Industry analysts are optimistic about the construction industry, as non-residential construction spending is forecast to jump by 8.3 percent in 2016 and by 6.7 percent in 2017.
With the construction business booming, there are tremendous opportunities for building products companies to expand their customer base. However, competition is coming from every direction—including Amazon.com and other ecommerce companies.
Savvy construction products firms realize they must adopt new marketing and sales tactics to stay fit. This requires going beyond the basics of lead generation and look at sales lead quality to compete for new business.
How do products firms identify the right potential customers—ones that are looking to expand their list of suppliers— so they aren’t wasting time following up on unproductive leads? Solid leads will build the bottom line.
Whether a company is buying leads from a variety of different sources that sell sales prospect lists, doing its own research or working with a third-party researcher, here are qualities to look for to make sure those sales prospects lists will lead to successful sales.
Don’t view a lead as a single data point. Instead, recognize each as comprising a cluster of relevant customer information. First-rate leads combine demographics, firmographics and buying signals with contact information.
We are all familiar with demographics, which include a prospect’s basic personal information such as name, job title and age. By using that data to determine how each lead stacks up against the rest of the target audience, personalize messages and segment lists to drive interest and loyalty.
What demographics are to people, firmographics are to organizations. Firmographics comprise company information such as annual revenue, capital events, market share, employee count, and growth rate. Companies with substantial revenue growth, for example, may be more receptive to sales calls from building products companies to maintain their inventory of supplies.
Buying signals are data points exclusive to a company’s optimal customer profile. In addition to detailing inbound activity, a buying signal is anything that hints at a prospect’s receptiveness to your product or service. That could be recent changes in property or company ownership. Capturing buying signals is very valuable and also extremely time-consuming.
Because most B2B marketing campaigns are multi-channel, high-quality leads also need multiple types of contact information. To implement and automate a full funnel strategy, you must have correct contact information in every channel — email, snail mail, phone number, Twitter handle, Facebook profile, LinkedIn and perhaps Instagram.
Both validation and verification are critical—and they are different. Validation is determining if all fields are filled in, email addresses are formatted correctly, phone numbers have 10 digits, and mailing ZIPs match cities. Verification is making sure data points correlate. Email marketing campaigns falter when names don’t match up with email addresses. Sales reps flounder on calls when your information says the prospect’s annual revenue is $2.5 million, when it’s really $25 million.
A sales team can allocate time and resources to prospects with the highest probability of success only if it has accurate data. Don’t throw away marketing and sales dollars, waste time and squander potential opportunities by using inaccurate or incomplete information.
Once the team has accurate data, ensure processes are in place to maintain it. Reliability is about processes, and lead generation is continuous. The construction industry is a vibrant market, so a list of 100 percent accurate leads will not stay that way for long.
Speed, freshness and a repeatable process for augmenting existing prospect lists are all key components of a high-quality lead generation program. Excellent prospecting also results in a happy and productive sales team.
Fitness for Purpose
Sometimes, companies are so focused on lead volume that they lose sight of the underlying motivation for lead generation. High-quality leads speed up cycle time, increase productivity and reduce the total cost of winning new customers. High-quality lead generation programs are reliable, optimized and customized to a company’s unique marketing and sales processes.
Marketing teams are typically responsible for generating as many leads as possible so sales can generate customers. But, even the warmest inbound leads often don’t have the crucial data sales reps need to close a deal. According to Hubspot, 61 percent of B2B marketers still send all leads they receive directly to sales, but only 27 percent of those will be qualified for a sales call. What marketers sometimes fail to understand is that sending more leads to sales can actually reduce productivity.
Pick Up the Outbound Marketing Pace
Now that the team knows how to evaluate lead quality, put that information to work. Competition is intense, and most building products companies find that inbound sales alone will not result in robust revenue growth. So get out there now.
A solid outbound marketing strategy relies on continued quality lead generation. Marketing efforts must aim at the most likely-to-convert customers and companies must personalize the messaging to connect meaningfully. Quality leads combined with an outbound marketing program will “lay the foundation” for increased business success.