Calling on Architects and Designers
Mpowered Podcast, Episode 02 Show Notes
Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab.
In this bite-sized episode, we tackle the question, “What do designers need most from a rep?” ThinkLab hosts Amanda Schneider and Erica Waayenberg give insight into all the key words designers need to hear from their reps – including responsiveness, expertise, reliability, trust, and access. Listen in to learn how to tick all those boxes!
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Wish you knew exactly what designers want from their rep? ThinkLab surveyed hundreds of designers to find out — and we’re sharing five practical tactics to help you strengthen your approach. Download our free strategy series, “5 Days, 5 Ways to Revolutionize the B2B Sale.”
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Amanda: Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab. This is your new weekly dose of bite-sized actionable insights to help you succeed as a B2B rep. I’m this week’s host, Amanda Schneider, founder and president at ThinkLab.
Each week we’ll answer one question, many of them submitted by you. Want to join in? We’ll share details about how to submit your question at the end of this episode.
Our question this week: What do designers need most from a rep?
ThinkLab has spent the better part of the last year exploring this as part of a project we call a “hackathon.” And, while a lot of things have changed in the past two years, what designers need most from a rep have not. I’ve invited my coworker and co-facilitator of that project, Erica Waayenberg, to discuss our findings. Hey, Erica.
Erica: Hey, Amanda!
Amanda: In this series of research sessions, we kicked off by asking our designers for one word that most describes what they need from a rep. Can you share a summary of those words with us?
Erica: It really boiled down to 5 key words:
And, if you think about it, this research was conducted Q3 2021. A lot had changed by then (and I know we’ll be discussing that on future episodes) but this, in my view, is exactly what designers would have said one year, five years, maybe even a decade ago. Meaning: What designers need from a rep has not changed, and perhaps only intensified.
Amanda: So, per usual Mpowered format, I want to be sure Erica and I are translating this to what this means for you in your role as a sales rep. Put simply: In this digital world, the role of a rep is evolving, but ultimately people still want to buy from people, and the most curated experience wins. Here are three actionable ideas to consider: The first word was responsiveness. We hear quite often, and quite literally, that he or she who responds first, wins.
Erica: Today, like many of us in the “Amazon era,” designers are more pressured than ever to be creative, faster. When a designer reaches out to you, the faster you can respond, the more you become the “easy” button. But it’s critical that you reach out at the right moment. For example, when leads come in, they are often early in the design process, so if a designer is in concept design, the recommendation is to wait two weeks before reaching out.
Amanda: Let’s explore the next two words: expertise and reliability. The best reps are seen as an extension of the design team.
Erica: Your job as a rep is to know every detail of your product or know where to find it, quickly. And knowing you are reliable, knowledgeable, or even willing to connect them with other reps or products when you can’t meet their need, will make reps see you as a go-to for sure.
Amanda: And lastly, let’s unpack trust and access. Key to recommending you or your brand is trust, but how that trust is built today is evolving.
Erica: Most designers love building relationships. And, in general, we know people love to do business with people, and specifically people they know. So often the rep becomes the key between developing trust or distaste for a brand. However, today, trust with your brand is also built digitally through access and transparency. And the five things designers most want to self-serve are pricing, lead times, BIM files, technical and sustainability specifications, and samples. So, make sure to make these easy to find — three clicks or less on your website — so that this new level of digital trust can also be built.
Amanda: Ask yourself (or maybe even ask some of your clients): “Am I the most trustworthy, responsive, reliable expert that they have access to?” You’ll know if you’re their first call, but double-check that that “access” box is also ticked. It’s more important than ever that the digital tools augment the experience that they have with you as their trusted advisor. What everyone needs right now is to feel connected, but more efficiently.
On Material Bank’s website, each product detail page has the opportunity for manufacturers to upload sustainability information, technical specs, BIM files, and even pricing ranges (shown in dollar signs like yelp). And, of course the ability to connect directly with a rep with the click of a button.
I’d like to take a moment to thank you for listening in and invite you back next week for more tips and tidbits to empower you as a rep.
Special thanks to Material Bank for partnering with us to provide bite-size, valuable insights for B2B reps in the interior design industry.