B2B marketing for construction and Real Estate is often a specific expertise of mine which has led to me being asked to coach, train and speak on B2B at events worldwide. I have also been asked to deliver content for organizations such as the Construction Marketing Association (CMA)
I have a passion for the construction industry because it’s one of the last industries to embrace digital technology in a truly integrated way across its entire business model. This gives us an enormous opportunity to improve the new business process for our clients and prove that we are value creators rather than simply expensive service providers! Historically, people have said they don’t feel comfortable buying services online and that B2B is about relationships. I totally refute this because the world has changed and people buy differently now, they’re time poor, more demanding, know their own mind and need to be confident you’re the right firm to solve their problems. Don’t miss out on your share of $5 trillion annually which consultants Deloitte say will be spent online by 2020!
Most marketing strategies are flawed because they don’t align with how business buyers research, select and engage with suppliers across all channels. The worst-case scenario is when Marketing creates collateral for prospects without realizing there’s a disconnect between what they do and how your prospects want to interact with solutions providers like you! In the same way as CRM technology has transformed sales because it’s in tune with how buyers want to do business, companies which invest in marketing technology are the ones who will succeed in this new world.
The best organizations have a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) who ‘owns’ digital from its strategy through to realization and they’re part of the C-suite. In general, however there is still resistance from board level because people don’t get the return on investment unless you understand that content isn’t just about having a website or being on LinkedIn, social media isn’t just about Facebook and Google+, email isn’t just newsletters and events aren’t an adjunct to your activity. The whole process has to be integrated so someone can measure what influenced a sale or where a prospect sourced their solution and how it changed the selling (or buying) process.
I’ve had a lot of success using systems like HubSpot for this purpose because they enable marketers to identify prospects which wouldn’t be obvious from LinkedIn or other sources; e.g., organizations who don’t have an IT budget but do get approval for solutions that address internal operational problems (e.g., poor communication between different departments, wasting resources through rework etc.). I can then communicate with them on topics such as compliance and safety both inbound and outbound providing content worthy of their attention, within channels they use to find suppliers and at times when we know they need our services of construction industry! This is known as ‘marketing automation’ is more complex than buying some software off the shelf but it’s worth it because of the volume of prospects that are attracted.
Some Other Ways of Marketing
Another way to generate demand is through thought leadership which can span blogs, white papers, video content and even books if you use Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or other platforms. I’ve published on LinkedIn Pulse, on my own blog on www.marketing4contractors.com as well as authored a book on LinkedIn called ‘Social Selling made Simple’ which has sold over 11,000 copies, has hundreds of reviews and is ranked #1 for social selling keywords worldwide! This strategy gives you great visibility among buyers who are particularly interested in your area of expertise, gives you more credibility when speaking at conferences or using case studies to demonstrate value and generates sales leads when they are in buying mode.
Biggest Tip for Generating Leads in Construction and Real Estate Business
My biggest tip when it comes to lead generation is to create an integrated strategy which links the different elements so you don’t have a bottleneck when demand surges. For example, if you’re using Twitter for publishing content, LinkedIn for thought leadership and email marketing including newsletters then ensure that each of these channel’s feeds into your website; e.g., if someone clicks on a link in your newsletter or Tweets about your article then log this activity on HubSpot (or whatever system you use) because it will tell you where they’re coming from and what other information they’ve browsed on your site before converting!
There’s no need for multiple signs offs across Marketing or because once you’ve created an integrated process your team will know exactly what activity is taking place. This is very different to the traditional view of marketing which was about getting ‘more budget’ because it had soloed activities that didn’t influence each other or have a strategy behind them; e.g., if you’re only doing LinkedIn then build the relationships and publish content through this channel but don’t expect results by publishing on multiple platforms not linked to an overall objective!
B2B marketers need to recognize that people (and companies) are increasingly seeing digital as their go-to source for information and they want to interact with solutions providers like you! In the same way as CRM technology has transformed sales because it’s in tune with how buyers want to do business, companies that embrace a multi-channel digital approach will be miles ahead of their competitors because they’re tapping into the way early adopter prospects want to buy!