At a recent A/E/C marketer event with the Twin Cities chapter of Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), there was a lot of discussion about go or no-go prospecting.
Getting clear about ideal clients is an important strategy in A/E/C industry marketing, especially as your firm grows. Don’t bog down your team in construction or engineering proposals that aren’t the right fit. Make sure that your ideal client is clear to everyone involved in prospecting.
Sure, you may still propose on certain projects because you are invited by a partner firm or a past client. For those blanket RFPs and independent leads, refer to your business model and target clients. Also, if you do not have a niche persona (ideal client) description to reference, here are some questions to consider.
- Who is our target client in this niche, and does this lead/RFP represent them?
- If this isn’t an ideal fit, are there other factors that would lead us to propose anyway?
- If we decide that this opportunity is a “no go,” how do we communicate our decision appropriately to the prospect/partner/lead?
- What are the consequences and the advantages of being very selective in our prospecting approach?
Is a Slow Pipeline the Problem?
Are you chasing every proposal because your pipeline is slow? Don’t fall into that trap. Continue to focus on your business strategy. What is your vision for the firm? Does a prospect match that vision and growth goal? If not, be ruthlessly focused and say no. This will keep everyone free to proactively market to, and attract, the RIGHT prospects.
Also, keep marketing! We’ve been through at least a couple of economic downturns here at Ingenuity. We have watched clients stop marketing. It makes their pipelines even skinnier in the future, and it’s much harder to recover from the downturn. In fact, some of those firms have been sold, and not from a position of strength.
Be careful with layoffs, too. It’s difficult to attract and retain quality staff, including on your marketing and business development team. Instead, here is a new video with some tips on A/E/C marketing approaches when your pipeline is slow(ish).