Managing your pipeline of work
Your business survives or thrives on the type of work you secure. Understanding how your portfolio of work will perform in the future is fundamental to the future success of your business.
The first step is to take stock of what is happening in the wider world. Watching the news and listing to people speak will immediately surface what people are concerned about, known as environmental scanning and it will help you anticipate changes in the market. Sorting what you surface into issues which are driven by Politics, Economics, Social activity, and Technological changes will help to surface even more considerations of how the future will look. At a time of significant change, this exercise seems easy to do, but if it is done on an annual basis, surprisingly it will reveal that there is always change occurring. From the main drivers you will be able to decide which business sectors or activities are likely to be in decline or a growth phase in the future.
Identifying the trends is a useful starting point as you can then take stock of your existing client base and decide which are likely to have more, or less, work going forward. Some will benefit from the current situation and some will not. The obvious choice is to back those who will benefit, and steer clear of those who will suffer.
A review of your existing portfolio should also be able to identify the most profitable type of work you have. That might show some sectors are more profitable, some geographic areas or type of client. With a clear idea of who you would like to target, the next step should be to find new clients or gain some more work from existing clients.
There are several techniques then to get in front of the decision makers and be given the opportunity to provide a price. For companies in the construction sector, a good place to start is by searching the lead databases provided by the likes of Builders Conference, Glenigan, Barbour-Abi or Planning Pipe, to ascertain who the key players are in the target segment.
On average it takes 6 or 7 touch points to make contact, so utilise several channels and be persistent. With so many touch points and keeping track of who is speaking to who, utilising a Customer Relationship Management, CRM, piece of software will help. There are comparison websites to identify which will be most suitable for you. Keeping them up to date is essential otherwise there is no point in having one. A fortnightly review of actions is generally about the right time and keeps things moving along. The actions should aim to develop a relationship with those issuing tenders, so you are on future lists for work which suits your businesses expertise most closely.
Having a clear strategy of which markets to pursue will yield quality opportunities at a lower cost than a scatter gun approach. Having secure the opportunity to bid, you then need to decide if you can do a project justice when it needs to be delivered as a quality delivery will often lead to repeat work.
If you would like some help with deciding your strategy for which sectors to pursue more strongly and how to find the people issuing the tenders, then please get in touch.
Other blogs in pre-contract series are
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