To maintain your place in the building materials market, you not only have to show why your products are better than the competition. You have to support your sales team in making the case.
That said, there’s a problem: the sales process often falls apart when it’s time for customers to come face-to-face with dealers or contractors. Many building materials manufacturers, at that point, are set up to lose the sale completely.
Mark Mitchell of Whizard Strategy surveyed building materials sales reps to discover their biggest frustrations with contractors and dealers. The results, from top to bottom, reveal some huge common problems:
- 53% were upset about local partners switching sales to competitors.
- 31% complained of a lack of contractor and dealer follow-through.
- 10% pointed to poor customer experiences.
- 6% were frustrated by inaccurate estimation.
Naturally, your sales reps will be frustrated under these conditions. They can’t nurture leads effectively if they’re constantly putting out fires created by a lack of oversight, operational finesse, or trust-filled relationships with local channel partners.
What’s the answer? Using a locator technology that offers modern conveniences, feels intuitive for users, and results in the best-possible customer experiences with dealers and contractors.
Here, we’ll discuss several ways building materials companies are smartly leveraging their locators, and how modern locator tech can fortify your sales process.
1. Provide Search Functionality That Helps Users Hone In On Needed Services
When users arrive on your locator page, they have a specific project in mind. What they might not know, however, is how to get from their urgent needs to the product or service they want to buy.
This is especially true if your locator is just a plain list of dealers by location, without helpful context. Not only will customers not know which local business to choose — they might choose one that has little or no loyalty to your brand and will easily turn them over to your competition!
You can minimize the chances of that happening. With some forethought and locator-building tool that supports search enhancements, you can easily improve your users’ ability to choose the right dealer to buy your products from, or the right contractor to install those items.
Here are some of the locator features that top-performing building product manufacturers are using to make it happen:
- Intuitive search filters that allow customers to select particular services, product lines, product attributes, and other options via drop-down menus or clickable checkboxes
- Different search options that help consumers find local outlets even if they don’t know the zip code of a nearby town offhand — for example, the ability to search by city, state, or local landmarks
- Local SEO landing pages linked directly from the locator’s search results, which give more context on background, areas of expertise, industry certifications, special value-added services, and more
If you’re looking for a locator platform that offers all of the above, consider Bullseye. It’s the #1 solution for providing flexible, functional locators that yield superior user experiences.
In the 4th edition of Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, 66% of customers said they want businesses to understand their needs and expectations. You can demonstrate this in your locator page by offering users any number of search options that might be relevant to their goals.
Use a tool like Bullseye to build a locator that meets customers’ needs without requiring them to think too much, and you won’t lose them to untrustworthy dealers and competing brands.
2. Capture Leads to Supervise the Customer Journey and Local Partner Follow-Through
When customers land on your locator page, that’s a huge signal of their intention to buy. The magic happens when they take the next step towards the purchase by actually reaching out to a local dealer or contractor.
The problem: many building materials manufacturers have no way of tracking customers after they’ve decided on a local business to contact. The customer might make a phone call, or drive over if the listed location is close enough. The manufacturer, however, remains none the wiser.
What if your customers go with a dealer who fails to follow up on their needs, or otherwise offers a poor in-store experience (the second- and third-highest ranking reasons building material salespeople are frustrated)?
Research by Forrester reveals that 73% of marketers see managing their company’s channel partners as a major challenge. That’s easily be the case when you lack visibility into how your leads are progressing after the handoff. Reclaim that all-important insight with locator tech that generates leads and allows for trackable lead nurturing.
Once again, Bullseye has the power to help.
It lets you create pop-up lead capture forms for your locator, so that users can submit inquiries directly to nearby dealers and installers. Both you and your local partner will have the lead’s contact info, which enables you to follow the customer journey from consideration to purchase and beyond.
You can re-engage customers after the sale to make sure they had a satisfactory experience. You’ll also have visibility into which dealers and contractors are going the extra mile — and which ones you should stop sending leads to.
It seems simple, but it’s very true: lead-generating locator tech like Bullseye can mean the difference between a tight sales ecosystem and one that lets prospects fall through the cracks.
3. Implement Benchmarks Local Channel Partners Must Meet to be Featured
Not just any retail shop or contractor should have the privilege of being listed in your locator. They should be vetted and deemed worthy of guiding the leads you send them towards your products and solutions.
This is where a certification program can be powerful. By requiring your local partners to pass certain quality standards, you’ll help ensure that your customers are well taken care of.
A great way to ensure your local partners are actually meeting meaningful benchmarks is to train them. Your training should cover all the topics needed to be confident professional advocates for your product, such as:
- Proper product installation
- Reasonable time and cost estimates for projects
- Product maintenance and troubleshooting
- Product use cases
- Unique selling points of your products (and the sales process in general)
At the end of any training you conduct, you’ll also want to quiz your channel partners on the most important points. Those who pass can be shown with special “Certified” status in your locator listings — yet another feature Bullseye easily handles.
A study by McKinsey & Company showed that a majority of professionals surveyed (47%) consider alignment on objectives to be key to joint venture success. Similarly, your building materials brand and the local dealers and contractors you work with must be on the same page when it comes to customer service.
Be a building materials brand with standards. Customers will love you for it. Channel partners that earn top spots in your locator will see more local prospects. You’ll sell more of your products. Everybody wins!
Better Building Materials Sales Start with Your Locator, and How You Use It
Building material sales, done right, isn’t just a paint-by-numbers process that should run on autopilot. It’s a whole ecosystem in which all internal and external parts should work together harmoniously.
Get it right, and you won’t lose to the competition. You won’t let easily-closed sales slip through the hands of your salespeople, leaving them frustrated and deprived of the tools to do their jobs.
Start with a great dealer and contractor locator tech solution like Bullseye. Then, back it up with strong channel partner relationships, keen oversight of customer journeys, and quality assurance of product communications.
By adopting this strategy, you’ll find yourself on top, successfully fending off competition with exceptional loyalty from both channel partners and end consumers.
Ready to see it happen? Get on the right track with a superior locator software tool like Bullseye. Schedule your demo today to learn more!