3 tips for AE Firm Business Development and "Dream" Fulfillment from SMPS

August 4, 2013 | LeAnn Nowak

I planned to write while I was at the Society for Marketing Professional Services conference and since I’ve attended more than a dozen years consecutively…I should have known better than to think I would find a few free minutes. And, I will also admit that I didn’t get out my running shoes, not once.

True to form, the conference was packed full of inspiring keynotes, informative educational sessions and phenomenal networking. This years’ theme, Dream Big (what else would it be in the land of all things Disney?!), resonated throughout the three days of learning.

I know that each of you has dreams for your Architectural or Engineering firms – dreams in terms of your profitability, your number of staff, the number of projects you want to take on each year – dreams for your success. In order to achieve these goals you need to have everyone in your firm wearing a sales hat, you need to do this to outdo and outlast the competition. So, I spent a lot of my time attending sessions regarding Business Development – everything from how to develop your own personal brand to helping your technical staff to create business to effective leadership in this role in our organizations.

The three top tips I took away in this capacity are:
  1. Teach your team.  Don’t assume that everyone knows your elevator speech, how to cultivate an opportunity or even how to effectively talk the talk at networking events.
  2. Incentivize your team.  You need to provide incentives if you want your technical staff to take on a business development mentality.  Whether that be providing a bonus structure or holding contest or whether it means providing concrete goals that must be met and are included in performance reviews – your team needs to know you are serious.
  3. Monitor your team.  It is imperative that your marketing/business development principal management communicates regularly with others on the topic of sales goals.  Set semi-monthly meetings, keep data in your client relationship management systems, produce reports, etc.

I’ve been inspired to Dream Big when it comes to marketing for my firm and to help our Architectural and Engineering clients market their firms as well. That’s why I am thrilled that our product, Praesto AE, includes components for marketers and business developers to track activities, prepare/track proposals and analyze efforts in these areas.

And now, the break is over and it’s time to get back to the office and to train to fulfill my dream of riding those 100 miles on the road bike. It’s time for me to get back to making those dreams happen to and keep thinking of the next big ones as well!