“The research – which included almost 1400 surveys and several dozen phone interviews – reinforced some assumptions and provided clarity on others related to architectural practice, engineering practice and construction industry business marketing and business development.
If there is one over-arching theme to be gleaned from the research, it is that A/E/C firms are spending more money on business development (BD) than they have in the past – and they intend to increase spending in the future. This conclusion is not based upon any concrete expense forecasts (e.g., percent of net revenue spent on BD), but rather the significant growth of both seller-doer and dedicated business developer positions at architecture, engineering, construction, and related firms…
…So what gives? Why are firms willing to increase their labor expenses for business development? There are numerous factors driving this trend, but the reality is that we are in a highly-competitive marketplace. Client loyalties have changed: whereas a decade ago there was so much construction happening that a lot of firms could “sit back and wait for the phone to ring” (it’s never really that easy, is it?), that isn’t the case anymore. We’re in a new era of purchasing, with the dreaded “three-bid mentality” destroying long-term relationships and potentially negatively impacting the owners/clients – when the A/E/C firm that knows their culture, facilities, and/or structures isn’t the low bid and newbies come in, this could be a good thing. Or a very bad one!”
Work within the waterways is highly regulated at the local, state and federal level. At the federal level more often than not a 404 permit is required for the work. The work can often be permitted under what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) refers to as nationwide permits which cover typical work within waterways. There are currently 52 nationwide permits which cover a wide range of types of works from dredging and bank stabilization to fish and wildlife harvesting or soil management for wildlife. Effective March 19, 2017 the USACE has reissued these permits which are effective for 5 years.
To find if your project may be covered by a nationwide permit the USACE has all permits and facts sheets listed at the below link with information on what they cover, how to obtain and other general information.
As the A/E/C (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) industry continues to grow and thrive, we are witness to the ever-growing popularity of the Seller-Doer Model. Seller-Doers, to be brief, are technical staff who are responsible for completing their technical (billable) work, as well as for marketing the firm and bringing in new work, largely from existing clients. Seller-Doers help build the 80/20 model of revenue, which states that 80% of a company’s revenue generally comes from existing clients, while 20% comes from new clients.
Drawn from “Sell. Do. Win Business.: A Report on How A/E/C Firms are Using Staff to Win More Work” (Society for Marketing Professional Services, 2016) and “Architecture and Engineering Industry Study: 36th Annual Comprehensive Report” (Deltek, 2015), below are some facts about the Seller-Doer Model in engineering firms (or in the A/E/C industry as a whole):
- 84% of engineering firms currently utilize a Seller-Doer Model.
- 1/3 of engineering firms report that 25-50% of their technical staff members have business development responsibilities.
- Only 4% of engineering Seller-Doers focus on existing clients. 51% focus heavily on existing clients with some focus on new clients.
- Seller-Doers spend the majority of their time on the following tasks:
o Participating in client meetings
o Participating in short-list presentations
o Writing proposals
o Setting up appointments with potential clients
o Participating in client organizations
- 70% of A/E/C firms utilize a Seller-Doer model because clients expect to meet with the individuals that they will be working with.
- A large percentage of A/E/C firms indicate an intent to increase the number of Seller-Doers at their respective firms
in the near future, as well as to increase the amount of time that Seller-Doers spend “selling.”
As is demonstrated by these facts, the Seller-Doer model is alive and growing quickly in the A/E/C industry. If your engineering firm is not incorporating a Seller-Doer model, you’re at risk of losing your clients to other Seller-Doers who are out networking. So quick – develop your Seller-Doer program today.
Let’s face it, regardless of how much you enjoy your job (and I honestly love mine), some days you just don’t feel like being at work.
It’s hard to find the energy and enthusiasm to kick yourself into gear (especially after a large delicious lunch or a long holiday weekend). It’s extremely important to recharge and refocus your professional life and goals.
“Communication is Key”. We’ve all heard that a million times before, but when you stop to think about any failed relationship, whether it was personal or professional, the biggest issue was a lack of communication.
Effective communication is not always a natural skill you pick up. Whether you think you’re great at it or not, we can all use help with learning new communication skills or further strengthening our current skills.