Prepare for the New Normal

Construction sites are operating with new social distancing procedures, stockists have reopened and companies are taking staff off furlough. Has the New Normal arrived?

The construction industry is coming out of lockdown and with-it product manufacturers should be getting ready for the new normal. There is still a lot of uncertainty, with expectations that it will take two years for the construction market to return to its 2019 levels. But while there will be falls in construction activity, it will not be across the board and we can expect some sectors to show healthy levels of activity while others plummet.

Many product manufacturers have had most of their marketing and sales staff on Furlough since March. While some are returning to work, unfortunately others will be losing their jobs as companies make deep budget cuts.

But it will not just be the implementation of social distancing that will affect our markets. Sadly, some fabricators and contractors will not have made it through lockdown. This means that established supply channels will change. With many companies reducing market spend and shedding sales staff there will be an opportunity to grow market share and, based on the enquiries we have received, there will be new entrants into many established markets.

As one marketing manager said to me “I’m being asked to reduce my marketing spend and increase my market share”. If this is to be achieved it’s a matter of thinking outside the box – not just taking out cost but coming up with new ways of doing things. Surely it must be time to end the old school approach of the traditional salesperson, driving around the country, calling on customers for a chat? We have all got used to online meetings and video conferencing. It’s time to fully utilise digital technology.

The early stages of customer engagement and relationship building can be achieved with marketing automation, the next stage of face-to-face conversations can be delivered via online discussions held by an office based technical sales advisor, with physical meetings reserved for key accounts. Marketing and Sales can work in close harmony to deliver a cost-effective solution.

Many companies already have the software which can deliver this capability but have lacked the resource to implement it properly. That’s why we developed our range of construction industry personas. And often, managers are too busy with day to day activities to take time out to consider the analytics which they now have available. It is time to turn the CRM theory into reality and think smart.

But we come back to the cutting of staff numbers, how to implement these ideas while reducing the size of your team? Why not consider using external consultants, like the Competitive Advantage team, in the short term? While the per-hour rate might be higher than employees, the total monthly cost is often less than a junior marketer. And you can utilise the expertise of people who understand the challenges you face, but only for as long as it is needed.

For more information about how we can help you re-engineer your marketing and sales operation visit our implementation web page or contact us.