Data, data everywhere

Aug 26, 2019

Getting a better handle on your data helps you identify what your firm is truly good at, and where the highest profits are.

If you are a marketing or business development professional in the AEC industry, you need to help your firm make the best decisions possible to maximize the profitability of each job you take on. You may also be tasked with finding ways to strategically grow your business in a very intentional way versus just being opportunistic about where to pursue additional business.

Making the correct strategic growth decision requires data. But what happens when it takes days or even weeks to pull together all the data you need to make informed decisions? If you can’t find the data you need quickly, you may be missing out on potential projects or worse, pursuing the wrong kind of projects.

Too many data silos. Managing the wealth of data necessary to keep AEC firms running and growing is a massive challenge. Whether you are creating project proposals, managing sales projections, or evaluating past projects, you need a single source of data for your business. But it’s not as simple as it might appear. Information is inconsistent at best and distributed around the office in spreadsheets, file cabinets, financial systems, project management systems, email archives – even post-it notes! If your firm has acquired another firm, you have historical information in other systems that need to come together to form a complete picture of your business and your people. Some information you need may not be in any system at all – it may be inside the memory of one or more of your tenured employees: The self-proclaimed company historian who remembers details of every past project. How can you get to the answers you need when it exists in all these different “data silos?” At the pace of today’s business, speed and accuracy can be the difference between winning the next job or wasting time and resources on the wrong job. This is the chaos of business development and marketing within many AEC firms.

End the chaos. Much of this chaos caused by the lack of a single source of truth for your customers, partners, projects, and people is costing your business in lost productivity every day. Worse yet, this suboptimal productivity may be leading to poor decision-making that could impact the top-line revenue in your business.

“Cosential gave us access to the data we already had, but we had no single place to access,” says Adrienne Ruebusch with Miller-Valentine Group. “Now we can look at it, analyze it, notice trends, and make smarter decisions for our business.”

Fortunately, there are solutions in the market today to help end this chaos and bring order, control, speed, and efficiency to business development and marketing professionals. Unlike generic customer relationship management solutions that merely manage contact data and are built for product sales, Cosential Growth and Relationship Management software was developed for project sales and the unique challenges faced by AEC businesses.

Data silos are a reality all businesses deal with. But there are solutions in the market to help you get to that “single source of truth.” The results can be dramatic with some customers experiencing increases in productivity in key business development processes by up to 50 percent while increasing annual revenue by 1 percent. Getting a better handle on your data helps you better identify what your firm is truly good at, where you have the happiest customers, and where you are hitting the highest profits.

Randy Reynolds is vice president of marketing at Cosential. Contact him at

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.