You heard me: Take it. In the quest to market and sell construction materials, take ownership of the additional market share that your organization deserves.
And, take on a level of organizational growth that’s greater than the industry’s overall.
We can look to the U.S. economy for perspective. While we are not in economic doldrums, we certainly aren’t in a boom either. The U.S. economy is projected to grow 2.1% in 2017 and 2018, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund.
As a matter of course, successful organizations generally strive to grow a bit faster than the market overall. The underlying premise is that if you’re growing faster than the industry, you’re taking market share away from the competition. And if you’re growing more slowly than the industry overall, your competitors are taking market share from you.
It’s estimated that the construction industry is currently growing at a rate of 3.6 to 4%, while industrial production is growing at 2.8%. However I can’t imagine too many public companies expecting growth rates like these to impress shareholders.
What does it take to move the needle past — way past — the rate of sales growth that everyone else experiences?
I think it takes a team of franchises, not in terms of a business franchise like McDonald’s, but in terms of a strategy informed in part by competitor strategy or shortcomings which systematically makes their customers yours.
To do this, start with your brand franchise, or the promise that clearly differentiates. Sameness means the same growth and same return for shareholders. If everyone promised the same thing and delivered the same results, we’d be in a zero state of gray.
To differentiate, look at your cohort of competitors and ask yourself, “am I really that different to the decision makers that buy what I sell?” Consider whether your difference(s) create a greater demand for your products. If it does, great. It appears that you are continuing to add and increase market share. If it doesn’t, you may still have some work to do developing your brand franchise.
Next, look at your trade franchise, i.e., the extent to which your customers are being served well. Are you taking the friction out of transactions with distributors, end users, and anyone else that makes or influences purchasing decisions?
To answer this question, look at such things as your price competitiveness, in-stock fill rates (item fill vs. order fill), average order cycle time, customer service, warranty claims, and any and all things that cause friction. Then, find ways to make it easier for customers to do business with you.
With both of these franchises incorporated in your strategy, you will accomplish two key missions: Standing apart from the competition, and making it easier for buyers to buy from you. Then, watch your top line sales grow at a rate faster than your industry overall.
If the numbers move in your favor, congratulations. You are on the path to taking the market share you deserve from the competition.