Handling multiple bids within one opportunity with Dynamics 365 CE for Construction

The opportunity within Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement in construction industry is one of the core entities in the sales pipeline. It is mainly used by the sales team to generate potential sales for the business. In the opportunity where estimated revenue is defined, the lead source is captured and other important sales information such as competitors and stakeholders are defined. During the life cycle of the opportunity while it is open, the sales forecasting report is used to predict potential revenue in the future. The opportunities are eventually closed as Won or Lost, which a won/lost report can be used to analyze the sales data and display the lost/won revenue for the business.

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement in construction industry

Businesses follow different business process to capture sales information and close a deal. Construction organization/industry uses sales processes that are based on project-based which is different from the product-based organization. The sales process in the construction industry are longer, complex and require a great deal of customization to provide estimation/bids, multiple services and proposals for different divisions within the same organization.

Many construction organizations have multiple divisions that offer multiple services and provide multiple estimations/bids and proposals that could go through multiple revisions, in addition, seeking potential opportunities as a subcontractor as well as direct opportunity for the same end customer is a very common practice in this industry. Since the opportunity is for the same end customer, it makes sense to have all the services/bids and proposals created under one opportunity and link the opportunity to any other subcontracting opportunities for the same end customer.

Business Scenario where Dynamics 365 CE makes the difference

A sales representative works for a construction organization called ConCo. The salesperson has a potential deal to close for end customer X. The customer is interested in four services offered by the construction organization. At the end of the sales cycle, the customer may award one or more services. While waiting on the decision, a major construction company got awarded one of the services requested by X. ConCo now has an opportunity to win a sale as a subcontractor for the major construction company and still seek opportunity to win the other services directly from end customer X. The salesperson wants to do the following in Dynamics 365 CE:

  1. Create one opportunity for the four service types.
  2. Create another opportunity for the subcontracting service.
  3. Link both opportunities together to indicate that these opportunities are for the same customer.
  4. Estimators will provide estimation/bid for each offered service.
  5. Ability to attach a proposal template for each service since, the services are provided by different divisions in ConCo.

Challenges

Based on the business scenario listed above, we can summarize the following challenges:

  1. The sales process in Dynamics 365 CE is a product-based sales process Not project-based.
  2. Dynamics 365 CE out of the box does not support multiple services with multiple proposal template for each service.
  3. The estimation/bids life cycle and procedure for construction organizations are complex and does not exist in the out-of-the-box functionality.
  4. Potential issues with when to close the opportunity when one service is awarded and there is waiting time on other services.
  5. Potential issues to report lost and won est. revenue for each service within the same opportunity.
  6. Linking opportunities together are not implemented as out of the box in dynamics.
  7. Sales pipeline Forecasting opportunities.

Best Practice

In order to achieve the required functionalities for the given scenario and overcome all the challenges that may occur during the process of adding multiple services to one single opportunity, the following components need to be incorporated in the opportunity entity type:

  1. Creating 1:M service types that specify the divisions and template document to be used for the proposal.
  2. Create a parent opportunity that could have multiple sub opportunities, avoiding implementation of a tree structure data.
  3. Create 1:M estimation entity type that allow the construction organization to provide estimation for every service type selected within the opportunity.
  4. Only open estimation appears in the proposal.
  5. Extend the proposal functionality using plugins to extract, merge and combine documents in one proposal for multiple service type templates.
  6. The opportunity’s estimate, revenue changes based on closing estimation/bids:
    1. All open estimation/bids will show in the forecasting report
    2. Any awarded estimation/bids will not show in the forecasting reports.
    3. All lost estimation/bids will not show in the forecasting report
    4. Lost and awarded estimation/bids will show in the Win/Lost report with other key information

Conclusion

The construction industry faces daily sales challenges that impact the business in many ways. It includes having a detailed analytical information to analyze the sales pipeline process and capturing multiple services in single opportunity. The need of a solution that solves the industry business problem becomes necessary. This blog does not provide a detailed explanation of the solution, however, AlphaBOLD has implemented many construction vertical solutions to solve similar business problems that are built on industry experience and may prove to be beneficial to your organization.

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