Selling to architects: Marketing advice for manufacturers

Architects are integral to any architectural project, but while they might design and plan new buildings and structures, they aren’t the only decision-makers to consider. As a manufacturer, a key part of the selling process is making life easier for architects.
As such, it is critical that you make connections with these people and find out what they want and need from you before you even try pitching your product.
The good news is that they already trust what you have to say. You’re considered an expert, and they don’t approach your sales pitch with the same caution as an ordinary consumer might. So with this clear advantage in the bag, how can manufacturing companies leverage their position to sell to architects? Let’s explore…

Understanding the architect buyer persona

Not all architects are looking at your website. Senior architects will delegate the research work to their juniors. It’s all part of the rite of passage for young architects. This means that junior architects are your primary target audience.
They are looking for information they can pass on to their supervisors that will help them to stand out. They’re looking to help make things cheaper, more efficient and better. So your website needs to be set up to make it easy for them to gather this information.
Juniors don’t read trade journals, and if they do, they aren’t paying attention to the print ads. Instead, they start their search online, so your website needs to be discoverable. In addition, they need to find quick and easily digestible information that they can present to their superiors.
The junior architect doesn’t want to pick up the phone just yet. They want to be able to find the information they are looking for on your website. This includes technical information, reviews, case studies and testimonials.
Ultimately, the junior architect wants to be able to impress their superiors. And if they find a manufacturer they trust early in their career, they are more likely to return to what they know as they progress. This kind of loyalty can be incredibly valuable.

Understanding an architect’s requirements

Architects rarely act alone and are not the final say in the decision process. There are often many stakeholders who need to get on board when switching to new materials or a new manufacturer.
They need to present information to contractors, clients and senior figures in their own firm. Even if you’re selling something better than the existing method, you’re also asking a contractor to change something that might have been working for them for the past 20 years. No contractor will do this without a compelling argument.
To help architects convince their contractors that switching manufacturers is a positive move, they need product pages that clearly demonstrate the installation process. Images, video and installation guides will all help to shape this interaction.

Become a helpful resource for architects

Your website should be a key source of information for the architect and their stakeholders. They expect to find a professional and high-quality website that can solve 95% of their queries. For the remaining 5%, they expect to be able to pick up the phone and speak to your sales team.
Remember that architects are designers at the end of the day. They recognise good design, and this extends to your website. So choosing something modern, intuitive and informative will help to capture and retain their attention.
Your site should also make it easy for the architect to find the information they need with ease. Make guides and product specifications easy to download, and make sure these downloads are consistent with the rest of your brand.

Make your website accessible and helpful

Many architects use 3D design tools to construct buildings before they break ground. By offering easy-to-download digital models of your product, they can quickly drop your designs into their chosen software with ease.
Offering these digital models for different design software options will help to ensure everyone is catered for. This should include AutoCAD, Revit and Sketchup.
Your product specification guides should also be freely available, not hidden behind a subscriber gate. Demanding contact information before you hand over product specs will only slow down the research process for your customers.
There are places on your site where it would be appropriate to hide content behind a subscriber wall. This could include case studies and whitepapers or as part of a request for product samples. If a prospect reaches the stage of requesting product samples, they’re willing to hand over contact information anyway.

Practice lead scoring and nurturing

If you’ve mastered the steps above, you should gain a steady stream of leads from interested parties. Some will be irrelevant, and some will be ready to place an order. Therefore, learning to identify, score and push leads through your sales pipeline is essential.
Read more: What is lead nurturing?
By training your sales team to identify the signs of a ripe and ready lead, you can focus attention on the prospects most likely to convert.

Sell solutions, not products

When crafting your website copy, try to put yourself into the mind of the visitor. All too often, manufacturers highlight products instead of solutions. For example, if you’re an architect exploring roofing options for a seafront property, you want to know how materials will stand up to wind, rain and salt.
So as a manufacturer, you need to learn how to put the problems this product solves front and centre in your marketing copy. General statements won’t get you very far. Instead, you need to demonstrate how your product meets specific needs and outperforms your competitors.
Need help creating a marketing strategy that targets architects? Get in touch with Auburn today!