The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After creating ArchiOffice®, the intelligent office, project management and time tracking solution for architectural firms, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development.

Follow The Business Behind Design:

What AEC executives can do to position their firms for success

Photo: pakorn via
Photo: pakorn via
August 04, 2014

Most leadership teams at AEC firms are fastidious about tracking their hit rate – the number of proposals submitted minus the number of proposals won. In fact, the average hit rate in AE firms was 37.1%, According to Zweig White’s 2013 Annual Marketing Survey.

A recent post on the Hinge Professional Services Marketing Blog offers three alternatives to the traditional "go-no-go" process for increasing that percentage.

1. Accept what your firm just CANNOT do. Professional service providers are notorious for taking on more than their core expertise. However, lack of specialization muddles the firm brand. Based on Hinge’s primary research of professional services firms, it discovered that firms that have highly specific and detailed differentiators grow three times faster than those firms that don’t. By being critical about what you can’t do, you’ll be able to zero in on what you can do.

2. Stop responding to any and every RFP. Against popular belief, it does not help your firm’s visibility to respond to RFPs for which the firm is unqualified. Instead of buying into this myth, drive a change in firm behavior – pre-position for work and be realistic about worthy pursuits.
What’s the best way to improve the firm’s knowledge on worthy pursuits?

Conduct external research on prospects. Find out the types of issues prospects are dealing with, what tips the selection scale – from their perspective – and even what they believe your firm is known for. You’ll gain tremendous insights into them, and along the way, you’ll learn about how they perceive your firm.  

3. Aim low. Aggressiveness can be a great thing, but it can also be overwhelming – ultimately causing paralysis. Instead of aiming for 10% increase in hit rate, consider aiming for just 1%. An additional 1% increase in hit rate can add multiple thousands if not millions to a firm’s bottom line. 

Given the hyper-competitive landscape today, the AEC firms that are succeeding are those that are embracing risk and are challenging conventional wisdom.

Read more from the Hinge Professional Services Marketing blog.

Editor's note: This is sponsored content. The text was provided by the sponsor company.


Other posts from this author

Comments on: "What AEC executives can do to position their firms for success"

Related Blogs

The Business Behind Design
The Business Behind Design
The Business Behind Design