Engineering "Sales Effectiveness"


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The economic downturn has introduced some new dynamics into the buying process for the Engineering industry, and created a “shift” in the way that successful sales campaigns are conducted.

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Engineering "Sales Effectiveness"

  1. 1. Engineering“Sales Effectiveness” The Agile Enterprise
  2. 2. The Agile Enterpriseexecutive summary a company. This may prove to be challengingHistorically, engineering excellence and the to many civil and environmental engineering Based on current economic recovery companies, as sales effectiveness has notpositive reputation that results from it has typically been the top priority of these firms.been the key to success for companies in the predictions, it willCivil and Environmental Engineering industry.Once a firm has earned a reputation for market evolution likely be 18-24 monthsproviding outstanding engineered solutions The industry has largely been known for what before engineering firmsfor complex and very high profile civil and is best described as “friendly” competition, begin to feel “normal.”environmentally-oriented projects, thosefirms will typically have the opportunity to primarily as a result of there being enough Companies need to work for all of the best firms. While therepursue the best funded and most challenging are certainly a number of very good counter the currentprojects. The buyers associated with these salespeople within these organizations, they economic climate bycritical, high profile projects want to workwith the firms that have a reputation for are often individuals who act independently focusing on increasing and happen to be “naturals” at businessexcellence, and know that by doing so, the development. There are certainly exceptions “sales effectiveness.”potential risk associated with these projects that should be noted where companies havewill be significantly reduced. provided good training that has developed successful sales behavior. However, generallyThe strong economic conditions that speaking, the good salespeople within theexisted until 2008/2009 provided for an industry can be classified as “unconsciouslyabundance of work for the best firms. competent.” To be clear, there is nothingGrowth in revenue was limited primarily derogatory meant by this term, as it simplyby a company’s ability to hire and retain refers to the fact that their effectiveness isexperienced engineers. Recently, however, derived primarily from natural attributesthe sharp downturn in the economy has rather than learned behavior.introduced some new dynamics into thebuying process and created a “shift” in The primary responsibility of thesethe way that successful sales campaigns salespeople has been to establish andare conducted. Based on the most current maintain relationships with clients whoeconomic recovery predictions, it will likely are the buyers of engineering 18 to 24 months before engineering Historically, these buyers have wantedfirms begin to feel that business is returning to ensure that only the most qualifiedto “normal.” Until that time arrives, engineering firms are able to participatemanagement’s demand for continued in their high profile projects. At the samerevenue growth will need to counter the time, they want to satisfy the taxpayerscurrent economic climate by focusing on and their other constituents thatincreasing the “sales effectiveness” within appropriate financial governance is join the agile conversation contact bluewolf 1-866-455-WOLF | +44 (0) 118 937 1059 2
  3. 3. being applied. To accomplish this, As you would expect, this increased government stimulusbuyers have frequently utilized a two-step competition is driving prices and margins is not the answerbidding process. down across the entire industry. The two- It is growing increasingly unlikely step bidding process continues to be utilized, that the government fundedThe first step requires a list of the but the balance between qualifications and “Stimulus Plans” will providequalifications to be submitted by each firm cost has shifted somewhat to a heavier much benefit to the engineeringin what is typically referred to as a “quals- industry, at least in the near term. weighting on cost and taking advantage of While the “stimulus” will providebased” response. Bidders selected by the the “bargains” that are available. for funding for a number of Civilbuyer respond to an initial request for the and Environmental-orientedqualifications of the key people who will Various news agencies have quoted buyers of projects, the projects are highlywork on a particular project, references from significant engineering projects saying that publicized and the result is thatsimilar projects completed previously and they have signed contracts for as much as more bidders pursue each project. 25% less than what was originally budgeted To further exacerbate the situation,any unique engineering recommendations for their projects. Thus, the increase in the stimulus money is not gettingthat provide for a better solution and/or a pushed into the economy verybetter return on investment. competition is providing a “silver-lining” for quickly. As of the end of July 2009, buyers in this otherwise difficult economic less than $75 billion (10%) ofThe second step occurs after the buyer has time, and savvy buyers, who are aware of the over $700 billion in stimulusselected the finalists from the “quals-based” this, are focusing on getting their projects funding has been paid out as partstep. Now that the buyer is comfortable that under contract. of the American Recovery andall the remaining engineering companies Reinvestment Act.bidding on the project can deliver a successful taking charge — uncoveringresult, the Request for Proposal is sent to opportunities for improvementthese select companies to have a bid preparedand submitted. Bids are submitted and There are really two primary businessreviewed, and the lowest cost or perceived philosophies for engineering firms in the“best value” is selected for the project. middle of the current economic situation to select from – “ride it out” or “find a wayThe recent economic downturn has reduced out.” The firms who have decided to “ridethe amount of available work, resulting in it out” are the ones who are going beyondan increase in the number of bidders for simply looking for ways to control costseach project. This, of course, has increased and are aggressively reducing costs bythe intensity of the competition pursuing eliminating headcount. There is no arguingthe available projects and has placed an with the fact that salaries are the largestincreased emphasis on the importance of expense in the typical engineering firm, andsales expertise. Salespeople are having their are thus the correct place to look if costsrelationships with their clients severely tested must be reduced significantly. However,by competition, and buyers fully understand companies who choose to eliminate criticalthat we are now in a “buyer’s market.” headcount will likely lose market share join the agile conversation contact bluewolf 1-866-455-WOLF | +44 (0) 118 937 1059 3
  4. 4. and have a more difficult time returning to the ability to consistently differentiate froma growth mode when the economy does the competition, achieve and exceed theeventually begin to recover. year-over-year sales goals of the company, and develop sustainable, trusted-advisorThe purpose of this white paper is to status relationships with a growing group ofprovide a defined path for those companies highly satisfied clients. As daunting as thewho prefer to “find a way out.” If finding a challenge may seem, an initiative to improveway to move forward and continue growing sales effectiveness can be achieved in theis the choice, then the best place to focus following in the area of sales effectiveness. Itshould be said that the very best sales The initiative starts with the use of aorganizations will have already “stepped structured assessment of each individualup” and shouldered the responsibility element that impacts sales effectiveness.for leading their companies to continued This key step is often forgotten in the rushgrowth through this recessionary period to quickly make an improvement in onein the economy. However, many sales area or another. An effective assessmentorganizations will need to improve their provides organizations with a review ofeffectiveness to have a good chance of each individual element and will clearlymaintaining and growing sales volume in identify which areas are performing wellthis increasingly competitive environment. and which areas contain opportunities for improvement. The assessment can beTo be clear, sales effectiveness should not performed internally, but there are benefitsbe confused with a requirement to add to partnering with a third-party specialistheadcount with the associated increase in who has knowledge of best practices, hascost, but rather the objective is to obtain the perspective that comes from havinga better return on existing sales assets. been engaged by a number of different salesThat’s easier said than done as a sales organizations, and is not encumbered byorganization is one of the most complex internal political issues.departments within a company. Additionally,the ongoing debate of sales as an “art” or a The assessment focuses on lead and“science” seems only to further cloud many business development (how and how much),discussions regarding sales. the sales process (including interactions with all departments as well as the clientsPractically speaking, the diverse buying process), salesperson readinesscomponents of a sales organization need (skills success profile, training availabilityto be managed very effectively in a and effectiveness, goals and compensationcoordinated manner to achieve excellence. structure and sales management support),Sales excellence is typically measured by and the availability and effective use of join the agile conversation contact bluewolf 1-866-455-WOLF | +44 (0) 118 937 1059 4
  5. 5. technology (CRM and Sales 2.0 functionality) implementation of hiring and development the bluewolf salesto reduce sales administrative time and assessment tools. The key thing to remember effectiveness blueprintincrease contact with clients. By assessing is that this methodology provides for all Want to get started? Bluewolf caneach element within the sales organization initiatives to coordinate with each other get you on the path to successat the same time, projects to enhance sales and relate back to the findings of the sales with our Sales Effectivenesseffectiveness can be completed with the effectiveness assessment. Blueprint. Bluewolf will analyze all aspects of your salesknowledge that work performed will be organization and come up withconsistent with an overall plan. benefits of a sales detailed recommendations and strategies for improvement.It is important to note that a successful effectiveness initiative All work is performed based on aassessment requires input and For companies that are committed to clear understanding of return oninterviews with senior management, maximizing their sales effectiveness, investment, so you cansales management, and salespeople evaluate the costs involved with significant gains can be achieved.directly responsible for developing and any improvements and Depending, of course, on the current measure against the benefits thosemanaging the client relationships. As such, condition of the sales organization, improvements provide.significant time must be allocated for the it is not unreasonable to expect: Clients buy when salespeople areinterviews. The results of an assessment armed with the right solutions andprovide a clear understanding of where Increased revenue: a 10 to 30% ready to sell. Take action now,the opportunities exist for both short term increase in sales per salesperson before your competition does.and long term gains in sales effectiveness. Improved productivity: optimized salesThe opportunities for improvement can process, automated workflows, and athen be analyzed on an individual basis reduction in start-up time to get a newto understand the cost/benefit ratio of salesperson “up to speed”each. Through this process, the priority for Increased profitability: reduced salesimplementation will be established. process cycle time and associated costs, more effective negotiations, andThe second step of a sales effectiveness increased client satisfactioninitiative almost always involves improvements Improved communications:to the sales process. Identifying and seizing increased engagement betweenopportunities to reduce the sales cycle time, marketing and salesmaximizing available client-facing time, Improved employee satisfaction:and improving the win/loss ratio can have increased retention/reduction in turnovera very quick and positive impact on sales rate in the sales organizationeffectiveness. From this point, the next steps The key is the ability to achieve morein increasing sales effectiveness will vary based with current sales assets. There is noupon the results of the assessment and may more important time than now, asinclude updates to the CRM system, new and/ companies need and want to grow. Yet,or enhanced sales training, modifications there is limited, if any, ability to increaseto sales compensation plans and/or the the budget for sales expense. join the agile conversation contact bluewolf 1-866-455-WOLF | +44 (0) 118 937 1059 5
  6. 6. conclusion times. It should be noted that improving Call Today! 1-866-455-WOLF sales effectiveness is not a replacement or +44 (0) 118 937 1059Significant opportunities to maximize for, or done at the expense of, operationssales effectiveness exist within civil about us > or engineering excellence. Rather, those Bluewolf is your guide on the journey toand environmental engineering firms. companies that commit to building enterprise agility. We partner with clients toMaximizing sales effectiveness will serve as organizations of engineering, operations, sync business and IT to create a new level ofa sustainable, competitive differentiator in and sales excellence will not only recover business responsiveness. From cloud enabled customer life cycle innovation, to IT staffing,both good and bad economic times. In the more quickly from current economic to agile managed services, Bluewolf knowsshort term, a focus on sales effectiveness challenges, but in the years ahead, will have how to get your business to the next level ofwill allow for companies that act quickly to innovation. Our clients include Time Warner protected their valuable workforce and have Cable, GlaxoSmithKline, ADP, Dow Jones &“find a way out” of these difficult economic taken a larger share of the market. Company, United Way, Chevron and more. join the agile conversation contact bluewolf 1-866-455-WOLF | +44 (0) 118 937 1059 6