Construction marketing sales funnel
The forgotten step in the construction marketing sales funnel
The standard sales funnel traditionally ends with the sale. The construction marketing sales funnel needs to be an expanded version. Just like the industrial marketing sales funnel, it needs to include getting repeat projects. However, there needs to be one more step after that in construction marketing. Because a contractor doesn’t produce thousands of parts or pieces of equipment per year, a crucial part of growth is referrals. And that is the sometimes forgotten step. In this blog, I will review the complete construction marketing sales funnel:
Present the bid
Win the project
Secure repeat projects
Building awareness in the construction marketing sales funnel
The awareness stage is vital to a construction company. Because most contractors work locally or regionally, this awareness is a necessary step. In it, you are creating the recognition that makes potential customers think of you when they need construction services. While this first step in the sales process might not generate many leads, it will build your brand to help you further in the sales funnel for construction marketing. Tactics to build awareness could be advertisements in local and regional publications, billboards, site and vehicle signage, or event sponsorships.
Encouraging engagement in the construction marketing sales funnel
This step is when your sales team is actively engaging with potential customers. Whether it is by e-mail, phone or in person, it is meant to establish a relationship at this point. After all, no matter how good a salesperson, it is unlikely you will be able to convince a prospect to build a building if they don’t need one. By creating engagement, you are setting the stage to be in the running when they DO need one. Because this could be a long relationship, you need sales tools to give prospects. Depending on your strategy, these tools should focus on history, services, advantages, target market expertise, case studies, and testimonials. Don’t try to be a “do-it-yourselfer” when developing these tools. Hire professionals to create your library of sales tools. As a result, your material, whether it’s print, video or online, will present your image in the best manner.
Gaining an opportunity in the construction marketing sales funnel
Now comes the stage that makes all your patience pay off. That’s because the prospect finally needs construction services and wants you to bid on the project. Of course, that’s only if you have done your job in the previous stage of the construction marketing sales funnel. If you’ve engaged the potential client and built the relationship, the request for a proposal should come naturally. In fact, it might not even go to out to general bid. Based on the strength of the relationship you’ve established, you could be on a short list of contractors bidding. Consequently, you would be the perfect position for the next stage – bidding on the project.
What happens in this part is obvious. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest. Even when you are on a short list of competing contractors, you could still run into substantial obstacles. Also, remember that you could be presenting to a committee and not just your friend. After working with dozens of commercial contractors, I always recommend considering three factors regarding a bid presentation.
Look at it as if you are selling your company all over again. Because you are. Whenever you have competition, you have to remember that they are promoting their strengths and reasons to choose them. It is arrogance to believe you won’t have to do the same.
Do not be overconfident in your relationship with the prospect. Even if you feel you have become friends, that may not count when a construction project costing thousands or millions of dollars is on the line.
Considering the first two, be prepared to make a professional presentation. In addition to stating you plan and price, there are other actions you need to take. Hand out your sales material again, show your company video once more, and restate your qualifications, especially if you haven’t been required to submit an SOQ. Simply put, remind them why you are the contractor for the job.
Winning the project in the construction marketing sales funnel
You’re at the goal line. All the bids are in and the presentations made. Now the prospect must choose the winning construction provider. Although you want to be respectful and give them time to decide, keep being proactive. At the presentation, ask when you should follow up to answer additional questions. You can be assured any competitor worth their salt will be doing the same. After all, this might be the chance to prove the value you bring to the project, addressing the possibility that you aren’t the lowest bid. It’s a delicate balance between the hard sell and proactiveness, but it’s one you need to achieve to win the project.
Securing repeat projects in the construction marketing sales funnel
You’ve been awarded the project. And like any quality contractor you want to build the best project possible. Because your reputation is on the line and it’s the right way to do business. But there is another reason that fulfills this stage of the construction marketing sales funnel – repeat business. After all the time, cost, and work you put into getting a new client, it is critical you make them a satisfied one. This philosophy will lead to repeat projects, more often than not without having to bid against other contractors. Surprisingly, it is a revenue stream any construction companies ignore. To be sure you don’t, establish a program that reaches out to current clients regularly to assure you have an opportunity to secure repeat business.
Getting referrals in the construction marketing sales funnel
Finally, we come to the forgotten step of the construction marketing sales funnel – referrals. Unlike a business that produces something like a manufacturer, construction provides a service. A customer of a manufacturer, such as an OEM, is unlikely to refer them because it would almost always be to a competitor. A large part of the markets a contractor serves is not in direct competition with each other. Therefore, you are doing your company a disservice not to have a referral program in place. Let happy customers know you are actively looking to grow and would welcome to any referrals. I know many companies reward clients for referrals, and while I see no reason not to, I also don’t feel it’s necessary. After all, a satisfied customer should always be happy to refer you.
About the Author
Paul Kowalski (or Pappy as he is called around the office) spent over two decades working at other agencies before opening Conach Marketing Group in 2008. The early part of his career was working with Fortune 500 clients at different agencies. However, working with smaller clients was his preference. This choice was because of the impact on a client’s business growth and the forming closer, personal relationships.
When he was creating Conach, his goal was to bring those Fortune 500 strategies along with years of B2B marketing experience to small business marketing clients. As a result of focusing on business to business marketing, Conach specializes in construction marketing, financial marketing, and industrial marketing. Even though we are in Mid-Michigan, Conach provides marketing services to clients across the country.