2023 Homebuilder Sales and Marketing Planning
Impactful Goals & Strategy for the Changing Market (Part One)
For weeks leading up to the season’s first Monday Night Football game, Seahawks fans were preparing for a loss. In an unexpected turn of events, the Seattle fans cheered as Russell Wilson lost his first game as a Denver Bronco. Just another way that 2022 has kept us all on our toes.
With the kick-off of football season, we are entering the fiscal year’s final quarter. As sales and marketing leaders, we are passionate about finding ways to maximize results for the rest of the year, but there is also a need to start planning for the upcoming year. The question for many is how to create a realistic plan after multiple years of unpredictable broad market swings.
Leveraging our decades of experience, G2 has put together a list of things every homebuilder sales and marketing leader needs to know for impactful planning in 2023. In this blog post, we will review the necessary elements necessary to develop sales and marketing goals in a changing market, provide you with budget item recommendations and a goal estimator tool, discuss how to partner cross-departmentally to ensure the viability of your plans, and provide tips for how to gain buy-in across the company.
Here at Group Two, we wish we could provide a simple answer for our builder partners, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution for new home sales. Every market is different, and situations can change quickly. Leveraging our more than 50 years of experience and talented team, we have put together a list that we believe will help you set your homebuilder sales and marketing planning goals for 2023.
8 Must-Haves For Impactful Goals in 2023
Homebuilder Sales and Marketing Planning
#1 » Know Your Customer
The pandemic has changed us all; from the “great resignation” to the seemingly endless stream of regulation changes for Facebook, the one certainty is that people will no longer accept the status quo. The world of new home sales is not immune to the changing buyer expectations; from increased flexibility in location to the rising demand for energy efficiency, priorities for buyers have changed.
- Review your customer surveys for trends
- Connect with OSCs for feedback on objections
- Collaborate with your social team to gain insight on included features that resonate
- Budget for an updated brand positioning statement
- For improved effectiveness, you may consider adding a line item to your budget so you can hire a professional to update the personas for your core customers.
“Developing the brand positioning strategy is one of my favorite parts of my role at Group Two. It allows me to collaborate cross-departmentally as we balance the data with the creative to find solutions that will drive results. The positioning strategy comes standard for most of our builder partners when they onboard as part of our Discovery Package. But given the shifting market, we are seeing more and more builders looking to refresh their current positions.”
– Ali Quedenfeld, Director of Group Accounts
#2 » Enable Your Customer
The market and buyer expectations have changed, and it’s safe to assume past tactics will not drive the same results. Stimulating growth will require a focus on the whole brand experience. By prioritizing customer enablement, you can increase revenue and customer satisfaction.
An example would be to eliminate any barriers for your customers; forget about sales enablement and focus on what your customer needs in the current market to prepare to buy; then develop a list of items you will want to include in your 2023 budget — find some of the top considerations below.
- Educational tools
- Downloadable guides
- Educational blog posts (that support SEO)
- Educational events
- Self-tour options (and a detailed follow-up process for after the tour)
- Live chat — if you don’t already have a live chat feature on your website, let 2023 be the year you install one.
#3 » Think About Where You Want To Be
Many sales and marketing goals depend on the land development pipeline. You will want to sit down with leaders from finance and operations to understand what is already in place and what you might be able to influence with the knowledge gained during Step #1. As a result of these meetings, you should be able to have concrete answers to the following questions.
- The pipeline of starts and closings for the first half of the year
- An understanding of all the numbers required to develop the pro forma for the projects expected to GTM within the first six months of the year
- Relevant details on product types (critical to refining effective marketing strategies)
- The estimated starts and closings for the last half of the year
For extra credit, you will also discuss significant organizational goals with other department leaders. These goals may have minimal impact on the sales and marketing strategies, but by understanding them, you can be a better partner to your peers across the organization.
Once you have the necessary clarity on what you have to sell and market, you get to start the fun task of considering how you will do it — at a minimum, you will want to establish the following.
- Sales goals per month
- Any necessary adjustments to staffing numbers
“As sales and marketing leaders, we have access to data and valuable insights that help drive leads and sales volume. We can’t be selfish; those same resources can prove invaluable to departments across the organization, creating an optimized and unified revenue process.”
–Katie Kolakowski, Director of Agency Relations
#4 » Know Your Numbers
Can you flex your marketing strategies from month to month based on the demands of the changing market? When the market isn’t following typical patterns, a strong understanding of your key performance indicators is more important than ever.
Do you know your conversion rates from website visitor > lead > sale? Even if you haven’t been tracking your results for the entire year, it’s not too late. Reviewing 3-6 months of data is enough to establish preliminary patterns. If that isn’t an option, you can rely on industry trends.
- Leads (web/community traffic)
- Inbound calls (per campaign/community)
- Website Traffic
#5 » Make Your Numbers Work For You
You can develop a flexible strategy to support your goals in any market with a solid understanding of your numbers, where you want to be, and your past performance metrics.
For example, if you know how many website visitors you need to generate ten sales in a month, you have access to the right levers to pull when website traffic declines. A healthy marketing strategy shift would not rely on one source to resolve the decline but focus on driving more traffic and providing tools for increased conversion.
Website traffic isn’t the only metric that impacts strategic marketing. Still, it is the most consistently accurate metric and can serve as an excellent foundation for building an effective marketing strategy. To develop achievable goals consider a planning tool such as the one Group Two provides to our builder partners with a calculator to adapt metrics and forecast the website traffic needed to drive sales volume. This type of tool isn’t just helpful for annual planning; you can also use this to modify your conversion rates to adapt to the changing market throughout the year.
With website traffic goals defined, you will want to evaluate how much you intend to spend in the following areas to complete your business plan. We recommend consulting with specialized experts — like Group Two! Chances are you will want to plan for an increased marketing and advertising budget than was necessary for 2021 and the first part of 2022.
Budget Line Item Recommendations
Typical monthly expenses:
- Paid Search
- Paid Social Media
- SEO & Inbound Content (organic)
- Listing Sites (such as Zillow)
- Marketing Consulting
- Team Education/Sales Coaching
- Events (virtual & in-person)
- Direct Mail
- Graphic Design
- Digital Renderings
- Interactive Floorplans
- Martech Solutions
- Email marketing
- And for some, a marketing automation platform
- Live Chat
- Branded Swag
- Associations & Memberships
- Additional Tech (such as self-tour solutions)
- Traditional Marketing (for some builders, print and radio are still impactful)
- Team Salaries & Commissions
Recurring, but not always typical for sales and marketing, budget items:
- House Cleaning (for events & photos)
- Customer Surveys
- Homeowner Gifts
- Team Appreciation
- Trade Partner Appreciation
Typical non-recurring budget items:
- Website Redesign
- Model Home Design
- Community Signage
- Design Center Refresh
- CX Journey Map
“At Group Two, we have first-hand experience with a wide variety of sales and marketing technology solutions that keep up with buyer demand. We love sharing that information with our builder partners so much that we are launching a blog with some of our favorites!”
–Alexis Udine, Builder Marketing Manager & Director of Online Sales
#6 » Measure Twice, Cut Once
The expression measure twice cut once works in construction and when developing an effective sales and marketing budget. Once you have your costs together for 2023, revisit the proforma you created for each community or design center location to see if the numbers still work.
If your plan doesn’t fit within your specific margin goals, this is when you will want to have strategic conversations about how to proceed. Is this a rebuilding year where you are willing to take a slight hit to your margin, or do you need to get creative and collaborate cross-departmentally to optimize for financial success?
With confirmation that your budget aligns with your company goals, you are nearly ready to put a bow on this whole thing.
#7 » Finalize & Share
As a result of your hard work developing goals for 2023, you are ready to spread the word! While sharing every line item in your budget may not be necessary, you should agree as a leadership team on the critical details to communicate across the organization so you can maximize teamwork and align department goals. As you share with the broader team, consider all the different learning styles when deciding how to disseminate the message.
Lastly, a goal worth having is rarely one-and-done. Be open with your team and track the successes and failures throughout the year. At Group Two, we love helping our builder partners develop creative ways to communicate their goals.
#8 » Adapt As Needed
You created the plan, shared it with your team, then, surprise — the market shifted! While a certain level of change should be expected, sometimes there are dramatic shifts that will require you to adapt your strategy. Don’t panic… it’s time to pivot!
In times of change, you can leverage industry resources ranging from the NAHB to specialized marketing partners to gain insights. But this is also when your data will be your best guide. To adjust, look at your reports and note the evolution of your metrics. This level of awareness will allow your teams to modify strategies and goals (the g2 goal estimator can help, too) based on the changing market.
Here at Group Two, we specialize in connecting builders with buyers. With a complete range of strategic, creative, and technical capabilities, we can use our decades of experience and dedication to the new home sales and marketing industry to help you become a sales and marketing leader! Connect with us to create your plan for 2023.
Stay tuned for the next blog in this series all about homebuilder sales and marketing planning.
Written by: Melissa Galland