In a recent PSMJ report, A/E Business Development Study: How Today’s Most Successful A/E Firms Keep Their Clients Happy and Win New Work, we measure the relationship between business development practices and business development effectiveness.
In this study, we asked a range of questions relating to firms’ BD practices, and then overlaid that data against firms’ financial performance, proposal performance, and client satisfaction, i.e. their business development effectiveness.
We were particularly interested in how (or if) firms conduct business development training. As such, we asked a number of questions related to the format and delivery of training programs.
Interestingly, we found that, the majority of firms do not have a formal training program (66%). Meanwhile, 27% of firms said that some of their staff go through a formal BD program.
To gauge BD effectiveness, we looked at these results in terms of firm profit rate this year and last, and in terms of firm growth rate in the past three years. We also looked at proposal hit and repeat client rates. Following are the results:
Financial performance impact: We found that participants responding that all or most staff go through a formal BD training program reported the highest financial firm profitability last year and this year, as well as the highest organic revenue growth over the past three years.
Proposal performance impact: We found that firms that reported that most staff go through a formal BD training program reported the highest overall and competitive hit rates, and the lowest percentage of proposal opportunities that they decline to submit.
Client satisfaction impact: Participants responding that most staff go through a formal BD training program reported the highest percentage of repeat clients, as well as percentage of referrals from existing clients, indicating that these firms have highly satisfied clients.
Based on the data, it seems that a formal BD training program brings results. For one, business development training helps to create a business development instinct in your firm, i.e. it's a way to engage everyone in your firm in business development.
About the Author: Margot Suydam is PSMJ's Content Development Manager. She manages PSMJ's Blog, and welcomes comments, suggestions, and guest bloggers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PSMJ's A/E Business Development Study: How Today’s Most Successful A/E Firms Keep Their Clients Happy and Win New Work is available as a complimentary download.