Resistance To Change: Who’s Really At Fault
Constant Adaptation or Resistance to Change?
Resistance to change is the single biggest threat to progress. Connecting with engineers and influencing changes to specifications can be a frustrating task.
Manufacturers generally share one primary goal: To sell more products. Unless they’re peddling a me-too knockoff product with low price as a key selling point, the secondary goal is to get specified. I know from my years of selling to engineers that it’s not a fast process, and a specification can be reversed at a moment’s notice by a trusted contractor who gets into an engineer’s ear.
It’s easy for manufacturers to blame their lack of success on engineers, distributors, and contractors for being resistant to change. While I think that’s part of the problem, I think manufacturers may want to evaluate their own sales process to see if they are doing enough to adapt to the new generation of decision makers.
The Evolution of Sales Teams
We are in an interesting transition period in the evolution of sales teams. Generally speaking, the older generation could be characterized as relationship sellers. They have strong relationships with buyers and can often generate a quick sale when they are under the gun. However, the relationships are beginning to fade as a new generation of decision makers take the front seat.
Conversely, we have the millennial generation. This group thrives with the use of technology to accomplish their goals. They often think more strategically and are more apt to use a value proposition to make a sale. Season buyers may be resistant to this type of sale because they would rather know and trust their salesperson first.
Falling somewhat in the middle of these two generations, I see the advantages with both selling styles. However, I think more could be done by manufacturers to shift responsibilities and make an effort to maximize the value of each sales approach.
What if manufacturers strategically aligned their salespeople with customers of similar personalities or from the same generation? Ok, maybe that’s a lot easier said than done. But, buyer and seller would instantly have more in common and the rapport building process would take a fraction of the time. Theoretically, it would be efficient if it was possible.
Another idea to consider is sales training specifically to help optimize cross-generational selling. Maybe that isn’t the solution either, but the key question for manufacturers to ask is, “What are we doing differently with our sales teams to maximize their potential in today’s market?”
The Digital Revolution
Insulation contractors are usually one of the last trades on a job site. The insulation industry as a whole is typically among the last to find out about change orders. This affects every level of our industry from contractors, to distributors, to fabricators, to manufacturers. Always having to jump through hoops at the last minute leaves us focusing on our reactive decisions more than our proactive decisions.
For this reason, we are behind the times with technology and too busy to think ahead. Have you seen an industry magazine or regional newsletter lately? Some of the ads in those publications have been running for over ten years without a single change. Why? Because as much as manufacturers want to focus on tomorrow’s sale, today’s is more important today.
Take a look at the following chart from the Internet Advertising Bureau’s 2019 IAB Internet Ad Revenue Half Year Report. Internet advertising growth has more than quadrupled in the last ten years. How has your company’s internet advertising changed in that time?
The IAB’s report takes into account ad revenue from online advertising outlets. It doesn’t factor in how much money is spent on business websites. How much does your company invest in its online presence? How does that compare to what an entry level salesperson costs?
Consider an entry-level salesperson with:
- $50k Base Salary
- $20k Company Car
- $12k Expense Allowance ($1k/month)
Even before benefits or bonuses are considered, that salesperson is costing your company $82k in his/her first year. Is that salesperson going to pay for himself/herself by adding $100k in profit to your bottom line?
Now, imagine that you put and $82k investment into a new website. You have fresh pictures, it’s mobile friendly, and it includes SEO optimization that puts your company at the top of Google’s search results. Yes, $82k seems like an incredible amount of money to spend on a website. But for a company with multiple salespeople, it’s really not. It’s only one more salesperson that is working for you 24/7 and doesn’t expect a bonus at the end of the year.
How here are some facts to consider as you ponder the value of a website:
- It takes about .05 seconds for users to determine if they like or dislike your site, and whether they’ll stay or leave.
- 57% of internet users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
- 85% of adults think that a company’s website should appear as good or better on mobile than on a desktop device
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive.
- 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.
- 47% of users expect an average website to load within the first two seconds
- A study found that 94% of negative website feedback related to poor design.
We all know there isn’t a magical formula that will allow manufacturers to guarantee their place in specifications. The questions manufacturers and all companies need to ask are, “Are we adjusting our marketing strategies and adapting to our ever-changing target audience?” “What are we doing differently today that we weren’t doing five years ago?”
If the answers are, “No, we aren’t changing our strategies.”, and “We aren’t doing anything different than we have done in the past.”, then now is the time. Brainstorm with your sales teams. Ask them what challenges they face on a daily basis and see if you can help overcome them.
If you are in the market for a new website or want to talk about digital strategies, InsulNet would like to help. If not InsulNet, find someone else that can help you connect with today’s online economy. It’s not only important, it’s crucial. High resistance to change can make us our own worst enemy.
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