Wow, those silos are hard to look at! Sterile, separated, isolated. Are your AEC BD, marketing, and client relations programs silo'd? Is there an understanding, across your firm, of the value of each individual discipline? Or how those three functions can and should work together? Do you start to hear the word "synergy?"
In a silo'd firm, functions are separated and communications struggle to get across barriers. Marketing may be relegated to creating brochures that someone wants immediately while having to push too many unfocused proposals out the door, i.e. task-focused. Business development may be designated as the "real" creator of revenue with not much else monitored or measured in the BD discipline except for the number of projects won. The term "client relations" hardly reaches anyone's radar so there is no formal structure or process for creating stellar client relations in order to ensure projects go smoothly, clients are happy, and the best clients are retained.
It's time! Time to move forward and bring all of these disciplines into a highly functioning, integrated unit. Generating AEC revenue is a team effort and it requires the expertise and value of all three of those disciplines.
So, what does your firm's business development, marketing, and client relations activities look like? Is it silo'd like the graphic above. Or does it look like a stirred up pot of activity, as shown below, where one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing and no one has a clear picture of what produces results or how everyone should work together.
Does your firm view revenue generation like this . . .
When, in reality, it looks like this . . .
In their purest forms, here is what each of your firm's AEC revenue generation functions should do:
Marketing's prime functions: Drive effective planning in conjunction with BD; align revenue generation programs with firm branding, mission, vision, values; conduct market research to confirm program directions; develop, implement, and measure an integrated communications program including activities driving lead generation.
Business development's prime functions: Provide consistent, qualified lead generation; plan and implement targeted pre-positioning for key targeted opportunities; develop best-in-class proposals; plan and implement best-in-class interview presentations; monitor and measure multiple points in the BD function and implement improvements where needed.
Client relations' prime functions: Ensure quality service and client satisfaction; maintain close relationships with key client contacts; and obtain repeat and referred opportunities.
Are you ready to move to a more structure program and proven processes? It's a valuable move because structure and process lead to the ability to test, measure, repeat, and improve what you're doing . . . "What can be measured, can be improved©."
And, once you have great structure, process, and measurement in place, it's about super-charging your firm's three revenue generators so they all work together to lift revenue outcomes.
Questions to consider:
Added note: A lot of firms don't view marketing as a revenue generator or disregard the value of having a formal client relations program – the big focus is on BD. I've heard those comments before, and $12 million later in revenues, it became obvious that marketing was a clear player in revenue generation and client relations was important to focus on. Time to wake up and smell the coffee because in today's online, digital, and highly competitive world, your marketing and client relations programs have a tremendous capacity to drive revenue.
Want to learn more? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com