Image credit: DSW & Kari Geha Photography

Construction Procurement: Adopt a Tactical Promotion Approach to Boost Win Ratio

EAC firms need to be willing to adapt the old-practices to convey the values and image to the current and future economy if they want to build a successful business in a large amount of competitions.
By Hannah Ngo | EnvZone Staff
on December 09, 2019 | 13 min read
Image credit: DSW & Kari Geha Photography

As it happens most frequently that after months of making a procurement, the sales team tend to not receive their expected return on proposal efforts. It caused a huge loss in investing in that proposal but receive nothing for firms. This common mistake is likely to happen in every construction business ranged from small to large organizations. The key tool to solve this issue is all related to promotion activities.

It’s Urgent for EAC Firms to Tailor Their Old Practices to Be Adaptable in the Digital Era

Once mentioning EAC firm’s departments and operations, leaders tend to first speak of the procurement team as known as a sales team, engineering team, consultant team. Unfortunately, the marketing team is likely to be the last appearing in a procurement process. It’s the common mistake that the leader failed to come to grips with the most important function of the marketing team contributing to procurement bidding success.

However, it’s not the way to feature your business prominently in the EAC industry. It is associated with the reason why the EAC procurement team did not receive the expected return on proposal efforts. In fact, a research’s statistics showed that 41% of construction small and medium businesses are just fruitful 10% of the time or less when offering for public sector contracts and a critical 55% of firms have seen their success rate decline in the course of recent years. Reading it through with the following section will help you to clarify your own thinking about this common problem that happened in most EAC firms.

Why EAC procurement team did not receive the expected return on proposal efforts

Bearing the cost of losing project bids, sales team received an undesired return on proposal efforts due to the areas following:

Fail to establish authority in the form of recognition

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Courtesy: WGI

Worth considering to get a general view of the consumer decision process to comprehend why the firm’s sales team has a low possibility to win a procurement.

Consumer decision process: Extended decision making involves an extensive internal and external information search followed by a complex evaluation of multiple alternatives and significant evaluation before purchase. (Hawkins & Mothersbaugh, 2015). This concept widely applies to every industry.

According to studies from CMO Council, 90% influence rate which means that nine out of ten B2B clients said online information has a moderate to large effect on buying decisions. In addition, 80% of business decision-makers are influenced by a series of nurturing content in a variety of media forms, such as industry newsletter, featured articles, white paper, and case studies. Ultimately, these activities would help you build up the recognition. This effort would also have a major impact on the buyer’s decision-making process.

Proposal team works separately

Companies, which concentrate on the sales or procurement team only, are likely to fail to establish themselves as an industry thought leader in the field which is in charge of the marketing team. Consequentially, failure of delivering the rich information and brand value to clients would reduce the possibility of winning a procurement for the sales team.

In construction-related business, clients are the project owner who issues the requests for proposal (RFPs). Usually, the proposal team from firms will solely respond to the RFPs with their service proposal to compete for the job. Therefore, it is critical that the marketing team will contribute their effort to a bigger picture of a whole procurement process.

Win More Businesses by Making Clients Aware of Your Presence

Prominent role of recognition in determining the final desired outcome

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Courtesy: BidNet

Tom Sant, the original author of Persuasive Business Proposal book stated that the basic principle of the simplest techniques was that if one of two objects were recognized, people tended to infer that the recognized object had a higher value. Further, if you recognized both objects, you needed to move on to a different kind of heuristic to make your decision. According to him, the degrees of recognition did not matter much, because recognition is different from recall or experience.

Hence, he concluded the recognitions’ roles toward their proposal efforts as following:

First, the mentioned principle suggested that how important pre-proposal activities were. If the proposal evaluator had never heard of you and your proposal lands on his or her desk, chances were that you wouldn’t get much than a cursory glance. In contrast, if you worked for a Fortune 500 company, you might get passed along to the next stage of evaluation based on recognition alone which could lead to an overestimation of the effectiveness of your proposals.

Second, the recognition heuristic indicated the importance of repeated exposure, in the form of advertising and branding activities at the corporate level and repeated contacts, phone calls, e-mails, and other forms of what the marketing guru Jim Cecil called “nurturing” the account. Their pre-proposal activities laid the foundation for choice by establishing recognition.

From Tom Sant’s point of view, corporate sponsorship of sports stadiums and golf tournaments were exercises to achieve the important value in working to establish instant recognition. Advertising, marketing, and branding activities would have significant value for sales efforts downstream.

Third, it certainly suggested that if you represented a small or new company and your prospects had never heard of you, you might have a difficult time to win deals. Contrarily, put yourself in the proposal evaluator’s shoes, when receiving a proposal from a company you had never heard of and with whom you had absolutely no relationship, you would probably hesitate to move forward. So chances of winning are minimal.

Finally, the whole activities of forming recognition supported to the final desired result which apparently was the win ratio of the sales proposal. The more recognizable your firm was, the higher the chance for you to win a proposal.

Winning a deal is the original goal of every business

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Image credit: EnvZone

The ultimate outcome that most EAC firms desire to achieve is to increase the number of businesses gained which ignite profitability for the firm to grow. The number of proposals won also is a tool to measure an EAC firm’s success and establish a successful image as a reputation for clients. They sustain growth and development and bring about greater earnings for shareholders. More than measuring a firm’s success, it’s also a key for budgeting and an obvious illustration of how well your business is running.

Expanding the firm’s image consistently to proposal evaluators is crucial

Construction Procurement-Adopt A Tactical Promotion Approach To Boost Win Ratio-Brand Image
Image credit: Weftec

Being recognizable in the eyes of the proposal evaluators is not persuasive enough to make them choose you. Even they know your existence in the market, but they’re likely to prefer the company with a good reputation and high credibility rather than those they just have heard for once or twice. Therefore, it challenges the firm’s efforts of launching its image to proposal evaluators’ eyes consistently.

It’s achieved by sales team contributions which means that if you are a sales professional, you can’t depend solely on the corporation to handle recognition-building activities. You should make the effort to communicate with your prospects, leads, and customers on a regular basis to maintain recognition. Send the prospect a clipping, drop them an e-mail with an interesting Web link, leave a voice mail, and make other efforts to communicate something of interest or value every six weeks or so. That way, when the customer is ready to buy, you won’t be relegated to the discard pile because the decision-maker doesn’t recognize you.   

However, it probably fails if there is any contribution from the marketing team. Besides the direct communication of the sales team, the marketing team also takes a significant responsibility to strengthen the firm’s reputation in the evaluators’ point of view. Let read further to see how these two teams support each other to emphasize the firm’s recognition.

Let Your Marketing Team Help Your Procurement Team Convey the Problem-Solver Message to the Decision-Makers

It is provided by Sirius Decisions that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now completed digitally. In the digital transformation age, online marketing contributes significantly to the success of your firm. However, it does not mean offline marketing is useless at all. Both are important but unequally.

Marketing team and procurement team must work collaboratively

As presented for almost this article, construction marketing plays a critical role in firms’ success. So does the procurement team. However, the lack of collaboration between sales and marketing is a problem as old as the hills. Holding on the leader position, the decisive key for you to gain more procurements is to balance your marketing and sales team operations, make sure they’re working collaboratively.

The poor alignment of these two departments seems to be caused by a lack of communication, lack of accurate data on target account and inconsistency in the process. Therefore, you’re challenged to handle these intangibly existing problems between the marketing and sales team so that firms’ sources are optimized to gain as many projects as possible.

Your marketing team should act like a media business to break through the noise

In today's market, every business is facing several challenges such as sharp competition, poor industry image, rapid technology innovation, customer involvement, and shortage of particular construction marketing agencies. The following section provides comprehensive strategies and ideas of construction marketing to fulfill the knowledge gap and smooth your marketing flow.

  • Be a part in board members of industry associations

There are several construction associations such as Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), The American Subcontractors Association (ASA), etc. Participate in at least one construction associations to make your business look progressively credible. Affiliation memberships empower you to take advantage of industry resources and establish worthwhile relationships. Construction marketing is all about relationships, so you have to construct the connections before you construct your project.

  • Host workshops, technical seminars in the form of webinars
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Courtesy: EPA

Webinars refer to the B2B marketing tool which serves the main goal of educating, demonstrating products and services, instruction and showcase a firm’s expertise. Holding workshops, technical seminars under the form of webinars means to proposal evaluators that you’re knowledgeable have expertise in the related sector. It’s one of the best ways to build trust for your audience. Furthermore, if the content delivering to audiences has high quality, it will lead to the next return to your firm. Hence, it consequentially builds up the firm’s professional image in their mind.

  • Host monthly technical-related topic meetup events where government agencies, fellow peers from other companies can join, share and learn.
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Courtesy: Meetup

Hosting meetup events gain valuable advantages form the construction community such as build networking, learn from your competitors and fellow peers, find your group that can cooperate, announces your existence to government agencies as well. All the benefits of meetup events also add to the process of enhancing the firm’s recognition in the industry and proposal evaluators.

Internet is the fundamental way of communication with your potential customers

  • Build a website that communicate
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Courtesy: Jacobs

A website that looks unprofessional can simply collapse all of your marketing team’s efforts and hurt your credibility. It’s an indispensable step to show your firm’s legit, clear description of your services and your best-achieved projects through your professional website.  

Here is the list of things every thought leader needs for engineering service-based website:

#1 Domain name: it must be short, easy to spell when spoken and written. The short domain stays longer in a visitor’s mind than the longer one and easily type in.

#2 Authentic image: Visitors will feel more connected if they can see a real photo rather than the clutter of the word.

#3 Brand: A brand elements should include name, logo, colors, font, clean look and feel. First, the brand name prominent and clear on every website’s page. Second, the brand logo should be unique and consistent across your site. Third, the combination of colors should look professional and comfort visitors’ eyes. Fourth, the font should be used as few as possible to avoid a mess of words on your website. Finally, all those elements create a pleasant look but not lack professionalism for your web page.

#4 Contact information: The contact info element should be included consistently on every page of the website. Since at the end of the day, your goal is to reach and direct with your customers, it’s no reason that you don’t leave your contact for them.

#5 Testimonials: It is a powerful tool to build your firm credibility by providing testimonials for your customers.

Read further for examples of Best 6 ENR Website Designs Established as Thought Leaders

  • Everyone in your company must involve in media activities

Starting a blog on your company website is a daunting task, but it is worth the return for many years to come. However, it takes a village to keep up with the blog and cost a lot of time. Don’t just use the blog as a space for your company press release, new onboarding employee announcements. Utilize it to communicate with your target audience, which is potential customers, partners, and decision-makers from agencies.

Your company must establish an incentive program to encourage everyone involved in this activity as a whole marketing program. The participants in blog writing can be anyone from engineers, designers, project managers to business development roles. Each role and person in your company has unique knowledge to share, and the audience from your industry can benefit from it.

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Courtesy: GreenBiz

This whole activity will make a great impact on your company's performance. The more well-known you become across the blogosphere and online community, the more you can build your brand, reputation, and recognition. This effort can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field who has important opinions, ideas to share, which other people can learn from. Ultimately, your recognition can influence your buyer’s decision-making process.

  • Establish a presence on common social media platforms

A marketing channel is a channel you use for advertising your business or interacting with your clients. Customers can move from one to another channel just by link. Your post might be seen by chance on Twitter, it’s a chance for you to attract them to reach your website to learn more about you. In other ways, they might read some of your reviews on another website, and call your office using their mobile phone. As such, you should present on multiple channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin to widespread your firm name.

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Courtesy: AECOM
  • Showcase accomplished projects in video format

Among online marketing techniques, video content is the one that can really go further way since people tend to watch a video rather than read a blog post. You can utilize this power by making a video of your most recent project. Your attractive video can be made by featuring your teams at the workplace or creating positive video endorsements from your customers. Remember to transfer these videos to YouTube and Facebook, the world's greatest video viewing platforms, to create business leads and to construct your brand image.

  • Establish a profile in authoritative industry directories

One of the best approaches to improve a small construct firm’s search ranking is to be named in the industry council directory such as ISI, USGBC. Being on the powerful list of industry council takes advantage of indirectly promoting your firm name to the owners or users of constructed facilities and the public. It means your firm is qualified enough and deserved to serve your prospective clients which also means the win ratio is pushed to increase by getting familiar to your clients. More than being in the customer’s list of choices, it also supports to attract talented workforces in the future by the firm’s reputation.

  • Share customer testimonials

The construction sector is a high-involvement business which bases strongly on the customer’s level of trust and reviews are viewed as the best approach to increase reliability. Since positive word-of-mouth is important so it’s a crucial driver of the construction business. Research shows 84% of people believe in online reviews as much as their friends. In addition, reviews from customers contribute to your company star rating in Google search results which increase attractiveness for your firm.

However, you should pay attention to this point. Platforms such as Yelp have exacting guidelines about how you can request and post reviews, so ensure you read the fine print before utilizing these famous review platforms. Also, ensure that you can react to any negative reviews promptly and resolves the client's question. Because it is the most ideal approach to show your organization responsiveness and empathy to your customer. Plus, it can help to decide the customer level of satisfaction.

Don’t forget the traditional marketing approaches

  •  Involve in local community events

Some studies showed that the construction business has an image issue with significant expense, low quality, disordered working practices, poor health and security record, lack of technique and professionalism, unsafe, precarious and connected with difficult working conditions.

The negative picture influences your business similarly no matter it's your fault or not. Let’s establish your community objectives, build strong bonds with charitable and community service organizations, and start giving back to society, you are better off improving the brand image. Remember to advance the great you're doing!

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Image credit: press associate
  • Exhibit at industry conferences

Exhibitions and events give a chance to encounter directly with your prospects. You can find out their preferences and inclinations, just as the hottest market trends in materials and engineering. Spread out brochures, play project recordings, utilize intelligent computerized innovation, and attempt to capture as many businesses leads as possible.

Construction Procurement-Adopt A Tactical Promotion Approach To Boost Win Ratio-Weftec
Image credit: Weftec
  • Sponsor a local sports team or event

Undoubtedly, there must be a local school, association, or community group looking for sponsors in your area. Offer to sponsor outfit to a group for conspicuous logo placement and watch your organization's name score a home run. If you have enough workforce to set up your very own group, you can score enormous with a fun team-building activity while welcoming open doors for a good-spirited challenge with your channel clients. Consider making it a yearly tradition so you can turn into proud support throughout the years. Sponsor an event and display your brand at the venue through billboards, posters, video projection, or another innovative branding technique.

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Courtesy: Leidos
  • Give back to the community

It's recommended applying your construction skill to a local charity and getting your best building crew working on whatever project is going on near you. Obviously, you need to advance it by connecting with your local newspaper for promoting. Reveal to them what is happening then they can send a columnist who can get a statement on how your construction organization is giving back to their community.

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Courtesy: Fluor

Afterward, stories like this can get grabbed and syndicated to many ABC, NBC, and CBS local associate markets. That press and good behaviors will help bring traffic and engagements back to your website. As a result, your site will have a higher ranking for building-related terms in your area, so you have high opportunities to get your procurement.

Success Stories Prove That This Is the Results-Driven Approach to Go

How Blue-White has climbed to the top notch in its industry

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Courtesy: Blue-white industry

The blue-white successful story indicates that this approach is efficiently used regardless of tangible or intangible products. Although it’s tangible products, the sales team cannot work on their own to be a success. It needs the marketing team support to launch the company name as a well-known company in order to build brand awareness for customers.

Blue-white have enhanced the recognitions with marketing efforts in both the online and offline sector. They possess a professional website which provides an eye-catching look, user-friendly design, clear products information, industries insights, blogs and articles, contact information through various social media platforms, literature sector for educating and so forth. In addition, some offline events are held to serve the marketing purpose also.

The combination of online and offline marketing reinforces the sales team in terms of raising customer awareness and recognition about the firm which is the foundation for the sales team to make a profit. Generally, today’s success in this well-known company is driven by the good operation of marketing and sale team efforts.

The outstanding performance of Kimley Horn

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Courtesy: Kimley Horn

Win ratio is a measuring tool for business results by calculating the number of proposals submitted and deals won each year. This sort of metric obviously shows where the firm is standing on the market. It’s like glancing at the racing match, the player with higher percentage is likely to be in the top-notch.

For example, Kimley Horn was ranked at position 21 in its “Top 500 Design Firms” list in 2017 by Engineering New-Record. Thus, this valuable seat in the list is likely to be supported by its higher proposals win ratio compared to those being left behind.

EAC firms build brand awareness by being a corporate member of WEFTEC

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Courtesy: Weftec

WEFTEC is a non-profit organization that hosts the biggest annual conference in the United States with over 27,000 attendants in the Wastewater engineering industry. By attending WEFTEC, it is the key to update and adopt the latest information to drive solutions. Also, companies can promote their brand through this organization by sponsoring events, exhibitions, events host by WEFTEC.

In instances, Jacobs Engineering Group, one of the top companies in its industry, builds up a strong brand image by sponsoring events, joining in the technical talks and exhibitions. WEFTEC provides advertising opportunities for more than 20,000 registrants and 1,000 exhibitors. Therefore, it’s a great place for firms to raise up their brand recognition.

The Bottom Lines:

To wrap the whole thing up, EAC firms need to be willing to adapt the old practices to convey the values and image to the current and future economy if they want to build a successful business in a large amount of competition. Tailoring its old practices by understanding the use of well-cooperation between the construction marketing team and procurement team. Recognizing this problem is not enough, firms also need to get to change right now for not staying behind their competitors. If there is any obstacle preventing you from operating your online marketing, don’t hesitate to let me look over it for improvement recommendations.

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