Converting doers into sellers doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without a clear plan. If anyone thinks that taking a doer to a few networking events is going to make that individual into a seller will soon discover it will be a long and frustrating, uphill climb.
Put some basics in place in order to get that doer over into the seller column. Here are some ideas on what you need so you can provide the optimal environment for your new seller-doers.
1. There must be an understanding, across the firm, that business development is a core component of the firm’s business operations and its success. All staff must know that it is everyone’s responsibility to participate in the pursuit of work in a variety of ways . . . ways that fit with their role and planned career path within the firm. It’s not the sole responsibility of a few individuals; it takes an approach of all-hands-on-deck. Without new and repeat work, the firm doesn’t move ahead.
2. Seller-doers must know there will be new thinking, skills, processes, and approaches to be learned and adopted. That expertise can and will be different, at times, from what they were trained to do. However, to be successful as a seller-doer, that learning is crucial and will be an ongoing activity via additional training and coaching.
3. The seller-doer model must be sanctioned, from the top, and the program must be provided continued support, in the form of time and funding for training and coaching. That mandate from top management and ongoing support means you’re creating seller-doers who can successfully pursue work while still producing quality projects for existing clients.
4. A clear metric on utilization must be in place and understood by all, from operations through project production and business development. That way, seller-doers, BD’ers, and marketers understand how much time the seller-doer has available to apply to pursuing work. That time metric should be reviewed quarterly and overlaid onto project quality and success, for projects in production, and onto new and repeat revenues, for project pursuit.
5. A proven, repeatable, and systematic approach to the pursuit of new and repeat business must already be in place within the firm. It must be trainable to and repeatable by others, i.e., the seller-doers. This should include, at a minimum:
6. A knowledgeable business developer to lead and manage the seller-doer program. That key role means your firm has a champion for the entire seller-doer program . . . someone to coordinate their activities and programs, coach them, and follow-up with their activities on a regular basis. Outside of the AEC industry, this person would be known as a sales manager.
It’s important to note, that in the AEC industry, virtually all the individuals working within the profession are very linear thinkers and process-oriented people. It’s in their nature to follow process. If you don’t have something in place for them to follow, it will reduce their desire and willingness to participate, and, subsequently, reduce the results they can produce.
Per Paul Selden, author of Sales Process Engineering, “The majority of the time, if a process is failing, it’s more likely the process than the people.” Make it easy, enjoyable, and rewarding to participate in building business for the firm and you’ll find more takers at the table.
A key point to remember: Seller-doers are not professional BD’ers. They were trained to do another type of work and they require guidance, knowledge, and support from the BD and marketing experts so they can be successful. No one wants to fail, so, don't leave them hanging out there on their own.
Other items to have in place as you move to a seller-doer model . . .
If you’re considering the move to a seller-doer model, head that direction! It’s the best combined use of your dedicated business developers and marketers and the technical expertise of your professional staff. Best advice: Move forward with a PLAN!
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Friday Chow is posted weekly, or thereabouts, to provide you with insights and considerations for AEC sales and marketing. Good stuff to feed your revenue engine!
When you're ready to improve your business development, marketing, and client relations programs, contact Red Hound Studios at firstname.lastname@example.org