Emiel de Haan

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Focus Assisting teams and individuals in working more effectively by changing the mindset: from a product-based philosophy to a value-based philosophy.
Expertise Lead and account management, tender and bid management, strategic positioning issues, development of value propositions, best value procurement, value engineering, organisation of the content and structure of customer-oriented websites, and establishment of commercial links on content. Emiel grasps the business issues of the client as well as the technical substance of the professional. As he speaks both languages, he can properly translate technical aspects of a product into value propositions.
Markets Construction and infrastructure, mechanical engineering, and industry.
Motto ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’.

Emiel’s motive is to help technically oriented teams, by means of handy tools and practical examples from his own commercial career, to resolve clients’ issues using other things than technical solutions or the lowest price.


  • Topple the business model: from product delivery to value creation

An expert for construction and industry supplied various products. Together with this client, value propositions were developed to connect early on with existing and new clients and at a higher level. A new way of ‘client-oriented thinking’ causes the staff members to enjoy tackling clients’ issues using the new approaches. They generate new creative ideas based on their own expertise and contacts with clients. Furthermore, clients are better able to appreciate the added value of the expert. In addition, the knowledge and expertise are also being monetised, besides the products.

  • Marketing innovations

A builder needed to recuperate an investment made for an innovation. The innovation had been acquired on the basis of technical considerations. Emiel detailed the (potential) business case of this innovation on the basis of market research and internal ‘case studies’; for the builder as well as for his customers.’ Next, storylines were formulated that established the right connection and trigger with the client via the website and during presentations. The outcome: the innovation was recuperated within 1 year.

  • Make project leaders and engineers reason and act more commercially
The project leaders and engineers in a technical project organisation often did not yet know how to monetise ‘low-hanging fruit’ at existing clients. The client (and namely purchasing) was in control. Staff members mainly looked for the comfort zone of the technical components in the projects and failed to exploit sales opportunities. This opened the door wide for the competition and left 30%-50% of potential work at existing clients unexploited. While these professionals did have commercial acumen, the actual step towards sales actions was not taken for the following reasons:
  1. Sales were considered to be unsafe and scary.
  2. Sales were not part of the mindset.
  3. Sales were not developed as a skill.
  4. Intuitively, it seemed impossible to combine sales with the role of an independent advisor.
  5. Sales were appended to the work as a supplemental activity, while the project leader was still judged on the results of this project.

Together with the project organisation, Emiel formulated a tailor-made programme in function of the causes, containing the following elements:

  • Realisation of how the sales and purchasing processes function.
  • Development of discussion techniques—listening and asking questions—in order to clarify the actual needs of and anticipated value at clients.
  • Learning how important it is to focus on the distinctiveness instead of on the technology and the price.
  • Learning how to pitch in function of issues at the client, including communicating the added value of the solution.
  • Gear behaviour and content to the decision-making level and the need of the client.
  • Development of toolkit with practical examples that demonstrate that clients effectively appreciate good advice if they can link it to their own issues.[/twocol_one][twocol_one_last]

During the evaluations, participants in such workshops indicated how essential and funny it is to work not just with technical solutions and low prices, but also to focus effectively on the value of distinctiveness. This team approach caused sales at existing clients to increase at least by 20%.

  • Tender management in combination with value engineering for a medium-sized contractor

The contracting industry spends an enormous amount of money on large and complex offer procedures. A hit rate of 1:5 is very normal and has in the mean time become accepted. Emiel devised and launched a process for a medium-sized contractor who wanted to win a Best Value Approach (BVP) tender from Rijkswaterstaat, in order to increase the deal closing potential. Eisenfelt-methods have been applied to mathematically determine in advance, which measures have the most added value and which measures have less priority. Due to the complex and comprehensive nature of this type of projects, the team has made short sprints (scrum), which has significantly increased the quality of the offer. References have been collected to make the added value from the contractor specific and to prove it in the plan of action. The guidance of the interview training for the key officers was also provided by Emiel. Eventually the contractor won the tender on the basis of the best price-quality ratio.

Meanwhile Emiel has a hit rate of 5:6 Best Value tenders. (Six BVP tenders for different contractors accompanied, five BVP tenders were won.)

  • Implementation of lead and account management resulting in a significant increase in turnover

Emiel was responsible for closing deals with established accounts in a certain region, for a high-quality supplier. Emiel set up and actively promoted the lead and account management by means of predetermined customer profiles. This made it possible to acquire new accounts in the region. In addition, he refined the positioning strategy of this supplier. In product sales, it is very tempting to use low-price promotions. Even though low prices only have an impact when the marketing strategy is aimed at cost leadership. In fact, the focus of this supplier was on supplying high quality. For that reason, it was always a challenge to identify value at the client and to translate the maximum value from the perspective of the supplier into customer value.

For these clients, Emiel always searched in a creative manner for arguments on the basis of value instead of the lowest price. This ensured that the margin stayed healthy and that the supplier achieved a healthy turnover with positive results on the projects. The outcome: under Emiel’s responsibility, turnover increased from approx. 350,000 to approx. 3.5 million in 3 years.

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