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Elizabeth Bellsey Marketing and Business Development Coordinator BAM Architecture Studio

Elizabeth Bellsey
On December 18th, Donna J. Corlew, FSMPS, CPSM, Chief WIT Officer of C*Connect and former SMPS National President outlined helpful tips for effective strategic planning. In a participatory Leadership Lunch, Donna shared her insights and encouraged the attendees to ask questions and share their experiences with strategic planning and the tactics she presented.

[expand title=”Click here to read more about the December 2015 Leadership Lunch…”] Donna broke down strategic planning into four distinct points: – Understanding possible outcomes of business decisions and how to deal with them – Knowing your market and gearing decisions towards it – Considering where your firm is going over the next 3 to 5 years – Looking at the process of where your firm came from, and especially where it is now and where it is going When a strategic plan has been written and approved, Donna stressed the importance of reading and evaluating the strategic plan at least every six months. This will keep the priorities of the plan front of mind, and allows leadership to determine which aspects of the strategic plan are still valid and relevant to the firm’s interests and goals. One easy approach to remind everyone of the priorities is to post them on a wall visible to the entire company, or to include them electronically in emails or on the firm website. A few attendees shared their technique of including the key points in the agendas of weekly meetings, so they are constantly viewed and discussed by everyone in the company. Donna surveyed the marketers and business developers in attendance about how each person conducts research in preparation for a strategic plan. People discussed looking at the industry forecast, receiving as much insight as possible into client budgets, and conducting a competitive analysis. Donna affirmed these were effective forms of research, and recommended an additional form research. She suggested looking at the firm’s top ten clients in the past year, and seeing what happened both for the client and in the client/firm relationship. Donna pointed out the strategic plan may also be used to influence the proposals for which the company applies. If the company chooses to apply for an RPF, she advises providing objective information during the decision making process. This includes going back to the strategic plan to see if the potential project fits with the plan and citing the win rate with the client to determine if it is worth dedicating the time and resources. While the company may decide to pursue the proposal even if it doesn’t match with either, the marketer will have done his or her role of providing helpful information. If the proposal is not won, reference back to the strategic plan and win rate with this client when discussing the result with decision makers. Donna J. Corlew was invited to speak at the December Leadership Lunch by Rhonda Cardone, Marketing Director for the New York office of Dewberry and Chair of the Leadership Committee.[/expand]