3 Ways Hardscape Materials Manufacturers Can Connect with Contractors
With multiple sales and marketing channels to feed, manufacturers of construction and building materials—specifically hardscape materials manufacturers—often have a choice to make. While some manufacturers focus primarily on the end retail consumer—think Cambridge and select segments of Old Castle—most have adopted a hybrid approach, trying to balance communications across dealers, installers and landscape contractors, and the end user.
With the revolution of shopping habits disrupting the old marketing and sales playbook, it has become difficult for some hardscape manufacturers to optimize and connect with the B2B channel using the old traditional ways. Trade shows, ads in trade magazines, and contractor loyalty programs are all still in the wheelhouse, but is the ROI for these efforts decreasing? It sure seems so.
Competition in the landscape contracting space has made pricing very aggressive caused by the onslaught of new landscape construction "companies" popping up everywhere. Landscape contractors that have failed to effectively carve out a niche are being forced to cut costs—which they often look to do in reducing hardscape materials costs. This, along with the crazy pace of business and information today, makes a manufacturer's ability to create real B2B connections more important than ever.
1. RELEVANT CONTENT
Landscape contractors have very little time. As manufacturers should already know, these business owners are spread thin and struggling to increase margins. Authentic, useful content is the best way to form a relationship with B2B buyers today. Chances are very good that they will either view the content on their mobile device or after 10pm on their office laptop. Either way, speak to your buyers in a way they can understand and relate to. Blog content and videos can often be the first interaction contractors have with manufacturers.
2. MARKETING AND SALES SUPPORT
Business owners in the landscape construction space are generally hands-on folks. More at home with concrete dust in their hair and dirt under their nails, landscape business owners will often welcome support from the manufacturers of the products they spec and install. Investing in the education of your B2B buyer's sales staff and their development and implementation of effective marketing strategies can be a win-win for many construction and building materials manufacturers. Helping is the best way to form a true connection, not yelling louder with outbound efforts.
3. FIELD PRODUCT SUPPORT
One of the biggest ways that landscape contractors fall out of love with manufacturers is when product issues cause field productivity losses. While most manufacturers rely on their dealer networks for contractor support in these situations, manufacturers can gain big loyalty points by stepping up here. Some manufacturers have hired contractor support specialists, in addition to traditional account managers, and have been rewarded by contractor loyalty.