CONSTRUCTION & BUILT ENVIRONMENT: 7-STAGE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AUDIT – PART 1
OWNING A BUSINESS IN THE CONSTRUCTION & BUILT ENVIRONMENT HAS ITS OWN UNIQUE SET OF COMPLEXITIES. THAT’S WHY HERE AT TC GROUP WE’VE DEVELOPED A 7-STAGE CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AUDIT MODEL FOR THE INDUSTRY, TO HELP YOU REVALUATE AND RE-ENERGISE YOUR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING ACTIVITIES.
We’ve approached the audit process in a pragmatic way to give you a logical structure to follow, with the capability to maximise and implement the findings from the review process.
This is part one of a two-part blog series, where we’ll be sharing some insights from recently completed audits.
In this blog I’ll cover the first three stages:
- Stage 1 – The Business Model
- Stage 2 – Business Identity & Personality
- Stage 3 – Performance Data
STAGE 1 – THE BUSINESS MODEL
This is our ‘foundational’ stage as it sets the scene for efficient deployment of business development and marketing activities.
To get yourself into the groove of a business model, think about Ryanair and British Airways – two organisations in the airline business, but with very different value propositions to their customer base.
So, why not take time to reflect on the markets and clients you serve, how you serve them and why you do it this way, and the type of projects you undertake.
We found that some work was needed to define business models more precisely, and to examine if it’d deviated from the initial start-up of the business. Was it still relevant? Did it provide the expected financial and other outputs expected?
In one instance we discovered one of our architectural clients were particularly adept at delivering complex projects across different market sectors and managing the input from other members of the design and contracting teams extremely well. This led to them re-focusing on identifying these types of projects, ensuring their business development and marketing activities were fully aligned to this model.
STAGE 2 – BUSINESS IDENTITY & PERSONALITY
Our mission here is to discover what’s distinctive about businesses and how it’s articulated to clients to set the value proposition apart.
We’ve found too many businesses describe themselves in the same way. For example, you might describe your business as a ‘design-led’ practice. You will of course know what this means, but it doesn’t get to the core of your differentiation and makes it very difficult for purchasing clients to make a clear choice of who to run with.
I recently conducted some customer satisfaction surveys for a professional services client across a range of clients and sectors, and a real gem that stood out was how well they adapted to the client’s brief, intuitively applying a lighter or heavier touch as required to suit the client’s needs, rather than a ‘blanket’ approach. It’s this type of feedback which can be re-purposed into your value propositions, elevator pitch and case studies, utilising digital and hard copy marketing communications to make the message visible.
You should be striving to identify a ‘golden thread’ or theme which permeates across the whole business, whilst at the same time reflecting a specific slant on things to cater for key requirements in different sectors, denoting a multi-personality capability.
If you can gain testimonials as ‘proof points’ to substantiate your messaging, this is an extremely great way of adding credibility to your service offer. Rather than making bland statements such as ‘we do this, our services do that’, talk in terms of the specific value created for clients, so other prospective clients can resonate with what you’re saying. A good example might say, “We like working with [insert company name] because they don’t settle for off the peg solutions by default.”
STAGE 3 – PERFORMANCE DATA
Whilst there’s evidence that more companies see the value of implementing time-sheet based systems to provide performance data (which can guide effective deployment of business development and marketing activities), the construction industry is typically a slower adopter of these technologies compared to sectors like retail, who have Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. These systems monitor your browsing and purchasing decisions with the ability to segment and discern buying preferences.
In the built environment, as a minimum, you’ll want to have performance data on the following:
- Client groups: private and public
- Sectors/segments within a sector
- Work types: new build/refurbishment
You could, for example, compare your top 10 clients by fee turnover with the top 10 clients by profitability. Would the list be the same?
What’s the performance of sectors, and are you potentially doing too much work in low margin areas at the expense of better opportunities? This may explain in some cases why profits are ‘flat-lining’ year-on-year.
So, see this as an opportunity to be more forensic with your business development analytics and focus your attention on the right areas and those that provide the best fit to your business model.
In part two of this blog, we’ve provided insight on the remaining four stages:
- Stage 4 – Bid Management
- Stage 5 – Lead Generation
- Stage 6 – Following up leads
- Stage 7 – Client management during project delivery
I’d like to finish this blog by sharing a recent quote from a professional services client who went through the Business Development Audit Process with us…
“Hi Peter, Thanks for the help you have given us with our Business Development needs. You have really helped us in quantifying our strengths and identifying our weaknesses; also clarifying where we need to go and developing a strategy to get us there. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but are confident that with your support, we will get there!”
If you’d like more information on our Business Development Audit Service and would like to take advantage of a free scoping call, please reach out to me.