Get your lineup in line.

Many manufacturers are equipped with exceptional sales and marketing divisions. The sales team excels in direct client engagement, while the marketing division is skilled in enhancing product visibility and driving sales through various channels such as websites, events, and strategic product messaging.

Too often, though, companies keep these teams in their separate dugouts. A successful revenue-generating effort demands that both teams occupy the same bench, that they form a single lineup of top performers who go to bat for each other in a coordinated way.

Sales and marketing must operate in alignment, sharing critical information on client preferences and history, product selection and availability, market stats and demand, and customer responses to sales and marketing efforts. Advanced and easy-to-use technologies are available to communicate and analyze this data, but each team must push that information out of its silo to the entire bench of in-house product experts.

Marketing plans should be responsive to current customer interests uncovered by the sales team, while sales plans should incorporate the latest data and messaging tweaks from the marketing team. Operating independently, these teams could miss sales opportunities and misfire by aiming their efforts in the wrong direction or at the wrong targets.  

Sales and marketing can even become sales versus marketing as each team tries to protect its proprietary data. Working together, however, sales and marketing can refine their approaches so that they are very sharply trained on the best and most relevant prospects.

Distribution should be the first concern, not the last.


While you may be tempted to throw all your initial sales and marketing efforts at engaging with architects, generating demand, and honing features and benefits, none of this will matter if you don’t have the infrastructure to get the product to the architect when it’s needed.

A solid sales and marketing effort must be built on a firm distribution foundation, with appropriate channels for in-store sales, online orders and/or manufacturer-direct or distribution/dealer-direct jobsite delivery.  Without a clear path to your product, architects will be reluctant to specify it for their projects. They need to trust that you can deliver the product on time and in perfect condition.

It’s crucial that you are clear and transparent with the customer about lead times. The worst thing to do is to overcommit on the product’s availability and then fail to deliver at the appointed time.

Especially when you are selling a new product, when your product or company is new to the marketplace, or you are selling to the architect for the first time, iron-clad lead times are essential. Otherwise, you might never get a second chance.

Be upfront with pricing. 

Similarly, be transparent about pricing. Architects need to know how much your product costs so they can account for it. Every building has a budget. If you convey pricing information as early in the project as possible, architects may find some wiggle room to specify your product if they feel that it’s the best and that they still can make adjustments elsewhere. Delay or conceal pricing information until later in the schedule and you may price yourself out of consideration.

It’s understandable that you might not want to list your cost per square foot on your website, especially if your pricing is highly variable.  This is where the sales team can step up to the plate in its one-to-one conversations with the architect, furnishing the technical support  that the architect needs to specify your product  and to define the project’s scope—unit volume, model, finish, etc.—to get an assured price that is appropriate for the architect’s needs.


Your data drives your destiny.

To become the architecture firm standard and then grow that business, you must build sales and marketing initiatives that are underpinned with reliable, current and client-specific data. Your tech stack will provide the components you need for sales and marketing to work successfully.

Each of the following technologies has an important role to play, but the greatest value comes from blending these platforms to create a cohesive sales and marketing ecosystem. Data from these systems often yields strong storytelling, with insights to identify opportunities for driving return on your investment.

Make staying current easier with a content management system.

Back in the day, when you wanted to make changes to your website, you needed to funnel them through the fellow in your company who understood the quirks of coding, audio files, video, page layout and design. Nowadays, all that is handled automatically on most websites through a content management system, or CMS. Updating web pages and adding new ones involves nothing more than tapping your keyboard and inserting images or video. The CMS takes care of the rest.

A CMS makes it so almost anyone on your marketing team can update your product pages, blogs, newsletters and other sections of your site so that you can tell your story and keep product information fresh without employing any special technical skills. A great CMS option for building-product manufacturers and others is WordPress, a platform that has earned a large share of the CMS market. It’s cost-effective and secure, and it supports photos, audio and 4K videos with unlimited storage.

Show some spine with CRM.

Customer relationship management (CRM) technology is the backbone of most sales and marketing organizations.  This is where you store customer contact information, data on every customer interaction, customer complaints and praise, sales opportunities, marketing campaign resources and much more.

While most companies have implemented a CRM system, far fewer have adopted it to its complete capabilities. To gain CRM’s full value, it must be actively maintained. Sales activities and marketing activities should be logged, with full information on initiatives, customer reactions and results. This data is mined for insights into customer needs, preferences and the right timing for the next interaction. Contacts should be added and removed in an efficient way so that you can extract a complete and accurate picture of your customer base and likely product demand at the current point in time.

A well-implemented CRM should give you a sense of the state of your business, the extent of opportunities in your pipeline, the number of active prospects and customers you are working with, and a determination of which marketing activities are producing the greatest impact.

One of the most valuable characteristics of a CRM system is that it contains first-party data—data that your own teams have collected from and about your own customers and prospects. First-party data is increasingly important for marketing activities, and your CRM is the best place for marketing to be able to access this data. Moreover, first-party data can be integrated into media campaigns to help ensure that you are issuing the right, focused message to the right audience.

If they don’t have a good customer file as a starting point, many organizations may rely on second- or third-party data. Second-party data has been gathered by another company and shared with yours; think a list of attendees from a tradeshow. Although this may offer some insights into the marketplace or the industry, it’s not specific to your particular landscape. And even further removed is third-party data, which often is assembled from multiple sources and may include  irrelevant data from, for instance, manufacturers that don’t produce building products. The most common type of third-party data is a purchased list from a list broker.

Marketing automation can turn a drip into a gusher of interest in your product.

Most CRM systems have a built-in capability for marketing automation (MA). MA enables both drip and trigger sequences that support the sales process with automated sequences. 

A drip campaign employs an automated schedule of emails sent to targeted prospects and clients at predetermined intervals. This is a great way, for instance, to build interest in a new product, to inform clients of new architectural trends or simply to keep your company’s name in front of clients,

A trigger campaign, meanwhile, may be based on content downloads that require a visitor to your website to enter contact information. Then, if an architect downloads, say, a design guide or product details from your site, the system can use this demonstrated interest and the contact data to create an email sequence that continues to drive interest and to offer education relating to the product.

Your CRM also can serve as the core of campaigns to reactivate lapsed customers. If your CRM is well established, you will easily be able to identify customers who are no longer with your company. This may raise a flag for a sales rep to call those customers. It also can be a great opportunity for the marketing team to support sales with emails designed to re-engage customers and prospects.

Further, when it’s time to announce a new product, your best audience will likely be the existing customer base that populates your CRM. Ensuring that your current customers are the first to learn about your new product is a great way to generate early sales and excitement for the offering you are launching.

Website analytics provide insights into your visitors and their interests.

Website analytics are more than just reporting on the number of site visitors and page engagements. Properly implemented, your website analytics should provide insights into which campaigns, products or discussions resonate most fully with your customers and prospects. They can also help flag where there are gaps in your online customer experience, highlighting areas of your website or campaigns that need attention and new ideas.

To take advantage of website analytics, you need to ensure that your web pages  and their content are properly tagged and, most significantly, that you’ve identified the top conversion or engagement activities that have meaning for your organization. One of the most common missteps that we at Point to Point see is that marketing tracks and reports on metrics that no one else in the organization can understand or cares about—they’re still in their own dugout. Aligning your web analytics with your sales process or customer journey can make your analytics reports much more meaningful to the broader organization, providing insight and buy-in for the impact that is driven by marketing.

Sometimes it’s good to keep it in and not let it all out.

For the most part, building product manufacturers are not known for having large internal marketing teams, but it’s extremely important to dedicate some in-house people and resources to marketing. Your in-house team, even if just one person, can give valuable, accurate direction to agencies that manage a portion of your marketing activities.

Additionally, employing your own person to manage your tech stack and develop some of your company’s content can be a great money-saving strategy. Outsourcing everything relating to your technology and keeping it all current and compliant can become a very costly budget line. Having an in-house resource who can update your website through your content  management system, send nurture emails and develop posts for social media can go a long way toward keeping costs down and your brand relevant.

Internal resource people should  be acknowledged as key team players. They should be thoroughly briefed on your customers. They should do ride-alongs with your sales teams as your reps meet with your architect clients and probe for product interest. They should understand the environment outside the walls of the manufacturing plant to learn what it’s like in the field. The more that your in-house team is embedded with sales and your customers, the better your marketing will become. 

Find your meaning in measurement.

As a marketer, you know how much your efforts mean to the company, but often you and your colleagues may be challenged to show the value of marketing. In these instances, data is your best friend.

By developing a measurement and learning plan (MLP), you can demonstrate the results that marketing produces and can align your organization around the metrics that matter. 

Developing your MLP should be a joint effort between your sales and marketing teams. This is where you all get a chance to discuss which metrics matter most and can help with internal alignment. This also ensures that everyone understands the full impact of what sales and marketing are doing together, which can help with executive alignment and buy-in to marketing efforts. 

This chart illustrates an example of the type of metrics that can prove to be insightful and helpful with aligning your sales and marketing efforts:

This type of quantifiable data can form a pathway wide enough to powerfully support both sales and marketing as you move forward with new products, new markets and new clients.