There’s a lot of talk out there about how to sell your construction materials and products from the top down through one-step and two-step distribution channels, but what about when you need to increase demand from the bottom up? What tactics can you employ to increase demand from end consumers and the builders and contractors such that they are pulling your products into their projects?
You can employ inbound marketing and inbound sales tactics using through channel marketing automation to generate demand in a way that attracts customers and overcomes the most common barrier to getting specified. Below we will break down the specific ways to improve pull through sales from contractors and builders as well as from end consumers.
Employing Pull Through Sales Tactics in the Building Materials Market
To get your construction materials specified by more builders, architects, and contractors, they need a reason to be drawn towards your materials and products, because it has to be the least risky, most rewarding option for them. You can have the best relationship in the world with your dealers or distributors and still have trouble moving your product off the shelves if they don’t see the benefit of selling your product over others.
This happens because while a dealer or distributor may prefer your product, if the builder or contractor doesn’t like installing it or receives complaints from their customers about the product performance, then a manufacturer will struggle to move the product through distributors and dealers (and distributors and dealers won't want to carry your product). For this reason, manufacturers need to dedicate time driving demand directly from builders and contractors, because a builder or contractor who loves a product will add it to their “go-to” list of default products to specify in new construction projects.
Learn more about the purchase motivations of builders, contractors, property owners, facilities managers, and DIYers.
How to Increase Pull Through Sales from Contractors
To generate pull through sales from builders and contractors, you need to reduce their risk of using your product. It’s human nature to keep doing the same thing you’ve always done, and continue using the same product or material you’ve always used.
One strategy to help builders understand how to use your products is to house product installation videos on your website that cover installation topics such as “How To Install X Product,” “Mistakes to Avoid When Installing X Product,” “How to Demonstrate X Product During Your Final Client Walkthrough.” Then be sure to implement awareness campaigns and proper partner onboarding to ensure builders and contractors know about these resources they will have.
Offering initial on-site installation training in addition to your digital training videos can minimize friction when you’ve made the first sale and want to ensure a long lifetime customer value and loyalty from the builders and contractors who are installing your product. Outstanding product warranties and quality assurance follow ups are key to the post-sale retention as well.
For a larger scale opportunity to invest into your business and the industry at large, consider partnering with a trades programs at local colleges and technical schools to host free installation training of your products. Down the line, these students will become workers and leaders on job sites that could contribute to the decision making for which products and materials are actually installed at the end of the day. You can take this strategy and apply it towards active contractors as well.
How to Increase Pull Through Sales from End Consumers that Hire Builders and Contractors
Your next approach needs to be investing in marketing campaigns targeted at the end user: the residential or commercial consumer. This tactic is especially important for builders and contractors in the custom side of the building industry whose goal is to build an amazing finished product while keeping the customer extraordinarily satisfied during the entire multi-year relationship (aka all of ones you want to partner with).
Builders and contractors increase their customer satisfaction when they incorporate products and features that the customer wants included in their custom build or other project. There’s a reason they chose to build it their own way after all. This demographic of end consumers knows what they want and knows exactly why they want it. Because of this, your marketing campaigns should focus on educating end consumers about your product in such a compelling way that they approach their builder or contractor to request your product be specified into their project. This real world interaction sparked from your educational efforts online ensures the builder or contractor will pull through your already established distribution channels to acquire the materials / product. Then, if the installation goes smoothly and the quality meets or exceeds expectations, you may very well have a new partnership under your belt.
This pull though tactic takes a slightly different approach than your direct B2C sales approach because the end user is still working through an intermediary -- their builder or contractor -- but they are making it known that your material and your product should be specified over and above any original choice the builder or contractor would have made.
Using Inbound Marketing Tactics to Improve Pull Through Sales Strategies
When applied strategically to your business, inbound marketing elevates your position in the marketplace by building trust with consumers who are looking to educate themselves, rather than be sold to, while simultaneously leveraging the through channel marketing efforts and indirect sales channels you have already established.