Everybody picks up a broom or mop now and again. But when it comes to large-scale cleaning jobs, building service contractors (BSCs) are certainly the experts.
However, pleasing today’s customers takes much more than elbow grease from commercial cleaning providers. These days, customers desire diverse, non-traditional cleaning services on a global scale. These increased demands also trickle downstream to other janitorial and sanitation (JanSan) distributors. BSCs have new, broader goals, and they’re interested in working with JanSan distributors that offer the various products they need, all in one place. BSCs have elevated expectations for their digital buying experiences – more on this to come.
The profile of a modern BSC buyer
If you have not revisited your target audiences recently, the heightened demands of BSCs today may surprise you.
But it’s possible to correct your strategies and earn long-term customer loyalty if you pay closer attention to the updated BSC profile. Let’s turn to Cleaning & Maintenance Management’s 2017 report on BSCs to explore what matters most to today’s buyers.
Perhaps the most dramatic change happening among commercial cleaning providers is an expansion of the services they provide. Nearly all BSCs (95 percent) offer at least one service in addition to typical cleaning services (stripping/recoating hard floors, window cleaning, etc.). To improve their competitive position, half of BSCs have plans to expand and/or diversify their services in the near future.
A second trend among BSCs is their gradual move to online commerce platforms. Although the average BSC is certainly not new to the game – 45 percent have more than 30 years of experience in the cleaning industry – decision makers aren’t afraid to embrace new e-commerce channels. A quarter of BSCs purchase at least half of their cleaning and maintenance products online, and 13 percent purchase 90 percent or more online.
Finally, BSCs no longer see geography as a major limitation. Although half of commercial cleaning providers do service within just 100 miles of their headquarters, 35 percent currently service regionally or nationally.
Together, these findings offer JanSan distributors two rules of thumb for attracting and retaining BSC buyers:
- Offer more products via more channels
BSC buyers no longer operate on a small scale or solely within core cleaning competencies. Many service a diverse customer base with unique cleaning and maintenance needs, and they’re going online to fulfill these new responsibilities. In particular, expanded boundaries are great business opportunities for commercial cleaning providers, but successfully servicing new locations requires boosted product buying and fulfillment capabilities.
Be the distributor BSCs need – and deserve
BSC buyers face more pressure than ever before. This group is tasked with purchasing for diverse, disparate needs, and a lot rides on them to make the right decision. Bid price is no longer the sole driving force behind closed businesses – in fact, 90 percent of commercial cleaning providers rely on their company experience and reputation to differentiate themselves and win contracts. In this same vein, 61 percent of BSCs turn to value-added services as a point of differentiation.
Armed with e-commerce solutions, B2B JanSan distributors can support both of these areas (and more) and help BSCs shine. An e-commerce site that allows buyers to find and purchase products – with add-ons like personalized recommendations and intuitive product catalogues – empowers BSCs to more easily meet buyer demands and earn their loyalty.
But JanSan distributors should act fast. Half (53 percent) of JanSan distributors already offer e-commerce options, according to a recent Essendant report.
To learn more about engineering distributor networks that address modern BSC buyers, contact your Essendant Account Manager or an Essendant representative.
By Bridget Scanlon, Senior Manager, Marketing Research & User Experience