My Master’s thesis was done for my home company, Pylon Rakennus Oy, a private repair construction company operating in Helsinki area. Construction industry is one of the last frontiers for sales and new customer acquisition development. Construction business, including repair construction, has traditionally based on competitive bidding. Therefore, pro-active sales has not played a significant role.
Recently, increased competition and price erosion has driven repair construction companies to search for business potential in developing pro-active sales and by acquiring new customers, for example, among private property owners.
Starting from this perspective, the study focused on exploring how sales actions prior the bidding stage and a new customer acquisition process can help to get beyond the painful competitive bidding. The study suggested that through improved visibility and relationship management, as well as through a better service offering, the company could get better access to new customers and a better gateway to joint property development projects.
The study suggested considering sales as a strategic function, which originates from sales strategy. In order to convert strategy into sales performance, the study recommends allocating the sales resources based on customer prioritization. In addition, customer segmentation and offerings should be also considered as strategic decisions.
In regard to the sales process, the study recommended the company to broaden its relationship network outside its buying network. The study found that relationships should be independent of any projects to increase visibility on the market. A customer reference marketing was found to be as the main tool to build company’s image. Additionally, a good service offering is needed to ensure high quality and cost effective services. These actions will increase the touchpoints, thus enabling better access to customers, and providing better possibilities for alliance and negotiation contracts.
In addition, the proposal presented a model for a three-step risk assessment to support the company’s project risk management during sales strategy, customer acquisition and bidding stage.
This proposal was successfully accepted by the home company and now it works as a backbone for the case company’s sales development. The improved sales process will allow the company to become more customer-oriented and forward-looking. Better anticipation will improve the risk management, resource efficiency and, in the long run, will have a positive impact on both sales performance and profitability.
Researcher Päivi Stordell, Master of Engineering in Industrial Management
This Master’s thesis has gained a high praise from both the school and the home company, and is available in the AMK common database (https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/145863). Topic: ‘Developing the Sales Process in a Repair Construction Company’