Pursue and Land the Right Projects

Pursue and land the right projects

In today’s blog, I wrap up the last of TrebleHook’s three-pronged approach to solving project pursuit challenges for AEC firms. Be sure to visit Centralize and Leverage Project Data and Enhancing Customer Relationships if you have not already read them.

Now, we are addressing our tagline and, the most important outcome that any solution can deliver to customers: “Pursue and Land the Right Projects.”

What Does “Right Work” Mean?

We all want to win more work, but we should ask ourselves how to win the right work. What does the “right work” mean? The right work is simple; the projects with the highest likelihood of meeting your business objectives.

More simply put, it is the projects that you are most profitable, most differentiated, add the most value, and where you bring the most expertise. Not every project is created equal, and the sooner we all realize that the faster our businesses will grow.

A construction crane in a developing city over a construction site - AEC CRM

What Is the Ideal Customer Profile?

In our world, we talk a lot about the “Ideal Customer Profile” or the “right customer.” At TrebleHook, we know that we are best when we work with mid to large Architecture, Engineering, and Construction firms with multiple locations, multiple divisions, some level of dedicated business development and marketing, and want to grow and change.

It is not to say that customers who don’t fit that profile will not benefit from our solution. It is to say that customers that do match that profile will see immensely more value. These customers also gain a position that will enable them to become more successful.

This bold statement means that we need to be prepared to walk by non-Ideal Customer Profiles to get to the “Right Ones.” Similarly, AEC firms need to understand and be ready to walk away from specific projects to get to the “Right Ones.”

Why Pursuing and Landing the Right Projects Is Critical

The Cost of Pursuit

Project pursuits cost time and money. Think about all the resources you need to pull from executives, marketers, business developers, project managers, estimators, and finance. Does your firm attach a dollar amount to your average cost of pursuit?

Firms that report costs know that project pursuit can require thousands, tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because of this, it is crucial to focus on worthwhile projects with the highest win rates and margins.

Utilizing a system (like TrebleHook) to understand the “Ideal Project Profile” or “Right Project” is priceless. It enables your entire team to rally behind those projects and concentrate their time towards growing your business. These systems help you lower your pursuit cost by helping you identify the right projects, allowing you to laser-focus on landing those projects. Additionally, by cutting down on expensive pursuit costs on projects, you have a better chance of winning the best projects for your firm.

Your Time and Effort

When firms waste time on non-ideal projects, they cut into their availability for worthwhile, more profitable projects. Spending time on less-than-ideal projects is, obviously, not intentional. When firms do this, it’s usually due to their inability to identify projects that fit their ideal project profile.

We use a simple, powerful, integrated TrebleHook Score metric tool for AEC project management that identifies beneficial projects for you. The TrebleHook Score uses your past project data to provide you with a predictive score on future project pursuits through a simple metric A, B, or C.

“A” projects are the projects that you have the best chance of winning and are the most profitable projects for you. “B” projects are undertakings that project managers need to flesh out more to determine if they are fruitful. “C” projects are projects identified as time-wasters or the projects you’d likely want to avoid.

The beauty of the scoring system is its accuracy based on your project and customer data, allowing leadership to make data-driven decisions based on historical project and customer information.

A construction worker with project management software on a tablet device - AEC CRM

The Detriment of Pursuing the Wrong Projects

Almost every firm I speak with has its “bad” projects. Some of the outcomes from landing the wrong projects:

  • Loss in revenue
  • Impact on your brand/reputation
  • The opportunity cost of not working on better projects
  • Delays/negative impact on future projects
  • Negative impact on employee morale

The Benefits of Landing the Right Projects

  • More profit
  • Improves client and partner relationships
  • Potential awards and recognition
  • On-time and at or below budget
  • Resources available for future projects
  • Employee satisfaction

So what can firms do to ensure they are pursuing the right projects?

Formalize Go/No-Go Decisions

When I ask firms if they have a go/no-go process in place, they usually answer “yes.” Some firms just bid on everything, but those firms are the exception. Most firms try to be somewhat selective with the clients and types of projects they pursue.

These firms consider whether it is a new or existing client, the size of the job, the location of the job, and if they have teams available that can perform the work. Often, that is all that goes into the decision-making process. Detrimentally, this approach can be costly by driving up your cost of pursuit and making it more likely that you take on the wrong projects.

Many firms I speak with are making decisions via weekly or monthly meetings. Maybe someone pulls out a spreadsheet and asks everyone about the potential projects they are monitoring, actively pursuing, or have in progress, and there is an informal roundtable discussion. There are a couple of problems with this:

First, there is a delay in decision-making as you have to wait for these meetings to happen, and second, there is no data behind these discussions. Leadership takes a best-guess approach, based on opinions more than facts.

If you have a formalized go/no-go process, you have a great start at identifying the right projects. You are using some data to drive decisions rather than instinct or emotion. But where does that data come from, how much are you collecting, and how accurate is it?

Everyone has heard “garbage in, garbage out” a thousand times. Many systems that capture and report project data have holes, and the data struggles.

Construction worker using Autodesk software on a tablet.

Why AEC Firms Need CRM to Help Land the Right Projects

Without a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or Project Pursuit system in place, there is no good way to capture the data related to contacts, clients, and activities around pursuits, let alone analyze it. Without CRM tools, the data may end up in spreadsheets, a file-sharing system like SharePoint, a collaboration tool like Teams, or stored in email. Because of this, there is no way to leverage the data’s value fully.

It is not always clear how current or accurate this data is, and any reporting is manual and limited in scope. To know what projects are in your sweet spot, you have to gather as much data as possible and put it all in one central system where you can easily access, report, and analyze it.

Time savings and streamlining data are the most significant reasons AEC firms invest in CRM. Firms with no CRM system waste their time and effort on project pursuit without formalizing processes. Business Developers and Project Managers send phone calls and emails firmwide asking for past project details, contact information, and pursuit information over and over again. It’s a wash, rinse, and repeat process, churning through valuable time in a never-ending cycle of inefficient contact management.

A firm without a CRM is at a competitive disadvantage in today’s market. They win less often and chase inadequate projects, which is a lose-lose proposition.

An active construction site along a waterfront in a city.

Why TrebleHook Is the Right Choice for AEC

Investing in CRM software does not guarantee that the grass will be greener. If you invest in the wrong system, you will still encounter problems. Most companies with CRMs on the market do not design their CRM solution for AEC Project-based sales. Because of this, you essentially have a digital Rolodex that is probably good for contact and task management, maybe some marketing automation, but not much else.

Projects, Not Products

If your CRM is not project-centric, you either live with its limitations or spend time and money customizing it for how you do business. Contrarily, we have designed TrebleHook for the way you sell projects out of the box. And best of all, we have built our solution using the Salesforce platform, giving you access to the #1 CRM worldwide but fully customized for your AEC firm.

30-Day Implementation

We work with you during the implementation of TrebleHook. We optimize your dashboard setup, unique naming conventions in the software, and automate simple workflows to save you time. The best part of the setup process for TrebleHook is that you can be up and running on the system in 30 days or less with our “Zero to Go-Live in 30 Days or Less” policy.

Easy-To-Use and Intuitive

The other massive issue with many CRM systems is that they are often so complex that they struggle with adoption. Even if you have a CRM built for project sales, “clunky” and “not intuitive” are terms I often hear when users describe them.

TrebleHook’s mission is to keep it simple and make it easy for the user. Data gets in the system, and users can leverage the data for future project success. Again, the Salesforce backbone that TrebleHook utilizes gives users the world’s leading interface, keeping your teams focused on the job at hand.

It Captures Project Data Efficiently

TrebleHook captures data efficiently, and users can access the data from their phone, email, laptop, or workstation, which is optimal for AEC professionals on the go. As a result, you get more accurate and complete data in TrebleHook for executives to analyze and execute.

Now that your data is in one location, with critical reports at your fingertips, your ideal projects served up to you in flashing neon lights (well, almost), you are ready to pursue and land the right projects for your firm. With the “Right Projects,” you are now growing your business at a more sustainable rate, driving higher profits, better differentiation, and increased employee retention. Sounds good, right? Let us help.

Are you looking to begin your project pursuit journey? Get in touch with our team today.