SMEs in Construction: Finding New Leads at This Crucial Time to Survive and Thrive

There is no predicting what the UK will look like by the time this piece is published so here’s a reminder of the UK in mid-June: consumer lockdown is easing, queues for non-essential stores re-opening were featured on the news, the weather is good, property viewings are up, and houses are selling. You’d be tempted to think that life is getting back to normal, says Santtu Kottila, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Leadoo Marketing Technologies.

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Santtu Kottila

is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Leadoo Marketing Technologies. Leadoo MT works with many companies in and around the construction space, both B2B and B2C and from SMEs to large corporates including tradespeople, suppliers, architects, merchants and associated services.

But for businesses, the question is, what is this ‘new normal’? We know consumer and business habits will have shifted, so take stock of what has changed and predict what might change for your business in the future. Whether you mainly sell to other businesses or direct to customers (or a mix of both), it’s time for a fundamental re-assessment of how your business interacts with customers. Here is my advice focused around lead generation.

Think creative

Start by asking yourself whether your business changed at all during lockdown either deliberately or by accident? Is there something you need to continue doing? Or something to stop? Take a look at what others in your sector (and beyond) did, as well as how they are recovering in countries that came out of lockdown before the UK. Can you learn something from a different sector serving customers like yours (think food delivery; for example, if your customer base is local)? Did you see them generating business in a different way? Could you do something similar?

Embrace digital

When Twitter and Facebook talk about how much of their workforce will work from home in the future, we know things are changing. This could have a major impact on your lead generation because if events, shows, exhibitions and face-to-face networking are scaled-back, then you are going to have to find a new way of generating leads. Back in May, we undertook some research which revealed that just 15% of the construction industry agreed they had invested more in online sales and marketing, and only 24% had taken action in digitalising due to COVID-19 – both these scores were the lowest of any sector we surveyed. Now could be a good time to learn something new to help future-proof your business.

Use your existing resources – by this I mean, for example, your website. Companies, particularly SMEs where budgets are not huge, spend an enormous amount of time, money and energy attracting visitors to their sites, but for every 100 visitors, less than one typically convert. Don’t overlook the importance of visitor experience on your website. Your new buyer’s journey will often start on the internet, and a lot of companies lose potential customers because they do not supply the right help or information online. You need to serve your customer exactly at that point in time, otherwise they will simply move elsewhere. Could your website be more engaging, is the content up to date, do you have recent testimonials or reviews to add? The same goes for your social channels, whether that’s more B2B, like LinkedIn or Twitter, or more consumer-focused, like Instagram or Facebook. Look at what your analytics are telling you. Where are you most successfully engaging with potential customers?

Take a long-term view

Finally, take the time to talk to your customers – let the conversation inform your future thinking. Ring them, ask how they are or how their business is doing. Is there anything you can do to help? Any new service that you could offer?

66% of the construction sector agreed that having been forced to be more virtual/online due to the pandemic and lockdown, this would change the way their company does business in the future. The question each business needs to answer now is how.

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