Construction B2B companies have a tendency not to embrace marketing. Some of them do advertise through print ads in trade magazines, direct mail and some other sources that approach them directly. The challenge they have is these sources tend not generate much ROI on the investment. It is just top of mind awareness advertising that is not trackable.
B2B construction companies tend to see marketing as an overhead expense, plain and simple. Most of the advertising is focused on writing some catchy headlines, add some text about how great their services are and a wide selection of products and send it off to the masses.
Here’s the problem. B2B construction marketing needs to be much different from B2C marketing. Every day as B2C we experience the mind numbing billboards, radio ads, tv commercials, flyers in the mailbox and see tons of ads in our favorite magazines. We have effectively tuned out all of the interrupt advertising and have become numb to it.
Let's face the fact here, as a B2B construction company you are not selling fast food. You are selling large scale, very technical design and build structures that have tons of technology integrated into that structure. These types of structures are not your 2,000 square foot home; they are industrial and commercial properties that cover 50,000 square feet or more. Here are five key differences in B2B construction marketing vs. B2C consumer marketing.
1. The B2B customer is looking for something specific
Your customer might be looking for solar energy, but more than likely are searching for a specific like large-scale solar energy systems. Moreover, even more they could be looking for large-scale photovoltaic energy systems. The point here is that they are looking for something very specific (your niche) that will solve a problem they have.
2. Customers research, and research before they buy
Today the sales cycle has changed for many companies. In the past five years, the internet has exploded with interactivity and a plethora of information for the B2C and B2B consumers. Long sales cycles are often the case with big companies in B2B purchases. There tends to be a significant amount of money involved and lots of people involved. This kind of big purchase tends to be accompanied by lots of research by the buyer. The power of how the sales cycle has shifted from the seller to the buyer and that leads to the seller having to work harder at earning trust with the customer.
3. Building trust in B2B relationships
When the sales cycle takes two or three months or more, you need to nurture the customer through the process. Staying top of mind with the customer, earning trust and qualifying them, are all critical steps in the sales process to move them down the funnel closer to the sale. You do not do this by constantly focusing on “buy me”, you have to “lead nurture” the customer through the sales funnel, creating confidence with the customer that you are the right company for them. Relationships in business do matter; it is even more important with B2B relationships. The customer wants to know that you are going to take care of them, which takes the problems off their shoulders with your solutions.
4. Who is the decision maker?
Often the person that you first make contact with is not the decision maker. They are the researcher for the company that is looking for that specific company that can provide them the right solutions. In the sales process you have first to earn trust with the researcher, they are the gatekeeper, often on purpose for the decision maker. The task that a B2B construction company has is to equip the researcher with enough knowledge to sell a product or service up the chain to his or her boss. That can take a long time and be tough to do.
5. Qualified leads are currency for the sales team
B2B construction marketing and construction sales are closely tied together. More often than not, the marketing and sales teams just don’t play well together. Most construction companies today do not understand that the marketing and sales teams should have a common goal and a process to get to the goal.
The job of the marketing team is to generate awareness among the niche audience, educate them, qualify them, keep them engaged and convert them from strangers to “qualified leads” with names, phone numbers, and email addresses. This is where the marketing team hands off to the sales team that lead. Now it is the sales teams job to nurture the customer the rest of the way through the sales/marketing funnel to the point of a sale.
What if the sales team cannot close the customer, they just are not ready yet to buy. That is okay, but don’t leave it there. They may need to go back into the marketing funnel and nurtured more to get them to the point of a sale. Again, this is where the marketing team and the sales team HAVE TO work together to get the sale.
So how do you get started with Construction Marketing?
Download our Inbound Marketing Blueprint for Construction Companies. This blueprint takes you through how to put into practice the concept discussed above. If you are interested in a consultation with a B2B Construction consultant click here, we would love to talk to you about your construction company.