Sponsored Content: understanding client specifications to provide the best solutions

By Sarens04 June 2018

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Peter van Beveren

May 2018: Translating a client’s specifications to a proposal is an essential marketing document that outlines the plan of the implementing organisation about the project, giving extensive information about the intention, for implementing it, the ways to manage it and the results to be delivered from it. It is the key and the very first impression which one makes to a client. Sarens relies on its efficient sales team to meet the needs of its clients.

We spoke to Peter Van Beveren, our Sales Support Manager, about the key facts addressed during proposal submission and how to strike the right balance between promoting our business, yet keep the details honest and straightforward.  

What factors do we consider while understanding the client’s/project’s scope and translating it into detailed technical specifications on the proposal in black and white?

The key is our sales representative who is in direct contact with the client and specifically understands his needs. The more you understand your client the better is your position to win the project. Technical inputs from the knowledge center can be necessary and in almost all cases, THE solution is Sarens team work. 

How do you make a trade-off between the most suitable solution and the budget constraint of the client?

The most suitable solution is the solution which addresses the needs of the clients in the best way. However, we make sure that the solution is a win-win for both the parties. This enables Sarens to become the trusted partner. 

While drafting proposals how do you take into account what our competitors will offer the client, in terms of technical solutions and budget, to make our proposal most competitive?

Certainly for the high value equipment we know competitor’s alternatives. Technically, we weigh the possibilities already in the first bidding phase. Commercially, we try to figure out where competitor’s equipment is currently based. 

What different aspects do you consider while making the proposal for a new client for whom we have never worked in the past?

Working for a new client means adding in more time and energy compared to repeating business clients. Do we make an extensive combined technical/commercial proposal or a short budget offer? Do we need to inform client about the Sarens capabilities by adding in equipment brochures, reference lists, market related experience? These are some of the questions addressed by our team. 

How do you manage the expectation (negotiation in terms of budget and scope) of a client before and after submitting the proposal?

During the first submitting phase, the proposal is a reflection of what the scope of work as stated by the client. Once the first bid is out, the clarifications can start with the influencers/decision makers of the client. Several negotiations can be awaited where in new approaches regarding price and technicality can pop-up. 

How the increased competition in the market brings changes in the way proposal are made?

  • A few years ago, Sarens could afford to stay in their comfort zone, read offering rentals of own equipment without too much risks. But today, clients push service providers to take the full heavy lifting and haulage scope.
  • Cash-out is raising by adding to the project’s cost e.g. taxes, duties, forex, HL vessels, permits, etc.
  • Risk management has become an important factor.
  • Developing proposals is no longer a one man job but a team performance. Joint efforts by all functional departments help analyse each aspect of the proposal and serve the clients with excellence and safety, every time. 

How long have you been associated with Sarens and share with us the journey of these years.

I have been associated with Sarens for almost 13 years. When I joined I was responsible for starting a new precast concrete erection division in Ghent. We were specialised in the erection of complexes and construction of warehouses, logistic platforms, bridges, and football stadia. In 2010/2011 I worked under Benny Sarens who was building our first ring crane - the SGC 120 at our depot in Ghent. It was a great and inspiring phase.

Later I was asked by Benny Sarens to join the team to reinforce the growing market of technical solutions in a worldwide perspective. In 2014, I came into a new role of training manager sales and since 2016 I am working as Sales Support Manager Projects. It has been an endearing and learning experience for me.  

What made you join Sarens and tell us why would you recommend Sarens to a future employee?

If you want to sit on the same chair for the rest of your career, working in the same department, reporting to the same manager, and doing the same repeating task, then don’t come to Sarens. However, if you want the contrary come and join us! 

What has been your most inspiring moment at Sarens?

Honestly I can’t pick one moment, but each time I, along with my team, achieved a target, left back a happy client, it was a moment to remember and a motivation to go on.

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