby boomer architect (aged 50+).
To quote a previous blog post,
Consider the challenges they face each day, how they research and buy products, what social media they use (if the use any at all), where they find their news, who their influencers are, what are their likely emotional triggers, what time they are best reached, how do they prefer to be contacted, etc.
The finished persona should be a touchstone for every part of your sales and marketing activity, with everyone involved 'checking-in' to consider how the persona is likely to respond to your efforts to attract and engage with them.
We would recommend that everyone in the sales and marketing teams has a copy of all of your personas and fully understands them.
Speaking The Language of Architects To Win More Building Product Specifications
It’s not enough, nowadays, to simply let your product speak for itself. In doing this, you could be ignoring key design principles in your marketing. Don’t forget: architects are aesthetically-minded creatives who’ll be turned off by outdated websites, a clunky user experiences and too much text on a page.
This will reflect negatively on the products being presented, giving off the message that your company doesn’t share the values of the specifier.
Whilst the quality of your product is important, it’s the design that’ll first capture the attention of the specifier. This can be achieved with clear and consistent messaging, visual and verbal imagery and an authentic brand voice. Essentially, it’s about bridging the gap between practical and creative thinkers. When done properly, you can shape your content to be more relevant and helpful to your specifying audience.
Other key considerations involve:
- Order and clarity
- Product efficiency
- Product ease-of-use
To win more building product specifications, it’s crucial that we understand how our audience of specifiers think and work. As more Millennials move up into positions of power, we should acknowledge that speaking to a sales rep is the very last resort for a Millennial.
Your website should be built and designed to make specifiers as self-sufficient as possible.
To learn more about how to reach your audience, or to discuss how you can align your messaging to the needs of today’s architects and specifiers, talk to an expert today.
We'd like to thank our friends over at Epiphany Studio for providing great insights for this week's blog. You can read their Ultimate Guide To Getting Specified here.
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.