Why Relationships Matter Most in the Energy Industry
March 26, 2014
By Philip Larkin, ECC Future Leader
Like many industries, the energy industry is one where the strongest relationships are based on trust and mutual respect. Confidence in delivering the job comes first and foremost, but we also choose to work with companies we like. The development of key relationships with clients, suppliers and joint venture partners is not something that has been widely researched for our industry and yet it is growing ever more important as our business grows and the market expands.
The importance of relationships is sometimes underestimated in an industry such as this, where more traditional views see it as burden on valuable time and resources. Indeed, employing business development professionals to engage in this practice was unheard of until more recent times.
It’s critical to determine synergies in relationships with other parties early in the process, which supports the development and submission of a value added proposal. Needless to say it is imperative to have a competitive commercial strategy and to deliver technical and commercial value. But without the existing relationship, a company may not even get a chance to submit a design or price for a project.
There has been much researched and written in the area of relationship marketing and most of the available research examines the relationship between the brand and service offering of a company. Much of the theory surrounding relationship marketing in the professional services industry is equally true of the energy industry in which many of us operate. Issues such as building trust and gaining commitment from a client as a result of that trust are key areas to examine and transcend across industries because of their importance.
Where strong relationships are in place, the speed at which a service can be engaged and executed is significantly improved. These relationships are supported by consistent project performance and also from strong retention of people – in particular, senior management. In more recent years the importance of having trained and educated sales and business development professionals is being recognized.
The ultimate goal of relationship building and management is partnerships involving successful project delivery, mutual trust, commitment and respect leading to more business between your company and its clients, growth in line with targets and goals and a continuation of strong performance year-on-year.