AECCafe Guest Blog
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing specialist for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors, and can be found at www.deltek.com.
Three Questions Your A&E Firm Should Ask To Boost Client Relationships
February 29th, 2016 by Megan Miller
Next to your own staff, your clients are the most important assets to your business. Often, A&E firms find themselves dependent on a small number of clients for the bulk of their business.
In fact, the average A&E firm has 37% of its revenue tied up in just three clients. Losing a top client can be a huge blow to any firm, as we all know. Yet, according to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Report, finding enough time to nurture client relationships is a top business development challenge.
So, how can you be sure your client management hits the mark – and offers you opportunity to expand your client base?
First, identify your top five clients and the employee(s) responsible for managing each within your organization. Then it’s time to ask some tough questions.
1) How deep do your relationships go within the client organization? How current are they?
If you only have one contact at a client, you have a problem. Avoid a single point of failure by expanding your relationships within client organizations. Identify how often you need to meet with the client in a given year and set up reminders internally so you can touch base when it matters most.
2) What challenges are they facing this year and how can your firm help?
During meetings with your key clients, talk to them about their biggest challenges for the year. Are they facing budgeting challenges or do they need funding assistance? Do they have more projects than they can accomplish or do they need your expertise to determine in which direction to go for a particular situation?
3) What are your opportunities for improving interaction this year?
Beyond regular touch-base meetings, where can you interact with key clients this year? Where do they go for professional development? There are likely conferences, tradeshows, seminars, professional organization meetings, fundraisers, etc., where you can interact with your key clients in a different setting and engage members from your team in the conversation.
Use the information gathered from these questions to create a plan for your top five clients and top five prospects. Solidify how you will proactively interact with them going forward so that you can position your firm to win more work.
In specific, establish activities and deadlines and enter them into your client relationship management (CRM) system so that you can track progress or identify where you need to adjust.
Now is the time to put your clients at the center of your business and stop taking your best clients for granted. If you aren’t taking the time to nurture those relationships, another firm is.
Want more insights on client outreach? The 37th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Survey has been extended to Tuesday, March 15. By participating, you’ll get priority and free access to this year’s report – an opportunity to see how high-performing AEC firms tackle client relations and other important issues.