Creating a truly innovative, disruptive product is the Holy Grail for any company, and building material manufacturing companies are no exception. However, certain dynamics in the construction industry make marketing and selling innovative products difficult.

You can overcome these difficulties and successfully introduce your game-changing product to the marketplace using a dealer management solution (commonly referred to as a partner relationship management platform or PRM). And not just introduce it, but ensure its long-term success.

You just need to make sure your dealers and distributors are aligned with what you’re trying to do. In this article, we’ll look at some ways you equip your network to support your product launch.

But first, it helps to understand why the building industry is so challenging for disruptors to launch innovative products.

Why disruptive products are a challenge to market and sell

The business of building homes and commercial buildings is different than other industries, because the “product” builders and contractors create is so expensive, has to perform well, and has to last a long time.

That changes the calculus for the end users, whether they are homeowners or commercial facility owners. As a result, it changes the calculus for the builders, contractors and installers who buy your products.

The building industry in general is risk-averse. Builders want products they know will work, or at least products that won’t get them in trouble because they’re widely accepted. They may like the idea of new, innovative products, but they don’t want to be the guinea pigs.

In addition, many of the key decision-makers in building, especially contractors, are getting older. Having been in the business for so long, they are used to certain brands, products and processes. Few people like change, especially those who are approaching retirement.

Finally, there is a lot of noise in the building materials industry. Customers are bombarded with messages about new products and innovative processes. It’s tough for brands to stand out unless they have big budgets behind their product launches.

While there are definitely headwinds facing companies that endeavor to introduce disruptive products to the market, that’s not to say it can’t be done. After all, we’d still be in the stone ages if innovations didn’t find their way into the mainstream.

How to use your dealer management platform to introduce innovative products

Aside from spending big ad dollars, one of the best and most efficient approaches to building materials marketing is through your dealer and distributor channel. Your partners are a critical resource, because they have the ear of your customers.

Here are three approaches you can use to make sure your new product is successful.

1. Educate Your Customers

With a new product, process or technology, there will likely be a learning curve. Customers need to fully understand your product before they will adopt it.

Dealers can play a key role here, because they can provide a personal touch to making sure your customers are educated about your product. You should provide them with the tools and knowledge they need so they know your product inside-out and can speak about it with confidence.

2. Focus on the Problem, Not the Product

Innovations are created to solve a problem. In your marketing and channel communication, focus your messaging on that problem first.

If your customers are experiencing that problem, they will be receptive to any ideas that will help them solve it, thus making their lives easier. Most people don’t really care about what makes products innovative. They care about how it affects them.

3. Take Away the Fear of the New

As we mentioned above, customers in the construction industry are hesitant to try new things. They like tried-and-true.

For that reason, your messaging and education should typically downplay the idea that your product has never been seen before. If there is an aspect of your product that is proven – a material or a familiar technology – that’s a good starting point for your marketing message. Otherwise, be careful about using any messaging that states your product is new or disruptive.

Your Dealer Portal is Your Secret Weapon

For building materials suppliers, your dealers and distributors will be the most efficient and effective way to get your message through to your customers. Builders and contractors trust your dealers, and that’s to your advantage.

A SaaS Partner Management Solution (PRM), such as Zift Solutions, provides an efficient and effective way to get your channel partners aligned with your product launch. You can easily provide them with the right messaging, materials and tools to make sure they are communicating effectively with your customers.

Launching a completely new product is never easy, and it’s rare for them to get widespread adoption overnight. But working closely with your dealers and distributors to educate your customers, show how you solve their problems, and take away their fear of the new can make your launch go smoothly.