Lead Distribution in Sanitary Trade: More Customers in Indirect Sales 

Katharina Krus
CEO & Managing Director of leadtributor GmbH. We support companies in managing their multi-level sales in a transparent and targeted manner.

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Sanitary trade: Too many leads - what now?

Did you know that there are around 44 million bathrooms in Germany? And that 40 percent of German households have a separate WC? What does that mean? A lot of demand for renovation on a regular basis.

A challenge for the bathroom and sanitaryware trade. And they are already hopelessly overstretched. The construction boom has been going on for years. An attempt at a solution ...

Lead Distribution: Why it's important that you handle customer inquiries in a structured way

Two million bathrooms are due for renovation every year. And that's not counting the newly built apartments! That was another 300,000 in 2018, so it's hardly surprising that the bathroom and sanitary industry is booming. But that's not all good news.
Because this industry in particular is gradually reaching its capacity limits. The trade is completely booked up! Partly for 12 months in advance. As long as the customer keeps still, that's no problem.

  • At some point, however, success will consume its own children. Specialty retailers know: If they can't serve customers quickly - and well enough - the entire construction industry risks faltering. A cost-eater. Not to mention the damage to the company's image!

The consequence: customers will switch to other solutions. They will try to buy directly from the manufacturer, for example. Or hire foreign, non-certified companies. With unforeseeable consequences for the quality and reputation of Made in Germany. In the long term, this will become a problem. Because customers increasingly need a qualified advisor at their side.

The IT industry is leading the way in this respect: system houses and resellers are no longer box-pushers - instead, they advise customers on increasingly complex decisions and often manage the entire IT by outsourcing.

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The Solution: Lead Distribution

A similar trend is emerging in the sanitary sector. Bathrooms have increasingly complex features: A shower can be square, rectangular, round, semicircular or a quadrant shower. There are showers with a shower tray or showers equipped with a floor-level drain. There are shower enclosures, built-in showers, walk-in showers or corner showers. The same applies to WCs, washbasins or tiles. The specialist dealer: companion throughout the entire life cycle of a bathroom.

  • You see what I'm getting at: With the complexity of the products and the constant need for renovation, it's important for customers to be able to rely on a specialist dealer. And that over the entire lifetime of a bathroom.

In the future, the specialist dealer will ideally not only install a bathroom, but also carry out all renovation measures. This is only possible if the specialist dealer and the manufacturer know the history of each individual bathroom. As a rule, the shower is due for renewal after five to ten years.

Tiles should be renewed after 20 years. A WC and fittings much more often. Specialty retailers should be put in a position to accompany customers and, if necessary, proactively approach them and show them solutions as well as handle customer inquiries.

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Kundenanfragen müssen digital bearbeitet werden

How is all this supposed to work? The solution can only look like this: The plumbing trade must be enabled to accelerate its processes. And to bundle their strengths.
Keyword: customer experience.

An inquiry from a customer must be processed as quickly as possible. How do we do that? The customers themselves show us the way: And it usually starts on the manufacturer's website. That's where property developers and builders are now finding out more and more about products and offers. They leave digital traces. At best, they configure a bathroom online. Or request a product catalog. At this point, a digital cycle must be initiated. It can be done.

Because today, it is possible to digitize the entire processing of customer inquiries. Customer inquiries are then "picked up" directly from the manufacturer's website and placed on a virtual marketplace where specialist dealers with free capacities can reserve them for themselves. At the click of a mouse.

This ensures that inquiries never get left behind. Digital sales solutions must therefore include escalation mechanisms: If an inquiry is not processed within a specified period, this is reported to the manufacturer. Once a bath is installed, the customer experience is not over. A specialist dealer can be reminded by push message after a few years that his customer may need a new WC. Or that there is a new energy-saving solution that could replace an old product.

Such a platform accompanies customer and installer through the complete product life cycle!



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Conclusion: A European specialist dealer market would be conceivable

What if no specialist dealer in the vicinity has free capacity? A regional expansion would be conceivable. In the future, retailers and manufacturers could register on a joint platform. Germany-wide. After all, what's to stop a specialist dealer from Oldenburg from serving a customer from Hesse? Or even a specialist dealer from France serving a customer from Saarland? It's certainly worth a thought ...

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