One of the differentiators of Cosential is the ease with which you can move a project through the project lifecycle. We’ll outline below some AEC best practices, as well as recommended reports and workflows to take a project through the Lead, Opportunity, and Project modules within Cosential.
It’s important that we share the following definitions for key terms within Cosential:
- Lead - a rumor of work; a project that might happen. Few details are available to your firm at this phase.
- Opportunity - a more qualified potential pursuit. These are projects that your firm is possibly interested in pursuing.
- Project - a job your firm has won. This is a place for tracking the project details that your marketers will need to access later.
Before we proceed, it’s critical that you map out how new leads move through your firm to eventually become projects. You can start by checking out our post on strategies for mapping your firm's business process, but what works best will be specific to your firm. The only thing that you must decide at a firm-wide level is which triggers are going to cause your users to convert something from a Lead to an Opportunity, and from an Opportunity to a Project. Some firms map out who is responsible for every piece of data at every stage in the process, while others take a more bare bones approach. Once your firm has defined your triggers and mapped out your business process, you can start capturing all of your firm’s data in Cosential.
Creating Lead Records
When entering Leads into Cosential, give each Lead an origination date and assign the appropriate firm organizational structure to it. Ensuring that each Lead record captures this information will help you create useful reports later on. We also recommend including the potential client's name in the lead whenever possible.
Recommended Lead Workflows
- When a Lead is created, notify someone in the firm organization that's associated to the Lead. If your firm has a few key people that want to see every Lead that's created, you can use workflows to notify them as well.
- If your firm is using Tickler Dates to track events in Lead records, use workflows to notify the appropriate staff when Tickler Dates are approaching.
- Notify appropriate staff when a Lead is converted to an Opportunity.
- To keep the system free of outdated leads, create a workflow to let users know when leads they've created or have been assigned to are still open a year after the origination date.
- Search for Leads with origination date over a year old. This report can show you all leads that might need to either be closed or updated.
- You can also generate a report on Leads created in the last 30, 60, or 90 days to get a quick view of new Leads.
Converting Leads to Opportunities / Creating New Opportunity Records
Make all fields that you want to be able to report on required. Again, be sure to assign it to the right part of your firm organization. This is a best practice throughout Cosential, but it's especially useful in Leads and Opportunities.
Under Contact Manager Administration, you can require the fields of data based on what stage you're in. So you can choose to require specific dates only at a specific stage in your process. For example, when you create an opportunity, you might not know an RFP due date, so you can wait to make that field required until you change your stage to 03-RFP Received.
Recommended Opportunity Workflows
- Notify appropriate staff when Opportunities are created. This might include all associated personnel or everyone associated with that part of your firm's organizational structure.
- Send reminder to the person who created the opportunity to go in and make sure that all the required fields have been filled out.
- Notify appropriate staff when Opportunity stage changes
- Notify relevant staff when due dates associated with each Opportunity are approaching
- Notify appropriate staff when an Opportunity has been won or lost
- If the estimated selection date has passed, but the opportunity remains open, remind the Project Manager or Business Developer to update the record.
If you're using Cosential's Go/No-Go functionality:
- Notify leaders if the score is too low, they can decide whether the project should be pursued
- If the the score is too high, leaders can be notified to confirm that the form was filled out correctly
Which Opportunity reports are most helpful will vary from firm to firm, and will depend on what you decide to track in your Opportunity records. That being the case, we'll list a few here that many firms find instructive.
- Hit rates can be broken down a few different ways to give you more insight into your firm's operation:
- by quantity
- by estimated fee/construction cost
- by business developer
- by firm organizational unit
To learn more about useful reports and metrics, check out our eBook on AEC metrics.
Converting Opportunities to Projects
While it might seem obvious when to convert an Opportunity into a Project, it's still important to decide what the formal trigger will be for your firm. Some firms like to convert the record as soon as they get the decision from the client, while others prefer to wait until they receive a signed contract. What’s important is that everyone at your firm uses the same trigger.
Most of the information from your opportunity record will be transferred into the new project record. The only data that won’t come over are dollars and dates as those numbers were best guesses and you probably only contracted details in your actual project records.
- When an Opportunity has been converted up to a Project, send a notification to remind the Project Manager or Business Developer who converted it to go into the new record and make sure that all of the required fields have been filled out
- Alert accounting when you have new project that needs to be set up.
- When project statuses need to be changed from in progress to closed
- Notifying other staff members that projects have been created or won
Curious about how to implement some of these strategies? Watch a webinar on these best practices here.
If you’re not a current customer, schedule a free demo to learn how our CRM and Proposal Automation solution can simplify your day and help you win more work.