PART TWO: Our 7-stage Business Development Audit

22 July 2022

On 8TH jUNE, WE POSTED PART ONE OF OUR 7-stage Business Development Audit model BLOG. THIS MODEL’S designed to assist construction & built environment businesses in re-evaluating and re-energising their business development and marketing activities.

Before I turn attention to the final 4 stages, I’d like to briefly set the scene in relation to stages 1 to 3.

Stage 1 – The Business Model

Which clients and markets do you serve; how and why do you serve them?

Stage 2 – Business Identity & Personality

Do you have value propositions which are based on actual customer insight and what is distinctive about your business that makes it stand out?

Stage 3 – Performance Data

Do you have accurate performance data for clients/sectors/types of work to inform intelligent BD decision making? This data includes financial and client service-related measures.

RECAP STAGES 1-3

Now, let’s move on to the final 4 stages and see how they have an inter-relationship with these 3 initial stages…


stage 4 – bid management

If you’re an architect, you’ll follow a design process. If you’re a quantity surveyor, you’ll follow a cost plan process.

Why is it then, that many companies fail to implement a robust bid process?

There are many CRM systems that can help to ‘Journey Plan’ this but are not always seen as a priority to implement, because of the perceived effort involved.

One of the fundamental elements of a bid process is to really understand the client’s buying processes and how you’ll ultimately be appointed, if successful. Whoever is involved in the bid process/team needs to have an appreciation of this.

A key discovery we’ve made is that the bid toolkit required for bid success is often lacking the depth and detail required. This may be social value evidence, other client related proof points, or a lack of well-crafted case studies that clearly communicate the value propositions you implemented to deliver the client’s project expectations.

There are also new horizons in play in respect of digitisation articulated by the recent publication of the ‘Construction Playbook’ and the Construction Innovation Hub’s Procurement Value Toolkit.

How are you going to embrace these changes and reflect them in future bids to keep them relevant and on point? What is the bid writing/presentation capability like in your business? These are skills in themselves that businesses need to have to be successful.


stage 5 – lead generation

The most important facet to lead generation is to ensure alignment to the business model.

Quite often, businesses allow themselves to deviate from their core strengths and purpose to maintain growth plans and pipeline. This is a mistake which leads to misdirected BD effort and a waste of well-defined value propositions.

For example, if you’re an engineering company specialising in complex civil engineering work and you’re satisfied there are sufficient work streams to satisfy your growth plans, don’t allow your business to be dragged into more simple commoditised projects where your bid strategy is out of kilter with that area of the market. As Tom Peters alluded to in the book entitled, In Search of Excellence, ‘stick to the knitting’.

One of the main challenges for work generation is that the business owners are quite often still the major ‘breadwinners’. They are of course the ones who built client relationships over many years but this can be countered in two ways:

  1. Create a client relationship transition plan in a timely manner to give senior management better access to existing clients and enable them to build relationships with emerging key decision makers in the client’s organisation.
  2. Upskill the work generation capability of the senior management team via training/coaching to equip them to grow their own networks, develop new client relationships and become a visible face of the business.

stage 6 – following up leads

What’s your process for following up on bids/quotes?

For example, a consulting engineer practice of say 50 people may rack up many issued quotes from flood risk assessments to major civils and structures projects during the year. The added complication in this example is that multiple members of staff are issuing quotes.

Whilst the owners may have a keen eye on following up on the major bids, what’s happening at the ‘bread and butter’ end of the business?

If there isn’t a system in place, and KPIs to measure the close out of bids, how much work goes begging as a result and most importantly, what impression does your client have if the bid has gone in and it is not followed up? It’s important to know how many leads turn into orders.

One business we spoke to had a 50% conversion rate, but were still determined to do better. This winning mentality is a great habit to get into!

It’s also very important to align your conversion rates with your pipeline aspirations and use client feedback and lessons learned to improve your bid success rates.

Another key element is to have strong team presentation skills and storytelling ability to cater for the interests of different stakeholders in the buying process. So often, companies go through all the bid stages with flying colours and don’t prepare well enough for the final stage if there is one – this is where clients often make up their minds finally on their preferred partner for a project.


stage 7 – client management during project delivery

Like a relay race, the baton of client relationships can pass through different teams in the business; from BD to the bid team, and finally the delivery team.

How do you ensure that all the good initial work by the BD team to create and nurture the client relationship and project opportunity is repeated consistently throughout the business?

The answer is to create a ‘one team’ culture, breaking down any divisions between people and departments. An excellent briefing process within this one-team principle will articulate not only the client’s project vision, but most importantly the client’s strategic vision for their business – what really matters to them and why.

Call it the ‘big picture’, but if implemented successfully makes for a happier client.

Clients often tell me that tender loving care where client service is attentively provided is the one thing they are ‘crying out’ for as a real differentiator from service providers who are otherwise well matched up in terms of technical capability.

As a BD practitioner myself, I always maintain contact with the client at regular intervals whether there is a project underway or not, as you need to seize the opportunity to gain continual client insight, bring new value to the table, take regular sense checks on the working relationship, and demonstrate a real culture of care.

I truly hope that these blogs have provided insight and encouraged you to take action. I’d be delighted to engage with you further on any aspect of this model, and provide any additional support and guidance.

Peter Jubb – Consultant at Fortus
01604 273782

DROP ME AN EMAIL

 

 

 

 

More