For years, many of us in the building industry have heard some variation on “being the right solution for the right audience.” And that’s important. But it’s also only half of the equation.
When you're in possession of the “right” solution—be it a product, a service or a combination of both—there is often a presumption that just because it is “right” today, it will be equally valuable to your customer or prospect tomorrow. This is no longer the case. Building products marketers also must consider the timing of their marketing and determining the best timing requires a strong dynamic between sales and marketing.
Why is the sales and marketing synergy so important? Simply put, determining the right time to reach your customers can be a challenge. That’s why marketing needs to work with sales to better understand the process sales prospects go through when purchasing products. A good first step is analyzing your customer's "buyer journey." With valuable insights from the buyer journey, it is easier to see how needs shift, change and evolve as customers move from one buying stage to another so you reach them at the most effective time.
It is critical, therefore, for building products marketers to address the need for marketing and content that provides their audience with the information they need to make a purchase at the right time. Here are the three top concerns to evaluate when creating content and marketing tools based not only on who your prospect is, but where they might be in the sales funnel:
- Supply and Demand: There is a natural ebb and flow to sales success that depends heavily on industry trends and a standard year-after-year baseline. So, it is important to consider what customers are demanding in your industry overall (for example, today, building products marketers might consider how to tweak messaging to capitalize on outdoor living or multi-generational home trends). But beyond that, marketing and sales need to assess what is happening in the industry that could provide opportunities for sales outside of your typical season. For example, DeckExpo and various trade shows take place in fall and winter—not traditionally the “season” for these products. And yet many prospects with buying power are at these events, looking to buy and stock up on products before the actual season when they will be needed. Work with your sales team to monitor when your product(s) will be most in demand based on industry trends and happenings.
- Seasonality: What marketing plans are in place for your product’s busiest season? Consider not only how your marketing efforts can increase sales during that season, but also how your efforts can make an impact in the months leading up to the busy season. Many marketing teams are good about this, but where they fail is in the off-seasons. That’s why it is important for marketers to work with sales to determine what kinds of tools, content, and marketing support might be useful during the down season(s). For example, while lower prices and special deals/promotions are excellent in the off-season to drive increased interest and sales, videos that showcase a product’s easy installation are much more important during the seasons in which those products are actually being used.
- Awareness: No matter how much market research you do, the best research source available to you is your sales team. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your sales team acts as your “eyes and ears on the ground.” They hear the complaints, the praise, and the concerns of your audience. More importantly, they frequently sell your product to people who have never heard of it. They know why your audience might not be aware of or thinking about your product at a given time and how it can be more effectively sold to potential customers. When your audience is experiencing a problem at the solution-seeking point of their unique buyer journey, make sure that you have specific content for those points of the journey that explains how your product can solve their problems. Knowing exactly what kind of content you need to present to customers, however, will almost certainly require the knowledge that your sales team can provide.
These are important considerations for marketing and sales to consider when attempting to offer the best possible content and marketing support for their customers—at the best possible times. But they cannot be effectively accomplished without a strong dynamic between sales and marketing. It is important to break down the walls that isolate these two aspects of the business from one another. Sales and marketing need each other to thrive in this new economy, which requires those of us in the building products industry to be that much smarter and more strategic, pinpointing the customer in their buyer journey in the seconds when they need your products most and are most receptive to the message.
| October 01, 2015