The ongoing pandemic forced many AEC firms to fast-track technologies that enable hybrid workforces and new ways of doing business. Faced with the challenge of driving further digital change, AEC executives are now looking for ways to not only enable their team with the tools they need, but also drive business development in the post-pandemic world.
In this guide, we explore the different tools, technologies, and strategies that AEC firms use to empower their team, improve productivity and win more business now and in the future.
Enable Your Team with the Tools They Need
As the global economy shifts to accommodate changes in the way we do business post-pandemic, it’s critical that AEC firms adopt new technologies and methodologies to remain competitive in this changing market.
Implement Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Such an approach requires mountains of data, as well as the people and tools to analyze and make sense of that data. The good news is that most design and construction firms employ a CRM system to:
- manage interactions with customers,
- store customer data, and
- automate processes connected with a customer’s journey through the marketing and sales funnels.
The bad news is that most AEC firms do not effectively employ their CRM systems. ENR spoke to Susan Patrick, Director of Client Solutions with Stambaugh Ness, who attests to the importance of using a CRM, “When you have multiple people involved with business development, the data becomes even more critical so everyone is on the same page; the right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing.”
Thus, data collection is now a priority for AEC firms looking to stay ahead of their competitors.
Utilize an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Platform
Efficient AEC sales processes are largely driven by the speed of outreach and the depth of penetration of one or more market segments. These guideposts are also supported by the depth of information delivered at the right time in the right place.
Given the complexities of today’s AEC industry, any sales department without an efficient and timely sales ERP module can easily lose sight of opportunities and miss out on sales due to a lack of situational awareness in the market.
Sales success in AEC is also derived by key performance metrics that populate one or more targeted reports, providing a sales department with a clear understanding of the firm’s state of play on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis.
In the same way that an ERP platform offers deep customer record-keeping, the ability to measure and deliver these key performance metrics on a recurrent basis can easily make the difference between winning a sale and losing one.
Adopt a Digital Asset Management (DAM) Solution
The AEC industry is reliant on vital images, videos, and other digital assets. Without images, there is no way to showcase your firm’s success.
Images and other digital assets are also critical to business development because they enable your firm to tell a compelling story in your sales, marketing, and presentation materials.
Time lost to these inefficiencies adds up and makes sales efforts cumbersome, confusing, and difficult to manage. Unfortunately, the problem will only become worse as the digital libraries for architects, engineering firms and construction companies grow at a rapid pace.
Fortunately, digital asset management (DAM) solutions provide the framework you need to manage these multimedia assets. OpenAsset is one such DAM solution and the only DAM application designed specifically for architecture, engineering, and construction firms. Built for the AEC sector, OpenAsset is designed to integrate with industry-minded features that reduce inefficiencies and make it easier for your team to create proposals that win more business.
Create Better Proposals
High-quality project proposals are synonymous with the AEC industry and critical to ongoing business development. That’s why AEC firms commit so much of their time and resources to proposal writing, RFP responses, and creating/managing the digital assets used in each.
Leverage Images, Videos and other Digital Assets
The best proposals utilize vibrant visuals like charts, videos, graphics, and project photography to prove to the reader that the AEC firm has a complete understanding of the project and how best to complete it. Don’t forget to include your logo and multiple ways for the client to learn more about your firm, like contact information, website address, and social media links. If you’re required to provide a hard copy of the RFP response, consider printing it on higher-quality paper to make it look sharp and stand out from the others in the pile!
Build and Strengthen Your Brand
Today’s buyers want more than a relationship with an AEC firm. They seek firms that have specialized expertise in their fields and show (through branding) that they can handle complex projects and unexpected challenges without falling apart.
Educate Prospects to Gain Trust
The bedrock of great branding is education. Customers have questions that they need answered. Your firm should be the one to answer them. Content marketing, social media, and blogging are great ways to answer customer questions and show your expertise. This type of content helps audiences understand what it’s like to work with you and proves your expertise in your industry. When prospects see your firm as a knowledgeable resource, they’ll be more likely to entrust their business to your expertise.
Showcase Your Success
The quality of your work and the professionalism of your staff are critically important to your firm’s reputation and your ability to secure new business. The best way to showcase the expertise and professionalism is via a portfolio of successful projects as well as a high-quality functioning website laden with visuals and other digital media.
Beyond investing in your team, the best way to help your AEC firm win new business is to focus on marketing, branding, and proposal creation. Unfortunately, surveys show that 63% of AEC marketers struggle to manage the digital assets they need to do their jobs. To win more business, your firm needs a tool that will not only bring order to these disparate digital assets, but also enable your team to be more efficient, more productive, and better able to perform their role better than the competition.
Designed for firms in the built world, OpenAsset is the preferred project-based DAM solution for architecture, engineering, construction, and real estate firms across the world. Follow the link to learn more or schedule a demo.