Whether public or private sector, if potential clients and existing clients don’t hear from you or about you, they don’t know you exist. And, to win, when the project shows up, you need to be already actively visible, known, and trusted. Other topics take up space in your targets’ minds before that project arises, including your competition! So, how do you communicate with your prospects and clients before the project shows up?
A lot of firms focus only on face-to-face meetings, i.e., introductory meetings, follow-up meetings, lunches with prospects and clients, entertainment, etc. That will get you by, especially in these times of increased opportunities. But . . .
I’ve run the numbers over 30 years of being in the trenches of AEC BD and marketing and here’s what the numbers say. (Stick with me, here. There’s a good conclusion at the end!)
In unburdened staff time, it costs approximately $150 - $200+ per head to initiate a relationship, send that person introductory information, follow-up, and have one 30-minute meeting. And, that doesn’t include any hard costs. As you continue to build the relationship, just count on $150 - $200+ per head of staff time for every time you meet with this individual. So, if you’re only using face-to-face meetings to pursue work, it becomes very expensive.
Is there a way to offset that cost? Absolutely! Use an integrated marketing program to manage your prospects (and a lot more of them!) until a hot opportunity comes up. When that hot opportunity starts to loom on the horizon, throw that opportunity over to your BD’ers and seller-doers and let your marketing program continue to stir your BIG pot of future clients. In staff time, stirring the pot costs approximately $5 - $10 per head for a contact list of 4,000 – 8,000 contacts (Yes, you may need that many in your database to reach your revenue projections depending on the size of your firm.) And, with the right program in place, that cost is further reduced as your pot gets larger and the cost is spread over a greater number of prospects.
THIS IS IMPORTANT . . . Not all contacts are created equal, so why would you spend the same amount of dollars on all of your prospects?
H-m-m-m . . . Perhaps, we should combine the two activities. Put our bigger dollars on the clients and hot accounts that are our top priority and keep in touch with our other prospects (which can now be a bigger audience!) with our smaller dollars. Wouldn’t that reap better benefits?
YES . . .
The goal of your marketing program is to build the prospect and revenue pipeline, while your dedicated BD’ers and seller-doers focus their attention where they are most valuable – solidifying the relationship, understanding the project, and sealing the deal! Use your resources (time and dollars) where they count the most. When you do that, it means you’re headed to . . .
Best-in-class, effective (and efficient) revenue generation! Yep, that's dollars in the piggy bank!
Recently published in Engineering News-Record:
Supercharge Your Revenue Generating Engine by Deb Schindler
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