Winning Bids Post-Pandemic – A Digital Blueprint for Business Development
Business Developers in construction and other heavy industries have historically, and quite successfully, relied largely upon relationship-marketing to consistently win new projects and foster new customer referrals. It’s preferable in this industry, a very litigious and risky sector, to do business with people who are trustworthy, capable, reliable, and passionate about the build industry. Knowing who meets these standards and who’s just in it for a quick buck takes an investment of time and testing, and that means building and establishing professional relationships with whom we do business. This relationship-building process hasn’t lent itself well to digital marketing… then, along came Covid-19.
In just 3 months, everything about the way we conduct business and business development has changed. It’s just gotten a lot harder for us to tell our story to new prospects, get on bid lists, and stay top-of-mind with the relationships we’ve so carefully fostered. Some construction companies have adapted better than others, but I’ve been hearing from big regional clients whose salespeople are struggling to do their jobs effectively while confined to a desk. After all, you can’t meet new people to build business relationships based upon trust and understanding without socializing, mingling at industry association events, or dropping in for a lunch-and-learn… or can you?
For years, we have been guiding and advising our clients on how to effectively utilize digital marketing tools, digital communications, and marketing automation to augment the efforts of their outside business developers. Even though our clients’ focus remained on delivering printed materials and conducting face-to-face meetings, we were able to position some to be better prepared for the unknown through better digital sales tools and a gradual shift to online communications. Again, these tools are designed to augment face-to-face biz-dev efforts by providing a virtual sales deck across a variety of media, not replace it.
Now that we are processing what post-pandemic business development looks like, companies that embraced our “B.D. supported by C.M.” model are better prepared to tackle the new challenges we face. Simply put, if you want to get your company’s capabilities in front of an important prospect, you better have the digital means to do it: Virtual SOQ (Statement of Qualifications) loaded with good quality audio and video that’s as impressive as your reputation; a bad-assed modern website with all the unique brand differentiation and specialization built-in; mobile and office-based virtual-meeting capabilities your whole team can tie into; full-blown marketing automation for prospect and sales-pipeline management; and an experienced construction marketing team to manage it while your business developers pursue the people and the new projects. In an increasingly uncertain business environment, natural disasters and Covid-19 has taught businesses to always be prepared to adapt.