Accelerated growth

Oct 14, 2019

Growth and relationship management software turn marketing into the catalyst for growth: The four best practices for winning marketing teams.

Within the booming AEC industry, there are always leaders. And then, there are followers. What sets the leaders apart is positioning their marketing teams as strategic drivers for success for accelerated pipeline and growth now and in the long- term.

The principles and the best practices of these highly successful marketing teams can be summarized in these four best practices:

  1. Prepare winning proposals with speed and efficiency. While pipelines may be strong today, winning firms can’t be complacent for the long-term – they know the time is now to build acceleration across all of their key business functions, especially marketing.
    • Leading firms have elevated their marketing departments from simple proposal writers to strategic enablers: They invest in them to wow the right customers and build the business foundation for the future.
    • Winning firms run their marketing processes like clockwork – not only do they have the right information at the fingertips of their strategic proposal development teams, they also use the latest tools in creating project proposals that delight.
    • These teams don’t need to source the same information within their organization every time they need to develop new proposals. They move with the speed, efficiency, and elegance of a modern, agile delivery system.
    • The winning firms have embraced the most agile processes and adopted the latest tools so much so that they beat their competition with incredible speed and efficiency – 50 percent faster than the rest.
  2. Accelerate efficiencies in the bidding process. This is the time to bring order and control to your processes and put an end to rushed proposal submission, while at the same time eliminating wasted manual effort.
    1. Leading firms’ marketing teams spend more time creating winning proposals than on manual work such as looking up past project information, contacts, and resume data.
    2. The marketing and business development power of AEC leaders comes from knowing where their firm has been historically most successful and knowing the right doors to knock on and when. With the right data at their hands, marketing leaders are also better equipped to know whether to price competitively or aim for higher margins.
    3. It’s becoming increasingly critical to know and leverage the entire firm’s relationship history to win right and fast. AEC marketing leaders know which relationships drove the most referrals and who your best references are. They can easily see and leverage those who helped in winning prior projects similar to the one your team is currently pursuing.
  3. Foster seamless business development and marketing collaboration.
    1. Winning firms shift control of the firm’s knowledge of relationships and prior project experiences from specific individuals to all employees. Winning AEC teams start from the same foundation, a common set of technology-enabled databases, proposal materials, and communication flows.
    2. They have abandoned the use of multiple, disparate systems, such as generic CRMs and have eliminated data being scattered across an organization in siloed financial and project management systems.
    3. They are working with their business development counterparts via unified, purpose-built systems and processes enabling them to effectively oversee the pursuit of new projects at each stage in the sales cycle and respond to inquiries quickly, efficiently, and professionally.
    4. The winning firms have ingrained the most agile processes and adopted the latest tools that can reduce report preparation and generation time by as much as 80 percent.
  4. Use the right marketing tech built for AEC firms. The smart ones, those ahead of their peers, use the right marketing tools for every job.
    1. Today’s leaders have zeroed in on marketing technology solutions that address the complexities of proposal management and the intricacies of relationship management.
    2. By automating their approach to proposals with the proper technology-enabled solutions, winning marketing teams work efficiently and eliminate wasteful hours spent tracking down resumes and project lists, thus freeing teams to focus on proposals that wow and delight prospects.
    3. Winning firms use integrated and intelligent marketing automation to send emails and win with analytics by tracking and measuring proposal success and failure.
    4. They enable better cross-team collaboration, strengthen the brand, and build stronger connections with prospects and customers, propelling their firm to always be top-of-mind for customers.
If you’re wondering how your firm stacks up against these winners, or whether your firm is deploying the right growth and relationship management strategy, consider these questions:
  • Are your teams struggling every time you need to prepare a new proposal?
  • Are your marketers truly enabled to deliver winning proposals with speed and accuracy?
  • Does your firm have one source of truth for all contacts and key relationships over its history that fuel the business?
  • Do you have multiple, disparate systems, such as generic CRMs and siloed processes hindering collaboration?
  • Are current marketing processes making your company tread water versus being always on the pulse of the right projects and opportunities?

By adopting and following the four marketing and proposal management best practices for the AEC industry, leading firms have delivered unrivaled results. And after embracing growth and relationship management, these teams are empowered with insights, enjoy accelerated growth, and drive sustained marketing and business development success. As a result, winning marketing teams have also won a permanent seat at the firm’s executive and strategy table.

Randy Reynolds is vice president of marketing at Cosential. He can be reached at As the leading growth and relationship management software for the AEC industry for more than 20 years, Cosential has helped more than 1,000 AEC firms such as Skanska USA, KCI Technologies, DPR Construction, Robins & Morton, and JE Dunn Construction increase annual revenue and increase productivity in key business development and marketing processes by up to 50 percent.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.