Modular Home Factory Sales Manager are responsible for all manner of customer interactions, including marketing and sales activities, delivery and contract management. This is a huge skillset to master while also demanding minute by minute changes in mindset. Not to mention time management challenges, always thinking you should be concentrating on “something else”. Dropping one ball to allow yourself to pick up another is a common necessary evil.
Marketing is one ball that often gets dropped, either forgotten about completely or compromised significantly, especially in the prime selling and production seasons.
Over the years the factory has been establishing pool of builders, and then re-selling to the same significant few over and over again. The outcome of this mechanism is a high growth in customer base when the business starts up, followed by months and years of little to no real growth in customer numbers. Established builders then become more of a significant part of your business, with individual builders potentially making up 10% or more of your revenue and profit.
What’s the problem? This leaves your business in a weak position. Firstly, your position for negotiation is weakened. You realize how important certain builders become, yet a change in management or buying policy at the builder’s end could mean you lose their business, leaving a gap in your finances. This means you will compromise your margins, sometimes heavily, just to keep hold of that all important customer.
This has deeper implications, as you become reliant on certain customers. A slowdown in sales for your builders or even a minor financial crisis can lead to a huge and instantaneous loss in revenue.
This particular problem was encountered by the Innovative Building Systems team trying to hold onto select builders by giving them more and bigger discounts.
The learning point here is that growing your customer base is not just a mechanism for business growth, it’s important for survival.
Those who invest in ongoing marketing to suit their business see more business stability throughout changes in economic, political and social landscape. The days of having a significant builder for life are almost certainly over, so marketing cannot afford to be the “dropped ball” any longer.