How to sell into the construction industry and get construction companies as customers

byRiya Uppal

The scale of the world construction industry has been on the rise in recent years, and it is now growing at an ever-increasing rate. The construction industry’s market was valued at USD 11.4 trillion in 2019 according to market survey data. Moreover, it is expected that the growth will continue upwards, despite the obvious challenges post 2020.

If you are looking to target the construction industry and get construction companies as customers for your products or solutions, this post is for you. In this post, I will outline some of the current trends in the construction industry, and then show you why and how to use outbound sales to target these companies online.


The current state of the construction industry

In the 2021 Deloitte report, a survey of more than 350 US executives and other senior leaders revealed interesting findings about the outlook and perspectives of organisations in the construction industry. Some of the key findings are summarised below:

  • 2021 prospects: An uptick in public and commercial spending could improve the construction industry’s outlook for 2021.
  • Digital differentiation: Construction-focused businesses are now beginning to tap into the vast potential of digital technologies and have started to consider larger investments in this area. Research shows that by 2025 the investment in automation and digital technologies would reach $229.3 billion.
  • The road ahead: The report indicates engaging with an external talent ecosystem, developing in-house training programs, and training a future workforce are some of the long-term strategies that most construction companies are thinking about.

Opportunities: The industry is likely to witness strong activity in both traditional and nontraditional partnership approaches. As we move into 2021, more construction companies are expected to target different business models (such as alliances to complement their expertise) and targeted consolidation.


Why should you use outbound sales to get construction companies as customers?

The shift towards digital transformation means more construction companies will be turning to digital for marketing purposes. An outbound sales campaign can help you reach out to them on the platform they are available on and pursue a conversation around your solution.

Below are some more reasons to why outbound sales can be an effective method to target construction companies

  • Active control over the numbers: The biggest reason to invest in outbound sales is the control you have over the volume of sales you make and their scalability by managing the input and optimising each stage of the sales funnel. What more leads? Simply bump up the number of prospects you contact. 
  • Highly targeted outreach: Outbound sales facilitate a highly targeted outreach in how it lets you pick your prospects and reach out to them. You control who you are going to contact, when and how. Whether it is a phone call, email, or social media, you decide the right medium and the right time to reach exactly who you want to reach. This is especially important in the construction industry where there are a lot of suppliers for raw materials.
  • Immediate feedback and results:Outbound sales generate new business quickly. You can directly contact a contact person and have someone signed up for an online demo within minutes. Even though not all cold pitches will pay off, you are likely to get quick feedback and results via a cold call or email. 
  • Personal contact with prospects:Talking to people directly is the best way to get to know your customers and truly understand their problems. Only when you learn the pain points of your target audience, can you present your product as the solution.

Like most marketing activities, success of an outbound sales campaign relies heavily on its execution. As sales in the construction industry may involve high-ticket goods, it always pays to focus on personal contact and relationship building with the help of an effective outreach campaign.


How to use outbound sales to target construction companies?

Now that we have gone through the reasons to adopt outbound sales for marketing to construction companies, let us go into more detail about how to do it.

There are three parts to doing outbound sales which are:

-In depth research and preparation

-Omnichannel outreach and opportunity generation

-Supplementing your outbound sales ops

We will go into all three in detail


Research and preparation

When deciding upon what construction companies you want to target, there are three important targeting criteria to zero in on based on your ideal buyer persona, namely:

  • Scope of your marketing campaign based on two key factors
  1. Company size: The number of employees can be a direct indicator of the company scale. For example, it is small scale if it has 11-50 employees, medium scale if it has 200-500 employees, or large scale if it has 1000+ employees.
  2. Company location: Location of your prospect can be an important factor in deciding whether or not they fit your target market. 
  • Ideal type of construction companies you want to work with 
  1. Larger segments: This includes companies that take up private, public, industrial and commercial construction projects.
  2. Smaller segments: Smaller segments include companies that look into private housing, public education facilities or commercial office buildings.
  • Identifying key stakeholders within your target construction companies
  1. Contact seniority/position: high-ranking positions in the company like CEO, CTO, COO, etc are likely to have more expertise in their respective business department and bigger decision power.
  2. Contact department: where the prospect operates in day-to-day business (e.g. ‘Sales’, ‘Legal’ or ‘Human Resources’). Depending on the relevance of the project, you will have one or more departments involved in the purchasing decision.

After concluding your research on the companies you want to target, get ready for the last and the important part of targeting your prospects that is outreach.

Before setting off to reach out to your prospects, you will need to have B2B data. B2B data is a hugely important part of the outbound sales process as it will form the foundation of your outreach success. This list or database of contacts along with its associated set of variables will determine your ability to reach your prospects, the effectiveness of your outreach, and how many sales you generate.


Where to get your B2B data and what to look for?

Your data will play a key part in the success of your outreach. Since your messaging and the channels you can target your prospects on are dependent on the quality of your data, you must ensure you are getting what you need.

We recommend partnering up with a data provider and have them deliver the data you need. This way you save your salespeople time from having to do a lot of manual work such as researching, structuring, validating and enriching the data.

For example, at hubsell, our in-house researchers will process your data on-demand according to the criteria you provide. The data is then sent straight to your hubsell account for outreach purposes and to your CRM to manage your data.

When working with B2B data, there are five main features that make your data qualitative:

B2B Data relevance

Data relevancy means the contacts you have match your target market and are potential customers. By focusing on relevant prospects, you can be confident that your resources are used correctly and your campaigns can be tailored to different market segments.

For example, after deciding whether to target small scale or large scale companies, you need to identify key stakeholders in that particular market.

B2B Data accuracy

Data accuracy shows how close the information you have is true. Having wrong data can be devastating to your outreach efforts. Using data providers like hubsell can ensure data accuracy by using a human-validation process to visually check the data and check for wrong spelling, typos or duplicate data. Accuracy here would mean that you are able to target the stakeholders you previously identified in your targeted construction company.

B2B Data validity

Data validation ensures your data has consistent formatting, contains valid contact information, and is free from errors and anomalies. The following are a few problems that may occur if you do not validate your data: unstandardised data, incomplete data, invalid contact data, data breadth, etc. Data validation means all the information you get about your prospect is error free and valid.

B2B Data breath

Data breadth signifies the amount of data you have for each contact or account. Having many data points about the prospect and company will allow greater personalisation in your messaging and enables you to draw deep insights into your data. Without data breadth, you will lack important information to categorise your contacts and personalise any sales and marketing activities. It does not help to know just the first name and email address of your prospect, you will also need other information like how long have they been in the construction industry, information about their company and other specific details about the prospect that make it easier for you to deliver personalised communications to them.

B2B Data freshness

Data decay is a huge problem when handling B2B data. Data is always changing so it is important to use the data as soon as it is confirmed to be correct. Having data that is delivered very close to when it was processed will guarantee data freshness and bring better results in any outreach campaigns. This means all the information you get on your prospects in the construction industry should have been recently sourced to ensure validity.


Outreach and opportunities

The final step in planning your outbound campaign is executing outreach and generating opportunities. 

This broadly includes drawing up your sales copy, deciding on the channels to use, supplementing your campaigns with technology.

We will now go into all of these in detail

What kind of messaging should you send to your prospects?

When it comes to outreach, we highly recommend you personalise your messages. Your prospect likely receives tons of pitches on the regular, so to truly stand out from the crowd, adopting message personalisation is a strategy that never fails.

The reason message personalisation captures attention is that one, it is relevant to the prospect and second, shows that thorough research has been done by the company. Personalised messages seem like a one-to-one email, as opposed to one-to-many type that is often sent out by the majority of salespeople. The effort on your part will most often be reciprocated by the prospect taking the time to read it. 

Here is what a  personalised messaging strategy broadly looks like:

  • Industry specific: This means repurposing your sales copy as per the industry your prospect belongs to. 

For example, in the case of construction companies, as most construction professionals are practical thinkers, you can go for a more detail oriented marketing. Take the time to put down all the features in as much detail as you can and make your language straightforward, honest and useful.

  • Position specific: Your value proposition can change depending on who you are targeting. 

For example, targeting someone at ‘Manager’ level, your pitch may be centered around helping them with their day-to-day tasks and shorter-term goals. However, targeting someone at ‘Director’ level or higher, you may want to give them a big-picture value proposition such as something that can help with business growth or expanding into new markets.

Industry and position specific messaging is only a starting point, the more qualitative your data is the more ways you can personalise your message. For reference, hubsell’s Data Processing as a Service (DPaaS) can enrich the data in your CRM with over 25 data points including prospect data, prospect categorical data, company data, contact data, etc.

How to achieve personalised messaging?

Although personalised messaging can be done by hand, it may be quite time-consuming and difficult to manage at scale. One surefire way to make your personalised outreach better is with an advanced automation software like hubsell, which keeps the same quality of manual sending but adds the ability to scale it out. A tried and tested way messages can be personalised at scale is by using dynamic placeholders.

When automating outbound sales messages, message templates are created with placeholders that update parts of the text with information from each prospect. Static placeholders are a basic form of this by updating the message with data points taken directly from the variables such as their first name ({{firstName}}) or job title ({{title}}). While still useful, prospects know that this can easily be done as it is a simple drag and drop of information.

Dynamic placeholders on the other hand open a lot more variation to the message copy. Using variables such as seniority ({{seniority.name}}) and department ({{department}}), you can update entire lines of text for each prospect from one template.

What channels to use? 

An outbound sales campaign is a sequence of touchpoints made over time and likely across a variety of communication channels. Each touchpoint serves the purpose of attempting to provide enough value and interest to prompt a reply.

There are many communication channels you can use to engage with your prospects. Rather than selecting only one or two channels, you should use a synchronised combination of all of them – which is called omnichannel outreach.

Since your prospects will have different personal preferences on which channel they prefer to communicate on, an omnichannel outreach approach ensures you cover all bases. At the same time, it helps maintain continuity in conversation. Let us look at some of the different channels and the main reasons for using them.

Email

Cold email is one of the best sales channels you can add to your business. When done well, it can generate a huge response rate to your inquiries. Case in point, Kyle Gawley, CEO of Get Invited achieved a solid 29% response rate with his cold emailing strategy. 

Here are some tips for writing a perfect cold email

  • Keep it short: Your aim with a cold email should be to capture your prospect’s attention in seven seconds or less.
  • Make it persuasive: Try to include a key benefit of your solution and quantify it. For eg. saying past clients have saved 15 hours per week after implementing your solution instead of using quantifiers like “a lot” of time.
  • Personalise it to the core: Not just your email body, but also your subject lines, opening lines and from fields should be personalised to improve the quality of your campaign.
  • Monitor the metrics: As your goal is to get people to take action, paying attention to conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is important. This includes measuring your metrics like Open rate, Link clicks, Response rate, Leads generated, New business generated, etc.

Email lets salespeople send a carefully constructed message laying out their key value proposition relevant to the prospect they are sending it to. At the same time, giving the prospect space to reply back in their own time should they need to do some research of their own prior to responding. Emails also make it easy to involve all the key decision makers in the decision as they can copy other colleagues into the conversation or forward entire email exchanges to other relevant parties.

The overall goal with email is to generate a sales call. You will not be able to close a deal with email alone, especially if you are selling a high-ticket item. To persuade a prospect to set up a meeting with you, the focus of your email should not be to show the features and benefits of your solution as many salespeople may try to do. Instead, showcase the benefits your prospect will gain and how they can be better with your solution.

After showing that you have actually researched them and you can deliver an outcome that would interest them, you need to close out with a strong call-to-action (CTA). At this point, the prospect should want to take the next step with you, so the best CTA to use is to ask for a call. A CTA such as “would you have time for a quick call later this week?” should prompt a reply.

LinkedIn

Contacting your prospects on LinkedIn can be a great way to initiate a business conversation. As a professional networking platform, it allows a deeper insight into each other’s interests as both parties can view each other’s profiles and look at their posts.

There are two ways to engage with a prospect on LinkedIn: 1) sending a connection request with a note and 2) sending an InMail.

  • Sending a connection request is a free method all members on the platform can use. You are able to send a note with your connection request but limited to 300 characters. If your prospect accepts your request, they become a 1st-degree connection and this opens the ability to freely send direct messages without limit.
  • Sending an InMail is similar to an email as it includes a subject line limited to 200 characters, and the message body limited to 2000 characters. This is a premium feature and incurs a cost to the sender as each inMail due to the limit in the number of credits given to each premium user. Prospects will often recognise the value of an InMail and if they reply, it allows open communication between the two.

With the ability to view their profile, you should definitely take the time to research the prospect and mention something that you found interesting about them in your initial message. Without doing this, your chances of a response are slim since it shows little to no effort was made in your outreach.

There are three main ways you can show you researched them:

  • Self-authored content: If the prospect has written a piece of content or even has a podcast, take some time to go through it and point out something they wrote or said that struck a chord with you. This is a great way of getting their attention and sparking a conversation.
  • Personal accomplishments: LinkedIn profiles are increasingly becoming a way to brandish professional and personal achievements. Sift through their profiles to take out something that strikes out to you and is relevant to your product or brand and highlight that in your messages.
  • Company information: Including a piece of company information they posted about or reacted to, such as the release of a new product can be a great way to show that you are not sending messages in bulk but being selective in who you are reaching out to.

Phone

Cold calling is another important way to generate sales leads. Contrary to common belief, cold calling is far from dead. In fact, it can be one of the most powerful channels when used right. It is also one of the most direct methods of communication as you will have the opportunity to engage with the prospect almost face-to-face.

There are many aspects to learn with the cold call, a few being to get past the gatekeeper, objection handling, building rapport and persuading them to have a follow-up call. 

Cold calling can seem like an ambush to the prospect, therefore it is important to do it the right way. The cold call is not your opportunity to sell but rather to generate interest and to qualify the prospect to see if there is a fit between what you are offering and what problem they are trying to solve. Once you have established there is a fit, your aim should be to book a meeting where you can discuss things in more detail or even provide a demo of your solution.

It is good practice to use a call script, especially if you are new, so that you can deliver the same cold call to each of your prospects. It will give you confidence when speaking but also allow you to improve parts of your script where you may be losing your prospects during the call.

The basic cold call structure should look like this:

  • Introduction: Greet the prospect by their name and introduce yourself saying who you are and where you are calling from. If you know something about them or the company, mention this as a reason as to why you’re calling – it will help build trust and show you are a genuine caller.
  • Building rapport: Research your prospect before picking up the phone, so you can throw in something familiar that can set the stage for a great conversation. If your lead is pre-qualified, it will be even easier to prove you are familiar with them and the company and get them talking. 
  • Pitch smartly: It is advisable to ask for permission to give your pitch instead of going straight into it as it shows you respect their time. Also stating how long it will take, for example 30 seconds, can mentally prepare them for what to expect and keeping your ask small will increase the chances of them saying yes.  Next, open your pitch with a positioning statement such as I work with sales managers in construction industries. My customers are typically looking for affordable source materials for their product portfolios. Does that sound like you?”. This shows your prospect that you work with similar companies and understand their challenges. Throwing in an open question such as “how are you currently achieving this?” will spark a conversation and open the floor for you to continue asking questions to help you qualify them.
  • End with a call-to-action: Once you have decided there is a potential partnership, you want to get a meeting booked with them. End the call by telling them it sounds like your solution can help them achieve their desired outcome and suggest having another call to show the solution to them.

Instead of leaving it up to them to schedule a call, give a suggestion for a date and time and ask if it suits them. Offering when to have the meeting assumes they will have the call with you, meaning their only decision should be if they can make it at the time you offered instead of deciding whether or not to have the meeting at all.

Additional channels

The three channels above should play a core part in your outreach strategy, however, there are a few others that could also play a role in addition to these.

  • Text: If you have the prospect’s work mobile phone number, you can follow up with a text saying you tried to call.
  • Voicemail: Leaving a voice message if the prospect does not answer can always be helpful. You can drop a friendly message to briefly introduce yourself or even use it to say they should look out for an email from you
  • Direct mail: Sending physical mail whether it be a letter or a small gift can take some extra work and be costly to manage but the impact of this can be worth it to get their attention, especially if you are in high-ticket sales.

Other social platforms – aside from LinkedIn, your prospects may also have a professional presence on Twitter or other social media platforms. Reaching out to them there may be uncommon, meaning you will stand out from the lack of competition.


Supplement your outbound sales ops

B2B sales are increasingly becoming buyer-focused and to make the B2B sales process highly effective, it is important to bring in technology without compromising on the essential human element in sales. This means you can automate some parts of the outbound sales process, but some of it will need to be handled by your sales teams. Simply put, what you need is a network of empowered sales teams supported by digital capabilities.

Combining a dynamic outreach and cold calling in one holistic approach can do wonders in boosting your outbound sales process. Below are two key aspects to supplementing your outbound sales operations. 

Automation in outbound sales 

With automation in outbound sales, you can take manual tasks away from marketing and sales teams, making them quicker and more reliable. You get to manage the working time of your sales force more effectively; allowing them to concentrate on functions that they do best–building relationships with prospects and closing deals.

Now, with automation, it is important to understand which steps of the outbound sales process can be automated and which cannot. 

In B2B sales, all account management tasks should not be automated. The goal should be to create time for account executives to focus solely on demoing, understanding, consulting the clients so that they can move on to negotiating prices, creating offers and closing deals.

Objection handling and qualifying prospects as opportunities cannot be fully automated, since it requires contextual knowledge of the prospect’s reply. However, after understanding the context, it can be made super-efficient through the use of templates. By creating, evaluating and optimising templates for most of the possible replies, up to 90% of the time can be saved. Besides saving time (and by extension money) creating and consistently using templates helps the objection handling optimisation process.

At a glance, some steps of outbound sales that can be automated are:

  • Curation of data
  • Cold outreach
  • Following-up 
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Organising and scoring leads
  • Contract creation

A highly advanced tool like hubsell uses software intelligence to automate most of the repetitive tasks and combines it with human-powered prospecting to ensure a hundred percent accuracy and efficiency. We also supplement cold calling efforts by systematically syncing your email and social accounts on one dashboard to convert a contact into multiple touchpoints. Our analysis software gives you intent data such as the number of opens, links clicked, filter options for positive or neutral responses that can help you set up automated contextual and conditional follow up responses.

Sales tech integrations

On average, any sales & marketing professional uses at least six different tools to remain competitive in the current environment. Hence, your outreach campaign must be integrated with all these varied tools, such as CRM and your email and social media accounts. Click here to read a detailed outline of all these integration tools on one of our previous blogs.

To summarise, here are the key ones:

  • Email automation tool
  • Phone and video prospecting software
  • Social media accounts
  • B2B customer relationship management (CRM) tools

A sales automation tool like hubsell provides you with the possibility to sync your mailbox and social media accounts to its platform and have an outreach across channels. The outreach process closely resembles hand-typed messages manually sent from personal accounts.


What does an ideal outreach campaign look like?

First, there is no right or wrong way to execute an outbound sales campaign. The crucial aspect of any campaign should be that it targets across multiple channels and over several touchpoints.

Since you do not know your prospect’s preferred channel of communication, targeting multiple channels will give you the greatest chance of engaging with them. You will also be able to follow up across several touchpoints professionally after having spread your communication across different platforms.

Depending on the country your prospect lives in, your first touchpoint may have to be a connection request on LinkedIn first because of GDPR. Once your request is accepted, you may then follow up with emails.

You can complete the entire process manually using your CRM to keep track. Alternatively, solutions like hubsell can automate the entire prospecting process, including message creation, sending emails, and other LinkedIn activities.

To take your outreach a step further, intent data from each of your touchpoints can change how you follow up. For example, hubsell’s outreach software can identify if the prospect has opened your previous email and how many times they have opened it. Using this information, we can determine their level of interest and proactively attempt to get on the phone with them instead of sending another email. Other forms of intent data are clicked links and accepted connection requests. Through this “if-this-then-that” sequencing of touchpoints, you can create a campaign that is most likely to generate sales opportunities. 

Below is a general idea of what an ideal outreach campaign should look like:



other interesting insights

When you are building or refining your own email prospecting strategy, it helps to see first-hand how others have done it successfully. That is why I compiled this list of tried and tested B2B cold email templates that have proved successful for a lot of our customers. At the end of this blog, you will also find a winning formula for writing that perfect cold email regardless of which template you go with. […]

Intent data provides your team with consistent behavioral signals that can track your potential or existing customers’ web activity during the buyer journey. […]

Did you know only 25 percent of leads are legitimate sales qualified, and 79 percent of marketing leads never convert? Moreover, on average 73 percent of leads are not sales-ready, and 50 percent are qualified but not yet ready to buy. The stats from this study spotlight the importance of prioritising the right leads and letting go of the irrelevant ones to better manage the time of your sales teams. In this post, I will define the process of lead qualification, when to use it, followed by a comprehensive guide into the most effective methods for filtering leads.

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