If your firm uses a doer-seller business development model, empowering your team is necessary for their success and your bottom line.
According to the Society for Marketing Professional Services Foundation research, over the next 10 years more than 50 percent of AEC firms are expected to increase their use of doer-sellers. If you employ a doer-seller model of business development, where some or all of your technical staff also function as business developers, empowering your team is critical to their success and, ultimately, your bottom line.
Here are some tips to elevate the doer-seller model in your firm.
- Culture. It starts at the top. Doer-sellers are motivated by leadership and how business development is integrated and ingrained in firm culture. A strong business-development culture should adopt a “business development is everyone’s business” mentality – everyone in your firm is a resource, and a knowledge source to clients, prospects and teaming partners.
- Process. Technical professionals thrive in environments with well-established structure and process. It’s no different with business development activities. Clearly defining your BD process provides doer-sellers a road map and increases efficiency and reinforces skills through process repetition. Developing a client-experience journey map visually conveys the client-relationship process and details how clients interact with and experience your brand. By creating a journey map with your doer-sellers, your team invests in and better understands client motivations, needs, and pain points as well as an action plan for meaningful client touchpoints.
- Communication. One of the biggest pitfalls in firms – and business – is lack of communication. Set a standing meeting with your doer-seller team to review, among other things, market and client intelligence, current pursuit and prospect initiatives, and debriefs of wins and losses. By providing a forum for open dialogue focused on business development, your doer-sellers will not only feel supported, but also understand they have accountability for their actions. And, be sure and celebrate the successes!
- Teamwork. Teamwork creates energy, encourages cross selling, and promotes learning. Business development does not occur in a vacuum; it’s always a team effort. Encourage and reward teamwork and watch your doer-sellers flourish.
- Goals and expectations. Work together to set clearly-defined goals and expectations for your doer-sellers that focus their efforts on the best and most efficient strategies to win new work. Creating individual business development plans are a powerful tool and help your doer-sellers take ownership of clients and pursuits and better manage their resources, time, and energy.
- Metrics. Put key metrics in place, make them visible, measure them, refine, and repeat. Develop both quantitative and qualitative metrics. Not everything can be directly attributed to revenue so measure return on objectives along with return on investment. This is particularly important to remember when it comes to relationship building.
- Training. In order to become a successful doer-seller, technical professionals must develop a variety of skills to strategize, build, and deepen relationships – the key to successfully winning work. And, just like our architects, engineers and contractors received an education to master their technical skills, they also need training to master business development skills. Invest in a consistent, interactive training program for your doer-sellers that is focused on real clients and real projects, and has an accountability plan built in.
- Fun! Make business development fun. Get creative. Create healthy competition. Develop incentives that recognize success. And, then, watch your doer-sellers soar.
- Celebrate. Don’t forget to celebrate! Celebration honors the hard work it takes to bring work in the door. And it shows gratitude to your team while reinforcing and motivating your doer-sellers for their next pursuit. Celebrate success immediately in a meaningful way with your entire organization. Share what was accomplished, how it made a contribution, and why it’s important. And, be sure to reinforce the action – the action plan that led to the win and consistent good habits and qualities of your doer-seller team – in addition to celebrating the financial rewards of the win.
- Reward. When doer-sellers feel valued, their productivity increases and they are motivated to repeat behavior. Praise and recognition are essential to building confidence. People need to be respected and valued by others for their contribution so reinforce positive action with rewards. Create a culture of collaboration and cross selling by rewarding teams. Send handwritten notes when you catch someone doing something right. It’s the little things that are meaningful.
As Managing Director at Zweig Group, Jen Newman, CPSM utilizes her more than 20 years of AEC specific experience to help firms grow their people and profits while elevating the industry. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Zweig Group is proud to offer two opportunities for helping you ELEVATE Your Doer-Sellers.
- Elevating Doer-Sellers – Business Development Strategies that Impact the Bottom Line 2 Day Workshop offered in Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Houston
- In-House Doer-Seller Business Development Training Program.