Wednesday, November 28, 2007

E&C Strategic Initiatives: keys to partnering & selling

Have had discussions with strategy executives at two global environmental consulting firms recently, around some of the key initiatives that they are funding:

  • Capturing higher margin businesses, from organic growth as well as M&A efforts
  • Growth in targeted markets of water (CSO, distribution systems) and energy mgt
  • Identifying and investing in emerging business lines of revenue

Of particular interest to both execs was the ability to leverage technology, both information technology as well as 'cleantech', to drive new revenue streams. As with most global engineering & environmental firms, there are 'pockets' of expertise, design centers, or practice groups that take the lead in developing and sharing IP around leveraging technology for new business opportunities. The corporate strategy executive (in itself a relatively new role for the E&C industry) is chartered to leverage that internal expertise and and nurture growth opportunities across the enterprise.

What does this mean for IT and cleantech start ups that wish to sell into and partner with the global E&Cs? I believe business development and strategy at these firms should focus on building a partner ecosystem and driving sales from these channels, especially with larger engineering & construction firms, who serve as the 'trusted advisors' to end user industries (such as gov't, process mfg, and discrete mfg). The sales process will involve roadmap & technology discussions with key practice leaders, as well as development of corporate strategy executives who may provide executive sponsorship.

The cleantech & IT start up business development team should have strong domain experience in core tech areas, but should also possess a very good background in developing a market strategy with a significant channel component; a good rolodex or set of relationships with a broad array of E&C business unit executives; and certainly a strong consultative sales approach.

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