Building product CMOs should consider the need for automation, which can allow information to be provided to the customer in the way the customer prefers.
As a building product CMO, there are many pressures associated with the job; however, driving sales always remains a constant. Another constant you may not think about is marketing automation. In the building material industry this includes communication at every level of the channel from distributor to homeowner.
Forrester Research defines B2B marketing automation as: Tooling and process that helps to generate new business opportunities, improve potential buyers’ propensity to purchase, manage customer loyalty, and increase alignment between marketing activity and revenue.
The elements of customer buying behaviors that are making marketing automation mission critical:
- Active buying cycles are limited: Providing your inside and outside sales reps with qualified leads is more important than ever, due to the trend of less leads in the buying cycle. Creating an automated system to provide sales reps timely prospect data can improve the sales process and allow you to track your ROI.
- Buyers research on their own: Along with tracking direct leads, remember to automate the tracking of ‘soft leads’ through email offers and digital promotions by providing a mechanism to check how many people follow through with your offer.
- Increased number of stakeholders in the buying decision: Due to multiple decision makers, messaging must be segmented to benefit each audience. Building product marketers now are challenged with generating a powerful ‘call to action’ for each segment.
Find your most important segments (consumers? builders? architects?) and provide them with separate and more powerful marketing by targeting their needs. A key element of automation is being prepared for the benefits. Building product marketers must identify their customer and key elements of their customer data before rushing into marketing automation.
Elements to avoid when considering automation:
- Rushed implementation: Communicating with building product dealers and building product professionals via e-mail messages with the hope of generating more leads cannot be hurried with ineffective automated processes. Automation to overcome tactical projects is not an effective strategy.
- Expectation of a “Quick Fix”: Implementation is challenging regardless of the system. There are always technology challenges, policy and procedure challenges and even cultural challenges. Do not anticipate the “quick and easy” resolution. Once your automation is set up correctly, the rich data it can provide you with is priceless.
- Lack of Explanation: This will be a cultural change that will be difficult for multiple members in your supply chain, consider their troubles and make it as simple as you can for them. Let them know the benefits to their business before expecting them to change. Remember that legacy cultural challenges are difficult to break
- Not Starting: “We interviewed more than 20 companies that were identified by their vendor as being great case studies and found that most are still in the infancy of automation,” Jeff Ernst of Forrester. These changes won’t be easy, but even in their beginnings can cause large improvements!