Rethinking the seller-doer (rainmaker) business model

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seedling istock sales
AEC Business Development
The SMPS Foundation’s business development book

There’s increasing research (including this SMPS Foundation sponsored publication) advocating the “seller-doer” model as the best way to market professional architectural and engineering services, and to a lesser extent, construction opportunities. The argument that the person bringing in the new business has to have the technical competence and professional reputation (and contacts) makes quite a bit of sense, but it isn’t easy to find these magical individuals and only a relatively small number of people aspire to combine the selling/BD skills with highest-level professional competence.

I can see an argument, however, for a selling “guide” within AEC organizations. This individual’s main task would be to work with the technical/professional experts in coaching them in the process of determining leads, business opportunities, and presentations.  Tasks would include co-ordinating speaking presentations for the professional at relevant conferences, holding project pipeline briefings, setting up introductions and the like.

Trouble is, most AEC firms either would have trouble budgeting for this “overhead’ marketing/coaching position, and while there can be third-party consultants available to do some of this work, the continuing and in-depth knowledge of the relevant practice(s) would require quite a bit of energy, and I suppose scare-you-off retainer fees.

Yet I can see many ways AEC firms waste money on trivialities. Maybe the marketing and business development coach/consultant has a place in the corporate hierarchy. What do you think?

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