Founded in 1905 Robroy Industries are the pioneers of PVC- coated rigid conduit, non-metallic electrical enclosures, and fibre reinforced plastic internal protective lining systems for oilfield tubulars – they are market leaders for these products in the USA where they are based.
Although Robroy’s PVC- coated rigid conduit product is a high performance specification product, it is a relatively small element of the procurement package for electrical installers; as a consequence it tended to be commoditised and often replaced with low quality/cost alternatives. These decisions were being driven by distributors who would substitute when quoting against bills of quantity.
Robroy Industries asked Competitive Advantage to assess the nature of their coated conduit business. We were tasked with reviewing:
- How products are selected
- The features and benefits they represent to the different decision makers
- The role and influence of Clients, Engineers and Contractors in the selection process.
Conclusions from this analysis, presented by Competitive Advantage, informed a new strategy.
Competitive Advantage concluded that Robroy needed to increase engagement with the electrical Engineer, to ensure that they specified correctly and then enforced their product choices.
Because coated conduit is a relatively low value element of the total electrical package, a key element of the strategy was to elevate the status of the product from “Tactical Made Easy” to “Strategic Security”. To achieve this, messages focused on the significant consequential costs of failure if the wrong product is used.
- Develop a concept for specification selling of Robroy PVC coated conduit which could be adopted by managers of sales teams.
- Develop a specification sales approach to identify key decision makers and create product demand.
- To implement changes to the lead generation process used by Robroy Industries, to support the Specification Sales approach
- To develop a specification sales training workshop for the sales teams.
Competitive Advantage visited Robroy’s head office to meet with all key players in the marketing, sales and technical roles. This provided a thorough understanding of the business and its unique sales propositions (USPs). This lead to Competitive Advantage writing of an implementation plan which listed resources required and those responsible for implementation and timescales. Most of these tasks were undertaken internally by Robroy, with Competitive Advantage working closely providing advice and support.
Robroy decided that it would also take this opportunity to replace its back-office IT software at the same time as implementing a CRM system. Competitive Advantage provided guidance in the design of this system to ensure it supported the objectives of the specification sales approach.
Key sales tools were specifications and technical seminars. Both have common objectives; ensure Clients and Engineers understand the design issues (in this case, corrosion), and how to minimize risk through correct specification and installation. Advice and support was provided via an initial workshop to decide content and then at each stage of the development process.
Throughout the programme of implementation weekly telephone review meetings were held to discuss progress and resolve any issues. These were supported by on-site meetings used to develop the technical seminar content, and also define the sales channels and processes.
Finally, training was provided for sales teams of both Robroy and their partners in the principles of specification, the importance of the Trusted Advisor role and how to use sales tools to achieve this.
The focus and experience Competitive Advantage provided helped Robroy define the journey from project concept to receipt of order. As a result of a working partnership, that extended over 3 years, Robroy were able to reposition their specification strategy, focussing on key decision makers across the project team.
Extensive use of technical seminars to engage with Clients and Engineers has raised the importance of the product range as a strategic product in their eyes. This has contributed to stronger specifications and an increased dialogue with decision makers.
Knowledge of project specifications has allowed a proactive approach to installers, encouraging them not to switch Robroy specifications. This in turn has reduced the influence of the distributor in substituting a lesser product.
Chris is one of a kind. Even though he is based in the UK and my businesses are in the USA, it turned out to be very cost effective to have accurate execution rather than perceived convenience.
David Marshall – COO Robroy Industries USA
A very comprehensive and, as always from you, accurate report. Your active role has been so important to us in many ways.
Steve Voelzke – President, Robroy Conduit USA