On this week’s episode of Flooring by the Numbers LIVE! Show we discussed the importance of taking a strategic approach to winning and then successfully delivering large jobs.
Our simple definition of a large job is one that represents as much as 50% of your net profit.
If your net profit is $1million then a large job would be about $500k in revenue. It’s big enough that if delivered well will give your profit a very material boost, and if it goes south, will severely impact your annual profit.
Traditionally, your sales and execution process looks a little like the diagram below:
Everyone is doing their job. There may even be examples of functional excellence,
That’s the point. Functions can often be another word for silos.
Sales sees a big job on the bid board and gets excited (as he should!). He solicits the bid and bungs it over his wall to estimating who see it for the first time. They don’t know how real it is or the chances of winning it. They just know it is big. Along with a bunch of others.
Estimating have a lot of bids to address. They dutifully spend many hours doing the takeoff, and in the main without complaint, and bung it over the wall to sales to do the pricing.
Our sales guy works with vendors to get prices and bungs it over the wall to the customer. Often he does not even present the proposal. Just hits send in his email outbox.
Then sales, and by default, your entire organization, practice their cunning, time honed winning strategy —
Yes, we expect the customer to do all the work and then phone us if we have won!!!
In the event we win it (and often do as we bung bids into the system at an ever increasing pace) it gets presented to operations to procure materials, schedule, find installation crews, assemble specialized resources and get the floor laid.
Many of the off the cuff, sidebar conversations, secret handshakes and unspoken agreements between sales and the customer never get passed along.
Things are missed. Expectations are misaligned. Finger pointing begins. Margins erode.
The elation of winning such a prestigious job turns into despair and we eat dirt.
Then along comes another shiny big bid and the pathology begins anew.
Of course there is a better way. Selling (and delivering) is a team sport.
We propose assembling a Big Job Team (BJT):
It is a cross functional group who can bring real firepower, collaboration and focus to critical jobs:
All big jobs must get an approval to bid from this team.
The salesman must have a conversation with the prospect and do sufficient research and then present a case to the BJT to bid and have access to valuable (and expensive) resources like estimating.
This provides a powerful filtering mechanism.
In the past all big jobs were good.
Now, we can select based on the risk profile and our ability to perform this type of work.
Does it mean more work for sales? Yes. But it will dramatically increase win rate AND reduce your support costs.
Once the proposal is done, it is again reviewed and reinforced by the BJT. The final proposal then is a team effort and well understood.
Critically, the proposal is presented to the prospect and can involve several member of the BJT to showcase your bench strength.
Whether you win or lose the BJT conducts a review to identify what went well and what could be improved for the next bid.
Now it goes to job planning and execution. Risks, special needs, logistics, timings are well understood and there are no surprises.
We suggest the project is reviewed by the BJT at least bi-weekly to ensure issues are caught and resolved early.
If you want more insight into this process you can watch our show that talks about it by clicking here Big Job Team Episode.