Questas works with a number of consulting engineers and environmental consultancies from the very large through to smaller, niche practices. The common theme with these organisations is that they employ very bright individuals who are technically extremely competent and often very busy meeting utilisation targets. Another common theme is that more and more of these individuals are being asked to develop new relationships with clients and uncover opportunities for work.
Some parts of this sector have been severely affected by the economic downturn and reduction in public spending. Client demands for better service and better quality coincide with demands to reduce margins and some companies have not survived. Those that have face stiff competition and have had to work harder than ever to win work and retain clients.
Whilst survival strategies have been effective for some they have not necessarily prepared firms to differentiate or to grow profitable revenues. When projects are completed there is often little on the horizon to replace the work they generated and there follows the all too often cycle of feast and famine as short term decisions are made not necessarily conducive to sustainable growth.
Business Development Challenges
Even for global companies, winning new clients and developing opportunities with current clients has been the responsibility of a relatively small number of people. The main challenges we come across are:
There is an enormous amount of pressure on individuals meeting utilisation targets as well managing teams, reporting etc. As more people are being tasked with playing a part in BD the challenge to keep the multiple ‘plates spinning’ becomes more difficult.
Many of the people we work with are extremely confident when discussing their area of expertise either internally or with a client who shares that knowledge. Asking some of these people to sell can often take them way out of their comfort zones, the impact of which means that they will simply choose not to engage in activity they find uncomfortable.
Quite often we come across organisations who are asking people to engage in sales activity who have had little or no development in this area. Many organisations believe selling is simply about doing a good job and you will be asked back again. We don’t disagree that it is vital to do a good job but it should be viewed as the thing that earns you the right to discuss more and different projects not the be all and end all of sales.
Firms that have a good track record of organic growth have recognised that there a few, simple elements that need to be in place:
- A clear vision and strategy
- Market segmentation
- A team based approach to new business and account management
- Strong leadership
The organisational structure around sales and account management is essential otherwise you find that individuals, teams and offices can attack the market in a haphazard way potentially leading to clients being approached by different parts of the same company or work won that is not aligned to the strategic direction of the business.
How Questas Can Help
Imagine the power of significantly increasing the number of your staff able to be effective business developers. Consider the impact of a consistent approach to account management that led to an increase in fee income of 50% (that’s what happened to one of our clients).
Questas works with national and international companies to help them release the potential of their business developers and their ‘hidden sales force’. The best companies have realised that all client facing staff provide an untapped resource who are able to influence buying decisions, generate opportunities and develop key relationships. We equip your people with the skills and confidence (see Consultative Selling Skills training) needed to strengthen relationships with current clients as well as the processes (see Key Account Management training) to identify new opportunities by understanding client’s ‘horizon issues’ and without resorting to ‘old school selling’. We can help you clarify your market strategy and implement a team-based approach to winning new clients in your chosen sectors. Our Lead Generation workshops (see Markets and Lead Generation training) are designed around the specific requirements of an engineering or environmental consultancy business and deliver a simple, effective approach that gets results.
- See more at: http://questas.co.uk/engineering-environmental-consultancies/#sthash.o1ZqSCIW.dpuf