Business Development Audit – Stage 7: Client Management

Jan 10, 2024

7 Stage Business Development Audit for Construction & the Built Environment

 

Stage 7: Client Management

 

 

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Stage 7: Client Management

Peter Jubb, TC Group Consultant

Congratulate yourselves for a moment. After setting out on a journey for your business, to identify, nurture and secure quality project leads and develop client relationships, you have ‘won out’ through the bid process and have now earned the right to show the client what you are really made of in the delivery phase. The investment you have made to this point will run into the tens of thousands and for larger bids, even more.

Maintaining client relationships through project delivery has two very important facets to it, and this is what I want to stress in this blog, the final stage of our Business Development Audit process.

 

PROJECT LEVEL

Let’s start by looking at the project level, where you have secured the order to deliver the client’s vision for a scheme. Your delivery team clearly need to be well briefed about the vital outputs expected from the project itself, but in my experience, this is where the blinkers can come on, in that, the delivery team has not been adequately briefed about the client’s strategic objectives beyond the project itself, including their values, sustainability aspirations and other purposes that drive the mentality of their businesses.

It’s fairy straightforward to put KPI scorecards in place for the project itself, which can be benchmarked and scored each month, but the real value in maintaining relationships at the project level, is for the delivery team to see the ‘bigger picture’ and not just get consumed in the requirements of individual projects.

Business Development and Bid Teams need to pass the baton on to the delivery teams, as they will have spent considerable time in researching and spending face to face time with clients to understand what they are about and what they expect.

 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGY LEVEL

So, what is the role of the Business Development team during the project phase. It is not, to sit back, see how the project goes and then re-engage with the client.

It’s essential that dialogue is maintained with the client on a strategic level constantly, affording them the same level of attention as you did to build the early stage of the relationship, generate a lead and create a bid opportunity. If a project lasts 12 months for example, think of all the potential changes that can take place during this time which may impact the client’s business in some way, such as technology, net zero solutions or legislation change. It is incumbent upon skilled BD practitioners to always continue this ‘horizon scanning’ journey, with a view to bringing value to the client’s business and projects.

At the same time, the Business Development team must maintain regular dialogue with their delivery teams during a project. One of the things for example, I have regularly undertaken over the years is to make physical visits to projects at all stages of their delivery, so that you have your finger on the pulse when talking to your clients.

One of the tools I like using is Customer Journey Planning, where you can map out all the ‘touch points’ with the client and plan future engagement points. There are cost effective CRM systems that enable you to keep electronic records without administrative overload.

There are two things a Business Development person doesn’t want to hear.

  1. The client says, ‘I haven’t seen you in a while’
  2. The client says, ‘why didn’t you know there was a problem’

 

If you can successfully combine a focus at the project and strategic level, there is a much greater chance of retaining the client’s business in the future. This is what I would advocate to ward off the competition.

At TC Group, we can help you to develop approaches that meet the demands of project and strategic requirements for your clients in the built environment.

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