3 Ways to Revamp AEC Business Development

October 16, 2020

As business development teams become more dispersed, what are the biggest challenges facing AEC firms and how can they revamp their strategies to make project pursuit efforts more connected while improving client relationships?

Business development teams are still struggling to find the time to nurture client relationships, manage increased competition, and identify new prospects, according to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study. They also are looking to improve their strategic networking and identify opportunities earlier. To address these challenges, firms are rethinking their current processes, empowering their teams, and adapting their strategies.

Rethink Current AEC Processes

In a world where anything can change in a minute, is your AEC firm able to quickly respond and adapt to the unpredictable? You’ve likely made a few modifications to your strategy and the way your team works this year, and now it’s time to evaluate if these changes are contributing to overall firm profitability and performance and look at areas for improvement.


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Dispersed workers often encounter technology challenges, such as not having access to all of the software applications they need. There may be systems that marketing and business development employees can’t access that are beneficial to job performance.

When evaluating your firm’s processes, consider the overarching technology systems as well as business development systems. Ideally, all employees at your firm are able to access the systems they need to stay connected and effectively perform their jobs. Even better if each team member can update information no matter where they are to deliver relevant insights to the entire team immediately.

Now is not the time for dispersed employees to manage business development efforts via Excel spreadsheets on their desktops. With the rapid pace of change it’s critical to provide teams with the most up-to-date information so they can work faster with more reliable data to ensure pipeline accuracy. According to the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM), 86% of organizations see failure to digitize and automate business inputs as a key transformation bottleneck.

Empower Your Teams

With more virtual teams than ever, the AEC industry is facing a new challenge to keep business development teams connected, on track, and engaged. And with only 41% of companies using a formal business development process, according to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, there is plenty of opportunity to make improvements that will better align limited business development time with the projects and clients that can have the greatest impact on the business.

To empower teams, high-performing AEC firms utilize the power of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to provide employees instant access to the most current prospect and client information. CRM systems provide visibility into the pipeline, access to actionable insights and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance, and visible representation via customized alerts to keep teams up-to-date on information no matter where they are working.

By providing teams with a CRM system for all prospect and client information, information is updated in real time, so the entire team stays informed and up-to-date on next steps. This saves a significant amount of time, which may provide that extra boost needed to win the next project, rather than losing it to the competition.

AEC teams are empowered when they can easily keep track of key interactions and communications. By enabling business development, marketing and project management teams to quickly update their own project pursuits, add notes from a client conversation, or create an action item for follow-up, teams can keep projects moving through the pipeline and better nurture client relationships.


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Adapt Your Strategy

AEC teams are utilizing new forms of technology to stay connected to their prospects and clients. With tradeshows and many in person meetings cancelled, there has never been a better time to tap into the power of virtual solutions to meet with clients and prospects across the globe. In person meetings that could have taken months to schedule and coordinate can now be easily organized via virtual meeting technology without even leaving your home.

By embracing technology, AEC firms are moving towards the best practices of high-performing firms, becoming more data-driven and in the cloud, moving paper-based business functions to digital, and automating low-value business functions that take time away from higher level pursuits.

Adapting your business strategy means designing your business processes knowing that there may be future business disruption and feeling confident that whatever happens your team will have access to the information they need to drive business development efforts forward.

Differentiate your firm with Deltek Vantagepoint CRM and pipeline management to identify projects early, pinpoint and develop projects worth pursuing, and position your firm to win. See Deltek Vantagepoint CRM in action.