Reviewing your Specification Strategy

Is your specification strategy and tactics ready for the future?  Here are 3 points for you to review.

For manufacturers of non-commodity building products, creating demand by engaging with specifiers and influencers is really important. It creates awareness of your product range and the benefits offered. It moves away from the lowest common denominator of price and gives you a better understanding of the market.

Where are the best opportunities?
The characteristics of your products mean that they will be particularly relevant to specific sectors. Look at past sales and identify these. Then overlay this with the sectors offering growth opportunities; Residential, Healthcare Education and Infrastructure were all selected as targets for government investment in the last budget. You need to prioritise these.

Also consider the type of contract you enjoy most success with. Most UK projects use either Traditional or Design & Build. Review past sales, where have you enjoyed most success? This is the type of project to target.

Understand the needs and challenges of your customers
By customers I mean the specifiers and influencers;

  • Architects and Engineers specify products
  • Clients and Quantity Surveyors are two key roles which influence product selection
  • Main contractors and sub-contractors can influence selection and are the buyer

One size does not fit all. Use personas for each of these roles to identify the needs and challenges they face, then offer solutions and present benefits associated with your products and brands. Make it easy to get information about your products and provide guidance for installers.

Construction intelligence software such as Barbour ABI and Glenigan can then be analysed to identify the key players that your organisation should be targeting. Define current levels of engagement and define tactics to improve these relationships.

Ensure an integrated communications strategy
There are a range of options available to effectively engage with your target decision makers.
Awareness creation: Major channels are your website, blogs, product directories and press coverage.
Evaluation: These will include literature, CPD seminars, case studies and product samples.
Specification: Technical support and advice is key, perhaps enquiries answered by your advisors. In the past face-to-face and telephone have been key. But going forward we can expect usage of email and online chats. Other sources are downloads of product specifications, BIM content and technical datasheets.

Now is the time to review what you currently offer. Ensuring it is up to date and accurate. But also, that it is easy to locate on your website. And how will the way we access information change after our enforced periods working from home? How can you improve access to your technical support?

For more information about the elements of specification strategy see our infographic Mapping out a Specification Strategy and video Reviewing your Specification Strategy.