Lost Your Optimism? You Need A Fresh Approach To Business Development

Posted by Blair Pringle, New Business Director on June 27, 2016

Deltek Clarity Architecture and Engineering Trends Report

An annual study into the architecture and engineering (A&E) sector has routinely revealed a robust industry with a sense of 'cautious optimism' in recent times.

Yet although this year's report shows continued resilience, there is a suggestion that the buoyancy could now be waning.

The 2016 Deltek survey reveals a "dose of pessimism" as firms grapple with increased competition and fail to find sufficient time to nurture lucrative client relationships.

This is, in turn, impacting win rates, which have declined slightly. Plus firms believe their market position will decline across twelve different market sectors over the next eighteen months, including in energy, transport and education.

Fight back and take action

Ambitious A&E firms will want to do everything they can to avoid falling victim to these negative trends. Thankfully, it is possible to turn things around and top performers are forging a path of how to do it.

If you're a firm that has growth in its sights, then a new approach to business development and retention could be the key.

Here's how:

1. Make business development a company-wide concern.

Is everyone at your firm "on board" when it comes to lead generation?

Customer facing project managers are well positioned to spot potential business and project leads from existing clients. The marketing team will know the movers and shakers in the industry - and can recognise companies and individuals on the rise. Ensure all corners of your business are on high alert for opportunities to ensure you are able to best capitalise on them.

2. Create an efficient communication path

With your team acting as your agents make sure everyone knows the process for recording and communicating potential leads, otherwise all of that effort could be wasted.

Business collaboration tools, especially those integrated to your CRM, are especially good for sharing and recording information in real time so that nothing important slips through the net.

3. Claw back time

Don't think you've got the time to spend on nurturing existing clients? Then think again.

If 80% of your revenue is likely to come from 20% of your clients, then analysing your past customer and financial data to reveal the most lucrative accounts has got to be a great time saver.

Using your business management system to analyse trends and identify your "ideal" client profile will let you know when going the extra mile will be worth it.

With seven out of ten A&E firms claiming client relationships are the top source for growth opportunities, it makes sense to funnel all of your available resources into the accounts that will make you the best return.

Not all doom and gloom

Carefully vetting leads and opportunities is absolutely critical if you want your A&E firm to fend of stiff competition and make the most out of your time and efforts.

With this in mind, it's good to know that A&E firms are taking action with a more selective approach to their business development.

This year, 68% of firms said they employ a formal go/no go process to determine whether to pursue a project. This is up 8% from last year.

It's certainly a step in the right direction for the industry and one that should improve the prospects of many.

For an in-depth look at the A&E industry today including insights into winning business, managing talent and the financial strength of the industry, please download the full Deltek Clarity Report 2016.