What is tender in building construction
Construction sales management
The author, who is one of the few economists who has already dealt specifically with the development of "construction marketing", is currently investigating the phenomenon of sales in construction. The first results: Construction needs a clear professionalization in this area. Even if the contours of such a design are still fuzzy, it is clear that significant progress must be made here on a broad front if the industry does not want to lose touch with other branches of the economy.
2. Basics of a construction sales management
The difficulty that initially arises with this topic is the scarcely available sources - so when developing such an approach one can initially only fall back on plausible auxiliary constructs that take into account the specific conditions of the construction industry. In this context, plant construction, which, like many building products, is technically demanding and also often has the character of a project, can take on a “midwife function”. In addition, those construction companies that have already established innovative sales can make a valuable contribution to the development of a "construction sales" industry model.
In classic, process-oriented sales approaches, a distinction is made between three basic phases, which interlock chronologically:
- customer identification
- customer acquisition
- customer care
The customer identification at the beginning of the sales process is the entry into a professionally managed sales management. Depending on the market segment in which the construction company operates, it is important to determine the respective customer typologies (public customers, institutional customers, customers from a certain branch of the economy) and to define the corresponding target customers.
The phase of identifying potential customers is followed by customer acquisition, i.e. in this phase the potential customer becomes a "real" customer who also legally manifests this supplier-customer relationship through a corresponding sales contract.
After delivery of the service, usually after completion of construction, customer support becomes relevant. In this phase, it is important to maintain and expand the customer relationship, as there is basically no exchange of services, but an important foundation for future business can be laid here. In this context, experts also speak of the so-called management of discontinuous supplier-customer relationships. The frequently practiced “Fire and Forget” method - project completed - received money, on to new project acquisitions - profoundly contradicts the customer care and thus customer loyalty philosophy. High-profile mud battles in the media between the client and the client are also diametrically opposed to this approach.
Experience shows that companies need a tool for such a comprehensive information processing task, which provides you with the relevant links from the amount of information in a timely manner. A helpful control tool for professional customer management is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management or customer relationship management) system that manages all information about the customer. Depending on the phase of the customer relationship, the available knowledge can be used to address a customer precisely and thus at least fundamentally to develop competitive advantages. In addition, important information can be saved and documented for all actors in the sales process, which can significantly improve the processing quality.
So that there is no doubt: From a technical point of view, it is not a big problem to develop and establish a sales structure that conforms to corporate goals. The main problem is the “mind set” or the attitude of many executives who are familiar with the classic construction business. The first tender plants of a rethinking can already be seen here, but this path still needs to be significantly intensified and professionalized. It is the author's concern to make a meaningful contribution to value for the construction industry. With rounded sales of 81 billion euros p.a. in the construction industry, a profitable increase in sales of 2% p.a. through professional sales management would not only mean a significant improvement in earnings, but also create an employment effect that would be around 15,000 employees in the construction industry.
Dr. Sammy Ziouziou M.B.A. is professor for construction marketing and teaches and researches at the Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin
Email: [email protected]
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