Are you valued by the management in your firm?  Here’s how to find out.

AEC marketers and business developers are some of the most hard-working people in our industry.  Maybe you are the person who produces proposals and materials that sell the work.  Or maybe you are someone who finds opportunities or helps your firms’ management build or get on the perfect team.  Maybe you do both.  Hopefully, you work for a firm that values you and is willing to work with you to help you achieve both your professional goals as well as the firm’s.  However, the unfortunate reality is that you many firm owners do not recognize the value of their staff until they leave or are laid off.      Often, firm management is too disconnected from this effort, resulting in an unhealthy marketing and business development effort.  If you suspect that your firm does know your value, the key is to at least try and keep your firm’s management informed about your workload, successes and what it actually takes to produce that winning proposal or team arrangement.  While this seems like this would be obvious, you would be surprised how many firms have no metrics to speak of that show what it actually takes to produce work.  Often, this happens because they are too busy to take the time to do it but it is critical.  Here are a few ways to stay connected with your firm’s management:

  1.  Keep detailed records as much as possible about the number of proposals you produce annually and each quarter at a minimum.  Keep hourly time requirements as well.  You may even want to break it down on a monthly basis if you are at maximum capacity with resources.    This will allow you to advocate for more help in producing proposals and marketing materials that win work and keep your firm busy.
  2. If you are a business developer, keep statistics on how many contacts you make, how many result in a meeting.  These are the key statistics but you should also track “go/no go” decisions and how well you were and were not positioned for each opportunity that was declined and won by management.
  3. Meet with firm’s management on a regular basis (quarterly at a minimum) to review all successes and failures as a department and firm if possible depending on the size and structure of your firm.  The burden of proof is on you to sell yourself to firm management and perception is reality. 
  4. Stay connected to what you are worth.  SMPS has a “Marketing Compensation and Metrics Survey” that is a great place to start and then also review what current positions are paying in the AEC industry.  Salaries have been gradually rising so make sure you are being paid what you are worth and that the benefits are commensurate with the work.

Regardless of your efforts, you may still realize that your firm’s management does not want to take the time to know your worth.  In this case, you may have to evaluate other options but if you have done your due diligence, then you will have at least put forth an effort that will result in no regrets.  


Michelle Wiesner is the President of AEC bridge, a lead cultivation and contact development firm focused on the AEC industry.  Michelle has over 20 years of experience in the industry as a marketer and business developer and works with firms nationwide to support their marketing and business development efforts.