ConstructXion - The importance of Account Management

22 July 2021

ConstructXion - The importance of Account Management


This global consultancy company had no real account management process in place and was now being exposed to the problems of this.

How were they going to navigate these two problems they were facing?

To keep the names of the companies anonymous in this case study, they will be referred to as "ConstructXion" and "Transport Agency". 

Introduction : No Account Management?

ConstructXion is a multi-billion-dollar professional services consultancy operating out of more than 100 offices worldwide and employing over 10,000 people. The projects vary in size from the hundreds of millions to the thousands. Until very recently they have had no account management structure. This case study will go into more detail exploring these two questions: 

  1. What initiatives might be taken to transition from a product-centric to a client-centric culture? 
  2. How might this culture impact sales performance transformation at an account level?

Problem : Product Centric Culture...

They started video interviewing and researching a number of their customers about how they were perceived. They found that customers were asking ConstructXion to leverage more of their considerable expertise to bring value to them to be more overtly confident in their ability. These ‘voice of the customer’ interviews were to become a critical catalyst for the crucial cultural change the organisation was then wanting to make. This was the beginning of their journey one of the challenges they faced, as with many professional services companies, was to make a shift from working in the business, ie on short term projects as opposed to on the business, ie developing the business for sustainable future.  


The second question related to ConstructXion’s Asia-Pacific subsidiary. The board had recognised that their organisational structure did not lend itself to being client centric. It was formed of separate technical practises led by consultants, who were focused on searching for projects that would keep them busy. Whilst this resulted in winning a number of discrete projects, it wasn't a scalable strategy. They were not winning the larger deals. 


Solution : Winning Value Proportion Development Programme

The first step to develop a solution for this problem was to ensure that everyone had the appropriate tools, skills and coaching support. This led to a Global Winning Value Proposition development programme for the newly selected 150 account managers to be instigated. These programmes took account leaders through the customer's perspective of ConstructXion using the voice of the customer interviews they were. Also trained on mindsets, tools and thinking frameworks, peer coaching sessions encourage the sharing of learning across different regions.  

This was also accompanied by developing appropriate KPI’s. This proved quite a challenge to ask the consultants working on the client projects to stand back and strategise and have a more traditional account management role with existing clients.   

They set up a project team to adopt a change management approach. This was enabled the organisation to succeed in the way they approached this, from a change management perspective. The Kotter model was the framework they used to drive the cultural change. Using the model they: 

For the APAC subsidiary, the issue was not whether the large deals existed or not. It was how best to build the teams confidence so that they could win these larger opportunities.  It was to earn the trust of the customer and earn the right to compete in the large deal space.  

At the time. They selected an Asian Pacific based public sector Transport Agency to become a high premium account. They challenged their knowledge of that business. They wanted to know what they were thinking as a company. A major realisation came to the account team. While they were thinking about roads, trains, light rail, etc (ie from the perspective of their technical disciplines), this was not the language that the Transport Agency were using. They started to use the published values that the Transport Agency used when talking to them. These included; Consumer Focus, Innovation, Teamwork, Integrity and Safety.  

 This then led to ConstructXion focusing on the customer experience. For example, the transport agencies customer experience. Once the team had deeply understood what the transport agency cared about, they were better placed to align the rail or road projects that emerged. This was to influence everything the team did in their response. Design proposals were linked to efficacy and the customer experience.  

Once they had understood. the customer experience, they focused on the customer’s customer. This shift in mindset to focusing on the customer’s customer and then working back to consider is fundamental to developing a client centric approach. 

Results : WVP Programme in Practice

Up until 2016, Transport Agency were awarding ConstructXion small projects worth less than $80,000. In 2017 they won their first big order for $100,000,000. This was attributed to a highly collaborative team method, both locally and globally. As the team leveraged the ConstructXion capability in other regions to bring value to the agency. Being client centric requires considerable creativity and influencing skills in leveraging internal resources to maximise value for the customer. It was clear that ConstructXion was now beginning to be seen by transport agency as a trusted partner. Furthermore, this larger contract enabled them to broaden and deepen relationships across Transport Agency and increase their understanding of what they were all about. It was to become the catalyst for further change and developments. ConstructXion has been rewarded with other consulting projects and seeing their net revenue rise sixfold over four years. Furthermore, the client feedback was highly positive.  

Conclusion : ConstructXion's Journey

The before and after comparisons demonstrate just how transformative this journey has been. ConstructXion’s competitors could have done the same as ConstructXion, but didn't. This account team with the right mindset applied in daily account supporting activities has become the source of competitive advantage. The following sub-sequential steps can be observed in their approach: 

1 You: The team, first focused on the customer as ‘you’ - a study of the customer’s value helped them realise that consumer experience was their primary concern.  

2 Us: They then took a careful look at what services they had that could be provide value; they were creative enough to consider assets they had. That were not mainstream products such as procurement.  

3 Connect: They were careful not to pitch a business for business that was not their core competence; they connected their expertise with the customer.  

4 Evidence: They leveraged experience as case studies from across the group to provide their ideas could be implemented.  

Analysis : Before and After WVP Programme

Before the WVP development programme: Supplier-Centric Mindset After the WVP development programme: Customer-Centric Mindset
Small-deal mindset Large-deal mindset
What services can we sell? What value can we bring?
What can I do? What can we do?
Respond to client tender What new ideas can we bring?
No understanding of customer vision Deep understanding of customer vision
Team located at ConstructXion's office Team located at the client site and ConstructXion's office
No contact with Transport Agency end customers More engagement with Transport Agency end customers
No key account plan Collaborative key account plan
No leverage of global resources Much support leveraged from ConstructXion globally