We want to give you a deeper understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at Barbour ABI, as well as connecting with major figures within the industry to learn what makes them thrive. This month we are speaking to Andy Murphy, Commercial Director at Hanson UK. Andy rolled out the new Barbour ABI to his teams in 2020 and discusses here the plans they have in place to best utilise the platform in 2021 and the benefits of Barbour ABI for manufacturers.
Hi Andy, can you explain who you are and Hanson’s relationship with Barbour ABI?
I am Commercial Director at Hanson UK. We are one of the largest readymix and aggregate companies in the U.K. We employ around 3,600 people, of which about 150 sales teams members are users of Barbour ABI. We’ve had a long, successful relationship with Barbour ABI. Our external (and increasingly larger areas of our internal) sales teams use Barbour ABI’s platform on a daily and weekly basis to hunt for projects and meet their prospecting goals. We want to expand our usage of Barbour ABI and in the last 6 months or so we have introduced measurement and reward schemes for staff based on their usage of Barbour ABI.
I’m very keen that we use Barbour ABI to help push our teams to gain more sales and hit greater targets. We want to raise the bar within Hanson this year so that all of our sales staff are using Barbour ABI at a certain baseline level, which we can then continue to raise over time as everybody becomes more comfortable with the system.
How does the new platform allow you to manage leads more effectively, particularly with the new map-based format?
The mapping technology is fantastic. My mind works in a visual way, so to see the projects displayed on an interactive map suits me perfectly. The way that it can direct our salespeople to relevant projects in their area is so useful. We still win work (in non-lockdown times!) by a salesperson walking directly onto a building site and striking up a relationship. Being able to see exactly where those sites are makes a world of difference to external sales staff.
In terms of the wider platform, the ability to analyse links between main contractors and subcontractors is very helpful. We may have known that a certain contractor often works with a certain subcontractor, but we may not have known previously that there are another 5 subcontractors that they also use often. We have secured some enormous jobs in 2020 that we simply wouldn’t have known were possible for us without this information.
Customised alerts and access to uniquely tailored reports are also incredibly useful. I’ve got specific alerts set up to see who is winning which projects and which of our teams are performing strongest.
Another key aspect of the Barbour ABI service is the ability to have Barbour’s research team reach out to the industry to ask questions on our behalf. We will ask everything from: when is a project going to tender? Can we secure more information on the longlist of subcontractors? Can you get us a name of somebody at Company X? Questions that we know are safe in the hands of Barbour ABI’s experienced team. I’ve only heard universal praise for this function, it works fantastically for us and is such a useful tool.
You’ve spoken about how Barbour ABI will affect your sales approach, how exactly will it affect your marketing approach too?
Our social media marketing will be strengthened by the information that we glean from Barbour ABI. For instance, if we’re promoting a particular product or want to grow in a specific region of the country then we will target to construction communities in that area using information from Barbour ABI. It’s about trying to teach our own staff to utilise digital markets to turbocharge what we do, as opposed to only using traditional external sales methods.
The market reports that Barbour ABI publish are really useful as part of our budget building exercises. We will consider the question of “what do Barbour think about X?” when judging our own forecasting.
How has the general migration process been, and what training or help have you had from your Client Manager that has improved the process?
Barbour ABI’s team have been very good in terms of availability and flexibility for training purposes.
The migration process coinciding with the original lockdown was serendipitous for us as we suddenly had more time available to dedicate to training staff on the new platform. I engaged with our account manager and we created a plan together to do Microsoft Teams-based training sessions. The speed of service was commendable. We had the conversation on a Wednesday and the training began on the following Monday. All 150+ members of Hanson’s sales teams were trained in this way in the space of 3 weeks. We could then record the training and keep the videos for future training purposes. When newcomers join now we have got this fantastic resource to show them.
I couldn’t recommend the process more highly. It’s been exemplary in the way it’s worked.