In energy turnkey projects or complete systems installation, end-users (Transmission operators, distribution operators, rural agencies, private companies) are the stakeholders which express their needs. In most cases, they will write the technical specifications of the energy projects (protocol, architecture, norms, equipment specifications …), and approaching them will enable your organization to influence the way these technical specifications will be written and optimize your chances to sell your products and services.
Many manufacturers or service providers focus 100% on their direct client (the EPC in the scheme here above) and neglect direct business development towards the end-users. Approaching end-users is key as:
A good spec-in strategy is a long-run approach where you have to invest now for a future hypothetical reward
As a manufacturer may have some difficulties meeting the technical staff of the end-user to promote its product on ongoing tenders (which is often legally prohibited), the approach is more to work on technical specifications of past tenders and propose an innovative solution, architecture, model, product…. If the end-user sees the benefits, it will be in its own interest to integrate your inputs on the specification of the coming projects.
Do not propose to charge him to provide him these engineering services, work for free! You are planting now to harvest later.
A good spec-in strategy is fully customer-oriented
The fact that your ultimate goal is to promote your products shall not prevent you from genuinely helping the end-user: Put your best sales engineer, dedicate hours, and make it for free!
The most efficient way is to organize exchanges between end-user technical staff and your engineers. The ultimate objective of a business development strategy with end-users is when you manage to write with them or help them to write the detailed technical specifications. Some good practices to build a serious professional relationship are:
A spec-in strategy is a well-structured and planned company approach
In some companies, to invite engineers or decision-makers from end users may request authorization from Management and Compliance officers (to ensure compliance with Codes of Ethics, anti-bribery policy…). There are possibilities to make it happen but this takes time and effort and therefore shall be organized.
Inviting 5 people from South Africa to Germany for a 5-day training session has a cost. Most of the time, such a budget can not be allocated to a project and therefore shall be planned in the budget in advance. As a commercial/Business Development director, make sure that you have a dedicated budget.
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