How Are A&D Firms Advising Their Clients When the Future Is So Uncertain
Mpowered Podcast, Episode 27 Show Notes
Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab.
In this bite-sized episode, we tackle the question, How Are A&D Firms Advising Their Clients When the Future Is So Uncertain?” Leading firms appear to be embracing what we are calling the “beta test mindset.” What is this and what does it mean for you? Hosts Erica Waayenberg and Amanda Schneider walk us through what having a beta test mindset looks like from the perspective of a firm and how you, as a rep, could respond.
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Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab. Consider this your new weekly dose of bite-sized, actionable insights to help you succeed as a B2B rep. I’m this week’s host, Erica Waayenberg, head of research and content at ThinkLab.
We’ll be answering one key question each week, many of them submitted by you. Want to join in? We’ll share details about how to submit your question at the end of this episode.
Our question this week: How are A&D firms advising their clients when the future is so uncertain?
Each year, ThinkLab hosts roundtable discussions with principals and leaders from the nation’s largest and most reputable architectural and design firms. Over the course of the past two years, much of our discussions have centered around evolving client needs — moving clients past paralyzing uncertainty and out of the doldrums of indecision.
So, how do they navigate future forecasting when the future seems so uncertain? Leading firms appear to be embracing what we are calling the “beta test mindset.” This is a shift in mindset that creates opportunities for smart reps to engage.
Amanda, can you walk us through what having a beta test mindset looks like from the perspective of a firm and how you as a rep could respond?
Amanda Schneider: Absolutely. During this year’s Interior Design Giants of Design roundtable, one of the speakers kicked off our discussion around the beta test mindset perfectly, saying “We won’t find the future looking in the rearview mirror.”
When architects and designers are looking at client strategies around real estate, many are advocating to “test small, launch big.” We know that every client is different. Their users are unique; the functional needs can’t be squeezed into a one-size-fits-all space solution.
Firms like DLR Group have encouraged clients to test-pilot several final contenders for space layouts and work model types in real-world applications. They mock up the solutions and get feedback from people testing them out — people who will actually be working within that space. Then they see how that adoption measures over time (and even how the users naturally “hack” the spaces to suit their needs best) and then make an informed decision as to how to carefully plan and design the rest of their floor plate.
What they found is that not only have those clients benefited from the buy-in of their constituents, but they’ve really been able to take this beta test mindset to test small and launch big.
Erica: So, to jump off of what Amanda shared, I want to talk about how you can engage here. As a B2B rep within the architectural and design industry, you can support the beta test mindset dialogue that firms are having with their clients.
Does your product offer unique flexibility or reconfigurability to create a multitude of solutions from one kit-of-parts? Does your palette of colors, textures, and pattern lend itself well to a variety of unique but coordinated design collections? Can your brand provide large-scale sample solutions — perhaps one that could be returned, leased, or loaned to give the opportunity for clients to experience your product in a far more meaningful way than a quick palette review during design development?
Amanda: Aside from the product, even the simple gesture of asking how you can be a good partner to the A&D firm that is looking to employ these beta test solutions can show your awareness and empathy to their current challenges — and perhaps open the door to creative problem-solving together. And the great news is, in our experience, firms love talking about process shifts and design thinking, so you’ll likely find an engaged audience simply by asking the question.
Erica: Having this mindset of “pilot, test, evaluate, and deploy” not only benefits the client long-term, with solutions custom-tailored to the feedback of their employees or constituents, but it also helps the planet as well. While a small-scale installation may need to be returned, donated, or (in the worst case) discarded, if the large-scale implementation has already been vetted and proven through the pilot, a client is far more likely to have a longer renovation cycle in that space.
Our encouragement to you would be to join the conversation. Ask the firms you call on now how they are approaching a beta test design philosophy, and how you can support them in that process. Just like the product solutions being tested, your conversation and approach to each firm will likely be a bit unique, so start small by asking the question and take their lead.
Thanks for listening in. I encourage you to listen in each week for more tips and tidbits to help you succeed as a B2B rep.
Have a question or topic you would like for us to tackle on air? We’d love to hear from you! Simply drop us a note with your success story or question through the messaging feature on Instagram or by leaving us a comment on LinkedIn.
Special thanks to Material Bank for partnering with us to provide bite-size, valuable insights for B2B reps in the interior design industry.