Back to relationship basics

Jan 03, 2021

We don’t know what this year will bring, but by focusing on existing relationships and building stronger relationships, we can ensure long-term success.

As we reflect on 2020, it has become abundantly clear that in our industry, there’s nothing more important than the power of our relationships with our clients. Without tradeshows and conferences, networking events, and in-person meetings, we’ve all had to adjust the way we are communicating and catching up with our clients and teaming partners.

We at Pennoni, like other firms, have looked at our marketing efforts to figure out virtual ways to connect with our clients. We’ve expanded our email marketing efforts and introduced webinars on a variety of topics. While we’ve seen success, one thing our reporting has shown is that we can’t rely on these efforts alone. We have used email blasts in the past for general content, but our clients aren’t expecting new and pertinent information to be communicated solely through emails. We’ve realized that it’s important to encourage our staff to bring these efforts to their contacts’ attention and lean on the relationships that already exist. Even something as simple as a reference to a recent communication that was sent out by the marketing team can have an impact on the open rate of an email or the registrations of an upcoming webinar if given that personal touch.

Another more strategic way that you can capitalize on these existing relationships is through the use of account based marketing. This is something that you may have seen used but hasn’t yet been as widespread within our industry. ABM coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagements at specific accounts. With ABM, the focus is on specific targets and creating and/or improving upon the relationships we all have with our clients and contacts. It has been proven to deliver the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Most ABM efforts involve a marketing campaign with multiple steps that include specific information related to the client. The key to this campaign is that the marketing team is in coordination with account managers and the business development team. However, without accurate data in your CRM system, this coordination can be challenging.

At the end of the day, for many of us, the majority of our work is through repeat clients. Due to the very specific knowledge we all understand about them, we know their pain points and they know and trust us to provide quality solutions. We don’t know what 2021 will bring us as we continue to navigate through the lasting effects of the pandemic, but by focusing on existing relationships and building stronger relationships, we can ensure long-term success.

Robert McGee is Pennoni’s director of marketing and corporate communications. He can be reached at

Read this week's issue of The Zweig Letter!

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.