Tuesday, January 28, 2014

5 Tools Everyone in Project Management Should Be Using

Every profession has its set of go-to tools.  (Don’t believe me?  Even those stalwart enough among us to prepare for the fabled—or inevitable?—Zombie Apocalypse have their favorite whatsits and doodads).

Increasingly, however, the most useful tools—especially for those in project management in the A/E/C industry—are found in the technological and social ether (differing largely from, I would imagine, the axe- and sword-throwing preferences of the zombie-fighters).

With that in mind, here are 5 tools—some oldies, but goodies from 2013 and some new ones for 2014—that every project manager should be using.
YammerYammer is a private social network for your company.  Think Facebook, but just for you and those you work with.  It allows you to collaborate securely across departments, geographies, content and business applications.
Benefits:  Yammer touts that it allows you to get connected to the right people, share information across teams, and organize projects so you can go further, faster.
15Five: 15Five is based on the simple idea that each employee spends 15 minutes a week writing a report that takes their manager no more than 5 minutes to read.  The app makes it easy for managers to discover the most important problems, insights, ideas, and success stories fast.
Benefits: 15Five turns all reports into conversations (think GChat or your Gmail Inbox), making information easy to follow.  Updates are provided easily by employees and digested easily by managers.
VCS (or Virtual Classroom Software): More and more, project managers are beginning to learn through virtual classrooms.  Training is undergoing a shift to Internet-accessible desktops, laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices. Learning may take place through video, webinars, or formal online classes.  Virtual classroom software like SlideShare, Saba, Adobe, and E-Lecta are asserting themselves as the new leaders in information dissemination.
Benefits: No more tedious flights to far-off cities, hotel bookings, and days away from the job. 
Benchmarking tools: This may not be new information, but it’s more important ever—benchmarking is the key to success in 2014 as competition heats up.  As ESI International states, “Benchmarking will now be placed into the forefront for many organizations … Just calling yourself world-class doesn’t make it so unless you’ve got some data to back it up.”
Benefit: Good benchmarking studies allow you to go beyond the hard data to give you the entire benchmarking picture you need to build a compelling business case for change at your firm.
Evernote:  This “oldie” is still a goodie—in fact, one of the best.  Besides being a killer note-taking app, Evernote can do just about anything you want:  work as a bookmark, web clip, video recorder, audio recorder, repository for all of your information, all within a searchable database.
Benefits:  The more notes and notebooks you have, the better Evernote works.  You can create searchable tabs and tags, so you can find anything you need through a simple search.  There are drag and drop features throughout the app to make navigation easier.  You can archive business cards, recipes, receipts, website clippings—Evernote is your messy hotel room after it’s been cleaned by your fabulous OCD Four Seasons Hotel chambermaid, Lolita.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How to Generate the Least Amount of Leads

How to Generate the Least Amount of Leads

Want to know how to turn your firm into a fast-sinking ship?

Start marketing with traditional advertising. According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report, traditional advertising and PPC (pay-per-click) accounts for the least amount of leads for marketers this year, with a mere 6% of leads originating from these categories.

What will deliver on its ROI promises?

Inbound marketing, which in total delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than outbound leads.
And when we say inbound marketing, we mean blogging—43% of marketers generated customers via their blog this year—Facebooking, Tweeting, YouTube-ing, Google Plus-ing, Pinterest-ing, and e-newsletter-ing.
So, the question is, if the evidence is so compelling, then why do so many A/E/C firms still rely on traditional advertising and outbound marketing for lead generation? In PSMJ’s recent interview with Debra Andrews, Founder and President of Marketri, LLC, we sought to find an answer.  Click to see Interview
“From my experience in working with A/E/C firms, they tend to be very sales and business development driven and not focused on marketing,” Andrews said. “I believe they feel that personal relationships and having the lowest bid drives new business, and that marketing doesn’t play a role in either.”
And the stats back her up.  According to PSMJ’s 2013 A/E Fees & Pricing Benchmarking Survey Report, overall, A/E firms spend a mere 7% of their business development allocation on promotion—and that promotion is usually relegated to traditional outbound ventures, like brochures and other print materials.
What can you do to start upping your lead generation today?
·         Get with the program. This is not your daddy’s business environment! Stop acting like it. Realize that inbound marketing’s primary function is relationship building. Don’t think that because you’re communicating via a computer keyboard, your message isn’t getting across. The best advice? Talk on the phone with your old clients; cultivate on online presence to attract new clients.
·         Invest in yourself. Don’t let yourself fall into functional obsolescence by not staying current on the technology curve. There are a plethora of books, webinars, and online classes centering on inbound marketing and social media. Educate yourself.

·         Pipe down. We know you’ve had a lot of success over the years with the old-guard ways.  While there’s nothing that can replace that hard work and years of trial-by-fire experience, you DO have something to learn from your juniors.  Next time you’re in a meeting, try this:  be quiet. Listen to what the younger people in your company have to say.  They have ideas, and good ones. Let them share those ideas.  That’s why you hired them, remember?

·         Take notes. You are the leader of your company—you know its history, its strengths, its weaknesses.  You are a venerable knowledge database: the intellectual wellspring of hundreds of blogs, Tweets, and Facebook posts. Think creatively about how you can integrate your knowledge into your company’s inbound marketing realm and take notes. Share your notes with your colleagues, giving them the collateral (and credibility) needed to create insightful, wisdom-laden blogs, e-newsletter articles, and marketing e-mails.

·         Realize inbound marketing is not a one-person enterprise. If you need to beef up on inbound marketing and social media at your firm, the solution is not to hire a lone social media expert.  One person can’t do it all. Empower your marketing team to work together to create the compelling content needed to transition your company from isolated to interactive.

Want to learn more about the effects of inbound marketing on today’s marketing landscape?  Download HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report  for yourself.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Can You Hack It?

Today represents the midpoint between when the first-ever A/E/C Hackathon took place (on November 8-10, 2013 in San Francisco, CA) and when A/E/C Hackathon: 2.0 launches on Friday, March 14th (location TBA). A weekend of play and exploration for A/E/C professionals, tech developers, and UI/UX developers to innovate, create, and discover new ways to shape the future of our built environment, the Hackathon aims to solve some of the industry’s newest—and most confounding—problems.

The Hackathon will kick off with a mixer and a discussion of this year’s hack categories (last year’s included digital fabrication, mobile tech, cloud tech, and BIM 2.0), followed by lighting round ice breakers and team formations.

On Saturday, the teams will begin their brainstorming, sketching, designs, and coding for their “hacks”—their ideas or software solutions.  Then, they work through the night—competition reality TV show style—until they present their complete (or, in most cases, incomplete) hacks on Sunday.  At that point, their hacks are judged and awards are given.

Though the location of this year’s event has yet to be announced, registration is now open.  The cost to attend is minimal (the max you’ll pay is $100), but space is extremely limited—only about 200 people will attend.

For more information on the event, visit aechackathon.com, and to see videos of last year’s event, click here.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Acuity Business Solutions Names Andreina Perez as Solutions Advisor

Andreina Perez, CPSM, LEED AP brings over 13 years of experience in project management, business development and marketing development in the construction and engineering industry.
Reston, VA
Acuity Business Solutions is proud to announce that Andreina Perez, CPSM, LEED AP has been hired to lead their business development efforts for their Deltek Vision consulting practice, and will perform the role as a Solutions Advisor. Ms. Perez is based in Philadelphia, and will be responsible for establishing long-lasting relationships with existing and potential clients.
June Jewell, President and CEO of Acuity met Andreina at an industry event and immediately recognized her talents. “We are thrilled to have someone with Andreina’s background and industry experience. She is highly motivated to help A&E firms succeed, and truly understands the value of the Deltek Vision system and how it positively impacts our clients’ profitability.”

We are excited to bring in a resource with Ms. Perez’s background. Her experience includes working with a variety of Construction and Engineering firms including Nason Construction in Philadelphia, PA as well as RDK Engineers, ACH Constructors and Skanska USA Building in Durham, NC.  She is also on the executive committee for the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA).

Ms. Perez obtained an extensive educational and organizational background.  She completed her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Miami in 2000, as well as a M.A. in Education Research at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2005. She is the Director of Continuing Education and a Membership Co-Chair for SMPS Philadelphia; she completed the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) Program and in 2013 acquired the credential that recognizes her marketing and business development expertise.

For additional information, please contact:

Acuity Business Solutions
(P) 855-522-ACUITY (8489)
(F) 855-522-ACUITY (8489)

Jessica Cheri
Marketing Administrator
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