Maximise Your Work Winning Capability

13 September 2021

Successful work winning in the built environment’s a function of your capability level in business development, marketing and sales.

In my experience, there’s not enough time spent on distinguishing between these three areas; they often get grouped together and, in some cases, one person’s expected to undertake them all which can create its own challenges.

Let’s start by defining the functions…

Business Development

This is largely a strategic activity concerned with the following:

  • Devising a business model and strategy that meets the aspirations of the owners.
  • Setting the high-level business objectives.
  • Identifying the key sectors and clients you’d like to work with.
  • Forging relationships with clients to understand their strategies/plans.
  • Defining your overriding aspiration for the business – what’s its ‘Just Cause’? (reference Simon Sinek, The Infinite Game)


An operational and creative function designed to provide the support infrastructure to business development. Key activities include:

  • Market research including sectors and clients and building insight into the clients’ world.
  • Developing value propositions based on customer insight.
  • Building a communications support network (website/social media platforms/corporate literature).
  • Developing the brand.
  • Understanding routes to market and procurement methods.
  • Utilising bid writing and management skills.


An operational and persuasive activity designed to convince the customer that your value propositions satisfy their needs better than competitors, overcoming objections along the way and closing the sale at the end of the process.

So, Who does what?

It may be possible that one person possesses all these skills but whether they have the time to cover all the bases is highly unlikely because they’re all very time-consuming activities in their own right.

I tend to recommend splitting business development and marketing to be performed by different people given the differing skillsets required for each.

If you choose to do this in-house, you need to examine whether these skill sets exist, or whether you need to build capacity through training or recruit specialists either directly or as consultants. You need to decide who’s best suited to ‘front line’ business development and sales and more ‘back office’ based marketing activities.

It’s about finding a formula that works for you, but recognising the unique skills of business development, marketing, and sales. For example I’ve been involved heavily in the Business Development function and act as an opportunity creator. The selling of the value proposition and closing the sale’s performed in conjunction with operational colleagues who have the technical skills to deal with that part of the bid proposal. I then concentrate on client management, relationship building and ensuring the tender proposals are followed up and aren’t left dangling.

If you want to discuss how you could be more successful at winning work, providing solutions to client’s needs, whilst ensuring that the business model’s kept intact and is agile to change then please get in touch with our Construction & Built Environment team.