Thanks to the planning process, the construction industry has more sales and marketing information available to it than any other sector in the UK. No other industry gets advance notice of upcoming projects in the same way, and retailers of cars or fridges would kill for the kind of data on purchasing intentions that is readily available to the construction sector.
Builders, contractors and developers can integrate this data right into the heart of their marketing strategy – picking their ideal business right from the start.
It’s a winning asset – if you use it to maximum advantage. For example, did you realise there are at least eight different interlocking uses for this data?
- The obvious one – direct sales to the decision makers with the business you want.
- Direct marketing including mailing of all types.
- Market research and sector analyses.
- Competitive analysis.
- Future trends and development activity.
- Key account development.
- Identification of major new prospects.
- Support for your current supply chain and business network contacts.
Most firms will use sales leads to identify the kinds of projects they are interested in, and then find out who the relevant decision makers are. That’s very useful, but it’s only scratching the surface of the vast ocean of data that is available through services such as Glenigan and Barbour ABI.
Good marketing isn’t just about sales. It’s about relationships. It can be useful to think about market intelligence as a way of finding clients, rather than just jobs. Look for the kind of clients you’d like to work for, and start developing those relationships. If they don’t have a suitable project to pitch for, you can get on their radar for future work. Successful firms have to keep a close eye on the next few projects, while also nurturing relationships that will deliver bigger jobs for the future – the kind of work they aspire to do.
Competitive analysis is another use for sales leads. Because jobs are researched and tracked from planning all the way through to tenders and contracts, you can mine the systems for data on the competition. Who is getting the kinds of jobs that you’d like as a firm? Why are tenders going their way? Use market intelligence data to learn more about what potential clients are looking for, and then shape your brand and strengthen your own offer accordingly.
Barbour ABI and Glenigan publish planning applications which may be two or three years from being a project on site, making it possible to track growth areas in your region and make strategic investments in that direction. You can also use them to mine the past. Both have millions of projects going back over 20 years, and you can see whether certain sectors are growing or declining, or whether demand for certain services is rising or falling.
You can track very specific lines of work this way. Your company’s particular interest might be the design and installation of swimming pools, or the refurbishment of old church buildings. Whatever your specialty, you would be able to research where in the country those sorts of jobs were turning up and who was commissioning them. This information can then inform your business development – are you better off specialising further in this way to take advantage of growing opportunity? Or is demand tailing off, making it time to diversify?
Finally, every construction firm is part of a network of contractors, suppliers and partners of all kinds. You can use sales leads to support and build this network. That’s not a matter of farming out leads to others – that would break the terms of your subscription. But it is an opportunity to involve others, drawing in estimators, materials suppliers or other specialists in support of a project that you’re chasing.
Our Business Development Managers at CMS are expert users of market intelligence. If you’ve got an idea for some advanced analysis, we may be able to help. Give us a call on 01256 475880.