Building Material Manufacturer Dynamics: Construct a Plan for Profitable Growth

Recovery in the building material market from “The Great Recession” has been relatively slow, with the industry still feeling the effects. Leading economic indicators for the market projected 2014 to be a growth year, with total industry sales expected to increase by 7.5 percent. Yet, winter-weather challenges in the first quarter hit the industry with delayed projects and transportation setbacks. According to the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, housing starts in 2014 in the U.S. are expected to total 1.4 million. In 2015, housing starts are projected at 1.5 million, just shy of the 1.7 million needed to rebalance the market. In Europe, industry executives are cautiously optimistic about slow, but positive, forecasted growth and stabilization in the construction market. Yet, growth remains behind U.S. levels.


In non-residential construction, according to the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, “a survey of the nation’s leading construction forecasters is projecting that spending will see a 4.9 percent increase in 2014 – down from the previous estimate of 5.8 percent, with next year’s projection holding at 8 percent.” Growth in the commercial/industrial sector is expected to lead the way.

While 2015 is forecasted to be a relatively good year for building material manufacturers, concerns remain about rising material costs and energy costs. The winners coming out the recession will be the ones able to earn more wallet-share than their competitors, and do so profitably by using price as a mechanism to help manage these rising costs. However, that’s easier said than done. How do manufacturers ensure that organic growth and profit goals are executed upon in the field through each and every decision?

Sales people need guidance about where to find opportunities to expand share, and once they find them, how to quote a price that will hit profit goals and still win the business. In this whitepaper, we will discuss the challenges inherent with gaining more share profitably, and how companies can use the data they already have to align sales reps’ decisions with financial priorities for 2015.

To find out, download the full building material manufacturer industry trends report.


MindShare 2014: Top 10 Takeaways

Last week Zilliant hosted 150 customers, prospects and partners in Austin, Texas, for two days of sessions and networking on how to rise above average in their business. Topics included inspirational keynotes, business transformation, change management, enabling sales people with guidance and optimizing business in a continuously-changing world. Below are the top 10 quotes overheard at the conference:

MindShare 2014

Zilliant MindShare 2014

1. “Bottom line, when you have the opportunity to rollout a new strategy, take the people path. You’ll naturally be thinking of budget, ROI, strategy and the sales team, but change management should be a core competency as well.”

—Director of enterprise sales training at a national foodservice distributor

2. “During implementation, we brought in the seven most visible people from each geography, they were also the most adversarial, to learn and become advocates for the project.”

—Director of pricing effectiveness at a national auto parts distributor

3. “There are four things that matter in outmaneuvering average: Attitude (it determines behavior), behavior (it determines influence), influence (it determines outcomes), and outcomes (they determine leadership).”

—Lieutenant General (Ret.) R.L. Van Antwerp & Chief of Executive Development, The Flippen Group [Read more…]

Rise Above Average: Leading Through Change with Robyn Benincasa

Adventure racing is 4,000 miles across wild terrain with only rowing, biking and hiking to get you to the finish line. When Robyn Benincasa and her team completed the Eco-Challenge Adventure Race, it took 10 days to complete … and they were world champions. In fact, they were the first U.S. team to win the race.

CNN Hero Robyn Benincasa

CNN Hero Robyn Benincasa

What does this have to do with the business world? In addition to being wildly inspirational, Benincasa delivered a message on the importance of teamwork to the attendees of Zilliant MindShare 2014. The Adventure Race requires the team to stay together. This means that all four members have to stay within a 50 yards of one another at all times. If the entire team doesn’t cross the finish line together, the team is disqualified.

How do we as leaders create the best teams? Preparation is key. It helps you create opportunity. Specialize in what you are already awesome at; combine that with preparation and you’ll be unstoppable. But, you can’t have individual success without the entire team succeeding. The secret to success to is play less as an individual and more as a team.

Team builders see challenges versus roadblocks, are ruled by the hope of success versus the fear of failure, accept and embrace adversity as a chance to learn and excel, and most importantly, they never let the pursuit of perfection hinder progress. When you are building your team ask yourself: Do you live in the moment of “what does it take to not lose” or “what does it take to win and succeed?” In that mindset, you’ll find success.

Thank you, Robyn, for your inspirational presentation!

Robyn Benincasa is a World Champion Eco-Challenge Adventure Racer, CNN Hero, New York Times Bestselling Author, and founder of the Project Athena Foundation. For more information, please visit