In last week’s blog post, Business Development and Its 6 Biggest Pain Points, we discussed the challenges that the US engineering and construction industry is facing with business development (BD) and noted Fails Management Institute’s (FMI) recent report on BD challenges and changing practices within the construction sector. Due to Helbling & Associates performing multiple searches for BD professionals for our diverse clients over the past year and still performing several, we understand the complexity of this issue and the critical need to address it. Learn more in our case studies of some of these BD search assignments in our July newsletter.
Within its report, FMI recommends the following solutions to most effectively and efficiently improve the BD function within construction organizations.
1. Patience and persistence.
BD programs must be customized to a company’s abilities, situation and target vertical markets and must be continually refined. Furthermore, they must have the commitment of owners and senior executives.
2. Be selective in the estimating and operations people you select for involvement in business development.
Not all estimating and operations people are going to possess the capabilities and communication skills to effectively assist BD. However, if properly trained, these professionals have the ability to add tremendous value to the BD process.
3. Reward business development efforts.
Ensure that compensation appropriately reflects the amount of effort that goes in to performing BD successfully.
4. Encourage your team.
Develop confidence in your team by pursuing the appropriate target markets and customers where you will have the greatest success.
5. Know your markets.
Developing a sound strategy for pursuing the appropriate target markets and the right customers within those markets is imperative.
6. Provide your team with the necessary BD training.
There are many activities that a company can do to properly train its BD staff but it is analyzing the day-to-day BD activities, following through and offering continual educational activities that will make the difference long-term.
7. Develop a formal system for tracking customers and projects and make a commitment to doing it.
Break down the communication barrier between sales and operations. Having a strong, mutually respectful relationship between operations and BD personnel can have a significant positive impact on leads and BD results.
Carefully planned BD programs that address these recommendations can make a tremendous impact upon the performance and success of a contractor’s BD team. Let us know if you’ve tried any of these steps in your BD department and the results you have achieved from doing so.
For FMI’s full report, log in to their web site at: www.fminet.com.