A Clients-First Culture Drives Strong Growth
With a long history of exceptional client focus and delivering cutting-edge projects, Burns & McDonnell has ascended to the top of many industry rankings of the nation’s leading design and construction firms, including:
- #10 in the ENR Top 500 Design Firms (2019)
- #1 in the ENR Power & Transmission and Distribution industries (2019)
- 2019 Design Firm of the Year (ENR Southwest)
This success has led to further growth for Burns & McDonnell, a trend which has accelerated in recent years. Now with over 7,000 employees, the firm plans to hire more than 1,000 new professionals per year for the foreseeable future, a growth rate of approximately 15% year over year.
From Skeptics to Believers
Historically, Burns & McDonnell had not viewed the use of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system as a strategic priority. “Previously, there wasn’t a lot of buy-in for leveraging a centralized CRM system,” explained Shawn Hickey, Senior CRM Business Analyst at Burns & McDonnell. “Our prior tools didn’t really do what we needed as an AEC firm, which resulted in people creating a lot of decentralized Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint sites.”
To meet the firm’s aggressive growth objectives, Burns & McDonnell knew they needed to change their perspective on CRM software. Firm leadership was convinced they were leaving money on the table, as each of the firm’s business units were working independently with different tools and missing out on cross-practice selling opportunities.
“With the emergence of cloud-based applications, we had a new opportunity to deploy a centralized CRM platform that was available to our staff from their mobile devices in the field, and really prove the value that CRM can offer to our business,” noted Hickey.
The Journey to Change
Burns & McDonnell began a search for a new CRM platform that would help them take advantage of the latest cloud and mobile technologies. The firm evaluated solutions from Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft, ultimately asking Salesforce and Microsoft to bring forward their best partners. “We know that our industry has unique CRM needs,” explained Hickey. “We didn’t want a generic system that we would have to customize extensively to meet our needs – we wanted something that was built for our industry.”
The final decision was an easy one. “Not only was the cost of the Microsoft solution less than the alternatives, but the industry expertise of sa.global with their aec360 solution was a major difference maker,” Hickey described. “We didn’t have to teach them what’s unique about our industry, so we were able to hit the ground running and save significant time and money.”
- Phase I focused on enterprise relationship management (clients, contacts, and relationships) and getting all of their employee’s contacts synced across their phones, Outlook, and CRM.
- Phase II focused on supporting marketing and pursuit (opportunity) management processes, including automated go/no-go approvals.
Changing the Perception of CRM
By implementing aec360, Burns & McDonnell has gained a centralized firm-wide view of their contacts and relationships, streamlined business development operations such as legal reviews, and improved cross-practice coordination to win more business. “This success has changed the perception of CRM across all levels of the firm,” described Hickey.
The industry-specific functionality provided by the aec360 solution was key to the success of this project. “The aec360 team was able to jumpstart our project and provide a solution that addressed the unique challenges in our industry. Without that, we would have never gotten this initiative off the ground,” explained Hickey.
A Bright Future With Dynamics 365
Burns & McDonnell looks ahead to a bright future, with Dynamics 365 and aec360 as a key part of their success. “We are driving our CRM strategy forward,” said Hickey. “We’ll be rolling out Dynamics 365 to manage our marketing events, create a centralized database of project and employee experience, automate the creation of proposal documents, and to deploy a resource planning tool that will integrate our pipeline management practices with our process for staffing new work. With Dynamics 365, the possibilities are really endless!”