By Megan Miller, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Deltek
As the market is constantly evolving and the industry outlook is uncertain, companies are looking for creative ways to stay connected with clients. But, many firms may not be focusing enough on the business side of business development and marketing, putting client relationships and pipeline at risk.
According to the Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering (A&E) Industry Report, the top business development challenges are finding time to nurture client relationships, increased competition and finding new potential clients. And, with more dispersed workforces and limited networking opportunities, business developers need access to accurate client and pursuit details to stay in front of clients when it matters most.
While nearly every professional services firm has an accounting or financial management system to run their business, many are lacking a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to manage marketing and business development. What happens to your business without a CRM and how are you putting your business at risk?
Without a CRM Solution
If your company doesn’t have a centralized and effective CRM, ask yourself a few questions.
- Are your forecasts and pipeline reliable? Are they quickly outdated or fragmented or riddled with incomplete information?
- Are your client activities coordinated? Who is meeting with clients and when?
- Are you wasting valuable resources? Are you pursuing clients or projects that aren’t a good fit for your company? Are you wasting time pursuing projects you just can’t win?
- Are your marketing and business development teams disconnected? Are they working seamlessly with project managers to win the next project or are they working in silos?
These challenges and many more can lead to frustrated business development teams, missed opportunities, overextended staff, missed deadlines and unhappy clients.
Why Your Firm Can't Live Without CRM
It’s time to manage your business development and marketing with the same level of sophistication as your company financials so your company can make more informed decisions and win more projects. It’s time to make CRM a priority within the business. Here are the five reasons your firm can’t live without CRM.
1. FIND BETTER OPPORTUNITIES
According to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Report, earlier identification of opportunities and requirements and better opportunity identification are two of the top business development initiatives. If companies are waiting for RFPs to find opportunities, they are already at a disadvantage before they even start the pursuit.
The reality is, project managers and business developers hold key insight into client relationships and potential projects, but without a CRM, there is no systematic way to capture that information. All too often, a business developer or project manager talks with a client about a potential project, but they aren’t ready to take action on yet. The business developer may make a mental note of it and move on to the next conversation, but without CRM, that information is lost and can’t be followed up on or nurtured into a viable pursuit.
Unlike other industry solutions, GovWin IQ and Deltek Vantagepoint CRM empower project-based businesses to access intel on opportunities from an early stage to better track opportunities and monitor the competition. By capturing the information as early as possible, companies have more time to build strategic teams, gain insight into the project and better position their firm to win. If you are simply relying on someone to remember to contact the client when it’s time for the project to move forward, you are putting your business and your pipeline at risk.
2. PURSUE THE RIGHT PROJECTS
If your company is effective at finding better opportunities, you may have more potential projects than you can pursue. But, even if you have a limited number of projects to pursue, it is vital that you are selective. There are a few key questions to consider. Is this client worth your limited business development time? What is the history with the client? Who are you competing against? Does this project align with your strategic initiatives and strengths? Does the probability of winning outweigh investing the time and resources in other pursuits?
When your team makes strategic decisions and takes time to qualify your pursuits, you can invest your limited resources where it counts. This helps motivate your teams to pursue projects that you are more likely to win rather than pursue every possible project, especially those you know you can’t win.
Deltek Vantagepoint CRM delivers the insight you need to qualify your opportunities better than any solution in the industry. With Vantagepoint CRM, you can capture the intel obtained through client conversations and networking so it is available to everyone on the pursuit team. Review past pursuits, client history, market win rates and more to help you make better, more informed decisions about pursuits based on objective data and not just gut feel. You can save hours of time trying to track down data from different places or people to make decisions faster and start developing your pursuit strategy sooner.
3. PROACTIVELY MANAGE YOUR PIPELINE
Just like you need to have a clear understanding of your outstanding accounts receivable (AR), you need to know the health of your pipeline so you can understand where the gaps are, plan for potential influx and develop effective plans to address the outcome. To manage your pipeline, you need consistent opportunity data for all opportunities that is up-to-date so you are working with the most current version of the truth. This data includes client, market, estimated revenue and potential start and completion dates. Can you easily identify gaps, plan for resources more effectively and develop action plans for the right markets or segments? You need a solution that gives you visibility at the high level for leadership, but also helps business developers and project managers keep data accurate and updated.
Unlike a standalone CRM, Deltek’s solution delivers visual, interactive pipeline reports so you can view the data in numerous ways to identify trends and gaps. One of the biggest challenges many financial leaders face is inaccurate or unreliable forecasts. By leveraging a single solution to manage pursuits and projects, business developers and financial leaders have access to the same version of the truth that can be used for more accurate and objective resource planning, business planning and financial forecasts. Vantagepoint CRM helps break down departmental silos and brings teams together to help manage the entire business, not just one pursuit at a time.
4. STREAMLINE PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT
Creating competitive and compelling proposals is vital to your business, but without a CRM, your teams are wasting time tracking down key data for proposals and other business development activities to position your firm to win. With a CRM, your firm will find better opportunities, pursue the right projects and proactively manage the pipeline, so you are better positioned to create more compelling proposal responses. Through your strategic pursuit process, you’ve captured client hot buttons, understand your competition and can better position your firm to win.
This upfront work allows proposal managers to have the information they need at their fingertips to build a compelling story to show the client why your company is the best choice. But, proposals are more than just pursuit intel. Proposal managers need easy access to accurate and up-to-date employee and project details to build the best proposal.
With Vantagepoint CRM, proposal teams have collective insight from the pursuit process through client activities, pursuit notes and competitive details to understand what is needed to win the project. And, with project details and employee resumes in one place, proposal managers can quickly and easily customize proposals that address the specific needs of the RFP including relevant projects, easily customized resumes, firm details and more.
5. NURTURE CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS WHEN IT MATTERS MOST
CRM is about more than just managing opportunities and creating proposals. It’s about truly nurturing client relationships when it matters most. But, seller-doers struggle to find time to nurture client relationships outside of specific pursuits. Project deadlines take precedence. Ask your teams: How well do your teams stay in touch with clients when there isn’t an active project or opportunity? Which clients should you contact and how frequently? How do you remind your teams to stay in touch or follow up on that seed of an idea from months ago? Your CRM should be your central tool to keep business development front and center and keep key clients top of mind.
Vantagepoint CRM enables teams to prioritize client relationships and deliver insight for more valuable and impactful client interactions better than any standalone solution in the industry. Create reminders to contact clients every quarter or month, depending on need. Hold client managers accountable for tracking client interactions, capturing key insights and scheduling follow up activities. Client managers can see client history, upcoming opportunities, marketing activity and much more to better manage and nurture the relationship and stay in front of the client when it matters most. Client relationships that aren’t effectively managed could easily become targets for your competitors, so leverage your CRM to stay in front of your clients so you are better positioned to win the next big project.
Why CRM and Why Now?
It’s time to prioritize and streamline your business development and marketing processes so you can nurture the right client relationships, pursue the right projects, identify the best teaming partners and position your company to win the next project. Don’t put your business at risk without a CRM solution. It’s time to empower your teams to make better, more informed decisions about the right clients and projects for your business.
Discover how forward-thinking companies are driving more business development activities, nurturing client relationships and ultimately winning more projects with Deltek Vantagepoint CRM in our fireside chat, Successfully Using Vantagepoint to Drive Business Development. Or contact us for a customized demo to see how this powerful solution can help your firm better manage the business side of business development and power your client, project and business success.
Discover Why You Need a CRM Solution
How Vantagepoint Can Help Drive Business Development
Learn more about why your business can’t live without Vantagepoint CRM and how Deltek can help you better manage the business of business development.
About the Author
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing manager with Deltek and works with architecture & engineering firms around the world to help them improve their business processes through technology and thought leadership with resources like Deltek Clarity and Deltek’s leading project-based software solutions. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn.
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