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By Clare Kelly
Position Your Firm for a Higher Win Rate
Today’s metrics in the A/E/C industries track marketing and business development (BD) strategies as well as tactics during the sales cycle. These critical metrics are most effective as part of a comprehensive analytical marketing approach:
percentage of leads converted to bid opportunities
Short-list rate
percentage of proposals short-listed for interviews
Win rate
percentage of interviews or proposals converted to contracts
Average win size
average dollar value of new contracts won
Time in stage
average time leads spend in each stage before moving to the next
Pipeline coverage ratio
value of proposals in the pipeline compared to a time-based revenue goal
Market analysis occurs before building a pipeline for a new market segment or to annually adjust the qualifying factors for an existing market pipeline. A thorough market analysis identifies front-end metrics to determine viability and inform a focused pipeline. Everything that follows is built on this research. This process leads to an increased win rate and higher net marketing and BD contributions.

Front-end marketing metrics include:1
Market composition
ideal client profile characteristics within a specific market
Market potential
estimated value of a market
Market stage
early, mid, or late
Market share
your firm’s percentage of total sales in a specific market
Market position
how your firm is perceived by your prospects relative to your competitors
Quantifying these metrics is less cut and dried than measuring pipeline success. The data and information needed are typically unavailable in your CRM. Comprehensive market research using valid and credible sources is required. Research may include political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legislative trends, plus competitive analysis. Mathematical calculations are needed to process data gathered in your research.
An Example From a SaaS Marketer
The final keynote speaker at The 2023 Pinnacle Experience gave an excellent example of how his team at OpenAsset uses market-composition analysis to impact their win rate. In his presentation, “Redesigning the Marketing Blueprint,” Derek Ries, VP of marketing, business development and partnerships, demonstrated how OpenAsset leveraged a deep understanding of their ideal client to develop compelling messaging during each pipeline stage. Clearly defined customer statistics and needs, along with unique strategies for marketing-team operations, led to a 240% increase in pipeline activity the first year of implementation.
Ries pointed out that both SaaS and A/E/C marketers face:
Shifting client needs
Limited resources
Competitive pressures Tecnical complexity Data and mesurement

No one-size-fits-all approach
Five Components of Market Analysis
1. Identify Market Composition
Ries and the OpenAsset team based their ideal client on targeted annual revenue, number of full-time employees, industry, team budgets, and readiness to buy. They also identified a crucial qualitative element shared throughout this market: fear of deploying a new technology or process when the stakes are high. The OpenAsset team then aligned messaging to this market.
For example, in the A/E/C industries, a firm that is exploring the office adaptive reuse market first identifies the region it can best serve. Within that region, it determines the number of office buildings in distress or foreclosure, developers exploring adaptive reuse or who have completed reuse projects, municipal readiness to support reuse, and municipal code. Further, the firm identifies demographics and lifestyle characteristics of residents who are attracted to a new urban residential product, and explores amenities desired by these residents as well as receptiveness of adjacent business space that’s converted into residential space.
Primary research involving conversations with developers, property owners, municipal decision-makers, local business owners, and potential end-users adds qualitative elements to this research. These factors are leveraged to craft the firm’s value proposition during positioning. A value proposition is: a concise statement of the benefits that a company delivers to customers who buy its products or services.2
2. Identify Market Potential (1-5 Years)
Market-potential analysis involves calculating the estimated dollar value of a market within a specific time frame, assessing the likelihood of projects moving forward, identifying challenges that impact the cost of doing business in the market, and finding opportunities that make the market viable.

During this phase, the A/E/C firm assesses:

Dollar value of construction permits in the previous year Estimated dollar value of projects in the development pipeline for the coming year Number of distressed buildings identified as good candidates for adaptive reuse, along with the total square footage of each building Political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal trends, plus influencing factors
3. Identify Market Stage
Based on market-potential research, the A/E/C firm can assess the current market stage. Markets typically have four stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Entering a market in the growth stage requires more risk but offers greater opportunity to acquire a higher market share in the long run. Entering in the maturity stage means more competition. And, if there are only a few office buildings left that can be converted to residential use, the market is in decline and may not be worth entering.
4. Identify Market Share
Market share refers to the percentage of a market that a firm captured in a specific period. If the total value of the regional office conversion market in our example was $10M for one year and the A/E/C firm captured $7.5M in billings, they had a 75% market share. Market share matters because it shows a firm’s strengths compared to competitors and the effectiveness of marketing and BD efforts. Over time, the market-share metric can demonstrate how deeply a firm’s marketing and BD teams can penetrate a market in a specific period.
5. Identify Market Position
As noted earlier, market position is how your firm is perceived by prospects’ relative to your competitors. It is a qualitative metric encompassing perceived value, competitive advantage, brand image, and differentiation. Differentiation is achieved by leveraging your firm’s value proposition in all branding and communications.

In the example given by Ries in his 2023 Pinnacle Experience presentation, his OpenAsset team turned the target audience’s “fear of deploying a new technology or process when the stakes are high,” into the value proposition “OpenAsset’s Digital Management platform makes A/E/C proposals simpler, faster, and more successful. That’s why 99% of customers renew.”
“OpenAsset’s Digital Management platform makes A/E/C proposals simpler, faster, and more successful. That’s why 99% of customers renew.”
— Derek Ries, VP of marketing, business development and partnerships, OpenAsseT
When an A/E/C firm’s marketing and BD teams conduct research and define the previously mentioned metrics, the firm’s pipelines become highly attuned with its markets, encouraging focus on the prospects the firm can serve well and profitably. This comprehensive process increases the likelihood that the firm will deliver on its value proposition and create lasting client relationships.
Clare Kelly, MS, CPSM, is Principal Consultant with FUSE Marketing. She collaborates with owners, and marketing and BD professionals in the built environment to help them grow their businesses with effective, thoughtful, and measurable marketing strategies. She brings a never-ending curiosity to client relationships and projects, seeking to uncover opportunity and create a spark that will ignite growth for all.
Clare holds a Master’s in Marketing from Regis University, has 17 years of experience as an A/E/C marketer, and a background in graphic design for B2B clients.
Clare joined SMPS in 2013. As a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) and active member, she is committed to the advancement of the marketing and business development in the design and construction industries.
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