In this episode of the Smarter Building Materials Marketing Podcast, Zach interviews Mike Wolfe, the CEO of Delgado Stone Distributors. Delgado Stone is a quarry manufacturer and supplier of natural stone products, primarily selling to wholesale distributors across the United States and Canada.
Throughout the conversation, Mike shares valuable insights into their sales process, marketing strategies and the importance of alignment between sales and marketing teams.
01:08 - How authorized dealers are extensions of a manufacturer’s business
05:57 - How sales and marketing can work together for better results
08:30 - Why transparency, teamwork and accountability lead to success
10:38 - Why Mike is expecting a slowdown in residential projects
13:47 - How investing in marketing during a downturn yields gains
Meet Mike Wolfe
Mike Wolfe is the CEO of Delgado Stone Distributors, a quarry manufacturer and supplier of natural stone products to the United States and Canada.
Mike has a background in sales and marketing, and his passion lies in breaking down the silos between these departments to ensure alignment and collaboration in driving business growth.
With over 26 states and 100 authorized dealers, Delgado Stone provides a wide range of stone veneer, bulk stone and landscape materials.
Mike explains how Delgado Stone works with authorized dealers to sell their products. By acting as an extension of Delgado Stone, these dealers carry inventory, provide product knowledge and support and offer additional materials needed for each project. This sales process saves customers time and effort by providing a one-stop solution for their building materials needs.
Differentiation in the Marketplace
Delgado Stone faces the challenge of natural stone being seen as a commodity. To overcome this, they focus on making the buying experience as easy and worry-free as possible for their authorized dealers.
By committing to high-quality products, excellent customer service and consistent supply, Delgado Stone ensures their dealers and the end users have one less thing to worry about, allowing them to trust and rely on their materials.
We’re very big on the service aspect and then also [the] consistency of product — being able to specify it once or sell it once to someone and then they can rely on it each time. And I think that makes it a lot easier on the dealers, on the masons, architects and builders as well.” — Mike Wolfe
Mike also emphasizes their support for the dealers by providing lead times, logistics assistance and promoting local delivery. This approach sets them apart from competitors and positions them as a valuable resource for their dealers.
Differentiating in commodity markets requires a focus on providing excellent support, service and consistency, which builds trust and loyalty among buyers.
Manufacturers should strive to make the buying experience as hassle-free as possible, offering reliable products, clear communication and value-added services to stand out from competitors.
Selecting the Right Dealers
Delgado Stone takes a strategic approach to choosing authorized dealers, aiming to form true partnerships with them. They go through a qualification process with potential dealers, asking questions to assess if they are the right fit for each other.
We don't want to end up in a situation where the product just goes to everyone.” — Mike Wolfe
Mike explains the importance of understanding the dealer's business, revenue goals and expectations. Delgado Stone wants to work with dealers who see natural stone as a significant part of their business and have a genuine interest in growing with them.
By understanding the dealers' past experiences with suppliers and addressing any pain points, Delgado Stone ensures a mutually beneficial partnership and avoids potential issues in the future.
A targeted dealer qualification process helps manufacturers find the right partners who align with their values and goals, can effectively represent their products and have compatibility for a long-term partnership.
Marketing and Sales Alignment
Mike shares his experience with the traditional disconnect between sales and marketing departments and the challenges it brings. To overcome this, Delgado Stone takes a collaborative approach, ensuring marketing and sales teams work together and communicate effectively.
By having marketing and sales huddles together and involving both teams in lead generation and customer support, Delgado Stone creates camaraderie and ensures a seamless customer experience.
We also have a weekly huddle, which I think is probably one of the best things we implemented in terms of communication and bringing everyone together.” — Mike Wolfe
The alignment between sales and marketing allows for better lead management, ensuring the right leads are directed to the appropriate dealers and provides a comprehensive understanding of customer needs.
Aligning sales and marketing teams is crucial for a seamless customer experience, effective lead management and overall business growth.
Manufacturers should encourage collaboration and communication between sales and marketing teams, involving both lead generation and customer support processes to create alignment and maximize business performance.
What This Means For Building Materials Manufacturers
The insights shared by Mike offer relevant guidance for building materials manufacturers looking to enhance their sales and marketing strategies.
By prioritizing exceptional service, strategic partnerships and alignment between sales and marketing efforts, manufacturers can thrive in a competitive market, differentiate their products and build long-term customer relationships.
Here are four key takeaways for manufacturers that can pave the way for success in the rapidly evolving building materials industry.
Prioritize Customer Experience: In a highly competitive market, exceptional customer service can be a powerful differentiator. Manufacturers should focus on streamlining the buying process, addressing customer concerns promptly and continuously seeking ways to simplify product usage.
Cultivate Strategic Partnerships: While it may be tempting to expand the distribution network extensively, manufacturers should prioritize quality over quantity. By investing in the right partnerships, manufacturers can build trust, improve brand reputation and create long-term customer loyalty.
Foster Collaboration: Manufacturers should encourage open communication and collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Regular meetings, shared goals and clear expectations can help align efforts and maximize results.
Embrace Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing can be an effective approach for manufacturers to generate leads and build brand awareness. By creating valuable content, optimizing SEO and utilizing digital channels, manufacturers can attract prospective customers and establish themselves as industry experts.
Want Even More Insight?
Zach and Mike end their conversation discussing the importance of consistency in marketing and sales efforts, especially during uncertain times. They emphasize the need to continue investing in marketing and advertising, even when others may be pulling back.
Data shows that businesses who continue [to] invest in marketing and advertising through a downturn in comparison to those who didn't see exponential gains.” — Zach Williams
This is because businesses that maintain their marketing presence during downturns tend to see exponential gains and can capture a larger share of the market's attention. Additionally, the importance of data in tracking the success of digital marketing is highlighted.
Mike advises manufacturers to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to marketing decisions and to view marketing as a long-term strategy rather than a short-term fix. Consistency in marketing efforts and adding value to customers' experiences can help businesses thrive even during challenging times.
If you have any questions about today's episode or want to discuss the topics further, feel free to email the Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast at [email protected].
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More About The Show
The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.